Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Living with Art: Part Deux Update

I love it when people I've profiled email me or leave comments. They always add that missing element that makes the story so much more interesting. So I was very excited to receive the following comment regarding my profile of Marc Jacobs' Paris home that was featured in the November 2007 issue of W magazine. I hope you enjoy it too!

"I am the women in the sitting room photo. I'm Marc's personal chef. The photographer, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia decided he wanted me in one of the photos. Marc asked me if I wouldn't mind being in one of the photos with him while I was serving them all lunch on the terrace. It was an offer I couldn't refuse!! We just improvised...the make-up artist didn't even have 'women's make-up' because he thought he was only doing Marc. That's him, by the way(the make-up artist), under the covers, speaking of improvisation!!"

The Marc Jacobs story was a bit of a fantasy and not a regular home feature so it's even more fun to hear the behind the scenes shenanigans! I was also wondering who was under the covers and now the mystery has been solved!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

D.L. & Co. - Modern Alchemists and Purveyors of Curious Goods

There are creative types and then their are creative types that take things to a whole other level. Such is the case with Douglas Little, owner of D.L. & Co., which touts itself as Modern Alchemists and Purveyors of Curious Goods. That's putting it mildly. And what better time of year to profile Mr. Little and his fabulous company than at Halloween!

My first introduction to Douglas Little was through his original signature line of candles. They smelled like nothing I'd ever encountered before and had names that sounded slightly sinister like Thorn Apple, my favorite. I love it so much that I keep hoping he will turn it into a perfume. He already has a line of stationery and other objects and curiosities so I feel like it might be a possibility soon. Fingers crossed!

Last year, House and Garden featured Douglas Little's designs in a spooky spread in the November issue of the magazine entitled Gothic Splendor, and he also recreated the haunting images for the Fifth Avenue windows at Bergdorf Goodman. The following images are so stunning and visually intricate. I love them. You can also check out the Bergdorf windows and the process behind creating them on the D.L. & Co. website under Press.

Douglas Little's creativity and attention to detail continues to astound me. I feel like I never know what he's going to dream up next but I know it will be something fantastic, like the Mori Ex Cacao (Death by Chocolate) collection he collaborated on with Valerie Confections. The perfect Halloween treat to scare your sweet! BOO!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chic Designer: Antonia Hutt

I realized recently that I haven't been focusing on interiors as much so I thought it was about time I profiled the home of one of my favorite interior designers, Antonia Hutt. Or at least what her L.A. home looked like in May 2001 House Beautiful magazine. I've held onto the tear sheets for years because I loved her use of color. It's funny that Antonia Hutt claims not to have a favorite color since her home is filled with orange and my home contains not much orange at all even though it is my favorite color.

It seems like nowadays, everyone has a Saarinen table and matching chairs but what really makes this set special is the blue leather cushions. I think the color is really beautiful against the white in her breakfast room. The Tommy Parzinger coffee set isn't too shabby either. And the "painting" is actually a rubbing of the tombstone of a medieval Scottish knight. How unique is that?!

I'm sure most people would never dare pair purple and orange but in the right tones, it's very complimentary. I also love how she placed the sofas back to back which actually make the columns part of the design instead of an inconvenience.

I love the painting Tangerine by Ray Richardson above the fireplace, one of the first Antonia Hutt ever bought, is a wonderful focal point and another use of orange.

The orange plastic on the 1960's dining room chairs is yet another pop of orange and compliments the blue banquette. The photograph of what first appears to be a tree in winter is actually a photograph of a building being demolished and is another unique piece of art in the home.

Antonia says the cream lacquered buffet by Tommy Parzinger reminds her of a Chanel handbag and is the perfect base for the 1970's aluminum lamps with orange shades. The tall mirror is a great vertical accent. If you notice, a lot of the art is tall and vertical and draws your eye upward. Even the shades in the bedroom below are another example.

I don't love the custom coral coverlet and shames on the bed. It's just not my style but other than that, I could move in tomorrow and be very happy. And that's my idea of great design. And what could be better than an orange filled home right before Halloween?!

Photos by John Coolidge

Habitually Chic Jewelry: Asha by ADM

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever" - John Keats

Every woman should have at least one signature thing that reminds people of her. For me, it's my perfume and my necklaces. I can almost always be found wearing a long beautiful necklace and one of my favorites is by Asha by ADM. Asha's story is almost of fun as her designs too.

Ashley Dodgen-McCormick designs under the name Asha, a nickname given to her by her Cuban grandparent's, and is only 24 years old! Having lived and studied in New York, Paris and Florence, her jewelry reflects a love for art, travel and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. As an art history major at Georgetown University and inspired by the world of aesthetics, Ashley launched her jewelry line to create classic pieces with a fresh appeal.

Ashley incorporates semi-precious stones, natural materials such as shell and ivory, and sterling silver dipped in 18k yellow and white gold with a discerning eye for art and history. Her signature quatrefoil clasp was inspired by frequent visits to the medieval chapel, Ste. Chapelle, in Paris, where she studied at the Sorbonne as well as pre-roman architecture she studied in Italy. Many of her designs are interpretations of architectural motifs and also of vintage pieces found in New York and travels abroad.

You really have to check out the rest of her collection online because these photos don't even do it justice. Her pieces are at the same time modern and classic. I love her mother of pearl necklaces that remind me a little bit of Van Cleef and Arpels but aren't a knock-off. Calypso in New York carries an extensive selection of her designs including the famous Zodiac rings which look similar to the Zodiac necklace above. She just previewed her Spring 2008 jewelry line this week and has added jeweled clutches to her repertoire. I can't wait to check them out because evening clutches are another weakness of mine!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chic Designs: Sophie Conran for Portmeirion

One of the first things I put on my Christmas list this year is Sophie Conran's Collection for Portmeirion. I already own a few pieces including the sugar bowl and creamer that sit on my stove (see last photo) but now I want the place settings. Actually, I want the whole darn collection. Every last piece! But only in pale robin's egg blue. It's my favorite color and matches my decor perfectly. I love that they all look slightly off kilter and handmade, although I'm sure they are not but it's nice to know something mass produced doesn't have to look like it!

Sophie Conran is the daughter of Sir Terence Conran, the famous designer, and is a cookbook author as well as designer now herself. She said she believes in enjoying every moment and in creating a beautiful world around you and your family, with warmth, simplicity and love.

The Portmeirion Collection includes the porcelain which has been designed to look as good on the dining table as it does in the kitchen. They not only look great but are robust and can go from the worktop to the oven to the table to the freezer, and back to the oven again. Love it! There is also glassware, silver serving pieces, wood pieces, and aprons and tea towels. Oh, and it's also a design winner! Sophie's collection won the Elle Decoration Design Award in 2006. So I guess I'm not the only one who appreciates it. There are many stockists who carry the collection including Anthropologie, Macy's and Just in case you want to put in on your holiday wish list as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Habitually Chic Artist: Julian Barrow

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, New York

I'm always in awe of artists who are capable of evoking the feeling of a particular place through their art, especially those old-school artists such as Julian Barrow. When the invitation for his upcoming exhibition at W.M. Brady & Co. in New York crossed my desk, I thought his art was just too spectacular not to share.

Julian Barrow, a painter of cityscapes, conversation pieces and interiors throughout the world, is an Englishman as comfortable in New York, Venice, and Rome as he is in London. His paintings convey his delight in travel and in getting to know a subject, whether it be architectural, human or a combination of both. He has exhibited regularly in New York, London and the Middle East since the 1960's after studying painting in Florence. His studio is in Tite Street, Chelsea, London in a Victorian building of studios where both Sargent and Whistler painted. And as you can see from his work, he is just as wonderful and talented as the former tenants!

After I uploaded my Julian Barrow post yesterday, I received a lovely email from Mary Aarons, Slim Arrons' daughter, mentioning that she had met Julian Barrow and admired his painting in person when she met him this past April at the Palatino (overlooking the Forum and Colliseum in Rome). How exciting is that?! She was even kind enough to send me the photo above. The best part about blogging is hearing fun stories like this that add another wonderful dimention to a story.

Park Avenue at 69th Street, New York

Dogana, Venice

Palazzi on the Grand Canal, Venice

St. Peter's, Rome

Horse Guards, London

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kate Moss Holiday Collection for Top Shop

One of my favorite things to do when I go to London is to visit Top Shop. If you've ever been there, you'll know why. It's the most fabulous store, chock full of spot on trends at inexpensive prices and amazing vintage clothes as well. There are rumblings about a store opening up in New York but no confirmed report as of yet. Too bad since Kate Moss has just unveiled her new holiday collection.

Barney's had a small selection from her first collection that sold out in about 30 seconds so I'll keep my fingers crossed that they get the holiday clothes. They're a little seventies disco era looking but also completely modern with a little Deco thrown in for good measure. If Barney's doesn't carry them, I might have to hop across the pond for a little shopping!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Love in the Time of Cholera

I buy a lot of books that I start but get too busy to finish, such was the case with Love in the Time of Cholera. But now, I am determined to finish it before the movie version comes out on November 16th! It looks so beautiful! I can't wait to see it!

The movie is based on the acclaimed book by the Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez and tells the epic love story of a man who waits fifty years for the love of his life amid the lush, romantic backdrop of early 20th century South America.

It was adapted for the screen by Academy Award winner Ronald Harwood (‘The Pianist’) and directed by Mike Newell (‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’). It stars Academy-award nominated Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, and Benjamin Bratt. Colombian-born, international recording artist Shakira has even contributed songs for the movie and soundtrack. If this talented group of people can't put together an amazing movie, I don't know who can! But don't forget to start with the book!

Park Avenue Potluck

I am excited to announce that a very great book for a very great cause is finally released today! More than just a cookbook, Park Avenue Potluck is an unprecedented peek into the dining rooms of New York’s poshest addresses and savviest hostesses. It offers advice on how to entertain in true New York style with a compilation of recipes, entertaining tidbits, anecdotes, and party-planning advice from celebrated New York party givers, members and friends of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Acclaimed food writer and contributing New York Times columnist, Florence Fabricant edits as well as contributes to the book.

Through its fundraising events and organizing volunteer committees, The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center supports patient care, research and public education on the importance of early cancer detection and treatment. These altruistic women, who dedicate countless hours, now open up their personal recipe boxes and share their crowd pleasing signature dishes, desserts, and drinks served for holidays, parties, weekend gatherings with friends, and quiet nights at home with their families. Beginning with “The Guide,” the ladies go through all the necessary steps of throwing a party, including invitations, setting the table, and serving styles. All of this savvy know-how is accompanied by an indispensable pantry list of items to have on hand at all times - because you should never be caught off guard!

“A good party takes planning, but once it starts you can relax and enjoy every minute.” - Jamee Gregory

“I go to several markets that I like and get inspired by what they have that’s fresh and what looks good.” - Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos

“When I serve a frozen dessert at the table, I will opt for a demi-tasse in the living room afterwards to use my collection of un-matched cups, brought out on a serving tray.” - Coco Kopelman

Sunday, October 21, 2007

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

I am so excited to announce that Habitually Chic has been voted one of the Top 10 New Design Blogs to Watch on the Laissez Faire Design blog! I am so honored to be the same company as so many other wonderful design blogs such as Desire to Inspire and Brilliant Asylum, as well as others that I can't wait to check out. It's hard sometimes when you write a blog to always keep up with everything going on in blogland so what was even more exciting is that I didn't even know this contest was being held so I didn't even nominate myself! I am extremely grateful to everyone who appreciated my blog enough to vote for me. And a big thank you to my loyal readers and new blog friends! What's that line, without you I am nothing! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by everyday! I hope I can continue to bring you interesting and inspiring posts!

I am actually taking the day off Monday to enjoy autumn in New York, although it still feels very much like summer. I always enjoy taking some time in October to walk, shop, and explore this wonderful city. It really is the best season of the year and there is so much going on that I can't wait to check out. And who knows, maybe one of my adventures will make it into a post soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kelly Wearstler at Bergdorf Goodman

Do you ever get the feeling that it's Kelly Wearstler's world and we just live in it? I had the opportunity to attend her product launch and boutique opening at Bergdorf Goodman Friday night and the party was so hot that it set off the fire alarm! I knew it wasn't going to be a typical Bergdorf's party since some people paid to attend through House and Garden's Design Week. I don't pay to attend parties unless they are a benefit and you could tell those who paid because they hung around the perimeter staring at Ms. Wearster in star struck wonder. My friend and I on the other hand had no problem introducing ourselves to the woman of the hour and she was even gracious enough to pose for a photo. I have to say that she whippet-thin and unbelievably beautiful in real life and her new collection is beyond chic. It's also beyond expensive. I wish I had asked her if a lower priced line was in the works but it was so busy and crowded I totally forgot. If there isn't one, I may have to call up Tar-jay myself and suggest one so I can afford a little piece of chic from the most stylish woman in the design world!

If you've ever been to the 7th Floor of Bergdorf's, then you'll know that it has very low ceilings and is a maze of little rooms. Not exactly conducive to a party so the place was packed and hotter than Hades as summer doesn't want to seem to let autumn take over in New York. So I apologize for the following photos. They're definitely not the best I've ever taken but I wanted you to get a peak inside the Kelly Wearstler boutique.

The room couldn't be any bigger than 12 feet by about 6 feet. It's a tiny little jewel box of a space with niches on the back and side wall that frame little vignettes of merchandise while the middle table displays all sorts of objects d'art.
I think the mix of silver and gold is fun especially since I don't think it's someone would think to do at home. You usually pick one or the other.

Everyone was loving the hands that come in gold and silver. I picked up one to find that it was over $1400 and I think that was just for one, not even the pair. But then again, what would you expect at Bergdorf's. It's a store devoted to fantasy and luxury.

There were quite a few Roman inspired pieces like the foot above and a few busts like the small one below. While the metal spiked orbs were inspired by vintage pieces in Kelly's personal collection and are available in chrome and brass and three different sizes.

I know I look forward to seeing what Kelly Wearster comes up with next and I'll keep my fingers crossed that I'll be able to afford it! Until then, I'll continue to visit her boutique and drool. Oh, and in case you haven't had enough, the designer also graces the cover of A Fashionable Life, a special issue of Harper's Bazaar. See, I told you it's Kelly Wearstler's world and we're just living in it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Have You Heard of Willy Rizzo?

I've been asked before how I come up with some of my post topics. I usually just write about what piques my interest. Sometimes, it's a magazine article or sometimes, this being New York, a special event or exhibition. Such was the case when I received an invitation to attend the Willy Rizzo exhibition of photographs and furniture at Mallett sponsored by Mallett and Paul Smith. Too bad the Post Office decided to deliver the invitation two days after the event had taken place. But it was too intriguing to just throw away so I decided to do some investigating and luckily I found the catalog in the office.

I love to learn about interesting and fascinating people and Willy Rizzo doesn't disappoint. I also really love how the exhibition came about because when I think of Mallett, I certainly don't think about photography or furniture from the 1960's and 70's. For those of you who don't know, Mallett is a very well known and well respected purveyors of rare English and Continental antiques and object d’arte. Nearly a year ago Thomas Woodham-Smith, a Director of Mallet and Nicholas Chandor, Head of Interiors for Paul Smith were having a discussion about who in the world of design and period furniture they really admired but who was also not as famous as they should be. Apparently they both immediately thought of Willy Rizzo.

Willy Rizzo is well known to the 20th century dealing fraternity but outside that world he has been woefully neglected. He is a superb portrait photographer working for many years for Paris Match and a designer whose imagination and severe neo-classical style defines the Italian style between 1965 and 1980. The range and quality of his work is truly outstanding and has and will stand the test of time. His legacy is a body of work which is both pleasing to the eye and stimulating to the intellect.

They were able to source many items that have never been on the market before as they have come from the Rizzo’s themselves. There are two experimental designs from the 1970’s that were never produced commercially and the furniture is accompanied by a selection of some of Willy Rizzo’s finest portraits displayed in frames exclusively designed for the exhibition by Rizzo, something he has never done before. Both these frames and the images are being produced in a limited edition of eight.

Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Cardin, 1965, Paris
‘I invited them to my studio without making them aware of each other's presence, as they were not then on very friendly terms. They mellowed later.’

Salvador Dali, 1950
‘When I arrived at his place, I searched the apartment to find the best angle for the shot, but his face was so spectacular that when he asked me, ‘What are we going to do?’ I picked up the magnifying glass from the desk and just photographed him.’

The reason behind Willy Rizzo's decision to start designing furniture came about after he bought a commercial space in Rome in which he planned to make an apartment and decided instead of decorating with antiques, he would start from scratch. He had never intended to become a furniture designer but of course his friends wanted him to design for them as well. His style is mostly clean with simple lines and incorporating chrome and brass that suited a leisurely lifestyle, hence the built in basins, perfect for holding champagne bottles, that are seen in many of his tables. It's completely unconventional but somehow works. I love the juxtaposition of the sectional sofa and modern coffee table against the antique chinoiserie screen.

I hope you'll check out more of his designs online because they really are original and very chic. Many thanks to Mallet and Paul Smith for introducing this interesting and innovative photographer and designer to a whole new audience. I must say I was very impressed and I look forward to the next designer they choose to exhibit.

"It was never about recreating classic styles in modern furniture, that wasn't the point. It was about creating something new for a traditional setting."