March 11, 2014
Photo courtesy of Shamballa Jewels
It would have been enough if world-renowned beauty Helena Christensen had stopped at supermodeling. But the Danish creative had other aspirations, including photography, philanthropy and, most recently, jewelry design.
Blending her passions for not one, but two good causes, Christensen has collaborated with Shamballa Jewels (shamballajewels.com) on a customized, single-edition bracelet (pictured here) that will be auctioned to benefit Operation Smile (operationsmile.org), an organization that provides surgeries to children around the world with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.
The live auction launches today (March 11) during “The Better” exhibition at Dillon Gallery (555 W. 25th St.; 212-727-8585; dillongallery.com) and will continue online through March 21 at Gavel & Grand (gavelandgrand.com). Bids will start at $12,000 for the exclusive piece, which is inspired by Buddhist prayer beads and decked with gray moonstones, blue sapphires, brown diamonds, a pavé of pink sapphires and Star of Shamballa beads in 18-karat rose gold.
“I wished for the overall feeling to be personal and precious, as if the bracelet was found in your grandma's old jewelry box,” says Christensen. “But I also wanted it to feel timeless and elegant.”
Her second contribution to the auction is a selection of her photographs, the sale of which will benefit Every Mother Counts (everymothercounts.org), Chernobyl Children International (chernobyl-international.com) and David Lynch Foundation (davidlynchfoundation.org). And though both endeavors speak to her creative side, the good they will do is a clear priority. “Supporting any organization that changes a child's life for the better,” she says, “is, in my opinion, worth anyone's commitment, effort and time.”
March 07, 2014
Photo © Donna Dotan Photography Inc.
The highly anticipated Park Hyatt New York is set to open this summer in Midtown as the brand’s global flagship. What to expect? We have an exclusive update.
Built into the first 25 floors of luxury skyscraper One57, the hotel—designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc and interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg—will feature a collection of 350 artworks by the likes of Christian Marclay, Robert Longo and Ellsworth Kelly, including at least ten made specifically for the hotel. The 210 rooms (the Park Studio Suite is pictured above) feature floor-to-ceiling windows, wood floors, mismatched furniture and off-set living spaces, all meant to create a more residential, less commercial atmosphere. Bathrooms have double sinks, a shower, a stand-alone bathtub and a six-foot black-stone vanity.
“Our goal is to deliver an authentic New York experience and we've placed great emphasis on strategic services, amenities and partnerships with other New York City icons,” says general manager Walter Brindell.
Local cultural and fashion notables have been tapped to provide a range of special comforts and services, including custom-scented Tubereuse 40 bath amenities from bespoke perfumer Le Labo. The six-room spa features a menu of seasonal treatments and custom services (like medical-grade Botox, dermaplaning and photo facials), which incorporate ingredients like crushed diamonds and Chinese herbal poultices.
There is a state-of-the-art fitness center and a three-story aerie of blue-and-gold-striped azure stone includes a swimming pool, which, in keeping with the hotel’s New York sensibility, has underwater speakers that play an exclusive soundtrack developed specially by nearby Carnegie Hall. Opening summer 2014; rooms start at $795; 153 W. 57th St.; 646-774-1234; newyork.park.hyatt.com.
March 06, 2014
Photo by Robert Otter, 1965
If neighborhoods could talk, New York’s Greenwich Village would have plenty to say. And thanks to the new book Greenwich Village Stories: A Collection of Memories (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation in collaboration with Rizzoli International Publications; $30), readers get to hear its tales (almost) straight from the source—namely 66 notable residents, who themselves figure into their home turf’s mystique as much as the jazz clubs, restaurants and residences do.
The likes of Calvin Trillin, Brooke Shields, Mimi Sheraton, Lou Reed, Wynton Marsalis, Graydon Carter, Donna Karan and Patricia Clarkson weigh in with short stories and poems. Read excerpts from the pieces written by Simon Doonan, Barneys New York creative ambassador, and Nat Hentoff, columnist and music critic, here.
In celebration of the book, several of the contributors will hold readings in the coming weeks. John Leguizamo kicks things off at Strand Bookstore on April 10 (7 P.M.; 828 Broadway; strandbooks.com), and Doonan joins performance artist Penny Arcade, Isaac Mizrahi, Parker Posey and others at Symphony Space on April 23 (7:30 P.M.; 2537 Broadway; symphonyspace.org). Greenwich Village Stories: A Collection of Memories is available March 25 at bookstores everywhere; gvshp.org.
March 06, 2014
Courtesy of the Robert Mallary Estate and The Box, LA
Five can't-miss cultural happenings this week.
- Between The Armory Show (March 6–9; Piers 92 & 94, 12th Ave. at 55th St.; thearmoryshow.com) and countless satellite fairs—we like the Independent (March 6–9; 548 W. 22nd St.; independentnewyork.com) (Robert Mallary's Campbell's Soup Can Collage, 1980 is pictured above)—the art world is about to converge in New York. Don’t miss the 2014 Whitney Biennial (March 7 to May 25; 945 Madison Ave.; whitney.org), the last to take place at the Madison Avenue museum before it moves downtown next spring. —Christina Ajudua
- Known for staging theatrical, immersive screenings in abandoned locations, Secret Cinema is now bringing Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel to life in London at an undisclosed location. Viewers are treated as guests—there’s a check-in process and a dress code—and transported to a grand hotel in the fictional state of Zubrowka, circa 1932. Tickets start at $90; secretcinema.org. —C.A.
- Hot on the heels of its inaugural performances in a gorgeously restored 1929 theater in Los Angeles (which attracted lines around the block), Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project heads to his native country with a varied program of modern works, notably Justin Peck’s much lauded Murder Ballads, at the Théâtre du Châtelet. March 5–9; tickets start at $20; 2 Rue Edouard Colonne; 33-1/40-28-28-28; chatelet-theatre.com. —Rebecca Milzoff
- The Metropolitan Opera’s inventive—so inventive, some have called it “revisionist”—staging of Borodin’s Prince Igor, based on a 12th-century epic poem, has earned raves for the bold way in which it dismantled, reconstructed and, in some cases, even filled in the unfinished masterpiece. If you made a mental note to get tickets as soon as you read those reviews, let us make it easy and give you a deadline: The opera’s last performance is March 8. Tickets start at $100; Lincoln Center Plaza; 212-362-6000; metoperafamily.org. —Julian Sancton
- The Abu Dhabi Festival (abudhabifestival.ae/en) kicks off three weeks of performances by top American artists—including Herbie Hancock (March 21), Renée Fleming (March 23) and the American Ballet Theater (March 29). Much like the announced outposts of the Louvre and the Guggenheim (opening in 2015 and 2017, respectively), the impressive lineup reflects the emirate’s unabashed ambition to become a cultural capital to rival any other city in the world. Tickets start at $35; virginmegastore.ae. —J.S.
March 06, 2014
© Frédéric Chéhu
The Saut Hermès, a horse-jumping competition held beneath the vast glass nave of the Grand Palais in Paris from March 14 to March 16, blends tradition and sport. Hermès began its illustrious, scarf-wrapped reign over luxury 63 years prior to the Grand Palais’s completion in 1900 for the World’s Fair, creating the finest in leather equestrian goods. But the label’s annual return to its origins is a thoroughly modern nine-round Grand Prix event that attracts the world’s 35 best show jumpers, as well as the Talents Hermès class, which features 20 riders under the age of 25.
The competition is graded CSI 5*—the most difficult level of international jumping (some jumps reach more than five feet)—by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and the Fédération Française d’Equitation (FFE). Now in its fifth year, the spectacular is hoped to, according to organizers, “revive and develop the tradition of equestrian competitions in the heart of Paris” and happens shortly before next month’s FEI World Cup in Lyon. Along with the contest, French horse trainer Bartabas will present a show called Metamorphosis, inspired by China and performed by riders from his Versailles Academy of Equestrian Arts.
It is fitting that Hermès holds the affair at the Grand Palais. The first Paris Air Show (Salon de la Locomotion Aérienne), held at the glass-and-steel pavilion in 1909, hosted transportation fantasies of the future, with zeppelins, airplanes and hot-air balloons. Saut Hermès celebrates a transportation tradition of the past, showcasing the right measure of skill, sophistication and fantasy to be transportive in its own right. 21 Av. Franklin Delano Roosevelt; for tickets, visit sauthermes.com.
February 27, 2014
Meadowood Napa Valley
Vineyards are the unquestionable stars of Napa Valley, but a new program at Meadowood gives a way to enjoy maximum wellness along with the wine. Healthiest Year Yet, a two-night stay allowing you to train—and recover—while savoring all the area has to offer, fosters healthy habits while acknowledging the ever-growing desire for sophisticated wellness options at hotels and resorts.
“Wellness and fitness are such great complements for travelers who are trying to create a more well-balanced visit to the Napa Valley,” says Kerry Brackett, Meadowood's health spa manager. “We strive to present inspiring and energizing experiences that send our guests home with a renewed sense of vigor.”
Things start off with a 90-minute fitness assessment and personal-training options. There is unlimited access to classes (yoga, cardio, Zumba, TRX suspension training), sports (golf, swimming, tennis, croquet) and instructors. And a custom Eco-Fitness session takes full advantage of the resort’s 250 acres, guiding you through workouts that could include uphill sprints, a jog on the four and a half miles of hiking trails, push-ups and planks on the golf course and strength training by the pool.
Of course, all facets of the resort are available. The spa offers a variety of treatments that can also be done privately in-room; the dining options, including the Grill and the elegant Michelin three-star Restaurant at Meadowood, are not to be missed. The package is clearly balanced, aiming to leave you feeling strong, relaxed and satisfied.
“Our goal,” says Brackett, “is to be a place of rejuvenation for both the mind and body.” Rates start at $1,800 a couple; 900 Meadowood Ln.; 855-625-7546; meadowood.com.
February 27, 2014
Courtesy of The Paramount Hotel
New York’s Times Square is many things to many people, but a neighborhood where savvy New Yorkers choose to spend a night on the town is typically not one of them. That is, until a coterie of tastemakers (including Simon Hammerstein of The Box, Sleep No More producer Randy Weiner, culinary artist Jennifer Rubell and fashion designer Thom Browne) debuted Queen of the Night—an interactive dinner-theater performance in the form of an opulent, otherworldly debutante ball—at the Diamond Horseshoe, a meticulously restored ’30s-era subterranean ballroom beneath West 46th Street’s Paramount Hotel.
The approximately three-hour affair manages to incorporate the most unique elements of its creators’ individual projects but is more than the sum of its parts. Arrivals descend a dimly lit spiral staircase where they are instructed to wait until one of the actors, dressed as butlers in Browne-designed costumes, beckons them further inside. A cocktail reception allows guests to freely roam the ballroom (set with banquet tables arranged around a center stage) and its ancillary halls and chambers while sipping sweet, candy-colored drinks offered by servers who, at any moment, might grab your hand and lead you to a dark corner for an intimate, one-on-one encounter. “Keep your eyes and mind open,” whispered one after dragging me to a secluded nook and pinning me against the wall.
Dinner (a Flintstones-size slab of short ribs, platters of lobsters or a roasted pig served on a spit) is theatrically presented family style as part of the main event: a high-energy, high-volume acrobatic and gymnastic show that’s part Eyes Wide Shut, part Cirque du Soleil. While decidedly over the top, every element of Queen of the Night is expertly executed, resulting in a compelling—not campy—experience that is as revolutionary as the notion of (gasp) having a good time in the heart of Times Square. Through April 6; 235 W. 46th St.; 866-811-4111; queenofthenightnyc.com.
February 27, 2014
Courtesy of Rêne Caovilla
If the mark of a good thing is that it gets passed down from one generation to the next—a rule that separates the trendy from the timeless—René Caovilla has done something right. Marking the Italian shoe-and-bag maker’s 80th year, Edoardo Caovilla, third-generation creative director and COO, developed an exclusive, limited-edition capsule collection for Bergdorf Goodman (launched earlier this month) and Neiman Marcus (which officially debuts in March and will be available in Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami).
Each showcases shoes inspired by the brand’s archives but reimagined for the 21st century, such as a 1949 leather mule sandal embellished with pearls ($1,350); a Persian mosaic-patterned suede pump from 1965 (pictured above; $1,350), each piece individually stitched; and the signature Snake shoe, named for its coiling ankle strap, in hot pink with multicolor feathers and crystals ($1,175). “Our aim was to emphasize our history and give value to our craftsmanship and artisans and at the same time express our idea of contemporary femininity,” says Caovilla. “It’s a new beginning, and we are honored to start a new chapter.”
Continuing a tradition of artistry—and Caovilla’s history of working with haute couture houses like Valentino, Christian Dior and Chanel—each pair of the ultra-feminine shoes and sandals is handmade in the family’s factory outside Venice using proprietary innovative techniques. But the evolution doesn’t stop there. Caovilla plans to introduce bijoux, eyewear and fragrances over the next several years. “Luxury is no longer something only for the special occasions,” he says. “Luxury is about being special in every moment of our lives.”
February 20, 2014
Courtesy of Phaidon
Chef Ferran Adrià closed El Bulli three years ago, much to the dismay of those never lucky enough to procure a table at the legendary Michelin three-star Spanish restaurant. But some solace might be found in elBulli 2005-2011 (Phaidon; $625), a seven-volume book set scheduled for release in March but available for preorder now.
The books, billed as “a journey inside the creative process of the world’s greatest chef,” weigh in at a hefty 50 pounds and include one volume for each of the six seasons El Bulli was open. (The seventh is dedicated to an evolutionary analysis of the restaurant.) The collection features every recipe created during that time—more than 750 of them—in categories like cocktails, snacks, tapas and “morphings.” Full-page photographs (1,400 of them in all) illustrate the dishes.
“It’s like a catalogue raisonné,” says Adrià. “The importance of this book is not a specific recipe but in the ability to make the reader understand why we acted and focused on our cooking in this way. The result of these acts and thoughts became our recipes.”
Those recipes aren’t for novices, Adrià cautions. “They can be replicated perfectly in professional kitchens,” he explains, “but it was not really made or thought for home use.”
What might be easier to digest is a traveling exhibition of Adrià’s drawings, called “Notes on Creativity,” currently on view at the Drawing Center in New York (through February 28; drawingcenter.org). Next up: the ACE Museum in Los Angeles (May 4 to July 31; 400 S. La Brea Ave.; acemuseum.org) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (September 26, 2014, to January 18, 2015; 11400 Euclid Ave.; mocacleveland.org).
February 20, 2014
Courtesy of Hassan Hajjaj, Taymour Grahne Gallery
Seeing his native Morocco used as a backdrop in glossy, high-fashion photo spreads—its own people absent—first frustrated Moroccan-born, UK-based artist, stylist and designer Hassan Hajjaj. Then it inspired him. Presenting a larger picture of local Moroccan culture, his stunning portraits of Marrakech’s lesser-known but no-less prominent contemporary biker culture are on view in the exhibit “’Kesh Angels” at New York’s Taymour Grahne Gallery (through March 7).
Throughout the show Hajjaj calls into question stereotypes of Arab women, capturing his fashionable female friends in brightly colored djellabas (robes) and patterned veils smiling confidently from atop their motorcycles. The clothing, which Hajjaj designed, mixes traditional prints with references to brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, recontextualizing familiar Western products within the structure of local custom—namely, traditional Muslim dress. The photographs’ handmade frames are fitted with found objects (colorful chicken-stock boxes, soda cans, Legos), further toying with the influence of branding and the relationships between East and West, old and new.
“In this work I want to show something particular to Marrakech,” Hajjaj says, “and to show that even though we have different cultures and religions, we share a lot in common as people.” 157 Hudson St.; 212-240-9442; taymourgrahne.com.