i am a fashion designer. gee
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are you a fonts enthusiast? a typophile?
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find the beauty on your daily walk! take time to notice the details of your landscape.
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there is nothing like seeing a great handbag in action.
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plastics are our future. how can you resist plastic? it is so shiny and pleasing. I have a penchant for plastics.
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chronicling my quest for the one true
Greek Cup
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have you ever noticed the similarity between nyc fire call boxes and benevolent Kannon, goddess of mercy?
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every design, fashion and art magazine I read lately features some important directional artist making big contributions to their genre. and where do they live? brooklyn!
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who says there are no more 'new ideas' in art and design? the newness is in the juxtaposition.
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this is how I really get things done. with my little green co-worker/task-master.
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my clothing & accessories design
east-meets-west minimalism

my site

the look
dressy utilitarian

my concept
useful, economical, modular pieces that can be mix-matched in numerous ways (because why can't fashion be useful and lasting? I think it can!) So I say Maximize your Minimalism!

Satin Karate Belt featured in Dec 06 Real Simple

Voted Best Designer 2006 Style Bakery
'On the Rise'

Daily Buss Feature

Luckymag.com Feature

in the blog press
midtown lunch
the girl who ate everything
queens eats
(into) the fray
funky finds
style document
gowanus lounge
far too cute
ethereal bliss
couture in the city
independent luxe
decor 8
funky finds
urban socialite
lady licorice
high fashion girl

more press...

furniture (especially chairs from the 50s and 60s), uniforms, repeating patterns, menswear, Oscar Niemeyer, traditional Japanese architecture, the Rimpa School and Ogata Korin's 8-Point Bridge, Matisse, bromeliads, succulents and other waxy flora

particular loves
bamboo, coral, moss, woodgrain, silhouettes & other cut-outs, plastic, low-resolution images, the photo copier, off-registration prints, Max Ernst's Lunar Asparagus, NYC fire call boxes that look like Kannon, Fauvist color sense, the Noguchi Museum, pretty much all of Abstract Expressionism

magazines of current interest
Domino, Elle Decor (British), ARTnews, Art in America, Wallpaper

favorite heel style
the wedge, but a sleek modern interpretation

second favorite
the stiletto

current shoe obsession
alas, the sneaker. (because I live in nyc and walk a ton!) but not too sneakery of a sneaker. more of a sneaker disguised as a shoe, like a mary jane style or a high-tech looking black one with a metallic accent. how about Royal Elastics? I must go try some on. I really like the non-sneakeryness of their styles.





street toast strikes again

I was so happy to find Street Toast again, at last. In the interest of full disclosure, I cleaned up the image a bit. It had been mercilessly tagged. Normally, I leave the work in the state that I find it; however, I wanted to admire Street Toast in its less-tampered-with form. Oh if I only got a picture of the great 3-D version last year. Who doesn't love toast?

Photographed on Berry in Williamsburg.

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un-hugs and un-kisses from kitson

The antithesis to the warm-fuzzy I Love New York tee.

Get it while it's hot, from the hottest store on Robertson. That would be Kitson in L.A. The LA DON'T LOVE U tee, designed by Kid Dangerous, Grime Couture, has already been snapped up by numerous Hollywood types. Ah well. I like it anyway. The price: $68.

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cursive at abc

Cursive at ABC Carpet & Home is a must-shop for stationary enthusiasts, and a must-see for those who love color, harmonious retail displays, and unique objects. In addition to beautifully bound leather books and elegant writing supplies, Cursive also carries jewelry and "curiosities" including decoupage trays by John Derian. Located on the first floor of the ABC flagship store, to the right of the main entrance.

Cursive at ABC
888 Broadway, 1st Floor

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contemporary print artist, nana shiomi

Speaking of Zen contemplation with a twist, the woodblock prints pictured above feature traditional Japanese tea ceremony accoutrements -- tea whisk, tea bowl, tea scoop and caddy -- in the style of Edo period Ukiyo-e prints from the 1800s. But these prints also have a twist.

Japan-born, London-based Nana Shiomi makes mitate-e (pronounced mee tah tay-ay), which are "parody" or "replacement" pictures. Artists of the Edo period, including Ukiyo-e artists, employed mitate to make playful or ironic connections between the contemporary and the historical, or the exalted and the banal. And the audiences got all the references. Having seen Nana Shiomi's work for the past three years at the Affordable Art Fair, and now investigating what she does more thoroughly, I have a deep desire to acquire one of her mitate prints.

In my first semester at college, it was a lecture on mitate by Dr. Tsuji Nobuo, the leading Japanese art scholar on the subject, that convinced me to pursue Japanese art history as a major, which in turn lead me to study in Japan. I could get into a lot more detail here, but suffice it to say, mitate is somehow responsible for where I am today, and will always have a special place in my heart.

I have two choices I suppose. I can wait until next year's AAF and hope Will's Art Warehouse, the London gallery which represents Shiomi, will participate again, or I could order one online for 180 pounds. They have a shopping cart. How convenient.

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meditation on a japanese teahouse

Tee Haus by Tokyo-based Kengo Kuma & Associates, was created for a recent exhibition of applied art from Japan at the Museum of Applied Art Frankfurt. Kuma describes the inflatable 9-mat Japanese teahouse, made of a double-membrane material called Tenara, as "breathing architecture," a dynamic structure that "becomes small as it holds its breath, and at other times breathes in deeply to become grander." [from Architectural Record, June 2008]

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same zen garden, different season

Let's face it, New York can be overstimulating. After the exciting day I had today, I need to stare at a wall for awhile. Or contemplate my favorite urban Zen garden in the Garment District of all places. The funny part is, I don't really find it very Zen, nor serene. Just around the corner is the throng of Sixth Avenue and Bryant Park. But if I crop the picture just right, I can pretend for now. Ahhh.

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shopping trip: linhardt

Linhardt, the new jewelry shop and design studio on 1st Avenue
in the East Village will catch your eye and draw you right in.

One of the floating display cases, designed by Wary Meyers, shows off
Lisa Linhardt's own silver cuffs, made from re-purposed and recycled flatware,
creamers, water pitchers, and other assorted tableware.

White pendant lamps, designed by Wary Meyers.
Each lamp is
made from two garden shop plastic planters. So clever!

My eyes flash as I run along 1st Avenue in the East Village on my way to an appointment. New jewelry store! Wow, nice font. Great store design. I must investigate on my way back.

I meet Lisa Linhardt, jewelry designer and owner of the eponymous studio and shop which opened May 2. She is gracious, humble about her many accomplishments, and passionate about using design to make human connections with artisans from other cultures. Lisa works with artisans from Colombia and Africa to craft aesthetically pleasing, economically viable pieces of jewelry, using their own indigenous renewable materials. Linhardt's "Seed Rings" are a case in point, made from sustainable tagua seeds, shaped to her specifications by Colombian artisans. Earlier this year, Lisa participated in a 100-mile walk across Kenya to help raise funds for Beads for Education. While there, she got to work with Maasai women to make special beaded bracelets for her collection. She now showcases the pieces in her store.

The store itself, custom-designed by Maine-based Wary Meyers has a calming, organic flow, and the rusticity of a New England shoreline. Design details, such as wall-mounted floating display cases, are all made from salvaged re-purposed materials. The door handle is taken from "a 70s wingback sofa which washed ashore on a Maine island." The various planks are rescued from an old church, schoolhouse, and barn in Maine. The pendant lamps are each made from two garden shop plastic planters.

Another facet of the Linhardt design studio is custom orders. Lisa and I had to cut our conversation short when an architect from L.A. made a beeline for Lisa's "Signature Ring," pictured here, on a recommendation from a New York friend. When Lisa said she could make the ring in her size right in the store, and have it ready in an hour and a half, the customer's eyes lit up. An hour and a half? Now that's service. I let Lisa get to it.

Be sure to visit this hidden gem of a store soon, before Linhardt is deluged with press, and the wait for a "Signature Ring" is 4-6 weeks.

Design Studio NYC
156 1st Avenue (9th & 10th Street)
East Village, New York

Lisa is inspired to work with furniture designers because "they see jewelry in materials
that aren't typically used," such as this cuff in cork.

"Tagua Rings," shaped to Lisa's specifications by Colombian artisans.
The tagua seed (shown whole in foreground) is a sustainable natural seed from Colombia.
Lisa sees jewelry in everything, especially in nature. She is a natural sculptor.

Lisa Linhardt's own faceted "Ice Pixel Ring" in white jade, $135.
Doesn't this scream Barneys Coop? Lisa does not wholesale as of yet,
but perhaps in the future.
Available in additional colors and materials, only at Linhardt.

Linhardt also features work from several other designers,
such as this necklace, made from found vintage beads, by Joann Scully.

This post is featured on Coutorture for June 17, 2008

And also featured on Racked for June 18, 2008

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playing the building with david byrne

David Byrne, Playing the Building, 2008 [detail]
Pictured, the organ and connecting wires. Each key and stop is hooked up
to a sound-making device that is fastened to a different part of the building.

When founding Talking Head, David Byrne, invites you to come play a building, how could you turn him down? Even if you do have to sign a waiver before entering the space...

If you love fleeting art happenings in New York City that connect the viewer with the space in unforgettable ways (for instance, The Gates, 2005; the site-specific installations for the Whitney Biennial at the Armory, 2008; The Waterfalls by Olafur Eliasson that begins in ten days), then by all means, make the pilgrimage, queue up, and do as the sign says: "Please Play."

David Byrne, Playing the Building, 2008
presented by Creative Time
Battery Maritime Building
10 South Street at Whitehall Street
(to the left of the Staten Island Ferry)
New York
May 31 – August 24, 2008
hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, noon-6pm

The queue to play the building goes out the door.
The attendant seated to the right applauds each performer.
A nice human touch.

One performing duo.

And here, a trio.

Take a turn at the organ, trace the wires, isolate the sounds, examine the
cavernous space, listen to the performances. There is so much to take in,
all at once, piece by piece.

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branch chandelier

The Branch Chandelier, in a warm golden light shows off the gold-leafed
hand-blown glass teardrops that hang from the bronze-colored branches.

The Branch Chandelier, bathed in a cool light.
Asymmetric and evocative.

A beautiful chandelier makes all the difference in a room. So why do apartments come with the most basic of fixtures with the most fluorescent of bulbs? If I had the guts to do some rewiring, which I don't, I would invest in a chandelier. This one, from ABC Carpet and Home is perhaps a bit out of my price range at $12,000, but is right up my aesthetic alley. The Branch Chandelier, made in Italy. Find it opposite the main entrance on the first floor.

ABC Carpet & Home
888 & 881 Broadway
New York

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arts & crafts

Don't forget, the Renegade Craft Fair is this weekend, June 14 and 15, 11am to 7pm, in a new location: the McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg. Too bad it won't be full of water... It's always fun to see what is happening in the world of crafters. Two years ago, it was all owls and anchors. I wonder what themes will emerge this year.

Also this weekend, the Affordable Art Fair at the Altman Building runs through Sunday, featuring 70+ galleries from the US, Europe, Asia, Canada and South America. There are many good quality pieces you will want to acquire, priced from $100 to $10,000. A great place to take your Dad, if your dad likes art, that is. Mine does! I am taking my Dad tomorrow!

The Altman Building
135 W18th Street (6th & 7th Avenues)
New York
Saturday noon-8pm
Sunday noon-5pm
Click for directions & parking

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dandelion wine, now open

Dandelion-colored chairs in front of the new wine shop.

13 featured wines this week.

When you walk in to Dandelion Wine at 153 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, you will notice quite a few interesting Spanish wines, perhaps some you have never seen before. Lily Peachin's latest obsession is Spanish wine, but not because it is the hot wine of the season. Owner of the newest addition to the Franklin Street retail scene, Lily focuses on wines with a story to tell.

Lily has a reverence for the earth and what it provides, having grown up on a farm in upstate New York. As such, she is interested in the wine makers, the vineyards, and in family-run businesses that have a true love for the soil and the earth. And if the product is organic or bio-dynamic, so much the better. I hear her tell customer after customer, "Be sure to come back and tell me what you think of it. I really want to know how you like it."

Lily is passionate about her new store in a neighborhood that has become a part of her over the years. She tells me that she dreamed of opening her own place when she moved to Greenpoint back in 1999. At that time on Franklin, there was only the Franklin Street Corner Store. She lived above the Greenpoint Coffee House, which was then a residential apartment. She wanted to open a place there, but it wasn't zoned for retail yet. At her current location at 153, her landlord has owned the building for 60 years, and is happy to see the changes happening on Franklin.

Lily is passionate about making her place a fun place to hang out and learn about wine. This evening (and every Friday) stop by for a wine and cheese sampling. On weekends check out live acoustic music and wine tastings. In the summer, stay tuned for monthly wine classes taught by a local expert, offered at reasonable prices. I am pretty excited about that. Dandelion Wine is open until midnight on weekends and until 11pm during the week. Stop in for a chat and check out the selection. I am sure you will find an interesting bottle or two to try.

previous post:
What Will Inhabit 153 Franklin?

Inside the store, back to front.

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kill devil hill, now open

Franklin Street retail in Greenpoint gets more exciting by the day. Kill Devil Hill at 170 Franklin is one of the latest additions, tied with Dandelion Wine at 153 (both stores opened exactly one week ago today). I stopped in for my second browse today, and to speak with owners Mary Brockman and Cowboy Mark Straiton about their Western aesthetic and product mix of cool curiosities which references the real Big Sky Country, and not the one I joke about in Brooklyn.

Mary has had time to soak up the Western aesthetic, having lived in Oklahoma for a time and made plenty of trips by car between Texas and California. She describes the store as focusing on the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Cowboy Mark, a well-known DJ in New York and around Europe, was a rancher in the West for many years. A rancher! He described Kill Devil Hill's aesthetic as "Industrial Boom to Industrial Decline general store." I like it.

The retail stores on Franklin Street are organically developed; they are creative, unique visions of the shop keepers. Kill Devil Hill is no exception. The exciting part of this general store is that pretty much every time you visit, you will see new things. Cowboy Mark has "a whole barn-full" of unique one-of-a-kind items that will be gradually revealed. Brockman added that they both travel a lot and are always finding new things. I am looking forward to weekly visits to the general store on my way to get the "New Mexico" at the Franklin Street Corner Store.

Kill Devil Hill
170 Franklin Street
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
no phone yet

previous post:
New On Franklin: Kill Devil Hill

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joe, now open

The new demi-sized Joe is strictly to-go.
I am intrigued by the spiral staircase in the back. Where does it lead?

Joe The Art of Coffee opened its doors this week (at last) in the Graybar passage of Grand Central Terminal. This location is store #4 for the West Village mini chain.

I will get back to you in this post after I try their iced coffee which, in my opinion, will indicate the true taste and strength of the brew. My brief checklist: 1) it must be dark and chalky (note: chalky is a good thing in my book), and 2) if a small goes over $2, it must have a darn good reason; i.e., extra chalky.

My honest review: The small was $2.10 which I didn't mind, except I had to fumble in my change purse for the dime. I wish stores would just round off their prices. But then the small turned out to be a super-small small, making the price more like $3. The taste: not as chalky as I prefer. It had a note of something. Chicory? Chocolate? I am not sure, but the brew wasn't dark enough for my tastes. I am glad because I didn't want to be a traitor to Macchiato.

previous post:
Joe The Art of Coffee

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ganesh, remover of obstacles

The floor-to-ceiling wall of Marigolds with Ganesh ceramic figure, bare lightbulb, and elevator button, mixed media, 2008, as I like to call it, is an eye-popper of a retail display. Go take a look. It is on the first floor of the ABC Carpet & Home flagship.

ABC Carpet & Home
888 & 881 Broadway
New York

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kogod courtyard at the smithsonian

The Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, designed by London-based Foster + Partners, was recently featured in the June 2008 issue of Achitectural Record. In an article by Martin Filler entitled "New Museums: The good, the bad, and the horribly misguided" he describes the glass-roofed courtyard as "one of the most pointless fads in recent museum history" where the "growing compulsion to glaze over museum courtyards everywhere smacks of suburban commercialization."

What do you think? Is the new courtyard a "gratuitous display of engineering virtuosity" as Filler puts it, or an exquisite juxtaposition of classic and modern?

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window shopping

Ooh, how much are these?

A pair of chairs, currently in the window at ABC Carpet, the satellite location across the street from the flagship store. Great upholstery, great lines.

ABC Carpet & Home
888 & 881 Broadway
New York

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bluedog coffeebar & bakery

The Bluedog on W25th St and 6th Ave, packed as usual at lunchtime.

Come at an off-hour to grab one of the 5 or so tables: try 11am or 3pm.
You won't want to sit during the lunch rush, because the line
fills every nook and cranny of the small space. There is also
a lot of yelling from the staff to "shut the door, the AC is on!"
Yes, an off-hour is best to enjoy Bluedog.

The Bluedog takes the Hostess Cupcake in a gourmet direction.
The pricetag: $3.50 per cupcake.

The Bluedog Coffeebar & Bakery on W25th Street is a small catering company with a tasty revolving menu. The ingredients are always fresh and healthy, with plenty of vegetarian options. Last week I tried a small salad of miniature baked falafels, couscous, chick peas, and cucumbers (small: $5.95, large: $7.95, served with mesclun, garlic toast, olives, and feta). Delicious! This week I tried the tortellini salad with veggies and a mint dressing. Also delicious, but this time I got an unfortunately small portion. I can personally vouch for the iced coffee, which is always consistent. It is a super-caffeinated and full-bodied Iced Americano. The price for a small: $2.50. I would say that it is my favorite Iced Americano in the city. The staff gets a little cranky, but (mainly) when it's crowded. My advice, go on an off-hour.

Bluedog Coffeebar & Bakery
101 W25th Street (at 6th Avenue)
New York
no Website

The sandwiches are all pre-made.
For a long time, I thought the numbers were the prices
and had sticker shock over the $16 sandwich.

But no, the numbers coordinate with the menu. See below.

The Menu! Click image to enlarge.

Insanely plump cupcakes for $3.50 a piece.
They certainly do not stint on the icing either.
Pictured above, the Reese's Pieces Cupcake with peanut butter icing.

Oreo Cookie Cupcake

Red Velvet Chocolate Ganache Cupcake

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judy geib

Brooklyn independent jewelry designer, Judy Geib, whose work is offered at Barneys and was included in the Cooper Hewitt's 2006 National Design Triennial, has something unique to contribute to the luxury jewelry market. Her work is handmade, and purposely shows the human hand at work in crafting each piece. She approaches stones and settings the way a graphic designer might approach line, pattern and color (as she was in graphic design before 2001 when she began pursue her jewelry as a career).

With the eye of a curator-meets-quirky-crafter, Geib provides her retailers with crocheted cases, on which to display matched sets of jewelry, so that her designs may be shown with a distinct look that is all their own. The intersection of the nubbly, friendly crochet with the almost drizzled look of her metalwork makes her presentation utterly captivating.

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flavorpill 3: laleh khorramian

My third piece is up on Flavorpill. For full details about the show, and directions to the gallery on the Lower East Side, click here.

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