Category Archives: retail

Gucci hearts NY. Good for Gucci.

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To announce the opening of their new recession-be-damned 46,000 square foot 5th Avenue flagship, Gucci unveiled a line of products using the iconic (and copyrighted) I [Heart] NY logo including, yes, paper coffee cups to be given out by street vendors. Sigh…. I first saw this campaign over the weekend (on the back of a New Yorker no less, where it just looked so… wrong).

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Really Gucci, really? I heart NY too but this makes my eyes bleed. From what I can gather, proceeds from all (big dubious eyebrow raise on “all”) products go to Playground Partners of the Central Park Conservancy, which is great, but still doesn’t excuse the awfulness of this collection.

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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

I took a “me” day on Tuesday while in New York, spending the morning at the new Grey Dog’s Coffee on University (an eerily exact replica of the one in the village, picket fence and all… Grey Dog’s lost a bit of what I naively thought was authentic charm), browsing the stacks with fellow bookworms at The Strand, taking a vigorous yet soothing afternoon yoga class at Jivamukti, wandering through the West Village talking on the phone to an old friend about my indulgent, perfect New York day while indulging in a perfect piece of New York pizza. I strolled over to the IFC and bought some Dots and a ticket to see the Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 weeks, 2 days, which quickly succeeded in shattering my la-di-da mood into a million pieces. My actually educated and very cultured boyfriend wouldn’t see “the abortion movie” with me back home in San Fran (like my “suicide music,” a love of dark, pensive movies with subtitles isn’t something we share), and I was looking forward to learning more about the “new wave” of Romanian realism I kept hearing about but my god, I was wholly unprepared for this kind of raw, unnerving intensity. Set in Bucharest towards the end of the communist era, 4 Months is gripping and bleak, a cold-toned film about a young woman trying to help a friend get a late-term illegal abortion. It’s a raw and unsparing portrait of power, helplessness and the lengths one will go to for friendship and I was so deeply unsettled by it I couldn’t stand to part with the comforts of my furry winter coat, just sat there for 2 hours with my knees pulled up to my chest, sweat pouring down my back. When it was over I practically ran out of the theater, desperate for air and light and to be in the company of loud, happy people. I walked back to the apartment, immediately got into bed and turned Millionaire Matchmaker and all the lights on. Truly disturbing but so, so well done (4 Months, not Millionaire Matchmaker).

Forcing myself to get over it (or– Random cool stuff in NYC).

I didn’t actually spend my whole weekend in New York crying, I did manage to get out and see a few cool things. Okay sometimes I did both, so sue me.

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#1. Julian Schnabel’s pink townhouse. There are few words that accurately describe the fantastic, fairytale grotesquerie that is Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi. The above photo doesn’t come close to doing it justice, and not just because my camera’s a piece of crap. I was expecting to be shocked by the color, which I wasn’t (it’s not Pepto-Bismol or Bubblegum pink as the mags and blogs described it, it’s more of a washed cherry), but I was BLOWN AWAY by the architectural heinousness of it. Imagine if Donatella Versace and Paris Hilton collaborated on an extravagantly gaudy, 11-story Italian villa and then decided to paint it pink and plop it down on top of a 3-story historic West Village stable building overlooking the Hudson river. I wasn’t expecting to hate it– I’m pretty open-minded about these things– but good lord, it is god-awful.

#2 Lower East Side coolness. No, the Lower East Side isn’t what it used to be, but there are still good times to be had.

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My insatiable sweet tooth loves this place.

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PawnShop– gallery posing as an old school pawn shop. Tiny but oh so cool.

TG-170, one of my 3 favorite clothing boutiques in NYC. 9 out of 10 visits I’m there browsing their wares just for creative inspiration.

Also– Cake Shop for a coffee and a muffin. Every girl about town’s gotta take a break sometimes.

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#3. Dinner at The E.U. (photo courtesy of NY Magazine). I have a slight (okay, maybe greater than slight) obsession with the design shop AvroKO and begged my friends to pretty please come with me to check out their new restaurant in the East Village when I came to town. Good friends that they are they obliged, and we had a lovely, classic New York-in-February meal under big windows that began at 9:30 and ended somewhere around 4 hours later. Service could have been better (“abysmal” per Jonah… I didn’t really notice), but the food was excellent, wine reasonably priced and atmosphere everything I was hoping. I couldn’t take my eyes off their gorgeous light fixtures.

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#4. The Morgan Library. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never been to the Morgan, despite working 3 blocks away in the Empire State Building and having a best friend with an apartment around the corner. Maybe since I associated the neighborhood with work, I was always trying to evacuate the area as quickly as possible once the work whistle sounded, and wanted to stay far, far away on the weekends. Said friend with apartment around the corner had embarrassingly never been either so we decided to grab the shame by the horns and go on Sunday– and we were STUNNED by the beauty of the space. Forget the exhibits (though the current Irving Penn portraits are spectacular), the tall, airy atrium, original library and basement auditorium are what you go for. Even the glass elevators are cool! Well worth the $12 entrance fee and overpriced café lunch.

#5. Sol Moscot optometrist on 14th and 6th. True, Sol’s seriously lacking cool factor, but I have to give them a shout out for their always-incredible customer service. I love that they quickly pulled up my original file, gave me a new hard case for free and are replacing the lenses in my pricey sunglasses for $50. These are the guys who gave me my Chanel eyeglasses for the cost of the other no-name pair I was considering because they saw how much my heart (but not my wallet) was set on them. It’s one of those old school New York institutions that just make me happy.

Jovovich-Hawk for Target.

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Press release out from Target announcing their 10th Go International guest design team: models-turned-fashion designers Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk under their LA-based label Jovovich-Hawk. Target’s keen eye for design is no secret but I’m continually surprised by their choice of designers (Behnaz Sarafpour, Proenza Schouler, Alice Temperley… who’s next, Nicolas Ghesquiere?) and how they’ve managed to translate often truly avant-garde design into interesting but wearable clothes without compromising the soul of either brand. Jovovich-Hawk resides on the more accessible, “common” side of the spectrum with their boho-chic prairie dresses and flowy tops which doesn’t make their collection any less exciting.

Images copyright Target press room.

Is this the most beautiful bookstore in the world?

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The Guardian published a top 10 list of the world’s most beautiful independent bookstores including this one in the Netherlands, installed in a centuries-old church. The only American shop to make the list is Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake, LA, a comic book store with a surprisingly elegant and mature look and more fitting geek-chic website.

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Jimtown general store.


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Originally uploaded by star5112

It’s always been my dream to open a general store. I think it might have something to do with growing up in a quaint mountain town of 5,000 and knowing the mailman and his dog, the people who bagged groceries in the two grocery stores, the elderly couple who ran the single-screen movie theater and sold dill pickles in a massive glass jar for $1 (Dominic and Kitty, The ISIS hasn’t been the same since your last showing of Cinema Paradiso! Come back! Please!). Northern Exposure was my favorite TV show growing up and I coveted that kind of quirky small-town familiarity.

My store would have a mix of big-city and little-town sensibilities, kind of like my future children after I relocate them from New York to Telluride. We’d sell crumbly coffeecake made by a local baker/artist/4th grade teacher for dunking in bottomless cups of organic Italian coffee. The coolers would be stocked with 6-packs of microbrew root beer, Ciao Bella gelato and crisp bottles of Sancerre. The coffee mugs and chairs would be mismatched and locals could put their breakfast on their tab and pay it off at the end of the month. My boyfriend says this is poor business sense; I say he’s too cynical and to get out of my imaginary store.

I stumbled upon Jimtown while on a recent bike trip through Alexander Valley and Sonoma. Situated on a desolate stretch of Highway 128, it’s pretty much perfect. They sell everything from gourmet spreads to regional wines to mini boxes of Red Hots for 25 cents.

But back to my store. My future kids will come by after school and do their homework over oatmeal cookies and warm vanilla-scented milk. When they’re done, they’ll discuss current events with the local eccentrics (they’re painfully adorable and brilliant beyond their years, naturally) or draw me a picture to hang on the refrigerator. I’ll be locking up the shop around 6 when some poor soul will knock frantically on the glass window, desperate for a ¼ lb. of foie gras mousse. This being an emergency situation, I’ll unlock the door and let him grab what he needs, taking his $20 and writing the goods on a napkin for the next day’s accounting.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Jason Munn concert posters.


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Originally uploaded by sumei

Scratch that – I found him! Check out designer Jason Munn’s concert poster portfolio here.