March 02, 2011
We at DEPARTURES have been looking forward to this moment since we ran Bruce Feiler's article on Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking (The Food Lab) in our November/December issue. Well, the wait is finally over: The 2,438-page, six-volume set comes out March 7. Compiled by a team of 30 cooks and researchers, Modernist Cuisine is the brainchild of former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold and his two coauthors, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, both veterans of London's experimental restaurant the Fat Duck. Much more than a standard cookbook, it's an extensive study of food science (explaining, for instance, the anatomy of a grill and how the combustion of meat juices creates aromas and flavors), with a collection of recipes from out-there chefs like Wylie Dufresne and Heston Blumenthal. The 3,500 visuals are stunning: Many are interior shots of food equipment in action, which the photographers captured by bisecting each apparatus and sealing the open side with heat-resistant glass. $625; modernistcuisine.com.
Photo Ryan Matthew Smith; The Cooking Lab, LLC
March 15, 2011
On July 21, 1933, Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car made its debut to cheering crowds in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Looking nothing like the standard Fords that were its contemporary, the teardrop-shaped three-wheeler had the curved hull of a yacht and was almost zeppelin-like in stature—in fact, it had been built by William Starling Burgess, a preeminent aircraft and boat designer who moonlighted as a poet. It also offered superior gas mileage (35 mpg to the Ford V-8’s 18) and roughly three times the passenger space as the V-8. The car was part of a larger Dymaxion project—the word is a combination of Fuller favorites: dynamism, maximum and tension—that the inventor was working on, which included plans for a Dymaxion house. A combination of setbacks resulted in producing only three of the vehicles. Then, in 2008, British architect Norman Foster, who had worked with Fuller in the ’70s and early ’80s, decided to commission Crossthwaite & Gardiner, a British firm that reproduces ’30s racecars, to create a fourth. Like the originals, no. 4 was built from the chassis and parts of a 1934 Ford V-8 Tudor sedan. The rest was crafted to order, and the creation debuted last fall at Ivorypress Arts + Books Space, a Madrid gallery and bookstore founded by Foster’s wife, Elena Ochoa Foster. Out this month from the gallery’s publishing venture, the 223-page Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion Ca
r uses archival and contemporary blueprints, handwritten notes and sketches, and period photos, including images of the plaster models done by sculptor Isamu Noguchi, to tell the full story of a visionary vehicle that looks just as futuristic today as it did in 1933. $75; ivorypress.com
April 21, 2011
The new boutique from publishing house Assouline, which opened April 15 in London, is much more than a simple bookstore. Assouline Books, Gifts & Lounge, a 1,000-square-foot space set within the venerable Liberty of London department store, is really a cultural salon of sorts. With more than 1,000 Assouline titles in stock, on topics ranging from fashion, art and design to history to travel and food, the shop also offers a collection of vintage tomes that guests can peruse at the classic library table. In addition to the books, the boutique also has literary gift items, like leather book bags, vintage bookends, candles with a "library" scent and a limited-edition Goyard trunk that can shelve up to 100 books. Whereas most libraries forbid food or drink, here it's encouraged: The lounge serves shoppers French Champagne, Italian and Turkish coffee and a variety of teas and homemade sodas. Regent St.; 44-207/573-9680; shopassouline.com.
Photo Courtesy James Harris for Assouline
October 06, 2011
Courtesy of Random House.
In 2005, Michael Gross unlocked the doors to the most exclusive address in New York in 740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building. On November 1, he's giving the West Coast the same treatment with Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles. Packed full of starlets and scandal, Gross's eleventh book begs to be read poolside. And if you skedaddle down to Los Cabos, Mexico on October 21-23, that's just where you'll devour it. Las Ventanas Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort, has invited Gross to host a book club through the hotel's Hot Type Authors' Series. (Adam Gopnik and Salman Rushdie are past guests.) A week before the book's release, guests will receive an advance signed copy of Unreal Estate—and a five-course supper with its author. Rates start at $2,430, based on double occupancy. For reservations, call 310-843-9142.
Check out: Going Down to Cabo
October 13, 2011
Marilyn Monroe, 1956. © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s. Courtesy Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s.
Once described by Jean Cocteau as Malice in Wonderland and by Cyril Connolly as Rip-Van-With-It, Beaton lived a thousand lives through his lens—as a staff photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, a World War II correspondent, a society snapper and the chronicler of boldfaced names in a boldfaced era. New York City proved to be an enticing playground for the British-born bon vivant. It was here that he forged a friendship with Greta Garbo and Andy Warhol. And captured the Pop art movement. And designed the celebrated costumes for La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera House, which some say out-do his Oscar-winning creations for My Fair Lady.
In Cecil Beaton: The New York Years (Skira Rizzoli), Museum of the City of New York’s curator of architecture and design Donald Albrecht examines the influence of Manhattan on the photographer and the photographer on Manhattan. Packed with previously unpublished letters, costume designs and more than 220 photographs and drawings, the fascinating chronicle aims to document Beaton’s influential relationships and charismatic work. The accompanying exhibition at MCNY opens October 25 and runs through February 20. Rizzoli.com; mcny.org.
November 03, 2011
Courtesy Bruce Buck / St. Regis D.C.
Thornwillow Press has always had strong ties to Washington, D.C., but the beloved purveyor of handmade books and fine stationery has been an honoree in absentia, sending meditations on the capital— Thomas Jefferson Illuminated, In Search of George Washington, Lincoln at Home—from its bookbindery and letterpress in Newburgh, New York. That changes on Tuesday evening, when the bespoke publisher launches a library and shop just two blocks north of the White House, in the St. Regis Washington, D.C.
This will be the second St. Regis outpost for Thornwillow, which opened its Manhattan library last October. (At that launch party, an artist painted literary allusions on live models. How will buttoned-up D.C. counter?) As in New York, Thornwillow Press will become a part the hotel’s quilt, displaying rare books and prints, acting as
an on-site historian and offering stationery and invitation design—as well as cocktails and nibbles.
“It all hangs on this idea of the word,” says founder Luke Ives Pontifell. He contends that handmade stationery and artful archives are of even greater importance in an age of impermanence. “Now you can delete a book with the swipe of a finger, hang up a telephone, throw out a magazine. As technology charges forward, what we do becomes more relevant."
For the D.C. launch, Pontifell has curated “Washington’s Notable Neighborhoods,” a letterpress correspondence collection that celebrates Capitol Hill, Adams Morgan and Georgetown. Each set opens with a broadside containing a brief history of the neighborhood and contains five cards selected to represent it. For Adams Morgan, that’s an after-hours mix of a lightning bolt, waning moon and barware. For Georgetown, it’s a gilded bicycle and bold peacock feather. And for Capitol Hill, there’s a stately series of presidential motifs destined to sell out before the holidays. The images are so detailed, they may be best seen through a loupe borrowed from the publisher’s pocket. Then one might fully appreciate the feathers of a bald eagle, the eaves of the White House windows, the rigging of a ship set for the New World. One might also wonder who commissioned these extraordinary designs. Considering Thornwillow’s past clients—George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama—it’s no question at all. Thornwillow at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. is at 923 16th. Washington’s Notable Neighborhoods 15-card stationery set, $85, thornwillow.com.
January 05, 2012
Courtesy Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton doesn’t just carry your luggage; the fashion house also tells you where to take it. In the label’s newest collection of City Guides ($33 each), follow L.V. through 40 cities’ vintage boutiques and gourmet feasts, hidden gardens and ancient trattorias. For the 2012 edition, journalists and authors travel along the Pearl River Delta, visiting expansive casinos and novel galleries in Hong Kong and Macau, and introduce travelers to the unexpected luxuries of five new European cities, including Birmingham and Zagreb. Each softback booklet features the wisdom of a local legend (think Sharon Corr’s Dublin) and playful illustrations from Cuban artist Ruben Toledo. After spending the past 14 years inking the City Guides’ lush artwork, Toledo’s drawings are memorialized in a 100-postcard retrospective ($78) he describes as a “treasure box of memories” —and a perfect chronicle of your travels. louisvuitton.com.
February 02, 2012
George Cruikshank (1792–1878), Oliver Asking for More / The Morgan Library & Museum.
February 7 marks the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, and the third and final month of Dickens 2012, an international festival devoted to paying tribute to the famous author and his work. Here are five events not to miss:
1. Dickens on Screen: The largest retrospective ever staged of film and TV works based on or inspired by the author. The highlight of this month-long festival takes place on Charles Dickens’s actual birthday, February 7, with a celebratory première of the film Dickens in London, a multimedia collaboration, at the BFI Southbank. The exhibit will then go on tour, including a stop at MoMA in New York. bfu.org.uk.
2. Dickens at 200: The Morgan Library and Museum in New York is exhibiting the author’s manuscripts, letters, books, photos and original illustrations—one of the two largest archival collections of Dickens in the world. Through February 12; themorgan.org.
3. Rochester Dickens Festival: Rochester, Kent, figures largely in some of Dickens’s greatest works (the author spent the last 15 years of his life there), and the area is paying tribute to his bicentennial with festivities that include readings, music, theater, Victorian costumes and a special exhibition at the Guildhall Museum. Can’t make it on such short notice? The annual Dickens Summer Festival is coming up at the beginning of June. February 6–11; rochesterdickensfestival.org.uk.
4. Dickens and London: This show at the Museum of London is the U.K.’s first major exhibition on Dickens in over 40 years, featuring paintings, photographs, costumes, original manuscripts and commissioned films. Through June 10; museumoflondon.org.uk
5. Dickens at the Lion: Shrewsbury’s Lion Hotel, where the author stayed and gave readings, is hosting a weekend-long festival, featuring Gerald Dickens, Charles’s great, great grandson, performing excerpts from Sikes and Nancy, The Christmas Carol and his own show based on his ancestor’s diaries. February 3–5; thelionhotelshrewsbury.com
November 15, 2012
Courtesy of Assouline Publishing
To say that Debra Shriver is in love with New Orleans is an understatement as big as her city’s personality. A 12th-generation Southerner, Shriver, along with her husband, bought and restored a home there after Hurricane Katrina, a project documented in her first book, Stealing Magnolias: Tales From a New Orleans Courtyard. Her newest effort, In the Spirit of New Orleans (Assouline)—part historical narrative, part travel guide—walks readers through her town and all its richly fascinating culinary, musical and cultural hallmarks. Shriver, who splits her time between The Big Easy and New York, chatted with us about the sensorial allure that keeps people coming back for more.
Q: Wynton Marsalis wrote the book’s evocative forward and clearly gets New Orleans. What does it take to really understand this town?
A: It’s all about the five senses. There’s so much to see—architecture, the French Quarter and the Garden District, the levees along the revered Mississippi. But scent and sound are the real seducers. It’s the invisible that will hex you—the smell of jasmine or beignets and the music wafting from the corner bar. I always say, three visits and you'll need a realtor.
Q: Music and food are enormously important. How best to tackle both?
A: When you're sampling the culture, be sure to mix old and new. Book tickets for classic jazz haunts like Snug Harbor and Tipitina’s, but also drop by Irvin Mayfield’s new I Club for the latest mix of locals and visiting legends. Take the same approach with culinary choices. Go to Commander’s [Palace], August and Emeril’s, but also try Cochon Butcher. And don't forget about the cocktails. Start with the Old Absinthe House and French 75, and move on to SoBou, Bar Tonique and Cure. Your motto should be: I saw, I sipped, I supped and I slept ... on the way home.
Q: It is really like its own little country. How has it managed to hold onto its personality?
A: New Orleans was founded by Latins, not Anglo-Saxons, unlike Charleston [South Carolina] and Savannah [Georgia]. New Orleans was also geographically separated by the river, so it didn't associate itself with the Americas. French fathers, Spanish ancestors and a steady influx of Africans and Haitians have blended and whipped up the most diverse culture in the U.S. today. It’s the proverbial melting pot, serving up the headiest bowl of gumbo ever.
Q: What keeps you there?
A: New Orleans is one big seduction. I’ve written two books on the city hoping to single out what is so magical about it. I can think of a million reasons to love it, but it’s impossible to just name one. It really was, in my case, what the French call a coup de foudre—love at first sight. The moment I arrive, I do a slow, long exhale. My breathing changes, the pace slows, the air is warm and embracing, every meal is a sensation and the sound of jazz is always playing somewhere. What else is there?
December 14, 2012
Photo courtesy of SARL Rene Gruau
Italian fashion illustrator René Gruau is lauded for the now-iconic imagery he used to promote women’s fashion in the 1940s, but his revolutionary work in men’s fashion is equally stunning. Gruau: Portraits of Men (Assouline, $75) is a 260-page work of art showcasing his depictions of the modern man—from the 1960s to the 1980s—with portraiture that is at once casual, confident, humorous and sexy. assouline.com.