SS09 | Yohji Yamamoto

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 3 comments
Fashion Month -- what a crutch. Facing horrible, lobotomizing blogger's block? Head to!  Post-Bottega Veneta, I imposed a moratorium against any more runway posts, but I guess I should've thought of some steeper penalties.  Not that it would've mattered.  I'm a gal who can justify anything to herself, so here I go again.  But how could I ignore it?  White dress, wild Japanese straw had AND industrial sunglasses.  Totally worth the self-betrayal.
Norsk Overraskelse

Monday, September 29, 2008 1 comment
Aesthetic obsession can be handy when trolling ebay for ideas -- it's an utter detriment when actually bidding (one would think!).  For all the lack of attention I pay to the small print, it's a miracle that I haven't been burned more than once or twice.  Today, I was actually blessed.  Last week I bid on this nice 1930s "document holder."  The photos showed it wrapped around some, well, documents.  Old leather? Documents? Sold!  It arrived today.  The document holder is actually a beautiful leather gaiter...and the documents (which did come with it) were these wonderful magazines celebrating Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway's 1939 visit to Duluth -- all in Norwegian. Snakke om kongelige luck!

Southern Migration

Monday, September 29, 2008 1 comment
My message to Billy Reid: Y'all stole the essence of all heavy drinking nights at Casa Hovey! Glad to see there's someone else out there who forces people to dress up so they can down gallons of bourbon before standing all stoic-like in front of taxidermied animals and salon-style paintings for photographs. Also glad to see that a Southern gents' clothing line is opening its doors to us Yanks (today, on the Bowery, at the addy below).

Whacky Wedding

Sunday, September 28, 2008 3 comments
Couples marry and move into a new home.  The Museum of Arts and Design moved into a new home and displayed a couple things to remind us of weddings.  MAD opened its new doors at Columbus Circle yesterday with three key shows: Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary (which includes Susie MacMurray's amazing wedding gown made of 1400 rubber gloves (no need to worry about spills!), below); Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry (which includes Ruth Radakovich's wild, incredible sea urchin cocktail ring from 1969 (no need to grab a weapon if hubby cheats!) as well as its permanent collection.

MAD Museum, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC  

P.S. Speaking of nutty nuptials, Porter's been just giddy with excitement since the lovely Joanna Goddard posted her 2005 wedding project on Glamor's new SMITTEN blog!
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Sunday, September 28, 2008 3 comments

It goes without saying that we've lost a legend, a wildly dignified, generous, talented, handsome man.  When I was a kid, he and Joanne filmed Merchant-Ivory's Mr. and Mrs. Bridge in Kansas City and, woah, did it cause a stir.  A lot of the scenes were shot in my schoolmates' houses and even years later, my co-workers at Brooks Brothers extolled the time he came in to buy shirts.  It wasn't often that Hollywood came to K.C. but were we lucky when it did.  Check out Vanity Fair's lovely tribute from September. How sad.
Silver Specs

Thursday, September 25, 2008 2 comments
For those who may want to break free of the Moscot and Wayfarer pack for seeing glasses (I don't know who these people would be, but go with me), kiwi artist Brian Adam can craft you custom frames in sterling sliver. If you're in the mood for new sunny specs, these aviators based on a 1930s design are quite divine!

Lost Art of Letters

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2 comments
A few weeks back a friend sent Port and me typed thank you notes.  Talk about above and beyond.  Email sure is great, but so are airmail envelopes, foreign stamps, Palmer penmanship and typewriter fonts.  All this well-traveled correspondence available on Ebay

SS09 | Bottega Veneta

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7 comments
Huge confession: for all I blather on about wildly expensive clothes, the ones I wear are relatively simple and plain...and most of them are the exact simple plain things I've worn since childhood. Levi's jeans, Gap long sleeved favorite Ts (black), Polo or Brooks Brothers men's oxfords, black turtlenecks, blazers, a couple long black skirts and about 30 shawl collared sweaters (paired with rotating, wildly expensive accessories). While working at Brooks Bros during college, I'd work myself up into a complete tizzy that they didn't view women's dressing in that way (while they do it obsessively with the men's). The women's stuff is consistently horrid. They try to do Ralph. They end up with Talbots. They should just do Brooks Brothers. Three classic jacket styles -- one short and tailored, one longer single-breasted with double vents and one double breasted -- two pant styles: flowy and skinny. Switch the fabrics by season, but always remain consistent and maintain the highest quality. And most importantly: insist the women hit the tailor before leaving the store.

I bring up all this Brooks talk in my Bottega Veneta post because Thomas Maier designed this spring collection in an effort to push women to collect, savor and honor their clothing over the long term (in the face of these trying economic times). Amen! I get a pit in my stomach when I read Bazaar's Wear It/Keep It/Store It column every month. When some gal is throwing down $1,000 for a pair of shoes she should be able to wear them every freakin' day for the rest of her life -- not just relegate them to a box three months down the line. Of course, my line of thinking would send magazine publishing (and the fashion industry) into a tailspin. But who knows, to this day, nothing gets me going more than a brand new black turtleneck.

Prada SS09 | Amazing Ankle Anihilation

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 4 comments
The Italians (and Italians designing French brands, ahem, Stefano Pilati) could certainly give the Chinese a run for their money in the female foot torture department. Lucky for me, the Prada 41 runs wildly tiny (as does the Manolo, the Gucci, the YSL, the Louboutin...hum), so I may feel like Cinderella's step sister trying them on, but would never even be able to consider putting myself through the agony of a stroll in a pair like this (which of course, I would give anything in the world to be able to put myself through). Yes, life is much better spent in sensible, suede J.Crew flats (in an unfortunate size 12). Major sad face.

No Posh Past? Get One Painted

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 2 comments
If all those (new but pretending to be old) New York families could go on about the good ole days with Grandpa Knickerbocker, we should be able to sneak in a little faux lineage, too -- without an ounce of shame. Sugarboo Designs will paint up a prominent looking past for you with its handpainted "family" crests. For $195, you can order these wooden boards painted with ivory on black or black on ivory -- with your initial.
Hunting Hermès

Monday, September 22, 2008 5 comments
The greatest way to show off an Hermès scarf: put it on the wall.  Port and I have all of our mom's old ones in their glorious orange boxes, but fear tying them in any way that might make us look younger than 93. Head wrap -- terrifying for potential sweaty reasons, not to mention the required sturdy knot. Belt -- terrifying sturdy knot. Bandit style -- almost ok, but a loose knot slips and I, you guessed it, fear a tight little knot at the corners.  So, beauties like this (and the entire Henri de Linares Hunt series from the '50s and '60s) surely belong in a frame, in a country house (or a Brooklyn apartment).
Our mom framed her favorite -- a '70s bouquet of peachy flowers.  It now hangs over Porter's bed.  Be careful to choose a framer who's used to working in silks. One improper pin placement can cause snags.

Bids for this 1950s version sit at $99, but, if impatient, you can buy it now for $399.99. 
Go Figuier

Sunday, September 21, 2008 3 comments
Poor flowers.  Slowly falling by the wayside, being replaced by their heftier, more edible brethren.  Cabbage, artichokes...and now, fig branches.  How tasteful!
About Face

Sunday, September 21, 2008 3 comments
You can't choose your family. Rafael Goldchain chose to become his. His somber self-portraits illustrate and honor his relatives who struggled through and occasionally fled World War-era Europe. In his wonderful new book, I Am My Family, he makes himself the face of a different generation. His physical transformations allow him to recreate and reinvent Goldchains of the past -- and for us to rediscover this part of history though this incredibly personal lens.

I Am My Family by Rafael Goldchain, available Oct. 1 for $40 from Princeton Architectural Press.

(This one looks like an aged Jonathan Ames).

All Photos by Rafael Goldchain
Dollars and Scents

Saturday, September 20, 2008 7 comments
In order to properly celebrate the arrival of decent fall temperatures and all the excitement of the week (and passive voice writing, apparently), I popped up to Barney's to pick up my first Diptyque Feu de Bois candle of the chilly season.  Apparently not enough of a celebratory treat, I immediately talked myself into a bottle of $195 perfume (above).  I really couldn't help myself, though.  The great font! A Swedish brand! An elixir that will make me smell like a sexy fireplace! I was a gonner.  Ben Gorham, tattooed guy behind the five-scent Byredo Parfums line, named Chembur after the town near Mumbai where his mom grew up. The notes include bergamot, lemon, alemi, ginger, temple incense, nutmeg, labdanum, amber and musk.  All that or just a sexy fireplace.  Besides Barney's, you can pick it up at Cow Parfymeri Stockholm, Les Senteurs London and Colette Paris.  

(Photo by Porter Hovey)
Behind the Times: Some Other Amazing Discoveries

Thursday, September 18, 2008 3 comments
The "newness" required in my Times assignment eliminated a lot of incredible options, such as my newest favorite side table of all time, Arrow + Sash (above), from Excalibur Foundry, this wonderful metal shop in Brooklyn (that made the mirror). The mold for this has been around for 10 years, but only a few have been cast. You can custom order them for about $5,000 a pop. A selection of my other loves follows:

Diego Desk, Excalibur Foundry

Elephant Candle Holders, Coleen & Company, $475

Italian Leather Decanters, Coleen & Company, Sold (grrr)

Painted Italian Drum/Side Table, Coleen & Company, $750 (a very tasteful friend bought a British version on Ebay, got a piece of glass cut for the top...and it's perfection).

Another Industrial Lamp, Darr

Horn #2, ABS Workshop, Discontinued (grrr) (Artist Agelio Batle, who did the marble soda cans, makes hundreds of incredible little graphite which you can stare and with which you can draw!)

Mexican Unicorn Sculptures, Golden Calf