My favorite new discovery: Health-Ade Kombucha. Of course I admit, I was drawn in by the snappy packaging from across a crowded market aisle. Thank goodness! I had always really liked the idea of kombucha, but had never found one that I actually really liked. Until now. Health-Ade is lovely and delicious and quite uplifting. It’s made in small batches in Los Angeles using organic, seasonal, local farmers’ market fruits, and is fermented entirely in glass. So far I’ve only tried The Original and California Grape, but I very much look forward to sampling Ginger Lemon, Pink Lady Apple and Cayenne Cleanse next. Yum!
As I sit here at my desk amidst a serious case of writer’s block, I must say, I am very much enjoying the view of my nails. My new favorite color, Chimney Sweep, from my longtime favorite brand, Butter London, is a perfect metallic charcoal grey. Butter London is so very appealing, not only in its packaging and gorgeous color range, but also its formula — free of toxins such as formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, parabens and phthalates. Simple pleasures.
Wishing I was in Florence right this minute and LOVING the entire menswear collection presented on Thursday by Marni as guest designer of Pitti Uomo.
|Helena Rubinstein holding one of her masks from the Ivory Coast, 1934. Photograph: George Maillard Kesslere. Helena Rubinstein Foundation Archives, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY, Gladys Marcus Library, Special Collections.|
I have been waiting for months, with very bated breath, for Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power at The Jewish Museum. It finally opened in October, and I just managed to get myself there after a super busy fall. It was indeed worth the wait. I have long been fascinated by Helena Rubinstein, a self-made global cosmetics magnate, entrepreneur, art collector and patron. She had a brilliant 60-year career and, arguably, single-handedly changed the way beauty and beauty products and treatments were perceived and made accessible in the first half of the 20th century. She also significantly set the standard for the salon as experience, hers each uniquely designed and filled with works of art. This stunning exhibition presents some 200 objects from Rubinstein’s personal collection, including paintings, jewelry, and clothing, as well as advertisements and samples from her cosmetics line. She was an early and important collector of African and Oceanic sculpture, which is amply represented in the show. She was also friend to and subject for many European modernists whose work, including a number of portraits of Rubinstein herself, form an essential part of the installation. Standouts for me were the selection of Helena Rubinstein products and packaging and the numerous beauty manuals and books she wrote. And there was something about her Venetian Rococo Mirror that drew me in, so personal and so evocative and reflective of a remarkable life lived, in absolute beauty.
After a very busy holiday season, I am just this week taking time to delight in all of the lovely gifts I received. One of my favorites: Bee’s Wrap. Handmade by women in Vermont, Bee’s Wrap is essentially a food storage alternative to plastic. It is made of organic cotton muslin coated in beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. When warmed in your hands it molds snugly around really everything and is completely waterproof. And it can be washed and reused for up to a year. Great design, BIG love.
I love postage stamps, not necessarily as a collector but most definitely as a consumer. I seek good postage. A package just arrived from Sweden covered with these fantastic Swedish design stamps. For me, just as brilliant as the gift inside.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum reopened yesterday after a major renovation and transformation. We were so happy to attend the (VERY CROWDED and VERY FESTIVE) opening reception on Thursday night — it was just great to be back in the mansion. And the space, by the way, looks amazing. I especially love that part of all of this renewal is a new typeface, Cooper Hewitt. Commissioned expressly for this occasion and designed by Chester Jenkins, it is the perfect way to honor this most significant and relevant institution. Take a look at this fascinating Design Talk about the creation of the new typeface.
Posterity and the cycle of time is of great interest to me. I bought my farm in 1987 after that crash – I’d done the 80s and saw the results – dark streets – failed businesses – very few people who were 25 years old were moving to upstate New York – most people were leaving – so I’m a bit of a contrarian in that way – now they call us the early adapters. I call it seeing the writing on the wall. Abandoned buildings, old unused farms were my catnip and also a huge fashion inspiration – so when I voiced the American Gothic collection September 2008 and said the crash was here, people thought I was nuts as I was planning that – and 2 weeks later all hell broke loose. If people carefully look at each season the message and the intent is clear and obvious.
When the world shifted from 20th century to 21st century and I was at a loss to really comprehend how I could be relevant, I was inspired and directed by a higher power to do what it believed in – and throw caution and planning to the wind. I also knew exactly what I wanted as I slowly thought about the work and designed only what I absolutely believed in.
The Inspired Home: Nests of Creatives is easily one of my favorite design books of the year. Gorgeously photographed and keenly curated, it presents some very cool spaces of some very cool creators. Standouts for me include all of the inherently modern Danish residences, and the homes of Rogan Gregory and Moby. Such an inspired book, very much befitting its title.
The Inspired Home: Nests of Creatives by Kim Ficaro and Todd Nickey with photography by Ditte Isager (Rizzoli, 2014)
We are swooning over the newest collection from KOBO Candles — Lotta Jansdotter for KOBO. This very inspired collaboration features eight gorgeous scents such as Citrus Quince and Alpine Fern in equally gorgeous reusable vessels. And the pièce de résistance, the packaging breaks down into a set of postcards created by Brooklyn-based Swedish designer, Lotta Jansdotter. A perfect fusion of Japanese and Swedish modern, function and cool.