Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Travel: NYT - Richard Branson on his US hotel ambitions

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The bar at the Commons Club in the new 250-room Virgin Hotel in Chicago. Credit Virgin Hotels
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire British entrepreneur, has created hundreds of enterprises, from airlines to mobile phone businesses to a cruise line, and oversees more than 50,000 employees. One of his most recent ventures, the space tourism company Virgin Galactic, had a significant setback in November: a pilot was killed in a flight test accident just months before commercial service was to begin. (“We continue to be excited by the challenge of space — and make no mistake it is a huge challenge,” Mr. Branson said. “I am extremely proud of the team in Mojave who are driving our program forward.”)

His next big project is introducing Virgin Hotels in the United States. He already has Virgin Limited Edition, luxury boutique properties around the world; the Virgin Hotels will be in cities. On Jan. 15 the first was set to open in Chicago, in the 1928 Old Dearborn Bank Building. The 250-room property includes the Commons Club: a bar, lounge, relaxed work zone and restaurant with the vibe of a private club but open to all.
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Sir Richard Branson.
Following are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Branson.
Q. The first time I stayed at one of your boutique properties, Makepeace Island in Australia, I slept in what I’m told was your bedroom. There was a Kama Sutra book on the night stand.
A. Yes! Was your husband inspired by it? That’s good then. We are going to have those in our hotels too, maybe! It’s all about guests having fun.

You started Virgin Limited Edition with Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands in 2001, and other properties include the Kasbah Tamadot near Marrakesh and a chalet in Switzerland. What have you learned as a hotelier?
­Well, a lot of hotels play games and it annoys people understandably, and so Virgin’s whole philosophy is built on what you see is what you get.

What games do you think hotels play?
­Our guests won’t pay for Wi-Fi. There won’t be hidden charges, and you won’t get charged $10 for a chocolate bar you know you can buy at a store for $2. And you’ll get great service.

How many Virgin Hotels will there be?
­Anywhere we fly. We’ve built up, over 30 years, really loyal travelers on Virgin, and I think if they enjoy the experience of Virgin Atlantic, or Virgin America, then they might well enjoy the experience of a Virgin Hotel. People are too often bored by their hotel rooms and we will give them something to do.

Who do you perceive Virgin Hotels’ competitors to be?
­I think we are a four-star hotel (Chicago rates will start at $209), which is the way we normally try to offer people more than they’d expect on the price. The hotels will have between 150 and 400 bedrooms.

How involved will you be?
­Very, but most of my time now is not-for-profit ventures, like campaigning on global drug issues, or climate issues, or campaigning on conflict issues. I find that fascinating and interesting.

How about spas? Will your hotels have them?
­I think people like to be pampered. There will be a spa (opening in spring) which features a rustic design and a bar counter for manicures, chairs for pedicures and five treatment rooms. The specialty on Necker Island is a four-handed massage, and I’m sure we’ll have four-handed massages in our spas as well.

Why Chicago?
­Chicago is a beautiful site. We’ll work it out with Chicago, and then expand on it. There’ll be New York and New Orleans, Nashville, and we’re working on other cities we fly to, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Dallas. Some ideas will be the same, but each hotel will be unique to the city.

How will your hotels be different?
­I share a frustration with travelers. I hate going into a hotel room and the music is blaring, or not being able to easily turn off the lights when you are tired and just want to go to sleep. I was at a hotel in New York and the TV didn’t work. I couldn’t get a cup of tea at 6.30 a.m. because breakfast was served from 7 a.m. Our team has gone through one thousand things that people like and don’t like. A bed is very important — an incredibly comfortable bed and there will be an element to it that no one else has. You’ll be able to sit in bed and work, watch TV, relax. It is going to be a playpen and a traditional bed. We’re calling it the Lounge Bed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NYT Travel - Ian Schrager's return to Miami

Clockwise from left: The new Miami Beach Edition hotel includes an outdoor space that pays homage to the 1950s Havana nightclub Tropicana; the Market by Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up casual yet gourmet "fast food" from its own patisserie, boulangerie and salumeria; Vongerichten’s Latin-inspired restaurant at the hotel, called the Matador Room.Credit
The hotelier Ian Schrager has returned to his old stomping grounds to open his newest property, the Miami Beach Edition, situated between South Beach and North Beach in what was formerly the Seville Hotel.

The 68-year-old — who co-founded the original Studio 54 in New York and whose Delano Hotel, opened two decades ago, helped create the now-thriving hotel scene in South Beach — settled on the location because “it’s a new Miami now,” he says. “It’s international. It’s global.” 

Case in point: Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off its 2014 edition next week. During the international fair, the hotel will set the scene for many Basel-related events; and after long days at the booths, showgoers will be welcomed into the new Studio 54-inspired nightclub at the hotel, called Basement.
“It will be like a sensory explosion,” Schrager insists.

 “You’ll get the kind of lighting effects you got at Studio 54, but updated. You’ll be dancing like you are in a sound studio or onstage performing.” The flashing lights — in the club and over the adjacent bowling alley and ice skating rink — are thanks to Patrick Woodroffe, a concert lighting specialist who has worked with the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. 

And to ensure that guests dance throughout the night, Schrager opted not to offer seating. “If you need to sit, then you have to rest outside,” he says. It’s not a bad alternative, considering that Madison Cox designed the lush green landscape — coconut palms, ficus, sea grapes — that surrounds the property’s two beachside pools.

The hotel is currently accepting reservations, and Basement will open Dec. 2 with an Art Basel party co-hosted by Schrager. edition-hotels.marriott.com/miami-beach

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UK Vogue: Luxe and The City

November issue, 2014
UK Vogue, GQ, Tatler, House & Garden Living


Never mind the wobbly world economy. In Manhattan, where gleaming silver towers dot the city’s multi-million dollar skyline from Harlem to Midtown and Tribeca, the shimmering landscape of spectacular jeweled boxes, envy-inducing penthouses and trophy townhouses is as desirable as ever.

Brokers will tell you the hunt for the most exclusive, prestigious and luxurious properties has never been so intense. Real estate has become a fanatical purchase for those who have never had a real estate fetish before, or for those who just have to own a very specific apartment. “The right real estate makes a buyer feel so special that they are willing to pay almost anything,” says Dolly Lenz. Buyers are demanding unobstructed views, irreplaceable locations and exquisite architecture.

The city’s uber-rich, in the finance, media and arts worlds have a growing number of foreign buyers to compete with from across the globe including the UK, Middle East and Asia.

Lenz, who recently launched her own company after 25 years just sold Rupert Murdoch’s record downtown purchase, the triplex penthouse at One Madison, a 60-story glass residential tower perched over Madison Square Park.  He also bought the entire floor below, to complete his penthouse – in aggregate, $57.2m dollars. The building at East 22nd Street boasts panoramic views of iconic landmarks in every direction. And the neighbors aren’t bad looking either. “Kate Upton and Gisele also bought here. It is going to be the most amazing elevator to ride in,” says Lenz, who sold Leonardo DiCaprio a $10 million downtown pad at the green Delos building, where Deepak Chopra has bought and where Donna Karan’s Urban Zen will provide a ‘wellness concierge.’

Lenz is wearing jeans, fresh from a construction site visit, not her usual Valentino or Dolce attire and Manolo heels. Most nights she is ‘closing’ deals at Omar’s, a chic supper club in Greenwich Village with a private room out back favored by A-listers.

Lenz recently sold Karl Lagerfeld’s glamorous Gramercy Park three bedroom to an overseas banker and his fashionable wife - sight unseen – for $4.5 milllion. She’s seeing strong international interest in Tommy Hilfiger’s iconic $80 million penthouse at the Plaza, asking $80 million.

The explosion of new construction and demand for it has brokers busier than ever.
Raphael De Niro at Prudential Douglas Elliman said: “There’s at least $50 billion of new condos at various stages of construction and planning in Manhattan alone. “He said buyers want fabulous homes with spaces that go way beyond impeccable custom touches. “The design, construction quality and interiors of these buildings are going to be at levels that no one has seen before.” He is working on a $2 billion development fronting Central Park that will come to the market in 24 months (eds. no name or further details yet)

De Niro is selling at 432 Park Avenue, an architectural tower in the plaza district and around a year from completion (as at July) and The Puck Residences downtown, an historic ornate prewar conversion. “Both are the best of their kind: nostalgic old New York versus sleek modern New York and both have finishes that are unparalleled by their competitors.”

Other buzzworthy residential includes One57, a skyscraper that is nearing completion on West 57th Street and has two sales over $90 million. The Park Hyatt’s flagship hotel at the base of the building and condo owners will be able to order room service and enjoy the spa.

The Carlton House, on the Upper East Side, right next door to Barney’s is another chic address. Downtown, Walker Tower in Chelsea drew a high profile and fashion crowd including Cameron Diaz and Laura Mercier for its ultra-spacious rooms, views and beautiful simple touches.

Paula Del Nunzio, at Brown Harris Stevens said there was a shortage of move-in ready apartments. She’s seeing strong interest in several, including a $68 million property at 25 Columbus Circle, with Central Park and Hudson River views, as well as a $65 million apartment at 15 Central Park West, the largest and highest apartment in the tower.

(As at the end of July) she was selling the original William Randolph Hearst penthouse at Riverside Drive and 86th street for $38 million, and touting its  “astounding scale and light”: with 7,000 square feet of planted terraces and views of the Hudson River overlooking Riverside Park.

The hot spots holding the highest values are the classics including Fifth Avenue, Central Park West and Greenwich Village.

Frederick Peters, the president of Warburg Realty said the new development marketplace was strong in Manhattan, and also in Brooklyn, where the creative talent has migrated. In Brooklyn Heights, a 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom apartment at One Brooklyn Bridge Park 360 Furman Street is asking $32 million. The views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown New York City skyline from almost every room will have buyers speed dialing their architects.

ends

Thursday, October 02, 2014

NYT Styles: Soho House Chicago

The New York Times
The boxing ring at Soho House Chicago.Credit Dave Burk of Hedrich Blessing
The members-only social club Soho House unveils its latest venue today, in Chicago. While the brand, which originated in London and has other American locations in New York, Miami Beach and West Hollywood, is defined by exclusive, refined luxury, the Windy City edition has a rough-and-tumble element that pays tribute to Chicago’s pugilistic roots: a custom on-site boxing ring.
The storied Chicago tanners at Horween Leather Company are still putting final touches on the ring, which is situated in the middle of an otherwise ordinary gym, by wrapping custom vegetable-tanned leather with a slightly waxed surface around the ropes and guards that line the perimeter. Even the design was done locally, with the help of Rick Fornuto, who won the 1971 Chicago Golden Gloves and now trains amateur boxers on the city’s South Side. He took Soho House’s design director, Vicky Charles, to old-school boxing rings in the area for inspiration.
Soon, Fornuto will be advising on boxing programs and refereed matches for the site’s members, who will probably not count Soho House’s founder and chief executive officer, Nick Jones, among them. “I don’t think I’ve put on a pair of boxing gloves since I was about 7, at school, but I do love boxing, says Jones, Soho House’s founder and chief executive officer. He adds that there is a renewed global interest in the sport. “Only a month ago, a boxing match sold out Wembley Stadium. There were 80,000 people — there’s a real appetite for it.”
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Pizza East at Soho House Chicago.Credit Dave Burk of Hedrich Blessing
The boxing ring isn’t the only thing that distinguishes the latest incarnation of the club. Soho House Chicago is, for the first time, opening its doors to the community — at least partially. The general public can patronize the lobby of the sprawling space (it’s the largest Soho House to date) to order coffee, juice and light meals and hang out under Parisian chandeliers and art by Damien Hirst. Other unrestricted locations in the building include the Allis lounge and cafe, named after the family who once owned the local machine belt factory, the Pizza East and Chicken Shop restaurants, and the Cowshed spa — a staple at Soho House locations but the first one that nonmembers can visit.
113-125 N. Green Street, sohohousechicago.com

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

FT Weekend: The British Hat Designers to Watch

FT Weekend: Heads Up
The British Hat Designers to Watch
June 13, 2014
 
By Julie-Earle Levine
Even before Royal Ascot gets under way, UK-based milliners are in demand with international clients.
 
A British friend recently offered me a prized contact from her Manhattan address book – no, not her heavily-in-demand colourist but, instead, her milliner. Trust a Brit to brandish that kind of number, I thought. Hat-wearing is a quintessentially British affair, hence the creations of master British milliners such as Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones.

As the sporting summer gets under way – from England’s Royal Ascot to polo in the Hamptons – a growing number of international customers, particularly from the US, are approaching British hatters.

“Americans are especially interested in hats since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011, and since seeing the younger royals wear hats so frequently,” says Gina Foster, a London-based milliner who designed the red pillbox hat worn by the duchess during their recent state visit to New Zealand. “I don’t think hats ever went out of fashion, but the audience is much broader now.”
Foster, 38, who studied under Philip Treacy, has been making hats for 12 years. Her international clients come from the US, Mexico, Brazil and Australia. She has also designed a collection of five hats for the 2014 racing season that were inspired by the interior of London’s Goring Hotel.
The Duchess of Cambridge©Wireimage
The Duchess of Cambridge in a Gina Foster pillbox hat (Wireimage)

“Hats are part of English dress and culture, but we have an international audience that is seduced by glamour – and there is nothing more glamorous than a hat,” says Foster’s mentor Philip Treacy, whose numerous customers have included the late style-setter Isabella Blow, Lady Gaga and Madonna. (He also designed the much mocked hat worn by Princess Beatrice at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding; her sister Eugenie sported a less controversial Treacy design.) 

“When I started at the Royal College of Art, they thought hats were for old ladies, but I thought that was completely insane,” says Treacy. Now he points to a worldwide audience that is “open to seeing hats in a new way”.

Kelly Christy is an American milliner whose work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York and has designed for Diane von Furstenberg and Cynthia Rowley. Christy says hats – both classic, such as the fedora, as well as more whimsical headpieces – are back as a chic and affordable accessory after the recent downturn. “Now everyone wears them – actors, musicians, models; they complete a fashion look and are more mainstream than ever.”
Ice-cream pompom hat by Awon Golding
Ice-cream pompom hat by Awon Golding
Ellen Goldstein, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, would agree: “Hats are a way of easing into a fashion statement.” She notes that more Americans are wearing hats to the races and to weddings, as well as in everyday wear, with men in particular routinely wearing baseball caps and short-brimmed fedoras.
Gabriela Ligenza, another London-based hat designer (see “Boffin tops” below), says Britain’s image as a hat-wearing nation had remained strong, thanks to the influence of figures such as Isabella Blow. “British milliners are slightly quirkier and more daring, but without becoming ridiculous,” she notes.
The message, reinforced by such style icons and prolific hat-wearers as Daphne Guinness, Anna Dello Russo and Paloma Faith, who has worn Ligenza’s hats, is that “your outfit really isn’t quite finished without a hat”.
A hat by Gina Foste
A hat by Gina Foster
What’s more, as Ligenza points out, fascinators are no longer allowed in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, which has stimulated demand for contemporary designs.
Piers Atkinson, also based in London designs fun, arty hats in the shape of cream slices and cherries for customers in Melbourne, Dubai and Britain. He believes there has never been a better time for talented young designers, and points to the British Fashion Council’s “Headonism” showcase, an initiative to promote young milliners that runs during London Fashion Week in September.
Also showing at Headonism will be Awon Golding, who grew up in England, Hong Kong and India. This year her designs include eye-catching pieces for Ascot such as one in the shape of an ice-cream cone, complete with scoops of soft ostrich feather pom-poms.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Alexa: Luxe landscape designers

Piet Oudolf

Now creating private gardens, Oudolf (inset) is best known for his High Line landscaping.Photo: Main: Iwan Bann; Inset: Wilco van Dijen
Meadow on high: Back in 2004, Oudolf was charged with “illustrating a series of moods, capturing open woodland, prairieand meadow” in one of the densest — yet most underutilized — spots in the city. Today, the famed Dutch horticulturalist’s 1¹/₂-mile-long plantings on the High Line provide a giraffe’s-eye view onto the Hudson and West Chelsea. The breezy, carefree space is enough to inspire even the most jaded New Yorker.
Signature style: Holland-based Oudolf is leading the “New Perennial movement,” which uses herbaceous perennials and grasses to invoke a naturalistic look. He has said his gardens have come to embody “more emotion, complexity, depth, drama and coherence” over the years. Practicing in New York since 2003, he was one of the first designers to introduce large-scale perennial plantings into public places.
New York debut: Oudolf’s first big achievement was a horticultural master plan for the Battery at the tip of Manhattan where he created the “Gardens of Remembrance” and the “Bosque” (2003-2005). Oudolf has described his plantings as “a complicated layering of seasonality, energy, endurance and reward — both before, during and after flowering.”
Aesthetic ID: Oudolf turns to nature, art and time for inspiration for his residential and public designs, including a 14-acre Nantucket property, a private garden in West Cork, Ireland, and roof terraces for the Huys condominium project in Midtown.

Susannah Drake

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BQ Green, a Drake (inset)-designed urban greenery proposal for Williamsburg, BrooklynPhoto: Main: DLANDSTUDIO
Garden lab: A noted brownstone garden specialist, Drake deals with challenges such as light, circulation, and moisture. “I need to be very strategic, you can’t grow everything in [brownstone] backyards.” Drake toils in the garden of her own Brooklyn home, where she launched her company, dlandstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture, in 2005. Beyond private homes, Drake has also planned public parks.
Rockaways escape: Drake recently redeveloped a plant and grass garden for a weekend home in the Rockaways damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Farm girl: Drake grew up on a Vermont farm and her pastoralroots have made her suited to giving a “prairie farm landscape” aesthetic to her urban commissions.
Estate revamp: Drake is re-doing a historic property in upstate New York with terraced gardens and important art. When the estate was originally designed, maples, spruce and hemlock were transplanted onto the site. A century later, Drake says, “it’s a wonderful challenge to restore the estate to its former glory.”

Raymond Jungles

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Jungles’ (inset) green design on Miami’s Lincoln Road.Photo: Main: Steven Dunn Photography; Inset: Alexia Fodere
Claim to fame: Miami-based Jungles is best known for his lush landscapes at hotels and condos including Miami’s Soho Beach House along with the eye-catching Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road on South Beach. Jungles worked with the Swiss duo to create a pedestrian plaza with “an Everglades-inspired environment” via Florida cypress and apple trees and bubbling pools.
Up next: Miami-wide marquee projects include Nobu at the Eden Roc (with the Rockwell Group) plus gardens and streetscapes for top-market real estate such as the Faena District (by Foster + Partners and Rem Koolhaas) and the Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove (with Danish architect Bjarke Ingels). “The first priorities are generated by the scale of the space and what the function of that space will be. Space dictates the planting ratio,” Jungles says.
Dream project: Jungles says he fantasizes about creating an urban waterfront park that turns into a pedestrian plaza and snakes through the city. Luckily Jungles has plenty of time to dream: “Only a small part of my time, perhaps 10 percent, is spent designing.”
Water is key: Liquid is an integral part of Jungles’ gardens, creating a calm moment and introducing sound. Water can also bring birds, fish and even turtles to add a whole new dimension to gardens.

Julie Farris

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A Farris (inset)-designed Hamptons garden in Water Mill combines lush plantings with angular architecture.Photo: Main: Scott Frances/Otto; Inset: Eilon Paz
Architecture roots: After graduating from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in landscape architecture, Farris worked for a slew of New York firms including M. Paul Friedberg and Partners before launching her own design firm XS Space in Brooklyn in 2005. Today, Farris designs rooftop gardens and courtyards for townhouses in Manhattan — along with larger projects in Rwanda and Panama.
Nature in the city: Farris’ first projects included a commission by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation with Balmori Associates to convert vacant Brooklyn lots into parks for green-starved residents. “I like bringing nature into the city in unconventional ways,” Farris says. The Columbia Street district project, known as Urban Meadow, is used by residents for yoga, birthday parties and the Red Hook Jazz Festival.
Beach bliss: Farris’s naturalistic, native, wild aesthetic can be seen best at a limestone-and-cedar Water Mill home by Khanna Schultz Architects. The wooded site — covered in a carpet of liriope — is surrounded by oak and pines and a grove of crepe myrtles. The owners’ view from large, mahogany-framed windows is of cedars, red maples, birches and beachy perennials.
Home sweet home: Farris’s own Cobble Hill rooftop garden features a drought- and wind-tolerant plant palette. Along with a square patch of artificial grass for her children to play on, there’s a lounging and dining area accented by a pathway lined in Mexican river stones.

Michael Derrig

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This East Hampton oasis epitomizes landscape designer Michael Derrig’s (inset) aesthetic.
Tree lover: Derrig’s passion for big trees brought him to the Hamptons where he opened his business, Landscape Details, in 2003. The move was as natural as the material Derrig works with. “I was living in Manhattan, and I saw these large trees on the Long Island Expressway going to the Hamptons. I was drawn to the beauty of theplace … and moved out here.”
Simple chic: As both a landscape designer and landscape architect, Derrig — who studied landcape architecture at Rutgers University — specializes in creating simple, often geometric-shaped and easy-to-maintain gardens. The key: using fewer plant varieties, more cohesive plant groupings and simplified ground cover. “Over time this improves the overall aesthetic of the landscape, rather than a high-maintenance distracting palette.”
The great outdoors: In the Hamptons, Derrig says sophisticated clients no longer merely want pretty lawns or lovely gardens — they want true outdoor living. And this means outdoor spaces that include kitchens, fireplaces, pergolas, dining and living rooms. Case in point: a Derrig-designed Sagaponack home with a monolithic stone outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen with Viking appliances and a Pietra Cardosa honed granite top.
Art star: Derrig is creating a sculpture garden in Bridgehampton for an art collector client with numerous large-scale pieces by Joel Shapiro, George Segal and Yori Seeger. Appropriate outdoor lighting, Derrig says, is particularly important when art is involved. “It’s a critical component of designing the landscape,” he says. The garden will also be used for entertaining.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

NYT Styles - Robert McKinley's Beach/Chic style in Chelsea

Home/Work | Robert McKinley’s Beach-Chic Style at Home in Chelsea

Robert McKinley in his living room.
“This piece of wood, I can see having for the rest of my life,” says Robert McKinley, rubbing his hand along the edge of an ash wood table in the Chelsea apartment he shares with his fianceé, Kate Nauta. “Maybe it will be a bench or something else one day,” says the 38-year-old designer, hotelier, D.J., artist and creative director. “I try to reuse wood as much as possible.” The slab of wood began its life as the leftovers of a project: McKinley brought the scrap home while designing the hotel Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk. Now, it sits atop matte black powder-coated tubular steel legs in the couple’s third-floor brownstone space, where they like to entertain. “He makes fabulous pasta,” says Nauta, a model, actor and singer who just returned from the Bahamas, where she recorded her first album with Lenny Kravitz as producer.
McKinley, an avid surfer, also owns a beach cottage in the Long Island hamlet of Amagansett; his wave-riding pals include the Beastie Boy Mike D, with whom he collaborated on operating a charity food truck in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. His love for the sand-and-sea lifestyle shines through in his design work, which also includes the low-key Surf Lodge in Montauk and the rustic-glam Sant Ambroeus restaurants in SoHo and the West Village. His Chelsea apartment, likewise, features an eclectic, beachy-chic mix that nicely sets off the space’s wide floorboards, functional fireplaces and large original windows.

McKinley designed most of the furniture in the living room, including the table and benches. The wide white oak sofa features cream-colored Loro Piana cashmere and wool cushions, a design he replicated in mahogany for the Waikiki hotel he’s currently designing; he hand-shaped the coffee table from statuary marble and bronze. The bedroom is also outfitted with a suite of custom furniture hewn from a single piece of 100-year-old American Walnut. Unique vintage and found objects are sprinkled throughout: an antique mirror from Brooklyn Heights hangs above the fireplace, an original gas chandelier from the late 1800s lights the living area. Scandinavian chairs from Paris sit fireside, and a gold-leafed skull, from a series that was custom cast for GoldBar, a boîte he designed in 2007, rests on a circa-1950s Franco Albini rattan ottoman from Rome.

The designer’s next project is Tijuana Picnic, a Lower East Side restaurant set to open next month by the team behind the perennial hot spots Indochine and Acme. McKinley, a partner in the project, says that despite the mostly Mexican menu, he’s staying away from south-of-the-border clichés. “We’ll be channeling a modernist 1960s Mexico City,” he says, citing design elements like a hand-painted mural, polished concrete floors and diner booths. It will be McKinley’s first time working with the restaurateur Jean-Marc Houmard, whose Indochine turns 30 this year and who tapped McKinley for what he describes as the designer’s “effortless” style. “He can do high-end,” Houmard says, “but his talent is striking and interesting without having to spend on expensive materials.”

Looking forward, McKinley also hopes to build packable beach cabins — shipping containers with teak floors, kitchens with brass inset sinks and, of course, Loro Piana fabric sofas. “They could work in Montauk, maybe Malibu,” he says. “You can even put them on a boat to Australia if you want.”

ends


Thursday, April 10, 2014

NY Mag: Elle Macpherson on Turning Fifty and More

New York Magazine, The Cut
April 10, 2014

By Julie Earle-Levine

Since she first appeared in a commercial for TaB Cola in 1982 — strolling across the screen in a red string bikini — Elle Macpherson became a symbol of the glorious supermodel heyday.

She became a Sports Illustrated swimsuit-cover model (a record five times), and ran in every issue of Elle for six years straight. In 1989, Time famously nicknamed her “The Body,” and she went on to star in films and host Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, as well as NBC’s Fashion Star. In 1989, she launched, with Bendon, her own lingerie company, Elle Macpherson Intimates, which analysts now value at $300 million and sells everything from lacy push-up bras and underwire T-shirt bras to thong briefs at a price range of $55 to $95.

Now, Macpherson — who turned 50 on March 29 — is back in New York this week to unveil her latest campaign, The Body for JCPenney, a line of lingerie that includes "invisible" T-shirt bras and matching underwear, which she models for the first time in 12 years. Next month, she’ll debut WelleCo, a new “super elixir” at Bergdorf’s. She spoke to the Cut about turning 50, how she sees her younger self as “extraordinary” in hindsight, and why she will never wear a bra as outerwear.

Congratulations on turning 50. How did you celebrate?
An intimate dinner with family and friends. With the “big” birthdays, it’s more about surrounding yourself with love and warmth, versus spectacle. My gift to myself: a new company, WelleCo, and the deal with JC Penney. Two challenges that help me bring out the best in myself, and, hopefully, other women. I’m going to step it up a little.
Your new lingerie campaign has you modeling your own lingerie. Not many women would jump into a lingerie shoot — and I'm thinking of famous models — at 50. Your idea?
No. Modeling in my underwear was not my own idea, but it was the right idea to launch The Body. I also wanted women to know I was 100 percent involved and that not everything was about youth.
 
You’ve been making bras and knickers for 25 years now and are hugely successful. Why did you start in lingerie?
Originally, I was approached by Bendon to model, but then ultimately cut a deal to start my own namesake lingerie line. It was a forward-thinking move in the late '80s, just as The Body at JCPenney is a forward-thinking move today.
As a model, I found I was always in my underwear, changing outfits at shoots or shows. I wanted to look good. I loved French lingerie, but it was so uncomfortable. My epiphany was to create lingerie that was as lovely as European lingerie but actually comfortable.

I read a quote of yours that every woman should have seven sets of beautiful lingerie — that’s the absolute minimum, so you don’t have to worry if it takes you a couple of days to do laundry. And that you had about 50? True?
True! I get my own collection. There are days I never wear the same bra twice. I have a couple of old favorites that I get in new colors, new laces. I have a whole lingerie sort of wardrobe. It’s very organized. It’s all color-coded — that’s my thing.

Have you learned any big lessons about what women want to buy over the last few decades?
The seed of everything I create is what I want for myself. Elle Macpherson Intimates was born out of a desire to have European lingerie in America fit with Australian effortlessness, and I couldn’t find it in the market. The seed for my maternity bra was being pregnant with my boys and not being able to find one, so I made it.

Do you think bras can work as outerwear, in place of a shirt?
No. But I don’t think bras need to be hidden. Americans have always thought they had to wear a tan bra, and it had be hidden away. I always love a flash of color under a white shirt, or lace under a black shirt. Not hidden, but I’m not a big fan of midriffs.

What do you think of when you are standing and modeling knickers?
I always feel that whether it is lingerie, or whether it is a swimsuit, or whether I am naked — not that I am — I like [to have] the same attitude as if I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt. It’s not about adding sexuality. It’s dressed. I model lingerie the same way as if I were fully clothed, which is straightforward, devoid of sexuality. That is quite important to me.

Do you remember the first bra you wore? How old were you?
I was 14. I made my mother buy it for me at David Jones because all my other friends wore bras. I didn’t necessarily need it.

Juice, coffee, alcohol?
Two espressos in the morning, and juice. No alcohol for 11 years.

Have you ever dieted?
I take care because I know that I feel differently according to what I eat. I have an alkaline diet — that is why I am launching a super-greens elixir. Alkalizing powder really helps. I do best I can with what I eat, and I supplement with the super elixir. It has changed my life, in the last couple of years.

What’s your new super elixir?
WelleCo is my new health-and-wellness company. My first product is the elixir that will be for sale in Bergdorf’s in May. It’s a completely organic super-greens powder that has been very carefully chosen, harvested, and gently extracted from Chinese herbs, super greens, vitamins, and minerals in a powder that is taken as a shot with water, or coconut water, and can be sipped all day. I take it once a day, or, if I need energy, again in afternoon. For me, I feel nourished on cellular level, and my sugar cravings are diminished. We’ll be selling it in the beauty department, even though it’s a food supplement.

Have you ever felt insecure about any part of your body? Is there anything you didn’t like, or don’t like?
Absolutely. I have become more at ease with who I am. The great thing about turning 50: I really value grace and wisdom today. The emphasis is on how I feel, not necessarily how I look, but I do have a great team of people who help me be the best I can be on the outside. I would look back at images of myself at 20, 30, 40, even 45, and look at myself and think, Wow, I was extraordinary. Those images are extraordinary, but I never felt that. I was always busy looking at the big picture. I never focused too much on myself or picking myself apart, but I never felt extraordinary then. That kind of '80s-model strength was really incredible. Dynamic strength and athleticism.
ends

Sunday, March 09, 2014

NYT: A Post Fashion Week Getaway, Tulum

Yaan Spa's healing water circuit includes hot/cold cleansing pools, a sauna and a steam room. 
Manuel Capellari Yaan Spa’s healing water circuit includes hot/cold cleansing pools, a sauna and a steam room.
 
Tulum, a walled seaside city on the southern edge of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, has long been a popular getaway for the fashion set and yoga enthusiasts. Now, serious spa devotees are also flocking to the luxe oceanside hotel there, Be Tulum, thanks to the recent opening of Yaan Energy Wellness Spa.

Guests like Demi Moore, Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, have been among the first to receive massage, Mayan healing and energy treatments in one of the five new personal cabins on-site, which are situated across from the hotel on the jungle side of the road. “A designer friend says it looks like some extraterrestrials came to Tulum to do a co-venture with the Mayans,” says Sebastian Sas, an Argentinian architect and Be Tulum’s owner.

Everything at the spa is fundamentally Mayan, from the temazcal — a domed sweat lodge made out of clay and cement — to the herbs used in the body scrubs and massage, baths and energetic cleansing treatments, which are plucked from the organic rooftop garden. And each treatment begins with a signature healing-water circuit, which includes water therapy pools, a sauna and a steam room.

“We call them healing waters because the spa uses natural cenote waters — water from Yucatan’s natural sinkholes that is very clear and fresh — which are purified through a complex osmosis and energy system,” explains Bobby Klein, the spa’s director. An L.A. transplant who has lived in Tulum for three years, Klein boasts a 45-year career in the healing arts and also offers intuitive life path counseling and energy work to help guests explore the mind, body and spirit. “New Yorkers need it,” he says. “We get a huge rush after Fashion Week, especially.”



Other therapists on staff include healers from the Mayan villages, who perform traditional treatments like the Sobada Maya, a deep Mayan massage using native plants and herbs including rue, white sage and basil to heal and cleanse the body (80 minutes, $240); and the Traditional Energetic Cleansing, which combines copal (an amberlike resin) therapy, sacred feathers, crystals and herbs to restore clients mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically (50 minutes, $150). Other popular treatments so far include a soothing floral bath of bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers, and the three- and five-day cleanses based around colonics and juices.

And if you can’t snare a reservation at the hotel — it’s currently booked up, and has recently been inhabited by the likes of Terry Richardson, Calvin Klein and Francisco Costa — it’s O.K. to stay in Tulum’s less pricey bohemian huts and hit the spa as a day guest.

Carreterra Tulum Boca Paila, Km 10, Tulum, Mexico; yaanwellness.com, (52) 984 179 1530.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The New York Times - Sydney's Manly



Clockwise from top left: Mambo Coffee and Tees; dinner fresh off the grill at Papi Chulo; the south end of the beach at Manly; Chica Bonita. Clockwise from top left: Mambo Coffee and Tees; dinner fresh off the grill at Papi Chulo; the south end of the beach at Manly; Chica Bonita.
Sydney’s scenic enclave Manly has long been overshadowed by glitzy Bondi on the other side of the harbor, but that suits its laid-back nature just fine. Locals regularly hit the waves before heading to work in Sydney’s financial district, a five-mile ferry ride across Sydney Harbor; it’s not uncommon, while slurping fresh oysters, to spot a humpback whale leap out of the water just a shell’s throw away. Lately, artists, musicians and creative types drawn to Manly’s natural beauty and mellow pace have transformed the area into a new hub of culture and dining, and starting today, the nine-day Australian Open of Surfing takes place along its shores. Here, a field guide to enjoying the area.

Papi Chulo | The restaurateur Justin Hemmes, who owns popular Sydney restaurants like Ivy, the Establishment and Mr. Wong, opened this Latin American eatery on the water last month. “Manly has always been on the radar for me,” said Hemmes, who first considered opening something on its shores 10 years ago. “It has been growing leaps and bounds and the dynamic is right.” The joint’s unpretentious vibe matches his smokehouse and grill menu of spice-rubbed meats, empanadas with wild greens and a ceviche of Ora King salmon with jalapeno, celery, pineapple and crispy corn. 22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly; (61) 2-9240-3000; merivale.com.au/papichulo.

Mambo Coffee and Tees | This cafe and clothing shop is situated right on the oceanfront path at the south end of the beach — where, from 6 a.m. onward, a steady stream of surfers, paddleboarders and swimmers make their way from Manly to nearby Shelly Beach. It started as a pop-up last October; thanks to the ever-present foot traffic, it’s now open for good. 5 Marine Parade, Fairy Bower, Manly; (61) 2-8957-2909.

misschu | Located opposite the ferry terminal, this is Manly’s first Vietnamese “tuckshop” (cafe). The owner Nahji Chu prepares delicious salmon vermicelli salad, roast-duck-and-banana-flower rice-paper rolls and elegant “crushies” (frozen blended drinks) – the coconut-and-lychee one is heavenly. 5/54 West Esplanade, Manly; (61) 2-9976-3682; misschu.com.au.

Chica Bonita | This cool little Mexican restaurant was opened by Sean Miller, an L.A. transplant who came to Australia on a surf trip and never left, and Luke Miller, a local. The friends attract a steady crowd with their northern Mexico- and Southern California-inspired menu, which includes Baja fish tacos and carne asada fries. Shop 9A/B, 9 The Corso, Manly; (61)-29-976-5255

Bow + Arrow | A local fashion photographer, Myles Pritchard, opened a tiny pop-up boutique last year with his friend Tash Lanni to serve what he calls the “abundance of creative and beautiful people” in Manly. Now, they have a permanent shop that offers lifestyle-store staples, like Juniper Ridge incense and D.S. & Durga perfume, and highlights local labels like Natalie Marie jewelry, Holly Ryan and Pigeon + Weasel. Artists also work and collaborate in a studio space within the store. 15 Whistler Street, Manly; (61) 2-8068-2195; bowandarrow.net.au.

Hotel Steyne | This hotspot for tourists, which opened in 1858 on the beachfront, hosts popular crab-racing and trivia nights. After a recent facelift, it’s now home to the Phoenix Chinese restaurant, which dishes out addictive yum cha lunches and dumplings, and the Moonshine bar, where locals sip ciders on tap from a balcony overlooking the beach. Upstairs at the Blacketts Bar, it’s all about the black ales. 75 The Corso, Manly; (61) 2-9977-4977; hotelsteyne.com.au.

Salt Motion Gallery | The Bondi-born, Manly-based surfer and photographer Joel Coleman started a blog in 2007 to share his surf photography with friends. Now he displays and sells his signature seaside images, which have found a fan following in the United States and Canada, at this three-year-old gallery. Market Place, Manly; (61) 2-9976-6518; saltmotion.com.

Monday, December 09, 2013

FT Wekeend: Art Basel Miami Beach

Tropical style tips from Art Basel Miami Beach
DKNY’s look for spring/summer 2014


Art Basel Miami Beach, which draws to a close on Sunday, will leave many stories: of great art (more than 250 of the world’s leading galleries participate); great parties, from collector and developer Aby Rosen and his wife Samantha Boardman’s dinner to the cocktail party for Elton John’s Aids foundation hosted by artist/Givenchy muse Marina Abramovic); and, given the location, great beauty challenges.

Miami has a tropical climate that sends smooth locks into a frizzy spin, and intense south Florida sunlight that can be unforgiving on midwinter pallor. Little wonder that attendees have begun to share best-practice intelligence.

Boardman, a psychiatrist, says preparation is key. She starts in New York with natural-looking, sun-kissed highlights (Mauricio Bermudez at Ion studio) and a pale manicure/pedicure in anticipation of sandals. A week before departure, she gets a micro-current facial at Aida Bicaj on 75th street. “Your skin looks great, dewy and Miami-ready even though it’s the middle of December,” she says, also recommending La Mer self-tanner (£52).
Samantha Boardman and model Jessica Hart, at last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach©BFA
Samantha Boardman and model Jessica Hart, at last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach

In Miami, Boardman has Aileen Quintana, a rainbow-haired stylist, come to her hotel to do hair and make-up before parties – Quintana factors in her dress, earrings and shoes to create the right look. “They do everything in 35 minutes and you are ready to go,” says Boardman, who nevertheless takes along Estée Lauder’s Aerin kabuki brush (£38) and bronzer (“it gives you a nice glow”) and customised lip colour by Quintana.

Ricardo Rojas, a New York stylist who jets to Miami to style clients’ tresses, swears by high-quality, human hair clip-ins as the fail-safe accessory for plumping up limp ponytails, and adding volume at the crown for anyone whose hair wilts in humidity. “It’s an efficient way to make your hair suddenly look voluminous and put-together,” he says, suggesting clip-ins during the day, then adding curls at night. Rojas also recommends Leonor Greyl palm oil (£38) to slick back hair and give it shine. “It’s a beautiful look in Miami. It’s 1980s Armani, and now it’s back.”
Beyoncé Knowles©Planet Photos
Beyoncé Knowles
Designer Cynthia Rowley favours Redken Water Wax (£9.20) to get slicked-back surfer hair and make a virtue out of otherwise lank locks. Tim Rogers, a stylist at Sally Hershberger, agrees that clip-ins save time. But, he warns, never check in hair pieces with the rest of your luggage when flying, in case of an airline mishap. “I had a client who was in Palm Beach for the weekend and left their hair for a big party. She had to have the hair flown up.” Eva Scrivo, another New York stylist, recommends a clip-in with a natural wave to blend with your own hair, otherwise real hair could frizz around it in the heat.

Chelsea Leyland, a British-born, New York-based DJ, always takes along rosewater spray, Eve Lom cleanser (£85), liquid vitamin B12, Liver Rescue tablets and plenty of sunglasses. She also says hotter regions demand a “good red lip”; she likes Dragon Girl by Nars (£17.50).

Kimberly Light, owner of art advisory and collection management company LightBox in New York has this unusual tip: Purell hand sanitiser on her cheeks, under her nose, mouth and chin “because you kiss about a thousand people a day”. Light opts for lipgloss by day and breaks out red lipstick (Tom Ford or Nars) at night.
Wendi Deng Murdoch, model Karlie Kloss and art collector Dasha Zhokova©BFA
Wendi Deng Murdoch, model Karlie Kloss and art collector Dasha Zhokova

Margaret Liu Clinton, gallery director at the Koenig & Clinton gallery in New York, swears by a bag large enough for heels, flat shoes for late-night switches, long-wear matt lip pencils and Caudalie Divine Oil (for hair, skin and nails, £18).

Of course, there’s always the less-is-more approach. Shamim Momin, director and curator at the Los Angeles Nomadic Division, a non-profit art organisation, has been to Miami Basel every year for 11 years and no longer swaps her flats for heels. Instead, she simply gets her cowboy boots resoled before arrival, has her nails done, and spritzes on rosewater/glycerine to refresh during the day.

ends

Monday, October 28, 2013

New York Magazine Winter Travel: Birmingham instead of London

By Julie Earle-Levine
October 25, 2013

Londoners tend to look down their noses at Birmingham, much as New Yorkers dismiss Boston or Philly. But thanks in large part to its burgeoning food scene (as of this fall, the city has more Michelin stars than any other English city outside London), not to mention its famed Balti Triangle, packed with over 50 South Asian restaurants, Londoners, as well as the rest of the world, are starting to reconsider the Brums. Its cultural offerings can keep pace with the capital’s (there’s the world-renowned Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, plus a rock scene that launched Ozzy Osbourne and Duran Duran), and September saw the opening of a much-anticipated $300 million public library (it looks like a stack of Legos wrapped in mesh and houses a Shakespeare Memorial Room, with an impressive collection of Shakespeareana). Birmingham also lays claim to one of the U.K.’s biggest and oldest jewelry quarters, the famed Cadbury chocolate factory, and something else London definitely doesn’t have: very few tourists.

Population: 1,073,045
Distance from London:Two hours and ten minutes by car; one hour and 24 minutes by train.
Where to Stay: $: The 73-room Japanese pod-style Bloc Hotel (from $72; blochotels.com) is located right smack in the buzzy jewelry quarter. $$: Expect a slightly business-traveler-oriented vibe at Hotel La Tour (from $158; hotel-latour.co.uk) with its modern, wood-accented rooms. $$$: Located on the 23rd and 24th floors of the city’s famed Cube building, Hotel Indigo (from $199; hotelindigobirmingham.co.uk) offers a luxe stay with floor-to-ceiling windows in all the rooms, plus the Michelin-starred Marco Pierre White steakhouse.

The East London of Birmingham
In the eighties, entrepreneur Bennie Gray and his son Lucan began converting a cluster of derelict custard factories in the once industrial Digbeth neighborhood into a space for the city’s young artists, actors, and musicians to convene. Today, the area is known simply as the Custard Factory and feels like some amalgam of East London and Dumbo: Its cobblestoned streets are peppered with an eclectic assortment of music venues, record stores, and a great Saturday-morning flea market, plus over 400 small digital agencies and media companies that have set up shop. Here, the younger Gray’s guide to exploring the neighborhood.
“Start off at Frankie Johns vintage-clothing shop, Urban Village (Gibb St.; 224-7367), which has been around since the nineties. Johns specializes in clothes from the sixties and seventies and personally hunts for the stock. There’s also a ‘try before your buy’ record bar with more than 5,000 records.”
“Among the dozen or so galleries in the quarter, one of the most notable is Eastside Projects (86 Heath Mill Ln.; 771-1778), an ever-evolving space run by a group of practicing artists who pull in well-known talent from around the world like Dan Graham, Mike Nelson, and Liam Gillicks, and currently Cao Fei, a new-media artist from China. A large-scale, jagged building-within-a-building, ‘Pleasure Island,’ created by artists Heather and Ivan Morrison, functions as a communal space for performances and general hanging out.”
“I love the Digbeth Dining Club (Spot*light, Unit 2) that takes place every Friday in a vintage-furniture-adorned warehouse in one of the Victorian railway arches that are distinctive to the neighborhood. Run by Jack Brabank, whose aim is to introduce the best locally sourced food stalls to the masses and to keep it as diverse as possible, the Club offers everything from soul food to pizza to Jamaican fare. One of my favorite stalls is the Meatshack. They do the best burger you’ll ever taste—28-day-aged beef, sourced twenty miles from Birmingham, cooked fresh right in front of you, and on a brioche bun.”
“Cap the night off at the Rainbow (160 Digbeth High St.; 753-1818), a pub that recently expanded to a music venue, taking over a warehouse next door as well as a cellar space, a courtyard, and a scaffold yard that’s set against the backdrop of towering Victorian railway viaducts. The heavy hitters of Birmingham’s local indie-music scene play here, like Peace (just signed to Columbia Records), Troumaca, and the Twang, who will return to the Rainbow in December.”

“Not Your Standard Chippy”
Adam Stokes, the 32-year-old responsible for the newly Michelin-starred eatery Adam’s (21A Bennetts Hill, 643-3745), is known for his witty take on classic dishes (think scallops with pork crackling, baby leeks, and grapefruit). Here, Stokes’s favorite eateries that offer updated takes on Birmingham classics.
English Breakfast
“At Cherry Reds (88-90 John Bright St.; 643-5714), which just opened a new outpost in the city center last month, the mood is relaxed and quirky. You pick up your own cutlery and sit at mismatched tables, chairs, sofas, and bar stools. Yes, they have traditional thick-cut bacon, black pudding, and pies of the day, but they also do have an amazing veggie and gluten-free selection, including the Linda McCartney ‘sausage’ (from her vegetarian line of food), and a wonderful grilled haloumi-cheese-and-mushroom breakfast sandwich.-
Indian
“At Lasan (3–4 Dakota Buildings, James St., 212-3664), located in the jewelry quarter, chef-director Aktar Islam has raised the profile of Indian cooking in Birmingham. The restaurant has contemporary décor with modern art and stylish furniture. Islam uses subtle spicing and unusual combinations of ingredients—like the pan-fried bream on garlic-scented spinach and new potatoes in spicy Bengali-tomato-and-coriander-scented broth.”
Fish and Chips
“Chamberlains Fish and Chips (8 Wolverhampton Rd., 429-7709) is not your standard chippy. Try the cod or haddock that’s encased in a crispy batter (right); it’s been cooked in beef dripping—but you can ask for it to be made with vegetable oil or without gluten. Try one of their newfangled creations like haddock with spinach parcels and salmon and pesto bites.”
Pakistani
“Located in a large converted church in the Balti Triangle, Mughal e Azam (Stratford Rd., 777-9348) brings in award-winning chefs directly from Pakistan, who make dishes that feel very modern, many made with fresh ginger, green chile, and coriander. I love the minced chicken with chile, coriander, and cashew nuts, and the lamb haandi, which is pieces of spring lamb with yogurt and garam masala.”

Monday, October 14, 2013

The New York Times
By Julie Earle-Levine

A Grand Tour of Brooklyn Design

In 2011, the writer Anne Hellman completed a gut renovation of a town house in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, an experience that prompted her to write a book about the borough’s buildings and spaces. “I started thinking about other houses, and it quickly became 10 and more,” Hellman said. “There were so many stories. I started reaching out to architects. By fall I was contacting neighborhood associations in Brooklyn. It was a good two years.” In “Design Brooklyn: Renovation, Restoration, Innovation, Industry” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $40), she profiles new and historical public and private spaces from all the neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Above is a sneak peek at some of the spaces she included in the book, which hits shelves Oct. 22 and features more than 150 photographs by Michel Arnaud. It’s packed with engaging back stories of Brooklyn’s homes, shops, restaurants and public institutions like Fort Greene Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center in Prospect Heights. There are also interviews with some of Brooklyn’s finest, including Mike Diamond from the Beastie Boys, who restored a brownstone not far from Hellman’s place in Cobble Hill. Because 256 pages wasn’t enough to showcase all of the grand design material she found, she started a blog last December to give voice to the 15 or so stories that were left on the cutting room floor and provide a platform for new Brooklyn design stories.

Friday, October 04, 2013

NYT - The Secrets of an A-List Divorce Attorney

The Power of 10 - The Secrets of an A-List Divorce Attorney
Culture
By Julie Earle-Levine
September 27, 2013


Divorce is becoming “crazier,” according to the Los Angeles lawyer Laura Wasser, though that could have something to do with the clients she has represented, including Kim Kardashian, Maria Shriver and Ashton Kutcher. Men have a reputation for being scoundrels, but Wasser said she increasingly sees women behaving badly. “Wives end up cheating with the math tutor or the swim coach, then snapping, ‘You deserve it! You neglected me!’

Her new book, “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way” (out Oct. 1 from St. Martin’s Press; $25.99), is meant as a corrective. In it, she offers tips for divorcing like adults, along with a smorgasbord of juicy divorce stories (no names, naturally). Wasser, who has been in the business for 20 years, was once married herself and admits that she’s a sucker for a good wedding. Here, she offers 10 rules for how to get divorced in a civilized manner.



1. Marriage is a contract.
“If the ‘provider’ is no longer able to provide the unlimited credit card spending at Prada, Chanel, Gucci and Hermès, the deal has changed. A new deal must be negotiated.”

2. Divorce is a business transaction.
“Although it’s incredibly emotional, emotions should not come into your negotiations. Rise above it, like Katherine Hepburn or Lady Diana.”

3. Dissolve it before it gets ugly.
“You do not want to find yourself staring at the sleeping frame of your spouse or partner and contemplating suffocation by pillow. You also don’t want to get so frustrated you simply pack a suitcase and flee mindlessly.”

4. Before discussing divorce, consider what you want to say.
“The opening conversation is critical. The way it goes down is likely to be the way of the dissolution. Write a ‘nice’ letter. Do not say, ‘I will nail you to the wall.’”

5. Keep your feelings to yourself.
“Do not disclose too much information except to your attorney and to your therapist if you are seeing one. You do not have to tell everyone how bad it was or why it ended.”

6. Be prepared to share.
“If you were the breadwinner, be prepared to give half of everything and child support. I often see women who are very surprised they need to pay him, but the law doesn’t see any difference with gender now. Nor is there a presumption that kids will go to Mom. Many states favor joint custody.”

7. Do not behave badly in front of your children.
“I think the worst case was a woman who screamed every profanity on a three-minute telephone message. She screamed how awful he was, and swore and cussed at him and said everyone despised him. Then you hear, ‘I don’t hate you, Daddy!’”

8. Be graceful under pressure.
“One client’s wife managed to steam the labels off all of the several hundred bottles in her husband’s prestigious wine collection, so the collection was worthless. The husband hosted ‘What’s that wine?’ dinner parties.”

9. Split assets together.
“Grab a bunch of Post It notes and walk through the home together civilly, saying what each of you would like.”

10. Don’t sleep with your ex-partner.
“A sexual relationship means it’s still on, legally and for claiming. Separating means separating.”


New York Magazine: North Fork Travel

The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan
Toast to Harvest Season in the North Fork
By Julie Earle-Levine
September 27, 2013 

Celebrating fall on Long Island means drinking at new wineries, eating freshly harvest oysters and enjoying farm-fresh produce at weekend food festivals.

1. Where to Stay
Every room at the Cove Place Inn comes with private outdoor space. 
See what's new in up-and-coming Riverhead (where the North and South Forks split), which is home to new restaurants and food shops, the Long Island Aquarium, and the Hyatt Place East End & Resort Marina (from $149). The rooms have a muted, big-chain look to them, but they're quite spacious, and some overlook the harbor. For a little extra money, the Harvest package ($169) includes a room plus breakfast, a wine tasting for two at a local vineyard, and a $5 voucher for picking your own apples and pumpkins at Lewin Farms.
Unwind in Aquebogue at the Cove Place Inn (from $259), which opened in spring 2012 a short jaunt from some of the area's best wineries, including Paumanok Vineyards, Comtesse Therese Vineyard, and Jamesport Vineyards. The property has its own private beach with hammocks and lounge chairs, while its eighteen rooms and suites are decorated in a neutral palette that doesn't detract from the views of the bay.
Spend an evening around the outdoor fire pit at Fig & Olive Bed & Breakfast (from $275, two-night minimum), which opened in June in Cutchogue, within walking distance of five wineries. You won't find any antiques hanging on the walls here; the three bedrooms have been tastefully furnished with contemporary-looking colors and prints, with help from the 1670 Furniture House in Southold. In the morning, expect flavors from the local farm stand, like pumpkin pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and maple-glazed bacon.

Where to Eat
The airy dining room at Noah's. 
Try a mix of oysters at the newly opened Main Restaurant and Oyster Bar, which carries up to 25 varieties at a time (starting at $8 for a half-dozen) including the delicious Pipes Cove, which is harvested in Greenport. Housed in what was formerly the North Fork Oyster Company in historic Stirling Square, the restaurant also serves prepared dishes like clams with bacon and sage butter ($10) and spaghetti with lamb meatballs ($26).
Dine with fellow locavores at Noah’s, which just launched a new winemaker dinner series ($75) that highlights local ingredients. The five-course meal (available every Sunday through the end of October) is paired with wines from a different vineyard each week and led by a winemaker in the restaurant's private dining room, where diners sit at shared tables. Menus depend on market availability but have included butternut squash gnocchi, red-wine-braised short ribs, and roasted winter squash purée.
Drink inside a former vault at the Riverhead Project, a two-year-old restaurant that inhabits a former bank. Long Island chef Lia Fallon's menu is seasonal and farm-sourced, which means fall brings Crescent Farms duck breast with smoked sweet-potato purée, pork-braised collard greens, and cornbread crumbs ($29). After dinner, sink into a leather lounge chair by the fire and watch one of the movies they screen nightly.

3. What to Do
The pumpkin patch at Garden of Eve Farm. 
Head to Sang Lee Farms in Peconic, the area’s largest certified-organic vegetable farm, where you can tour the fields and greenhouses every Saturday starting in October ($15). Afterward there's a tasting of whatever's in season that week—fingerling potatoes, broccoli, multicolored carrots, acorn and butternut squash—roasted with farm-fresh herbs. If you'd like to grab something to take home, tomatoes are available until the first frost; last year, they were still being sold at Thanksgiving.
Visit Kontokosta Winery, a new addition to the North Fork's list of wine producers. The Greenport property planted its first grapes in 2002 and had its first harvest in 2006, but didn't open to the public until this past June. Get a tasting of four wines ($10) including the must-have Cabernet Franc, then walk around the beautiful property to reach the bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound. Also new this year is Cutchogue’s Coffee Pot Cellars, where winemaker Adam Suprenant has four offerings including a fresh Merlot. His partner is a local beekeeper, so you'll also find great honey and beeswax products in the the tasting room.
Plan your trip to coincide with some of the season's best festivals. The annual Taste North Fork (November 8 to 11) will be packed with crowds, so opt for the calmer Fall Festival at the Cooperage Inn in Calverton (every weekend through October 27, 12 to 6 p.m.), where you can feast on fire-roasted corn, bratwurst, and pulled-barbecue-pork sandwiches. For veggie lovers, the Long Island Garlic Festival has already passed, but the kid-friendly pumpkin festival is on at Garden of Eve Farm (every weekend in October), where you can enjoy roasted squash and pick out pumpkins and fall mums.

4. Insider’s Tip
A roaming version of the North Fork Table and Inn's stationary lunch truck will be visiting vineyards this fall. 
Grass-fed Charlois beef from McCall Ranch in Cutchogue is served at the wildly popular North Fork Table and Inn, but for the first time, the restaurant’s food truck will be dishing it up at McCall Winery this season. Grilled over wood the winery cuts from Pinot Noir and Merlot vines, the burger will be served on Blue Duck Bakery brioche for a steal at just $10. Check the Facebook page to find out when the truck is on the move.

5. Oddball Day
A private boat charter on the Long Island Sound. 
Grab a blueberry scone ($2.75) at the Blue Duck Bakery in Greenport, which opened in July, then stroll over to the Mitchell Park Marina, where you can sip your coffee and ogle super yachts. Jump on a ferry for a ten-minute ride ($2) across the bay to Shelter Island, where you can read the newspaper and lounge in a rolling green park uphill from the ferry stop. Catch the ferry back to Greenport, and walk to Triangle Sea Sales, a shop that sells nautical gifts and marine antiques including ship lanterns, clocks, and portholes. Nearby, Lydia's Antiques & Stained Glass (215 Main St.; 631-477-1414) has the largest selection of vintage stained glass on Long Island. When it’s time for lunch, head to Fork & Anchor in East Marion to pick up a picnic box for two ($36) of tasty sandwiches (turkey and Vermont cheddar with homemade apple-raisin chutney; green goddess chicken salad). Then drive or bike half a mile to picnic at Dam Pond, a maritime preserve with plenty of bird-watching opportunities. Spend the afternoon touring a North Fork oyster farm with East End Charters (from $90) and then seeing multiple oyster beds on the ride back. For dinner, sit outside at the year-old Blue Canoe Oyster Bar, which has fire tables and heaters for year-round comfort. After having the fish and chips (made with a Red Stripe batter; $26), stop into the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck for a dessert of crisp local apples and farmhouse cheddar drizzled with maple syrup. Finally, stop at Doug Cooper's farm stand on Breakwater Road for super-fresh eggs to bring home (open until the end of November). Even if he’s closed, he leaves a cooler of eggs out and a box where you can leave money.

ends