November 11, 2013
Courtesy of Casa Dragones
As if an elegant bottle of Casa Dragones tequila isn’t enough, the exclusive spirit meant for sipping (not shooting) is offering even more this holiday season. Its special gift box ($275), packaged in the brand’s signature blue, contains a bottle of the 100-percent blue-agave Joven tequila along with a pair of custom Riedel glasses—hand-engraved in traditional Mexican pepita style—made especially for tasting.
Produced in small batches, Casa Dragones was founded in 2008 (CEO Bertha González Nieves is the first female maestra tequilera) and begins with silver tequila, which is finished with a touch of extra añejo that has mellowed in American oak barrels for five years. The result is a superbly smooth flavor (the expected bite is nearly nonexistent)—and a perfect addition to any collection. casadragones.com/gift.
November 11, 2013
© In Praise of Hands by Franco Cologni, Marsilio/Rizzoli New York, 2013. Photography by Patrick Gries and Francesco Cito.
Head-turning jewelry and Van Cleef & Arpels go hand-in-hand, but the art of creating the iconic brand’s exquisite pieces is largely unknown. The book In Praise of Hands: The Art of Fine Jewelry at Van Cleef & Arpels (Rizzoli, $90; rizzoliusa.com) aims to change that, delving into the fascinating process that brings the gorgeous baubles to fruition. The action, performed by designers called Mains D’Or—who glean inspiration from nature, fashion, architecture and more—happens at Van Cleef’s workshops on Place Vendôme in Paris. Nicolas Bos, the brand’s global president and CEO, answered a few questions.
Q: What part of the process takes the longest?
A: That ultimately depends on the complexity and aesthetics of the piece. Sometimes the finalization of the design and gouache [painting] is the longest part of the process. Other times it’s finding a new technique to create the volume needed for the piece. Or the stone selection process can take up to three years.
Q: Most people aren’t familiar with your mock-up procedure. Can you briefly explain?
A: In high jewelry it is important to make sure the design on paper is perfectly constructed before making the final piece. After the sketch, tracing and gouache are completed, an exact replica—or mock-up—is created out of pewter and crystal to test and perfect the way in which the piece is crafted.
Q: How many hours can it take to complete one piece of jewelry?
A: It varies based on the design. For instance, it takes hours to create the perfect band, delicate beadwork and lustrous polish of a Perlée ring, all of which is done by hand. With high jewelry, it can take months, even years, to create a single piece.
Q: What design is the most laborious?
A: The Mystery Setting, which was invented in 1933 and is unique to Van Cleef & Arpels, is one of the most time-intensive techniques. Perfectly cut and matched stones slide onto rose-gold tracks to create a seamless precious surface of rubies, emeralds or sapphires.
November 11, 2013
T. Anthony, designer of handmade luggage, has teamed up with The Chatwal hotel (130 W. 44th St.; 212-764-6200; thechatwalny.com) for a limited-edition, five-piece canvas travel set called The Chatwal Collection. The pieces ($1,000–$1,525), meant to capture the feel of 1920s ocean-liner travel, include two suitcases, a hatbox, a jewelry case and a makeup case.
“I’ve always loved T. Anthony luggage and wanted to work with them in some way,” says Joel Freyberg, general manager at The Chatwal. “So I came up with the idea of luggage that was reflective of the hotel and, luckily, they were very responsive.”
The dark red hue, leather details and nickel hardware mimic the hotel’s lobby, which is adorned with red leather chairs, long brown banquettes and nickel appointments on everything from light fixtures to the front-desk bell. The connection is clear. “I wanted the luggage to blend in so well with the aesthetic of the hotel,” says Freyberg, “that it looks like a piece of furniture in the lobby. 445 Park Ave.; tanthony.com.
November 07, 2013
Courtesy of Meadowood
The world’s best restaurants have spectacular holiday dining down pat, but the dinner event Twelve Days of Christmas at Meadowood Napa Valley (December 6–7, 10–14 and 17–21) steals the show. In its sixth year under Christopher Kostow, chef at the resort’s Michelin three-star restaurant, the series partners with 11 notable chefs to create 12 meals that span as many days and are matched with wines from (you guessed it) 12 vintners.
“Initially the chefs I invited would provide me with the dishes they wanted to serve and I would cook their menu with them,” explains Kostow. “Now they send me some of the dishes and I come up with other ones on my own to complement them.”
Participants this year include Rodolfo Guzmán from Boragó (Santiago, Chile); Ashley Christensen from Poole’s Downtown Diner (Raleigh, North Carolina); and David Chang of Momofuku (New York). Each meal features between seven and 12 courses, and this year’s festivities kick off at the Relais & Châteaux property with dishes prepared by Kostow and Andy Ricker, of the popular Thai eatery Pok Pok in New York and Portland, Oregon. (Exact menu details are being finalized, but we hear Kostow will prepare a Thai-inspired catfish dish.) The wines for the evening will come from the local Grgich Hills Estate; the winemakers themselves will attend.
While food is the undisputed star of the event, philanthropy also plays a role. Since beginning in 2008, the dinners have raised more than $230,000 for Share Our Strength to help fight childhood hunger in America. This year Meadowood is giving back locally by donating $2,000 in honor of each participating chef and 20 percent of every dinner ticket sold to the Holly Cranston Foundation (hollycranstonmemorialfund.org), which helps children with disabilities, and Napa Emergency Women’s Services (napanews.org), which gives shelter to women dealing with domestic violence. Dinner tickets start at $395; dinner and overnight packages are available from $1,315; 900 Meadowood Ln.; 855-953-2435; email@example.com; meadowood.com.
November 07, 2013
Courtesy of De Beers
Just in time for the festive holiday season, De Beers has released a new high-jewelry collection called Phenomena: necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings all inspired by the natural intrigue and beauty of water. Divided into five categories to represent different aspects of H20—Stream, Frost, Glacier, Reef, Crest—the designs incorporate all types of cuts (sourced independently of the brand’s mining parent company) from the 12-year-old diamond jeweler’s repertoire.
The 33.4-carat Crest necklace ($480,000; pictured above), for example, is designed to represent the spray of an ocean wave using 289 diamonds, the largest being a 4.08-carat pear-shaped gem. The Glacier earrings ($125,000) use emerald baguette- and princess-cut, round-brilliant and pear-shaped diamonds to create a mirror-like conversion that mimics the cracking movement of ice floes.
While each of the collection’s 16 pieces has a distinct motif, the entire assortment is also customizable, allowing customers to swap out certain diamonds for their own favorites. debeers.com.
November 07, 2013
The Vines Resort & Spa
When Michael Evans, co-founder of the new Vines Resort & Spa near Mendoza, Argentina—which celebrates its grand opening on New Year’s Eve—first visited the vineyards-rich area in 2004, he found the openness of the winemakers refreshing. “Its like talking to the artists versus seeing the finished product, ” he explains.
He thought others would want a similar experience, and the Vines of Mendoza, essentially a vineyard done co-op style, was born. Nine years later, 127 owners from all over the world oversee their private plots (anywhere from three to ten acres) and enjoy the 230 singular wines produced on the property.
The Vines Resort & Spa, which will open officially to guests on January 15, takes the concept a step further, encompassing 22 spacious, one- and two-bedroom villas (some of which offer superb views of the Andes) that make use of local wood and stone. The restaurant Siete Fuegos, helmed by Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, who is renowned for cooking with fire, opened for lunch last month. The spa, which will feature viniculture-focused treatments, debuts in February.
The resort’s goal is to have guests take part in an authentic encounter with the gorgeous landscape and culture—to learn some Spanish, acquaint with the cuisine, tango. And though wine is the cornerstone, there is no shortage of additional activities. Hiking, horseback riding and fly-fishing are available, as well as a climbing wall, running trails and a gym that overlooks the vineyards. And for those who fall in love with the surroundings, the option to buy into the Vines of Mendoza is always there—proving a more permanent setup in paradise is sometimes best. Rooms start at $650; Ruta Provincial 94, km. 11, Tunuyan, Uco Valley; 54-261/461- 3900; vinesresortandspa.com.
November 04, 2013
Courtesy of Black Frame
Swedish fragrance brand Byredo turns out a special three-part holiday line featuring the brand’s signature black wax: Bibliothéque (pictured here) anchored by patchouli and leather with top notes of peach and plum; Cotton Poplin, a fresh mash-up of linen, white cedarwood and sweet musk; and Fleur Fantôme, which combines violet leaves, tulip extract, suede, rhubarb and lemon petitgrain leaves. $95 each; byredo.com.
Of NEST’s fall and winter releases, Woodland Truffle ($34), an earthy combination of French truffle, black pepper, oakmoss and cedar, hits a transitional tone, while the Holiday Grand four-wick candle ($225) blends pomegranate, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and amber in a glimmering golden glass. nestfragrances.com.
Colorful holiday candles by Diptyque set any mood with a trio of choices. Try rich Encens des Indes (rose, carnation, incense, myrrh), slightly smoky Ecorce de Pin (pine, cedar, Japanese cypress) or Orange Chaya (orange, quince, Indian spices). From $32; diptyqueparis.com.
This French apothecary gives a nod to renowned writers with a collection of literary inspired candles informed—note for note—by the lives of Victor Hugo, George Sand and Rudyard Kipling. Dickens ($95) is a limited-edition blend of seasonal mandarin, pine and agarwood. Available at Twisted Lily, 360 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn; twistedlily.com; jardinsdecrivains.com.
Wine has been captured in candle form. The Estancia Monterey County Collection by Dayna Decker represents Monterey, California–based Estancia winery’s signature Chardonay, with scents of lemon zest, Anjou pear, pineapple and vanilla, and Pinot Noir, featuring warmer aromas of raspberry, cherry, cassia bark, clove bud and vanilla wood. $44 each, $80 a set; DayNaDecker.com.
November 04, 2013
Courtesy of FITZ & CO
A limited re-release of the Zervos Picasso Catalogue—1,500 sets ($20,000 each) of 33 volumes brimming with more than 16,000 paintings and drawings—is bringing back the iconic compendium’s former glory. Distributed by Sotheby’s beginning December 15 (pre-orders [$15,000] are being accepted now), the compilation is a collector’s item and resource for all generations of Picasso devotees.
Christian Zervos, founder of Cahiers d’Art, a preeminent visual-arts publisher and gallery located in Paris, forged a lifelong friendship with Pablo Picasso. That camaraderie paved the way for Zervos, which many consider to be the definitive archive of the artist’s work.
Cahiers d’Art, founded in 1926, was a trailblazer in its day, solidifying relationships with the brightest stars of the 20th-century art world and producing some of the most highly regarded (and visually stunning) art publications. The outfit shut down in 1960. Swedish collector Staffan Ahrenberg took control of Cahiers and its holdings in 2011.
The earliest volumes of the catalog date back to 1932 and full sets are rare, making this incarnation of Zervos particularly special. Published in an English version for the first time, and featuring corrections made to the original text with the help of the Picasso Administration, it is as vast and absorbing as the friendship that ultimately created it. Available at Cahiers d’Art, 14 Rue du Dragon, Paris; 33-01/45-48-76-73; zervos.sothebys.com.
November 04, 2013
Courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo
Ferragamo is celebrating its 100-year history in America with its first-ever pop-up shop (through November 15) in Los Angeles, located in the former Beverly Hills post office, which is now the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
The experience is nothing like that of a visit to a traditional Ferragamo shop. Art installations (of the oil-paint, video and sound variety) by several emerging artists adorn the curved walls. Accessories—creative director Massimiliano Giornetti presents an exclusive line of handbags, shoes and bijoux and fine jewelry inspired by the city and the company’s first designs in Hollywood—are displayed on pedestals topped with gold mirrors. Look for items like a geometric purple Lucite minaudiere ($1,650), ankle-strap flat sandals with hand-knotted calfskin straps ($695), peep-toe stiletto booties in lizard skin and high-tech mesh ($925) and multi-colored Lucite-and-resin cuffs ($590 each).
Though the store is only temporary, it debuted with much fanfare at a gala last month (sponsored by Ferragamo president Ferruccio Ferragamo) that opened the Annenberg Center. The likes of Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and Sidney Poitier attended, and a fashion show of the spring/summer 2014 collection featured Italian opera tenor Vittorio Grigolo singing as models walked the runway. 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.; ferragamo.com.
November 01, 2013
Photo by Linda Nylind
Many who attended the V.I.P preview of Frieze Contemporary and Frieze Masters—the two sibling art fairs held earlier last month (October 17–20) in London’s Regent’s Park (friezelondon.com; friezemasters.com)—whispered concerns that they had missed a secret pre-preview. After all, where were the celebrities? In years past, the event, organized the afternoon before the buzzy opening evening party, was a prime place to spot Kate Moss, Stephanie Seymour, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer, Brad Pitt and similarly art-savvy stars.
This year, however, was all about art stars and their work. Dasha Zhukova and Suzy Menkes were among the insiders to bridge fashion and art, but the biggest name making the rounds was Jeff Koons. The American pop master was spotted among his massive sculptures at the Gagosian Gallery booth, and was one of countless attendees to have his photo taken next to his mirror-polished steel sculptures of a lobster, a kitten and a foil-wrapped chocolate heart. The pieces were rumored to have sold for $30 million.
The inventory at both fairs was worth nearly $2 billion. Frieze Masters covered centuries of art with 130 galleries represented and an emphasis on the secondary market, while the 11th edition of Frieze Contemporary presented the world’s best avant-garde pieces from 152 galleries. Each tent had its own personality; together they formed the top event on the international art calendar. Crowd-pleasers included Eduardo T. Basualdo’s hanging boulder (TEORIA [Theory, 2013]) in the booth of Berlin-based PSM, and Jennifer Rubell’s giant-sized womb in Portrait of the Artist, 2013.
So where were all the celebrities? Many feted Frieze off-site at a gala hosted by fashion designer Sarah Burton at Christ Church Spitalfields. Florence Welch, Kate Moss and Edie Campbell gathered with their art-world counterparts like Tracey Emin, John Currin and Frieze’s founders, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp.