November 2nd, 2007
I had a huge story in the New York Times House & Home Section last Thursday October 25, “Best Sellers and Bombs,” surveying design stores across the country and tracking what was and wasn’t selling. What I found interesting was how many owners I spoke to referenced Moss, as in “I’ll bet Moss could sell this, but I can’t” kind of thing. Unfortunately, Moss was cut from the story. But I thought you’d find it interesting to see their best sellers and bombs - both, oddly enough, from the same category, Finger Puppets.
Below is what would have ran in the Times:
Gay Marriage Finger Puppets, $55
“We commissioned these puppets – two men, two women and a minister - from the same woman who made the terrorism finger puppets for us. We thought that since gay marriage was so newsy, it would be perfect for explaining this new era to your children. We were very wrong, and very shocked. But when you think about it, gay marriage is not a hot button issue in New York. I mean, gay couples have wedding announcements in the New York Times, so I think it’s just boring for our customer.”
Terrorism Finger Puppets, $55
“On the other hand, terrorism is hot hot hot. It’s horrifying and frightening and uncontrollable – and here’s a little piece of cloth making fun of it. So it gives you a way of dealing with it. Granted, a way that’s totally out of left field. We had to re-order these 3 times.” The set was made up of tiny finger puppets resembling Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George Bush.
October 19th, 2007
All Style No Stem
One of the things I learned about Laura Kirar - that did not come out in our Dialogue on Design interview a couple weeks ago - is that she loves a dirty martini. As do I. I would love to make them at home, but those long-stemmed beautiful martini glasses are too tall for my standard NYC apartment kitchen cabinet. That problem has now been solved. Witness Alissa MT’s absolutely genius solution. All the style, no stem. The double-walled design means the precious dirty martini stays cold, even if your hand is warm. I find it is much more modern than the stemmed glass and I find the price much friendlier - a set of 2 is just $55. Cheers, all. Link
October 8th, 2007
The Royal(ton) Treatment
Last week I got a tour of the newly renovated Royalton Hotel. The Royalton, you may remember, was Philippe Starck’s first hotel for Ian Schrager and some were freaking out about the renovation. I was on the fence. Until I walked into the new lobby, as re-envisioned by Roman and Williams. I’m not going to comment more on that because I’d be scooping myself (check out my item in the “Currents” column in The New York Times on Thursday.) But I will say that it is spectacular and you must all go and have a drink there immediately. You’ll want to move in. What I can show you now is a scouting shot I took of the bathroom in one of the newly re-done rooms. They kept the round tub (love it!) and added mirrored tiles and a rainshower. It’s very, very sexy. And, although Laura Kirar commented that you “can’t take a glass of wine in the shower,” I believe you could do so in this one, propping it on that tub ledge. I might just try that…..
October 4th, 2007
I’ve just finished reading a book that I think everyone in the design business - especially those NOT in the fashion business - should read. It’s called Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, written by Dana Thomas and it really demystifies the business of fashion luxury goods. Some of these revelations were not news to me - like the fact that many articles of clothing and shoes labeled “Made in Italy” are made nowhere near that country - but others were truly eye opening. I couldn’t put it down and I recently (reluctantly) loaned it to a friend.
Run, don’t walk. It’s a great read. It’s $18.45 on Amazon. Here’s the link: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster
September 27th, 2007
If you happened to pop by Session #2 of Dialogue on Design at Davis & Warshow SoHo with Laura Kirar (which, I must say, was really fun — she is a super talented designer of interiors as well as products for Kohler, Baker, Kallista, and others), you might have noticed her most excellent shoes. Wedge booties, to be exact, which she had paired with black tights and a vintage red dress. I found the boots a bit of a distraction during our interview because they happen to be exactly what I’ve been looking for.
So I got the scoop - they’re by Bally (one of my favorites) and they’re around $575. Not super cheap, but not so awful considering our dollar is at an all-time low. Here’s a picture of them, for your shopping reference.
And, if you didn’t attend last week’s DOD event, I’m wondering if there’s anyone else who would challenge Laura’s comment about not being able to enjoy a glass of wine in the shower? I do it all the time. A little ingenuity…a bench…a windowsill…and maybe an improvised lid to cover the glass? Thoughts or comments welcome.
September 17th, 2007
rock the vote
The National Design Awards are going to be held on October 18th at the Cooper-Hewitt.
It’s an expensive affair which most of us probably will not attend but that does not mean
we don’t have a voice. There’s a peoples choice award and, starting today, you can log onto
cooperhewitt.org and vote for one of the items already nominated or nominate your own.
I browsed through the items - which range from Apple’s iPhone to a pair of so-called “German Comfort shoes - and felt something was seriously lacking. Something edible.
So, I unofficially nominate Vosges new bacon bar - chocolate and bacon. Together. Unbelievably delicious. A Vosges boutique is conveniently located just a few blocks from the Davis & Warshow SoHo showroom on Spring @ Mercer (there’s also one on Madison in the 70s), so on my last DWNY visit I popped in and bought a few bars for the guys.They were a hit all-around.
Who says chocolate + bacon doesn’t equal award-winning design?
September 11th, 2007
The announcement of yet another iPod speaker at this point elicits more eye-rolls than stampedes to the latest store to buy. I’m definitely guilty of the eye-roll. But this handy system called George has one crucial feature lacking from all the rest - a remote control that is basically a duplicate of your iPod playlists. This means you can scroll through your library and pick a song, via remote. No more hitting fast forward until you hit a song you like. No more getting up off your cozy sofa to manually change playlists. And no more searching blindly for the podcast of my DoD (as in Dialogue on Design) interview with Jamie Drake. It’s all there, at your fingertips.
$499 at www.chillsound.com
August 31st, 2007
A ROYAL FLUSH
I recently had the opportunity to stay, for the first time, at a “green” hotel. My maiden voyage took me to the Orchard Garden in San Francisco, a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified property in a great location - just a 1/2 block from chinatown and close to good shopping. Yes, the room was small but hey, as a 17 year veteran of New York studio apartments, I feel comfortable in less square footage than a gigantic suite. Especially when that square footage is stylishly decorated and comes with an iPod speaker/dock (seen in the photo above) and good bathroom amenities - which this particular room (number 1004 if you must know) did.
There was just one little thing that bothered me: the toilet did not have a lid. Now, I am not a germophobe by any means. I am completely lacking in household cleaning skills and there are times when my shower might look like it belongs in a frat house, not a design writer’s apartment. But the one thing I am adamant about is that the toilet lid must be down before flushing, thereby securing that the contents of my bathroom (hello toothbrush!) are protected from whatever might be swirling around in there. The lack of lid freaked me out enough to make it an albeit odd topic of discussion at some meetings with colleagues. Most of them were grossed out. The most common comment was that a toilet without a lid is something you’d expect to find in an airport, not a hotel room.
What about you?
Where do you stand on the “toilet lid up or down” discussion?
Let us know.
And the next time you’re in San Francisco and want a reasonably priced room, try theorchardgardenhotel.com.
Just know….no lids!
July 30th, 2007
How lucky can a design mafia member as myself get? I’ve been tapped to play James Lipton to some of the design industry’s own celebs as grand inquisitor for the Davis & Warshow Presents Dialogue on Design series (invitation only). My first assignment: Last week at D&W SoHo, a sit-down with interior designer Jamie Drake. For those who know, Jamie did the redo of Gracie Mansion for NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and his signature is color, color, color. (Thank God I only wear black, black, black - no clashing!) Now, I know why. Even as a young kid, Jamie was using multiple saturated colors in marker drawings of rooms’ imitating homes he saw when flipping through his mother’s decorating magazines. Speaking of flipping, the DOD guests were flipping out at how detailed and creative his kiddy drawings were. See what I mean? What flipped me out, though, was that before becoming an interior designer, Jamie made macrame jewelry and tchotchkes that were sold at Bendel’s - and among those who bought/owned one of his originals: Cher! More on DOD after our next one on September 19 when I grill my next victim: Laura Kirar