AW09 FW | Holding onto Architecture

Saturday, February 28, 2009 7 comments
There are generally two things I hold true with women's fashion: 1) The aesthetics of the '80s should have ended on 12/31/89 (or, if we'd been lucky, '82) and 2) Small prints and brocades, while sometimes beautiful up close, can turn into a "shade" that should only be seen on a corpse. Too bad the two main themes for fall seem to have been the '80s and the corpse prints.  I'm holding onto architectural tailoring and minimalist glamour.  As always, I've asked two questions: Would this look good in my apartment? and Would this look great in front of a 16th century building?  All these qualified. Above: Gianfranco Ferré.

Karen Walker

Christian Cota

Cushnie et Ochs

Karen Walker

Rachel Roy

Moschino Cheap + Chic

Victoria Beckham (yep, the whole collection was really nice -- and those floors!).

All photos from
The Corporate Picnic (aka Stating the Obvious)

Thursday, February 26, 2009 10 comments
The corporate work day lunch can become quite depressing.  The gourmet sandwich - composed of very nice, even organic, things - loses a lot of luster when consumed at your desk as you check emails and try not to dribble aioli onto your keyboard.  But buying sandwich ingredients separately and chowing down European style makes the work day feel almost luxurious, like a picnic at Versailles (for someone who had the worst-ever Versailles picnic experience, I suppose).  The thing is, it doesn't really take that much longer to eat your sandwich in bits, it just makes you feel a helluva lot better.  Porter and I did this today with great success (it helps that I work above a fancy schmancy market): Balthazar baguette, mascarpone (from Murray's Cheese), fig spread, sorpressata, prosciutto, sour dough and artichoke hearts. Corporate gluttony at its finest. 

(Another iPhone photo; that little bugger does so well under the fluorescents).
no image

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7 comments

This all seems like trouble. Combine the brute violence of rugby with a big ole wall.  My cousin Thomas played the Wall Game when at Eton and left one match bitten -- by Prince Harry.  A high school sports injury all of us American folk can relate to.  This clip from the BFI archive shows a 1921 bout of futile, yet posh, pounding.
Brooklyn, Grub Town

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7 comments
Today's New York Times pays homage to all the bearded men (including those Mast Brothers) and non-bearded ladies who enjoy cookin' up artisanal food in New York's best borough.

They were even kind enough to put together an interactive map.
A Problem Comes to a Head...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8 comments
For anyone with a shopping disease who chooses Turkey over Argentina, there is hope. Where I won't be eating many steaks or running wild with a gaucho at the end of March, I will be running around the apartment fully protected from rogue flying polo balls for years to come. My custom monogrammed polo helmet from the Argentina Polo Store has arrived - and it is a beauty.  You can choose any leather color combos, different colors of air holes and straps.  The possibilities are endless, including the possibility that I need to be institutionalized for a headgear obsession.  At least the brown and white will match my straight jacket.  

Only part of the highly useful collection.
The Ottomans

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11 comments

One of the perks of controlling half the planet? A nice portrait or two.  

Talk about having the weight of the world on your shoulders, er, head. Suleiman I (The Magnificent), 1520-1566 (loved big turbans, conquered everything in sight; made sure beautiful buildings were built on all the key sites).

Murad III, 1574-1595, (a notorious womanizer who also enjoyed large head accessories and strangled his brother to take the throne).

Abdülmecid I, 1839-1861, (son to the guy below...made things even more European).

Mahmud II (Adli), 1808-1839 (brought in European-style clothing).

Ceylan's Constantinople

Monday, February 23, 2009 3 comments
An anonymous commenter pointed out the incredible, magical work of Turkish photographer, filmmaker and actor, Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  Mosques and snow seem to know very little of each other in my mind's eye; His Istanbul is like Dr. Zhivago meets the The Perfect Storm.  He does amazing things with green.

The films look incredible, too.  Check out the trailer for his most recent, "Three Monkeys," which debuted at Cannes.

(all images courtesy Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
The New Neighbors

Monday, February 23, 2009 4 comments
The Mast Brothers have opened shop just down the street from the Hovey Sisters, which will likely be a financial coup for the brothers and a waistline-increasing/wallet-decreasing proposition for the sisters.  Their salty chocolate bars come at $7 a pop but it's worth it with the beautiful wrapping and that font. 

105 North 3rd between Berry and Wythe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn 
no image

Thursday, February 19, 2009 12 comments

So, after almost unanimous enthusiasm from all, Porter and I are heading to...Istanbul!!  (You know, to take a few vacation shots just like Mert and Marcus).

The Other Side Pt. 2: Justine Cooper

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 6 comments
My friend Don Hoyt Gorman from SEED Magazine sends over Justine Cooper's incredible peek into the "other side" of the American Museum of Natural History. Don's very good at circumnavigating in tall ships, as well as writing, so I'll just steal his captions.

The Carnivore Room in the AMNH's department of Mammalogy houses large cat skins with interesting origins, including one that was tagged "gift of Central Park Zoo, 1944" and another tagged "Lord & Taylor cold storage."

The key to this cafe full of rack mounts was long gone, and so the lock had to be picked so Cooper could gain entry.

A motley crew of specimens wait to have their carpet beetle infestations dealt with by a visit to the -20°C freezer located behind the silver door.

These newspaper-wrapped Cretaceous bones (75-65 million years old) have not been unwrapped since they were excavated nearly 100 years ago.

Be sure to check out Carl Zimmer's great essay on the secret side of natural history museums.

HHH on Beauty: Mole in One

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12 comments
My skin looks a bit like the product of a Chas Tenenbaum grade school science project: generally ghostly white with brown spots all over (this image alone shows six moles). This Dalmatian quality has always terrified me, but as a gal who likes to torture herself and procrastinate, I just remained terrified for around a decade.  But last spring, on the cusp of hitting 30, I finally mustered the nerve to hit the dermatologist.  By the end of the exam, my previously empty chart stretched to two pages, but only two moles were carved out of me, one by a plastic surgeon.  I didn't have cancer (in those places), but I do have a little ghastly crater on my back. Just as things have finally healed, it's time to go back. It's very terrifying business.  On one hand, a gal who spends $100 on face cream and generally relishes a pimple-free adolescence cannot spend her (pre marriage!!!) adult life covered in craters.  On the other, a gal does not want to die at age 32 from melanoma.  But now there may be hope.  One of my clients* has developed the MelaFind -- a device that sees up to 2.5 mm below the surface of the skin, analyzes the mole and then helps the doc make a decision whether to biopsy.  Dermatologists think it could help find melanoma earlier -- and help prevent a lot of unnecessary biopsies.  There was great data on it last week and the company's filing for FDA approval soon.  Fingers crossed for all of us pasty, spotted folk out there.  In the meantime, though, get the spots checked regardless and remember to wear your sunblock and pith helmets.

* While I don't normally mix business (the healthcare PR career) with the blog, this one felt highly relevant.
The Other Side Pt. 1: Taryn Simon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 6 comments
A couple dark thoughts have always haunted me.  (1) When I go, how will the living dispose of me?  Burial does not seem fun, nor does a fiery furnace. I kind of like the Native American idea of hanging the dead in trees (like in the movie version of Last of the Mohicans, a veritable treasure trove of accurate American history, I know), but then I wonder if anything would dribble down on some innocent passers beneath.  Regardless, I would like a bit of my DNA set aside, you know, just in case someone needs to clone me or tie me to some unknown illegitimate relatives in 2108. (2) Speaking of relatives (legitimate and otherwise), what happens if you grow up far, far away from from your first cousins and then accidentally meet, years later, and realize how terribly attractive your nose is on the face of a "total stranger"? Even worse, there's the old Dr. Cecil Jacobson (the rogue fertility doctor accused of impregnating about 75 of his patients with his own sperm) case from the early '90s.  Inside Edition jumped on the story and used b-roll of my grade school to illustrate it (hopefully a coincidence). Regardless, it always put a certain spin on what could've gone down on prom night. 

Where I occasionally ponder these things, photographer Taryn Simon likes to illustrate the sad/fascinating real-world examples... 
In her case, she found her example of in-breeding in Eureka Springs, Arkansas (top). All white tigers in the U.S. have been in-bred (selectively), but things went a little too far in with poor Kenny.  He's mentally retarded, has trouble breathing because his little nose is so smashed in, can't chew right and has trouble walking.  For the folks who want more than a little bit of their DNA preserved, she visited the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan (not pictured) where you can put yourself on ice for $28,000 in advance or $35,000 at death's door.
She's up for the London Photographers' Gallery's Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her project: The American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.  The show also includes photo evidence of the Research Marijuana Grow Room at the National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford, Mississippi (middle) and the Avian Quarantine Facility (directly above) in Newburgh, New York where non-US or Canadian birds must undergo a 30-day quarantine at the owner's expense.  

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize Show, Feb. 20-April 12, London Photographers' Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street

P.S. David Coggins chatted with Taryn for Interview.
Loden Dager/Arm + Hammer

Sunday, February 15, 2009 8 comments
What a better way to spend Valentine's Day than watching a great collection of menswear and falling madly in love with one of New York's most wonderful (and generally unknown - especially to me) spaces.  Loden Dager held their Fall 2009 show at the incredible headquarters of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen.  Founded in 1785 to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen, the society's HQ on 44th Street (across from the Algonquin) includes a library, atrium-like retractible roof five stories up and a museum of locks and old-school gadgets.  Above: the General Society's arm and hammer motif.

The muted colors were simple and great, stuff guys would actually wear...and most of the models looked like modern-day Tintins.

Upstairs at the museum.

Ben Harper and Laura Dern

A view from the balcony.

General Society ephemera

Library stacks, second story.

(All photos by Porter Hovey)

Click here to see the rest of the pics.
Off to Battle!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 16 comments
My ultimate dream is a guidebook that would give me a simple list of all the stores someone of our (meaning all of us who enjoy Hemingway-ish things) taste would love to visit. I know the point of travel is to expand one's horizons but there has to be some of this genre in all places.  If researching Venice, for instance, those guide books will send you to a billion bead and glass shops (in which I have no interest at all).  How about sending me to all the places like Santa Maria Novella (which, yes, is in Florence)?  

I'm attempting to do this with the ole blog, but that also means leaving Brooklyn a bit more often than I do.  So, in the spirit of expanding our horizons (albeit in a limited/within-very-tight-aesthetic constraints kinda way), never be shy about sending those places my way!

David Shaghaghi, owner of Battle, did just that. He writes: Battle is based in Brighton on the South coast of the UK, sometimes sunny but at the moment wet and typically British. Selling Antiques and decorative items from the 18th century to the 1930's; we strive for an old fashioned quintessentially English Gentlemanly feel to the shop. The shop was started mid last year, and we are in the process of hopefully moving to larger premises in the next few months.

Here are a couple of the Battle window displays, which change at least every three weeks.

Battle, 27 Trafalgar Street, Brighton