When we were invited last summer to meet French hairstylist John Nollet in his newly opened salon at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, we expected to see a large, busy space with assistants bustling, blow-dryers whirring and scissors snipping. Instead, the concierge escorted us to Suite 101, with its nondescript door, around the corner from the elevators. It was hard not to notice that Nollet’s atelier is perfectly located for quick and discreet arrivals and departures by his French celebrity clientele, like singer Vanessa Paradis and La Vie en Rose’s Marion Cotillard. Inside, the small yet chicly decorated room with gold walls has French doors that open onto a long terrace overlooking the hotel’s garden courtyard. In 2009, the Park Hyatt hired Nollet to bring his styling services to 11 of its properties around the world. From Tokyo to Buenos Aires to London, he appeared at guests’ doors with his elaborate, custom-built Louis Vuitton trunk containing the tools of his trade to cut and color their coifs. The yearlong tour was such a success that the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme invited Nollet to permanently set up his Hair Room Service by John Nollet in its hotel. Guests can still arrange appointments in their rooms, but the privacy and charm of the personal service with Nollet in Suite 101 is a Parisian pas de deux worth experiencing. From $950 a session; paris.vendome.hyatt.com.
Courtesy Lineaus Athletic Company
Lineaus Hooper Lorette, 66, a gay Communist accountant, makes $425 custom medicine balls from his workshop in Marfa, Texas. Using full-grained leather from a Wisconsin tannery and the same tannage as a baseball glove, he can turn out two balls a day, filling them with soft-cotton thread. “It’s amazing how heavy a ball full of cotton can be,” says Lorette, who likes its cooperative nature. “You need someone to catch it and return it.” And as for a Communist creating a decidedly elitist medicine ball? “The proletariat is working,” says Lorette. “They don’t have to exercise.” A ten-inch medicine ball from the Lineaus Athletic Company costs $425; a 16-inch is $800; lineausathletic.com.
Courtesy John Houshmand
“I’ve always been interested in developing combinations of wood with materials like glass, fine metals and acrylic,” says furniture designer John Houshmand, 57, who lives and works on a 950-acre farm in Hobart, New York. “Then recently I thought, What if I make a mold of one of the magnificent pieces of wood and poured in aluminum?” The result is a cast-aluminum table made from a giant slab of mulberry wood, anchored by sturdy black walnut legs—undoubtedly one of the most romantic and bold pieces of furniture to emerge this year.
This Cast Aluminum Low table is $19,750 and can be purchased at Houshmand’s showrooms in New York (31 Howard St.) and West Hollywood (8687 Melrose Ave.). For details, call 212-965-1238 or go to johnhoushmand.com.
Courtesy Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder’s original 1956 Re-Nutriv face cream has been specially developed for dry, delicate skin. We applied the new Re-Nutriv Replenishing Comfort Creme on a red, irritated patch and found it healed in a few days. $135; esteelauder.com.
James T. Murray
After ten years as Burberry’s chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey has introduced a fragrance line he trusts will become the brand’s signature scent. Burberry Body Eau de Parfum Intense, with its suede drawstring pouch and jewel-like bottle, “represents all the moods, attitudes and expressions of the brand,” he says. “It’s unmistakably British.” From $85; burberry.com.
Every fall since 2007, Dior has introduced a limited-edition makeup palette that has become a must-get for travels and gift-giving. This season’s tweed deluxe mini-clutch with patent leather trim has everything one needs to create a soft day look, with multitoned Diorskin Nude sculpting powder, taupe and pale pink eye shadows, Crème de Rose lip balm and petal-pink lip gloss. For a dramatic evening eye, there’s dark aubergine eyeliner and medium plum eye shadow. A universal red lip color and the Diorshow Iconic mascara complete the kit. $77; dior.com.
Courtesy Giambattista Valli
With the 50th anniversary of the classic film L’Avventura, by Michelangelo Antonioni, I’m reminded of the Italian director’s aesthetic vision. Besides his innovative cinematography, there’s such a nuanced way to how he portrays women, highlighted by their wardrobes. The polka-dot skirt suit, checked pencil skirt and tailored trench that the stunning Monica Vitti wears in L’Avventura are both modern and classic. You almost forget it’s 1960. Antonioni approached filmmaking like a painter, using clothes to define the characters in their landscape. When I watch Lucia Bosé in Cronaca di un Amore, I find a contemporary relevance to her style: simplicity in dress meets gobs of jewelry. All these years later, his vision remains the gold standard of elegance.
© Annie Leibovitz. From Pilgrimage (Random House, 2011)
Annie Leibovitz is best known for her high-gloss celebrity portraits (let’s face it: Having one’s picture snapped by the famed shutterbug is as clear a sign that you’ve “made it” as a plaque on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame). But lately, Leibovitz has focused intently on some of her extracurricular activities, eschewing glammy commissions on occasion for a personal quest to photograph some of the most unusual destinations in the world. The results of her oddball expeditions are collected in Pilgrimage, a new book from Random House, and an exhibition of more than 70 large-format prints, on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through May 20. Taken between 2009 and 2011, the images are conceptual portraits, in a sense, illuminating the lives of influential artists and thinkers through the places and possessions they left behind. Leibovitz’s subjects include the gloves and top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln on the evening of his assassination (photographed in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois); Georgia O’Keeffe’s Santa Fe home and studio; Sigmund Freud’s couch; Elvis Presley’s TV; Virginia Woolf’s writing desk; Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia vegetable garden; Annie Oakley’s riding boots; Louis and Clark’s compass; and Emily Dickinson’s only surviving dress. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-633-1000; americanart.si.edu.
Courtesy John Lobb.
John Lobb, the illustrious bespoke bootmaker, has made a move, relocating its New York address from 680 Madison Avenue to 800 Madison Avenue. The new boutique is more spacious, with an upper level that will be turned into a private, full-service bespoke salon. But why only six blocks uptown? “The fact that we remain on Madison is important to us,” says Renaud Paul-Dauphin, the company’s CEO. “Madison has always been our address in New York and it will stay our address.” Paul-Dauphin and his team will be toasting the new boutique tonight at a cocktail reception in the store, where illustrator (and artist behind the recent John Lobb ad campaign) François Avril will be on hand to sign copies of his sketch of the store.
The event will also mark the debut of the Smooth Collection, a new five-piece bespoke line. “It has all the quality and handwork that we do in our made-to-measure atelier, but it has a younger sentimentality and a sportier feel,” says Paul Goring, Director of Operations for John Lobb. Additions to the new line are on the horizon, but for now, there’s enough to celebrate. 800 Madison Avenue, 212-888-9797; www.johnlobb.com.
Courtesy Signature Theater.
New York’s Signature Theater Company has long been known as a kind of playwright’s utopia, with a tradition of offering emerging playwrights intensive residencies and, more unusually, devoting entire seasons to the work of a single playwright. (The 2010-2011 season, for instance, staged only works by Tony Kushner, from a revival of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America to a new piece called The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key To The Scriptures.)
After 20 years of moving from theater to theater, the company is now opening the doors to its permanent home: the Signature Center, a 70,000 square-foot space on 42nd Street, in Manhattan, that was designed by Frank Gehry. The space features three theaters with various and flexible seating arrangements, all occupying the same level as the vast lobby and central plaza, which contains a café and a bookstore. “I wanted to create a space that celebrates and enhances the intimacy between the performer and the audience,” said Gehry, “while encouraging the innovation that Signature is known for.”
The new season kicks off January 31 in the new building (we hope the paint is dry!) with Blood Knot, which is by this year’s playwright-in-residence, Athol Fugard. A restaging of Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque will follow on February 14. But first: a properly grand opening gala on January 30, where attendees can roam from theater to theater enjoying champagne, hors d’oeuvres and various performances. The VIP ticketholders especially are in for a treat: an intimate, pre-gala cocktail hour with honoree Edward Norton and Frank Gehry himself. Tickets from $1000; Single VIP tickets, $2500, VIP parties of ten, $25,000; 480 West 42nd Street, 212-244-7529; signaturetheatre.org.