Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Grand Designer from Granville

It's no secret that I love Christian Dior Couture. Whilst in college, I started my formal luxury career at a Dior Boutique in the United States.

And I'm currently loving Dior's Granville collection. Named after the city where Christian's childhood home is located, the Granville handbag features the iconic, hand-stitched Cannage pattern - a Louis XVI print that was the same pattern featured on the gold gilded chairs inside the main salon of the House of Dior (at 30, Avenue Montaigne in Paris - which also was the inspiration of it's own collection, Le Trente).
The Granville handbag is of classic shape and design with silver-tone metal D.I.O.R charms, a main zipped pocket, 2 large pockets, and is carried in the hand or over the sholder (with included strap). Measures 32,5 cm by 30 cm by 15,5 cm. Available in lambskin and patent leather or by special order in python or ostrich.

Post Script -this last photograph is of Dior Couture North America President Pamela Baxter, featuring the beautiful Granville bag at a charity event inside the Flagship Dior Boutique, New York City.

Monday, June 28, 2010

More than a Noble Experiment

Have you ever discovered an amazingly intimate, totally awesome, incredibly entertaining, out-of-this-world local place, that was so special to you that you didn't want to tell anyone about it - in fear of causing an overwhelming number of people to become just as in love with the place as you are, preventing you from easily gaining reservations and totally ruining the experience?

I was just in San Diego, California to visit family and friends. Before I left, one of my very best friends took me out for drinks. All I knew was that we were going to a "pretty cool place" and that you had to have reservations. We walked from his fabulous downtown apartment a few blocks to what looked like a normal urban eatery/bar called Neighborhood. The place was packed with trendy yet casual diners, happily eating gourmet burgers and enjoying several different microbrews. We moved in towards the side of the restaurant near the bar, where I thought we were waiting to had a drink. Before I was ready to order, I wanted to use the toilet - so my friend pointed me to the bathrooms - which were literally in the walkway of the kitchen.

When I returned from the facility (which was much larger than I was expecting) - my friend took me over to this wall of beer kegs and asked which type of beer I liked. I was confused. When have you been to a bar or restaurant and asked what type of KEG do you like? Were we really going to order and pay for an ENTIRE keg of beer?

Without warning, my buddy lunges his entire body onto the wall of kegs...and the kegs MOVED! They were not kegs, but indeed a FAKE DOOR! "oh my gosh - what the @(*$ just happened?!" I thought.

We proceed into the interior of the hidden space, where we were pleasantly greeted by a beautiful girl with a fabulous smile. She expected we had reservations, punched a few keys on her computer, and walked us around the corridor, where we entered the most amazing bar.

During the prohibition era in the United States, it was illegal to possess and drink alcohol, so there began as series of "hidden" or "underground" bars that were private establishments and often became institutions of enlightened discussion, relaxation, business, and the most delicious drinks. Think about it - if it was illegal to possess and drink alcohol - on those rare opportunities that you were able to enjoy a beverage of this calibre, you'd expect it to be hand crafted, of the best available ingredients, be potent, and refreshing.

The Noble Experiement (the name of the bar) accomplishes all of this and more. The entire main wall (to your left, when you arrive) is literally covered in skulls. There are maybe 3 small banquets/booths with tables for a few, and maybe a dozen or so (very comfortable) stools along the bar. Of course, I wanted to sit at the bar. I love watching skilled bartenders at work.

We are quickly introduced to Anthony -one of two tenders employed by the bar. He's there every day that the bar is open (they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays I believe). And to say Anthony is the most passionate, skilled, and friendly bartender would be an understatement. After describing which types of drinks and flavours we enjoy most, without question or hesitation - Anthony led each of us on very separate, but spot on, journeys of absolute (albeit alcoholic) heaven.
Everything is done by hand. From crushing the ice, to squeezing the juice or extracting the zest, to shaking, to swirling, to muddling, to concocting, to testing for quality and desirability - Anthony is the man. I've never met someone so passionate about drinking - the finest ingredients, the perfect presentation, the best recommendations - Anthony is as educated as he is skilled.

In short - here's my review. The most amazing experience - from the venue, to the ambiance, to the menu, to the staff, to the value, to the quality, to the memories made - I can't get enough, I can't say enough, and I can't return fast enough.

Anthony - brava!

post script - forgive the quality of my photographs here. I took them in low light, with my trusty iPhone. for better views, stop by or search the internet for reviews of the place.

post post script - I really didn't want to write about The Noble Experiment because it is such a rare gem, I'm afraid too many people flooding the establishment would 1) ruin the experience and 2) make it increasingly difficult to attain reservations. But, I'd hate to see the place close because the word didn't spread. After all, if it weren't for my friend, I never would have known. So promise me this - if you indeed decide to experience the glory and grandeur of The Noble Experiment, bring your "A-game", mind your manners, be respectful, and tip well. And only bring the people you really love and trust. Like the first rule of Fight Club: there is no fight club.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Soccer Stars turned Male Models 2.0

Cristiano Ronaldo must be wearing David Beckham's shoes. First the Portuguese soccer star ended his successful run at Manchester United (like Beckham) and signed an incredibly lucrative contract with Real Madrid (like Beckham).

The other day I posted an entry regarding Dolce & Gabbana's new Calcio Underwear collection and the fact that it's modeled by some of the best Italian National team players. One of my friends commented how the campaign would be even better if it contained Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

My response: Giorgio Armani already had that thought. Starting with Spring/Summer 2010 collections, Maestro Armani featured Cristiano in his Emporio Armani underwear campaign and in his Armani Jeans advertisements (like Beckham).

Apparently the campaign was successful, as the Portuguese footballer will be featured in the Autumn/Winter 2010-2011 underwear promotions. Ronaldo obviously beefed up for the shoot, which took place in Madrid. Famous photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot were the creative talent behind the lens.

Look for the campaign on high profile billboards in select majour cities (New York, London, Tokyo, etc) beginning July.

No matter which Beckham move Ronaldo takes next, I'm sure it'll be done with style and class.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Te Amo Rihanna

Rihanna needs to take a page from Gwen Stefani's book and start her own fashion line. She's got such fabulous fashion sense and style savvy that could definitely translate to something stellar.

In the mean time, enjoy her video.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Soccer Stars turned Male Models

The Azzurri have stamped their passports back to Italy in a devastating defeat to Slovakia in the World Cup match today. Many thought the reigning champions would win again. And I must admit - I wanted them to win as well!

While the boys in blue weren't strong enough on the field, they've definitely got a lot to be proud of. Including Dolce & Gabbana's new collection designed in their honour (and modeled by them as well!). Introducing: Dolce & Gabbana Calcio. Here's the official press release:


The new advertising campaign for Dolce&Gabbana Underwear stars five of the most representative Italian football players. Antonio Di Natale, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Claudio Marchisio, Federico Marchetti and Domenico Criscito are the new faces and bodies of the Dolce&Gabbama Underwear advertising campaign. The players, photographed by Mariano Vivanco in a vintage style changing room, display healthy and athletic bodies sculpted through rigorous training sessions and discipline.

The protagonists

Antonio Di Natale is a forward player for Udinese football team. In 2009/2010 he became the top goal scorer ever in the team's history. He first wore the National team shirt at the age of 25 on November 20th 2002. On November 18th 2009, in occasion of his 30th game with the team, he wore the captain's band with the National team for the first time in the friendly match Italy- Sweden (1-0).

Vincenzo Iaquinta played his first match with the National team in March 2005. He scored his first goal for the team in the game against Ghana during the 2006 World Cup, which Italy went on to win. Since 2007 he is a forward player for Juventus football club.

Claudio Marchisio grew up in the youth black and white team and currently plays midfield for Juventus football club. At the young age of 24 he had already worn the captain's band for the black and white team during the Juventus- Fulham game of the Europa League this past March 11th (3-1). He made his debut with the National team August 12th 2009 at the age of 23 in the friendly match Switzerland-Italy (0-0).

Federico Marchetti was nominated best goal keeper for the 2008/2009 season on October 22nd 2009. Currently he defends Cagliari's goal and he is the second goal keeper for the National team with which he made his debut at the age of 26 on June 6th 2009 in the game Italy- Northern Ireland (3-0).

Domenico Criscito is a midfielder/defender for Genoa cfc with which he has played over 100 games. He has played in all the youth National teams and on August 12th 2009, at the young age of 22, he made his debut with the premier National team in the friendly match Switzerland-Italy.

The photographer

Internationally-famed fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco shot this advertising campaign in addition to four Dolce&Gabbana publications which highlight the privileged relationship of the brand with the sports world: the books Calcio (2003), Milan Dolce&Gabbana (2006), Milan Family (2007), 2006 Dolce&Gabbana Italia Campioni del Mondo (2006) and the calendar with AC Milan's football players as protagonists (2008).

And I must say - Italians might not have won on the field - but with this campaign, they'll definitely score!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Awesome Australian

Here in the United States, there hasn't been much coverage on Australian politics, or even Australia for that matter (other than when the Socceroos are playing a World Cup match) - but I'd just like to honour this fabulous moment in history for the land down under. Today Julia Gillard became the first female Australian prime minister.

A special meeting was called Thursday morning for the Labour Party where the positions for leader and deputy leader were officially declared vacant (which were held by prime minister Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard as deputy). Gillard secured the office through unanimous vote.

Born in Wales, Gillard moved to Australia as a child and eventually studied law. She's served the House of Representatives, and most recently as deputy prime minister.

I don't know much about her, or Australian politics for that matter, but I know one thing is for sure - women in Australia will have a little extra pep in their step. All things are truly possible. Especially when you put your best Manolo forward!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer time Style tips

Things I'm loving (in no particular order, of course!)

-- chambray button down shirts for both men and women. Opt for a more tailored fit and a bright colour for that perfect summer style that's classic and casual.

-- medallion style necklaces. From the militaristic dog tags from Dolce & Gabbana to the fabulous Marrakesh pendant from Paloma Picasso's 30th anniversary collection for Tiffany & Co. When it comes to jewelry, make a statement, be playful, be meaningful. Accessorize your life with
pizazz and panache.

-- "khaki" is a Hindi word for "dust" - so khaki off your summer suits and up the ante with a brilliant khaki suit. I'm loving Brooks Brothers' premium Supima blended cotton khaki suits featuring fabric that breathes and provides amazing durability while remaining soft and
elegant. (US$ 598. brooksbrothers.com)

-- swim trunks that fit. Not the overly baggy, created from too much fabric and not enough thought, but not the nut-hugging, super-spandex, doubles-as-bike-shorts variety usually reserved for Olympic swimmers either. I mean the kind that falls to a happy medium betwixt the mid thigh and knee, with a slim profile, non-metallic and quick drying fabric, and an elastic-free, snap and Velcro front closure. I suggest J. Crew, SunDek, Park & Ronen. My friends at GQ also love Orlebar Brown's bulldog trunk.

-- I'm still loving the look of wearing multiple bracelets. for both men and women, with a mixture of textures, styles, materials, and price.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stylish Sports

Fashion rocks. Plain and simple, the fashion industry and the music industry often parallel and compliment each other. There are up-and-coming musicians and designers, who either get their big break by starting out with an established star, or they begin with humble roots and slowly build a loyal fan/client base. There are the loud, in your face, attention commanders, and there are the quiet, predictable players.

But fashion and sports also share a love affair. My friends at MO Luxury recently wrote about Louis Vuitton's campaign featuring 3 legendary soccer stars. In short, Ms. O'Rourke and Co. applaud the French Fashion house, highlighting the great opportunity of continuing the brand's global awareness, dominance, and value.

I can only intensify this thought for all of sports with fashion. We all know American master Ralph Lauren has highlighted the success and synergy between the two segments. Mr. Lauren has built an athletic quality into all of his designs, including making the face of his namesake Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras. Additionally, the brand is the official sponsor of tennis's Wimbledon, has sponsored several professional American golfers, the US Open, and been the official supplier of the US Olympic teams.

Italian maestro Giorgio Armani has also played the athletic game by incorporating David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo into global underwear campaigns. And Calvin Klein scored huge gains with his X Mark Your Spot campaign with the assistance of Spanish tennis star Fernando Verdasco.

Maybe it's the celebrity factor. Or the typically sculpted physique. Or the fact that incredibly skilled, famous athletes usually garner copious salaries and support luxe lifestyles. Or that the idols often are symbols to their vast fan bases and represent everything they long to be and have for themselves. Or the fact that on an essential level, celebrity athletes are undeniably talented and raw, just as the best fashion designers possess undeniable talent.

Celebrity athletic endorsements come with a price, however. Even though basketball star Kobe Bryant was never convicted of rape charges a few years ago, Nutella pulled their sponsorship and quickly ended Bryant's worldwide product endorsement. And golfing legend Tiger Woods lost several million dollars in corporate sponsorships after his relationship struggles with his wife became so very public.

Regardless, fashion and sports have a powerful love affair that translates to increased profits, greater brand awareness, and more positive market share. And when fashion wins, we all win.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Music to my Ears

I've been thinking about getting new headphones for a while. I have some earbuds from Bang & Olufsen that are pretty amazing, but I'm interested in the traditional over-the-ear type. With so many options on the market, and not much experience and expertise with headphone technology, I've been trying out several types and am going for something that sounds great, is of quality design, portable, travels well.

And I must say, the most impressive pair for me thus far has been the Studio Headphones by Beats by Dr. Dre. They sound phenomenal. I don't own them, but I tried them at an electronics superstore today and was instantly hooked. And, even more exciting, the Beats by Dr. Dre also features a special edition Product (RED) set of their popular Solo headphones as well.

So if you're in the market, I definitely recommend a try.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More for Your Money

For those of you heading to Europe this summer (or any other time, for that matter), now is the time to exchange your currency. As markets closed Friday, the Euro was trading at US$1,19721 - the lowest it's been in four years!

Over the past few months, we've seen the Euro hovering between US$1,40 - US$1,70, so this is a welcome bonus for Americans. Sadly, the economies of Greece, Hungary, and Spain aren't stellar and definitely contributed to the huge drop in currency value.

Either way, European goods are now even closer to your closet, gentler to the pocketbook, and more attainable than ever!! And that is always en vogue.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mister Freedom

I love Mister Freedom. It's one of the coolest stores I've ever been to. Located at 7161 Beverly Boulevard, Hollywood - the large space features some of the most amazing vintage clothing from the 1850s, as well as a host of vintage inspired items as well. Coming to Mister Freedom is like taking a treasure hunt through an old world full of style, excitement, and grandeur.