October 21, 2013
Courtesy of My Wardrobe
Carmen Borgonovo knows exactly where to locate the most fashionable finds. And as fashion director of the London-based online shopping destination MyWardrobe.com, Borgonovo—who was formerly senior style editor at Harper’s Bazaar UK and an accessories editor at Vogue and is a regular contributor to Elle—uses her insider knowledge to bring the best of the fashion world to her audience. Here she chats about the site and what she’d like to wear now.
Q: What is the key to successful fashion e-commerce?
A: Online shoppers are extremely savvy. They’re looking for sites that are a step ahead and bring something unique and exciting to the market. New brands and carefully curated product offering is an important part of this, but impeccable customer service and a seamless shopping experience are all essential. We like to think that we act as our customers' best friend.
Q: How does My Wardrobe set itself apart?
A: We focus on offering our customers a unique curation of up-and-coming, emerging and established designers, ensuring that we stand out.
Q: You recently made the fashion-week rounds. What caught your eye?
A: There have been some truly beautiful collections on the runways this season. From New York, Emilia Wickstead, Thakoon and Proenza Schouler. In London I loved Meadham Kirchhoff, 1205, J.W. Anderson, Simone Rocha, Eudon Choi and Huishan Zhang. Prada and MSGM were highlights for Milan.
Q: What will you add to your own wardrobe?
A: Culottes for spring!
Q: And what excites you about fashion right now?
A: The beauty of fashion is that it’s always changing and evolving. It’s wonderful to see young designers growing from emerging talent to become global names. That’s what inspires me each season.
September 19, 2013
Courtesy of Anya Hindmarch
For handbag and accessories designer Anya Hindmarch, opening her new flagship on Madison Avenue in New York meant much more than simply filling a room with inventory. “I want people to feel comfortable, curious and loved!” exclaims the British designer, whose first store on London’s Walton Street, opened in 1987, paved the way for her 58 current locations worldwide.
The boutique, a move from her original NYC shop on East 60th Street, is the first in the United States to house both her seasonal and bespoke collections. The entire store has the feel of an artist’s studio, thanks to British architect/interior designer Ilse Crawford (the catalyst behind projects like Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm and Soho House New York). It’s a creative ambiance that was no accident.
“I wanted to recreate the sense of the design studio and have the craftsmen working in the store to reconnect the customer to how things are made,” says Hindmarch. “People have become too removed from the process. The craftsmen are the heroes in luxury, not the celebrities wearing the product.”
The custom arm—situated on the second floor of the two-story space—houses a workshop and craftspeople, who personalize leather pieces (boxes, wallets, luggage, key fobs) with messages, names, photographs or drawings in front of customers. Hindmarch would have it no other way. “It is about sealing a moment in time and making something to treasure,” she says. 795 Madison Ave.; anyahindmarch.com.
July 04, 2013
Courtesy Gael Towey
From July 9 to 14, more than 6,000 antiques dealers will descend on the quiet New England town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, for the Brimfield Antique Show—one of the world’s largest open-air flea markets. Antiques dealers and collectors are an interesting lot (how many 19th-century bundt-cake pans does one really need?), but this is where the talent behind Ralph Lauren Home—and probably your favorite interior designers—comes to find singular pieces and inspiration, whether it’s a year for vintage industrial or Mad Men modern.
The show, made up of some 21 individually owned and operated fields, extends for a mile along either side of Route 20. Warehouse dealers drive in from all over the country to load up semi trucks, paying cash for birdcages, blown glass, mercury glass, Gustavian chairs, tables, consoles, floor lamps, textiles and other finds. Mary-Kate Olsen has been known to visit the fair to buy jewelry.
It is as much a trade show as a flea market, which means the pickers are professional (tip: get there early) and bargaining is common (open the negotiations by asking if the dealer would be willing to go lower). It also means that the apparent trends at Brimfield—like transferware platters, hurricane lamps or Deco credenzas—will probably show up in stores and shelter magazines later in the year, so a good eye can put you ahead of the curve.
Now in its 54th year, Brimfield happens three times annually (May, July and September). Eighteen of this round’s fields will open on July 9, with a few more following later in the week. The larger public usually swoops in over the weekend, after many of the pros have come and gone. July 9–14; Rte. 20, Brimfield, Massachusetts; brimfieldshow.com.
June 13, 2013
Courtesy of Bly.com
The new website ProjectBly.com is named after hardcore journalist Nellie Bly, who took a record-breaking trip around the world in 1889. Like its namesake, Project Bly champions wanderlust by bringing the streets—and the wares—of some of the world’s most electrifying cities to users in a thorough, discerning way.
Every two months, founder Rena Thiagarajan, a former San Francisco–based lawyer, reveals the inner workings of a featured destination via items (mostly home-decor pieces and accessories) and photography. She scours bazaars and flea markets for one-of-a-kind finds and partners with on-the-ground photojournalists to chronicle street style, food, art and architecture. The site launched with Mumbai, and La Paz, Bolivia, followed last month. (Kumasi, Ghana, is next.)
Thiagarajan talked with us about traveling the world and inspiring an adventurous spirit.
Q: Why did you launch Project Bly?
A: I’ve always loved design and travel and wanted to create something that brought them together. Project Bly is about adventure and travel, but it’s also about coming home.
Q: How do you choose the items?
A: We buy directly from vendors in the bazaars and craftspeople, and I choose accessories that would fit in a sophisticated home that seamlessly mixes antiques and vintage with contemporary pieces. I seek out beautiful textiles, art and objects that have stories and history and that will inspire people to go on their own adventures.
Q: How does the site differ from other e-commerce sites?
A: It’s not just a website that sells stuff. It’s an experience. We bring alive the bazaars and streets of a city through images taken by some of the world’s best street photographers. It is about putting objects in context and giving them story and history.
Q: How did you select the cities?
A: I started with Mumbai because it was a trip to Chor Bazaar, or “thieves market,” in Mumbai in January 2012 that resulted in my aha moment a couple of months later. The common thread that runs through all these cities it that they have been melting pots of cultures and important trading cities for centuries.
Q: What characterizes La Paz?
A: It is a city that really lives its life on its streets. I’m so excited about this collection, which includes vintage textiles as well as incredible silver and pewter objects that made their way to the streets of La Paz from a city called Potosí. Potosí was known as the Paris of South America in the 1500s and was one of the richest cities in the world because of its silver mines. Once the mines were depleted, many people migrated to La Paz in search of work, and I met many vendors in the markets whose families had come from Potosí years ago.
June 13, 2013
Photo courtesy of Holland & Sherry
Interior designer Muriel Brandolini, whose bold style has been lauded by Christopher Getty, Matt Lauer and Annette Roque and Crown Prince and Princess Pavlos of Greece, is making her mark with a different medium this spring: men’s undergarments. Rated M, her new line of boxer shorts ($89 each), features four styles that are hand-block printed in India on the softest of cotton. And though Brandolini doesn’t name her prints, she says their inspirations range from geometry to florals to the cinema. “This print reminds me of A Clockwork Orange,” she says of the pair pictured here. Available exclusively at Holland & Sherry Bespoke, 209 Elizabeth St.; 212-343-1261; hsbespoke.com.
May 16, 2013
Situated on Grand Avenue in Chicago’s growing design district, Martyn George—a small shop specializing in vintage kitchenware—is a find in and of itself. Owner Johanna Brannan Lowe, a photo stylist and former photographer, sources the store’s “culinary objects” herself, ensuring that the offerings are anything but run-of-the-mill.
“There is the potential to research a piece and have your own story about it, as well as a story unknown and mysterious from other lives before,” she says. “It’s fascinating to me that there are objects existing from one or two centuries ago that are still in perfect condition.”
Those objects make up a well-edited, sophisticated inventory that includes etched-glass coupes from the 1960s, English glass cake stands, bone-handled carving knives, cocktail and wine glasses and enamelware. On the day the store, which is named after Brannan Lowe’s father, opened last summer, a pair of soapstone bed warmers sold to the local prop house; currently items like vintage oyster sticks and a handsome amber-glass decanter from the ’40s are up for grabs.
Perpetually on the hunt for the next treasure, Brannan Lowe travels to her native England (for, in particular, 19th-century ironstone china) and closer destinations, such as Texas, Wisconsin and Michigan, where she has a 156-year-old home in the town of Buchanan. Needless to say, she has an eye worth following. 1855 W. Grand Ave.; 312-340-4666; martyngeorge.com.
May 09, 2013
Photo courtesy of Michael Kors/ Dylan Griffin for BA Reps
Michael Kors wants to watch world hunger disappear—with a little help from new editions of its best-selling Runway timepiece, designed in collaboration with actress and philanthropist Halle Berry. The brand is releasing four unisex 100-Series designs ($295 each)—its first product created exclusively for an international philanthropic effort—and updating the bold, iconic lines of the classic Runway watch with a stainless-steel case and a gold- or silver-tone band. The dial, etched with a map of the world, is available in turquoise or navy.
For each purchase, the Watch Hunger Stop campaign will donate 100 meals to undernourished children across the globe through the United Nations World Food Programme. As a reminder of the wearer’s gift, the back of each watch is engraved with “1 WATCH = 100 MEALS,” alongside Kors’s signature.
The ultimate goal? One million meals distributed to countries like Bolivia, Uganda and Bangladesh—and thousands of ambassadors for the cause wearing their support on their wrists and watching the campaign’s march to the finish line (there have already been nearly 250,000 meals delivered) via a tracker on the project’s website. destinationkors.com.
December 31, 2012
© James T. Murray.
When I’m in Venice (winter is especially romantic, with cold mists and few tourists), I’m drawn to Palazzo Fortuny, the former home of Mariano Fortuny. The Spanish-born, Paris-raised Venetian was at heart an artist who could design anything, from theater sets to timeless dresses and textiles. Fortuny’s commitment to the handmade inspired me to think about objects created by artisans—not manufacturers! I’d be thrilled to have anything here under my tree, especially since I know each has been made with care, innovation and personal spirit. Pictured: Hand mirror by Anndra Neen, price upon request; anndraneen.com
Rodman Primack is the former chairman of auction house Phillips de Pury & Co., London; rpmillerdesign.com.
December 07, 2012
Photo courtesy of Ferrari
Engineers from Cobra Puma Golf and Ferrari joined forces to design this luxurious new golf line, which includes a premium driver with a handstitched leather grip and a range of classic accessories and apparel like belts, gloves and jackets. A few items, such the Ferrari Golf Luxury Bag ($2,400, pictured here), are crafted from genuine Poltrona Frau leather, the same material used in Ferrari GTs. ferrarigolfcollection.com.
December 06, 2012
Photo courtesy of Rodin
Fans of Linda Rodin’s cult line of luxury oils for the face, hair and body can now perfume their homes with her signature jasmine-and-neroli scent.
The former model and Harper’s Bazaar fashion editor turned beauty mogul has expanded her Rodin Olio Lusso line to include a scented pillar candle that’s the picture of spare, minimalist chic. Even unlit, the oyster-colored candle fills the room with a subtle, flowery fragrance. When you’re ready to light, place it on a dish and spark a match from the set Rodin includes with every candle. $125; oliolusso-shop.com.