Valentino, Ferrari, Alessi, Ferragamo – Italy is synonymous with a culture of design. So much so that Prada, one of the most iconic Italian labels, recently took some flack from the blogs for veering from tradition to manufacture several limited edition handbags in India. For spring, we’re pulling in a bit of that Italian design sensibility with the Almas Hi Rise Zip Skinny in Acid Red. The Almas is a skinny cut denim that shows off the legs down below, but comes together up top in a slightly higher rise, perfectly suited to the modern woman (as Refinery 29 asks, who is still buying low rise denim?). But the most exciting part of this style is the Acid Red wash, featuring a beautiful Italian “crackle coating” treatment, which draws upon the colored denim trend and updates it with a bit of extra texture – just the thing to brighten up your mood once winter’s over. And don’t worry, if red’s not quite your thing, the Almas will also come in a black crackle coating called “Night”, an easy, worn-in blue wash called “Ceremonial”, a grey wash called “Rain”, and a clean white wash called “Snowfall”.
We were in New York for Coterie this past week, a twice annual show attracting over 1300 high-end apparel, footwear and accessories lines to the Javits Center. On the racks this time was our Spring 2012 line, the first full collection by our Design Director, Jennifer Wojinski. Some of our favorite East Coast buyers, bloggers and editors got the first look at new styles and washes, including a brand new Italian “crackle coating” (Shhh! Don’t tell!), new colorways for our sold out “Color Coated Denim” from fall, wide leg trousers, colored denim in fresh, solid tones, and shorts in lightweight super soft cotton blends. We were completely thrilled by the reaction to the new styles and we can’t wait for you to see them, too!
But aside from work (and shopping), one of our favorite fringe benefits from a trip to New York is, of course, eating. After Coterie one night, we decided to see exactly what Michelin Star bar food tastes like at The Spotted Pig. This West Village gastropub, affectionately known as ‘The Pig,’ was started by British import April Bloomfield, formerly of Chez Panisse, who also runs John Dory Oyster Bar and the Ace Hotel’s Breslin, and serves seasonal British and Italian fare made with local ingredients.
Décor, assembled by co-owner Ken Friedman, is a mix of dark woods, even darker velvet drapes, walls of porcine artwork, and a pressed tin ceiling, which lends an air of British… intimacy. The place is always packed (the New York Times called it a gastromelee), and it certainly took us out of the airy, spacey comfort zone we enjoy in Los Angeles.
After sitting, we started with their oft-imitated Devils on Horseback – sweet, soft prunes wrapped in crisp bacon (pork seemed like the natural choice) – which are a nice diversion from the usual bacon wrapped dates you can find anywhere. Another famous dish is the fresh ricotta Gnudi, in heaps of butter and sage. For mains we picked skirt steak with summer veggies and chili, along with a juicy pub burger smothered in Roquefort. Even if you aren’t a beer drinker, wax nostalgic and try their true English-style ale, hand pumped from casks hidden behind the bar. Perfect after a long day on your feet.
Opened in 2005, this place is very likely the reason why “gastropub” has entered the food lexicon, and why casual bar meets comfort food establishments have sprouted on nearly every corner. We think it was worth the wait, and the people watching, one of our favorite pastimes, is superb. The “tight” atmosphere only means you get a front row seat.
The Spotted Pig
314 West 11th (at Greenwich St.)
New York, NY 10014
It appears we’re trending from the 70’s back to the 50’s and 60’s. Prada showed their Spring 2012 Collection yesterday at Milan Fashion Week, and one of the big influences was 1950’s and 60’s Southern California, an iconic era of customized muscle cars and surfer babes, made forever famous in songs from The Beach Boys, films like Grease, and books by Tom Wolfe.
Some of our favorites from the collection included dresses with hot rod flame details burning up the hem, and the throwback one piece swimsuits that still manage to flatter the figure. Ms. Prada also presented some very literal hot rod prints that could easily double as young boys pajamas, if the silhouette wasn’t so perfectly feminine. She even took the car motif into several pairs of strappy heels with flames shooting out of the proverbial tailpipe.
By the way, we are really loving how accessible the fashion business has become. Once a closed up industry reserved only for the VIPS invited to attend each show, practically every brand is making investments in digital media, streaming the runway walks live from the tents, and exciting a whole new generation of fashionistas. It’s also a fuller picture, as the public gains exposure to the creativity that goes beyond the clothes and into the styling, music and overall show presentation. For example, you can watch the entire Prada Spring 2012 Show right on YouTube:
Chanel achieved the exclusive yet accessible tone of Fashion’s Night Out by introducing a series of three denim colored nail shades called Les Jeans de Chanel. The nail color capsule collection was created by Peter Philips, Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup, and designed to match the shades of your favorite pairs of jeans. Blue Rebel is the darkest tone, to go with your inky, dark wash jeans, Blue Boy is the mid range tone intended to match the causal indigo wash you would wear with a pair of heels, and Coco Blue is a relaxed, light tone to wear with your worn and faded pair. We loved the idea and we’re so excited we can finally wear denim on our nails! The polishes are available until the end of September at Chanel boutiques and online.
Katie Holmes wore the Alie Shoe Cut in Adore to Chelsea Piers in New York yesterday. She paired the jeans with A.L.C.’s color block sweater and suede boots, perfect for a fall day outside. We only wish we had a pair for Suri! You can see Katie taking a turn at horror in Guillermo del Toro’s new flick, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, in theaters now.
We have a lot of friends and family in Texas, and we’ve been keeping a close eye on the wildfire situation down there. This fire season has been one of the worst in Texas history. In the past week alone, the Texas Forest Service has responded to 176 fires over 126,000 acres, and they are spending $1.5 million a day to combat the blazes. Some of the fires are so large, you can even see them from space.
If you want to help, we think Red Cross Disaster Relief is always a good bet, and they also offer an up-to-date list of open shelters, resources for evacuees, and information about volunteering. The Office of the Governor also put out a great infographic that outlines some of the devastation caused by fire this year.
You definitely know Tim Burton’s work as the director of films like Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow and the most recent version of Alice in Wonderland, but you may not know the depth of his artistic portfolio. We stopped by the Tim Burton exhibit at the LACMA this weekend, and we highly recommend making a visit. The retrospective shows Burton’s evolution as an artist through a collection of over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, moving-image works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, film posters, costumes and props, each culled from Burton’s own archive, film studio vaults, and private collections.
One of our favorite pieces was the Edward Scissorhands costume, derived from an original sketch Burton made of the character, and complete with every detail you remember from the film (except Johnny Depp). We also loved the distressed fabric and incredible detail work of the Headless Horseman’s robe from Sleepy Hollow. And once you have viewed the surrealist imagination of his napkin sketches and pen and ink drawings, you really start to understand his wit and ability to play on words.
Be prepared for some excellent people watching, too, as the show attracts a mix of young teens dressed like they are ready for a Burton audition, artistic types, and even families with strollers. If you go on a weekend, try to get there by 12Noon, before it gets busy. The show is set to run through Halloween. How appropriate.
Bonus: On your way out, don’t miss the Zodiac Heads by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The circle of 12 bronze sculptures recreates the line of animal heads that once stood atop the Yuan Ming Yuan palace outside Beijing. The sculpture is currently on a world tour, and will stay in LA until Febraury, after spending three months in New York.
There’s a fun video making the rounds this morning called “100 Years of East London Fashion, Dance and Music In 100 Seconds”. For all you English majors, that’s one look per year since 1911. The short was directed by Jake Lunt and created by The Viral Factory to celebrate the launch of a new Westfield shopping mall in Stratford City, London. We were excited to see so much denim in the film, especially the final shot, which shows that there’s nothing more current right now than a great pair of dark denim.
For design minded individuals, it can be difficult to find a quality stereo system that doesn’t look like a prop from a sci-fi movie.
We recently met the folks behind Q Speakers Ltd, which offers a sound system made from 100% real hardwoods, with clean lines and a contemporary design appropriate for anything from a dorm room to a mid century mansion. The unit offers 360 degree sound coverage from a 90 watt amplifier, built in bass woofer and stereo speakers, all mounted on an aluminum frame. Plug in any iPod or smartphone and the sound will easily fill a room up to 800 square feet. We can’t help but agree with their tagline, “Music looks better in Wood.”
The idea for Q came from New Zealand audio engineer and designer Grier Govorko and his sister Thea, a film industry vet, who wanted to put their experience in design, production and music to good use. The speakers may not be made in USA, but that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have the same dedication to craftmanship and quality. Every speaker is made from a unique piece of oak, maple or walnut, “thinned, planed, cut, mitered, glued, sanded and finished” over a 12 hour process. In their own words, it’s “like slow food – takes longer but tastes better.” We think one would fit perfectly in the design office.
If you are more of an on-the-go person, but like the idea of mixing of music and wood, thinksound makes a line of wooden earbuds that mix portability with a similar attention to design.