If I were going to dream up the perfect designer vintage online shop, it would be run by a Parsons-grad, ex-Italian Vogue stylist assistant, former NYC boutique owner. But thankfully I don’t have to dream it up, because it already exists as Archive run by Kerry Bonnell, who exactly fits above description. Whether you crave Chanel or Hermes or anything along those lines, the select treasures in this gem of a site make for shopping that’s easy on the eye and the wallet. Shop Archive here.
Best ever BBQ December 30, 2008
Now that I’m back up north, I just can’t stop thinking about Melvin’s, an out-of-this-world barbeque joint in Charleston, S.C. I wish I would have gone there more than just once, but perhaps it’s for the best. Melvin’s, open since the ’60s, used to be called Piggie Park, and they have a least four distinct sauces. Being from Missouri, I have high standards for the sauce, and this was like nothing I’ve ever tasted. Fortunately, neither you nor I have to be a yearround resident of genteel Charleston to enjoy Melvin’s all year long. Just watch out; their tagline is “Pig Out,” and they mean it. Order Melvin’s online here.
The Cat’s Pajamas December 29, 2008
On my drive back from South Carolina, I noticed a new and somewhat alarming trend. Everyone is wearing their pajamas on the road. No, not sweats, which are still a poor excuse for daytime wear—flat out pajama pants, with pajama tops. The pajama-clad-in-public were at rest areas, roadside Starbucks lines, Cracker Barrel restaurants, showing absolutely no sense of shame that the only appropriate accessories for this outfit are a pillow and teddy bear. I won’t go into my rant on the decimation of the tradition of dressing for travel (for me, road travel is such a humiliating process that I need a good outfit to carry me through with some shred of dignity left). But if you have to wear pajamas in public, may they only be the most roadworthy. While shopping down south in a fine ladies store, I discovered that the very, very best come from Pine Cone Hill, which makes bright pjs out of the softest of cottons. Even though it’s a northeast company, I’ve never seen these fabulous pjs up north. Leave it to those Southern women to offer a perfect solution for an awkward trend. Start shopping now for your next road trip.
Cheerful retro oilcloth totes December 28, 2008
Well, you know how I can go on about buying local and handmade, and this week, I just happen to be on Johns Island in South Carolina (right outside Charleston), which is exactly where Sabrina Vegis of Tanner Bananer creates her fiercely cheerful oilcloth bags, aprons and kid’s items. Yes, oilcloth, that hardworking ’40s tablecloth fabric, now gets new life in these durable, easy-clean, retro totes, lunch bags and more. They are just so unbearably cute and tough and have been featured in several magazines. Check out these brilliant, bright retro stars.
P.S. Every Friday and Saturday, you can find Sabrina and her wares at Charleston’s historic open-air market.
William Armstrong, Portrait Artist in Residence December 27, 2008
Maybe it’s just because I’ve been reading Strapless, the story of John Singer Sargent and Madame X, but I’ve become a sucker for a great portrait artist. This past week I found one while on holiday break in Savannah, Ga. Located just off one of the city’s many charming squares, on a quaint street named Habersham, William Armstrong has one of those Parisian-style ateliers you thought just didn’t exist anymore—gallery in the front room, working studio in the back, and the artist actually in residence. Armstrong, an accomplished movie set painter, moved here following his work on “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” His web site features mainly gorgeous coastal landscapes, but I was taken by his portraits. You can see his work here, but I highly recommend a studio visit instead.
Finding FAULT: One Sexy Magazine December 24, 2008
FAULT is my new magazine love. Published quarterly, with a yearly companion limited edition hardback book, FAULT seeks out the best and newest in music, art, film and fashion like an intrepid jetsetter. Sort of like Athena, but a whole lot trendier in an I-get-out-of-the-house-a-lot, London kind of way. The art direction alone is incredibly fresh—and who even needs content when you’ve got that on your side. But you gotta love anyone who is actively seeking our next generation of artists. See FAULT here.
Fashion’s New Architect: Mr. Crochet December 23, 2008
Excerpted from FashionBirdcage.com
Stephane Martello’s creations are astonishing, and his style does not leave you indifferent. Creative, meticulous, and passionate about thread, wool and sculpture, Stephane offers us a spectacular avant-gardist and poetic image. In a subtile mix of paradox, men and women are perfectly harmonious and in osmosis with each other in his unisex clothing.
He aims to establish a new architecture for clothing. With the use of spectacular volumes he sculpts thread, transforming it into a soft shell of wool, revealing at once strength and fragility, femininity and masculinity, softness and coarseness. He successfully marries opposites with virtuosity and presents a poetic and dream-like personal vision inspired by forms taken from nature. Shells. Tree trunks. Rocks. Landscapes. Volcanoes, et al.
Stephane’s designs are quite spectacular and some are difficult to wear, but as he explains, they are only an excuse to penetrate into a world of creation and to vehicle a certain image and savoir-faire. Every piece is handmade and made to order and that is subsequently felt in the price.
He always keeps the same spirit in his work. He commercializes mostly accessories, handbags, jewelry, scarves and hats where he lets himself go and continues his investigations on volume.
His tastes and influences reflect paradoxes. He likes the beauty of natural landscapes like those of Iceland and New Zealand, but also adores the ultra urban world of Japan – between tradition and modernity. He likes the sobriety of the Japanese creators as much as the exuberance of Galliano or Jean Paul Gaultier. He’s a huge fan of the Japanese culture. His favourite designer is Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons, as well as the English designer Hussein Chalayan, and the Dutch designers Vitktor and Rolf. Much of what influences him comes from nature and television – he’s a fan of animal documentaries as well as mangas and animated cartoons that reflect inventive and creative worlds.
A creative designer in knitwear and crochet, Stephane began his studies in the Beaux Arts school in Tourcoing where he worked on textile sculpture and received a DNAP (3 years diploma). In 2000, Stephane participated in his first exhibition at the Maison du Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Paris. This exhibit gave him the opportunity to present his first textile sculptures of needle stitches.
It was when Stephane completed a BTS in Style and Fashion at the Lycee Sevigne of Tourcoing that he discovered a taste for knitting and crochet. His aunt introduced him to the basic techniques of this craft, and it was this first learning phase which inspired him to experiment, allowing him to develop his own techniques.
When he was 26, he met the upscale, pret-a-porter fashion designer, Karim Tassi, and during the semaine des createurs he collaborated on his show. A few spectacular hand made models which he created were shown on the runway of the Carousel du Louvre.
In 2004, Stephane returned to the Beaux Arts to perfect his work, and returns to his first artistic experiences, sculpture, where he also impliments crochet and video. Digital imagery, sound and performance all injected life to his sculptures.
It was at this time that he was selected for an artists in residence program at the foundation of Tournai’s Museum of Textile Art and Murals, which provided Stephane with a one year residence as well as the opportunity to exhibit at the museum. It was an exciting and momentous time for this young artist as it allowed him to encourage and reinforce his desire to develop and pursue his creativity freely. He was contacted by the museum store of the Piscine de Roubaix to exhibit his creations – this was an important springboard in the development of his label as this will provide him with the possibility of commercializing his products through a big, national fashion brand, the Printemps Paris Nation during the month dedicated to young designers. Stephane not only wants to sell his creations but wants to share and transmit his passion. He teaches and supervises students during training programs at the Beaux Arts of Tournai, as well as providing classes in a company in Lille called Maison Marotte.
Stephane Martello’s shop is located in Roubaix, north of France, not far from the museum La Piscine.
The Wide Open World of Artist K.A. Shott December 21, 2008
I’ve been on a literary kick lately, because I’ve discovered the Internet as a great connector for writers. One of my newest finds in K.A. Schott, a novelist/short fiction writer/poet/artist who lives in Iowa, a place so wide open that it’s easy to listen to your heart. And follow it, as K.A. Shott has, doing art for neither money nor celebrity, and offering her two latest novels up for free, for the price of a download. Explore K.A. Shott’s world here.