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Editor’s Letter | November/December 2011

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© Jennifer Crandall

These may well be times that try men’s souls, but…’tis also the season to give, to share, to buy! With a global economy spinning out of control and blow-dried politicians seeming more like pit bulls going for the jugular than statesmen invested in apolitical solutions to our problems, this holiday season allows for only the survival of the finest. And that’s what we tried to sort through for you in this issue, aptly titled THE ART OF APPROPRIATE ACQUISITION. Departures has always been about curating the world for its readers, especially in tough times. It’s also about getting you from point A to point B with as little stress and in as much style as possible. Now more than ever, there’s no time to waste, no interest in the peripheral, only a commitment to what’s necessary and truly of value.

That said, material comforts have always been part of the Departures DNA, but I’ve liked to think that we give readers a reason to buy, to think with their heads as well as their pocketbooks. Throughout this issue, we’ve pretty much covered the globe—and not only via shopping. Take journalist/academic Art Troitsky’s unvarnished dispatch of his hometown, Moscow. With Putin once again front and center, it seemed an…appropriate (there’s that word again) time to check in on one of the most challenging, compelling, complicated cities on earth. At the same time, there’s also the sweeter side to travel, voluptuously embraced by writer Andrea di Robilant and photographer Manos Chatzikonstantis in “The Best Sicilian Desserts.” Far from the normal turn-left-at-the-fountain sort of travel piece, di Robilant, author of the bestselling A Venetian Affair, turns his fantasy “dessert” into a reason to travel—in his case, pursuing the perfect trionfo di gola, an Italian dessert with great history and resonance, as well as just being an “extravagantly rich cake covered with candied fruit and sprinkled with pistachios.” A curious pursuit, indeed. Di Robilant’s entertaining voyage into sweetdom combines travel, food, literature, film and his own grand imagination.

Things Italian seem to be a theme this issue, what with the Italianate take on the new Brooks Brothers suit (thank you, CEO Claudio Del Vecchio), Giorgio Armani’s venture into the world of fine jewelry and, of course, Patricia Morrisroe’s look at the house of Gucci, once great, then not, later to be reinvigorated by Tom Ford and now in the cool, steady, elegantly edgy hands of designer Frida Giannini.

Elsewhere in the issue, I am happy to announce a return engagement for David Monn as our IN THE DETAILS expert. Monn is, after all, the genius of entertaining, small fêtes and lavish events, the master of explaining, in meticulous detail, how to do it yourself. And for those like myself who’ve not checked into London lately, get ready for a changing of the old guard. Sophy Roberts, our London-based editor at large, produced “London’s Best New Hotels” for our BlackBook section and conscripted Tom Parker Bowles (last heard from in the Philippines, where he devoured just about everything edible for October’s New Asia issue), and one of my favorite shopping pros, Lucia van der Post. Together these three compiled “London’s Top Tastemakers,” a portfolio of new and interesting British talent.

As a teaser of things to come next year, we introduce PERSONAL BEST, an upfront section about health, beauty and well-being masterminded by Managing Editor Deborah Frank.

And on a final note: The cover image is a detail of one of this season’s new silk scarves from Hermès; the last page, NECESSARY LUXURY, was created by fashion designer Carolina Herrera, on those things that she couldn’t/wouldn’t want to live without. Hermès and Herrera…talk about the art of appropriate acquisition.

Recommendation: Catherine Zadeh Bracelets

Catherine Zadeh, one of our favorite and most talented of independent jewelers, has created a smashing line of bracelets, which she lovingly refers to as “jewelry for men who don’t wear jewelry.” The pieces are available on catherinezadeh.com and at Barneys New York, Stanley Korshak in Dallas and Mario’s in Portland, Oregon. We like this woven macramé style with sterling-silver inserts in a variety of colors ($325 each).

The time has come, my friends: on Twitter, follow me @MrDepartures.

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