No Time for You

12/29/2008

One of my favorite adages is “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”  Well Linda Kostowski’s realfakewatches are just that. (Unless you go with the digital version.)  The watches are laser-cut from three pieces of leather and manually assembled.  They’re fastened with velcro and each one comes with a unique time hand-picked by their “randomizer robot.”  Or you can pick the time with a custom order.  Super cute. Get ’em at HERE.

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The 98-year tour de force that was the life of Bonnie Cashin left an enormous, oft-overlooked, inspiration-riddled legacy for American fashion designers.  One visit to her website delivers to you a landing page that plays an interview where Cashin straight-talks about women’s design needs in her Kate Hepburn-esque chic yet all-business tone.

Born in California in 1908, Cashin was raised by a dressmaker mother and never received any formal design training. After a short stint designing costumes for chorus girls in Los Angeles, her carreer hit its stride when she took as position as costume designer at Twentieth Century Fox in 1943, eventually wardrobing over sixty films including including Laura (1944), Anna and The King of Siam (1946), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1946). She used Fox’s libraries and leading ladies to develop ideas for “real” clothing and returned to ready-to-wear in 1949.

Her collections were a testament to her unsuppressable joi de vivre and fiercely independent nature. As the late and very great Amy Spindler wrote in her Cashin tribute for The New York Times:

To say that the fashion designer Bonnie Cashin was a colorful character is an understatement. Her clothes alone were so colorful that she used them, in open closets and exposed shelves, as her apartment’s primary decor. That decor blended beautifully with pieces by the designers of the day she considered her peers, people who didn’t make clothes at all — the Eamses, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi.


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On Her Chest

12/17/2008

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This amazing armoire is the product of British artist and furniture designer Anna James. Entitled Verona, the piece was inspired by Anna’s visits to Juliet’s (of star-crossed lover fame) house in Italy, and replicates the graffiti covering the walls at the archway entrance – all declarations of love by visiting lovers of all ages, from all over the world.

Anna transposed the original etchings by taking a series of digital images, which she then applied to her carefully prepared authentic period pieces. Her LoveAnnaJames site explains:

“Because messages are constantly being added to the walls, Anna’s design for her Verona furniture is unique to a particular moment in time, and gives each piece its own individual artwork and identity.”

How thoroughly romantic… the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day?

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Read my latest piece for the Huffington Post HERE.

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Classic Covers

12/15/2008

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Amazing artist Coralie Bickford-Smith designed these book covers for Penguin‘s classic collection.  Flaubert, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Brontë and Austen are among the lucky literati.  My favorite, of course, is Wilde‘s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Wilde + peacock feathers = irresistibly genius subtlety.  Unfortunately, they are only available in the UK at the moment.  Ugh.  Of course.

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To take my mind off Matt in Paris (during Thanksgiving!) I’m taking imaginary trips to some other capital cities. First off, Brasília, the spectacular mid-century seat of Brazil. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was planned and developed in 1956 with modern design diety Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. The city looks like Mies, Saarinen, Le Corbusier, Eames, and Breuer all took a few more classes and vomited all over a two thousand square mile swath of land.

At the age of 100, Neimeyer is the last living modernist design legend.  The centenarian has been invited by president of Angola to design a new capital city for his country, four times the size of Brasilia. In a recent interview Neimeyer laughs, “Four times the size of Brasilia? So it could take four times as long -That’s 16 years!” If he took the commission he would be 115 years old at the time of its inauguration.

These days Neimeyer is apparently happy to sit around and keep in touch with old friends including Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. (He’s a member of the Brazilian Communist Party since 1945, and was presented with the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963.)

Brasília became the capital of Brazil in 1960 and is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government.

An awesome article on Neimeyer HERE.  More pics after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Nice Box

10/27/2008

I came across artist Jenny Brillhart a few years ago while vacationing in Miami. She paints a lot of US1 motels, geometric convergences of shape that occur in buildings, and what appear to be the backs of Southern Florida strip malls. It makes me feel good whenever someone can extract accidental beauty and order from the cracks of the world that weren’t necessarily even intended to be beautiful or orderly.

I really really love her work. She is awesome.

Jenny Brillhart