Editor’s Letter | November/December 2010

The careful art of appropriate acquisition (aka “The Shopping Issue”).

Here at Departures, we sometimes informally refer to the last issue of the year as our “Shopping Issue.” Not the most elegant turn of phrase admittedly, so I’d like to refine it a little, albeit pretentiously perhaps, to something more along the lines of The Careful Art of Appropriate Acquisition. It’s a title that came my way one morning when I turned on the laptop to a sea of spam e-mails from marketers, retailers, vendors and entrepreneurs; anyone with anything to sell, hawk or push—99.99999 percent of which had nothing to do with me or this magazine. Sound familiar? We’re all tyrannized these days by the deluge of junk mail. How to stop it? All we can do is hit DELETE, count to ten, breathe deep. Deep.

That’s why we’ve tried to help you get a grip by editing through what’s worth it and what’s not. Take, for example, “Fall Fashion at the Lambs Club,” where a world of high fashion unfurls at the new Lambs Club restaurant in New York. Photographer Rodney Smith does dress-up glamour and an evening on the town like no one else, but I kept thinking, too, of all that marvelous food behind all that wonderful fashion. After all, chef Geoffrey Zakarian has long been one of our favorites. I met him more than 15 years ago when he was cooking at the Royalton Hotel, on West 44th Street, after stints at Arpege in Paris and Le Cirque on the Upper East Side. I’ve never forgotten his grilled salmon with its crushed cucumber, date and walnut salad. He promised to add it to the menu, but as you’ll see from Joshua David Stein’s story, Zakarian is doing just fine without it so far.

There’s lots more fashion in this issue, including Brunello Cucinelli, whom we’ve dubbed The Cool King of Cashmere, and a guide to the New Bespoke. But there’s also home design, culture and, of course, travel. If you’re like me, this is the time of year when you suddenly think, Yikes, I’d love to go someplace warm—or anywhere for a few days. Easier said than done, as this is the season of 100 percent occupancy at resorts, spas and cruises, too. Welcome to Departures“Last-Minute Winter Vacations,” a smart and very realistic guide—based on the suggestions of high-end hoteliers, travel agents and assorted experts—to what’s available right now. Good luck, safe travels and happy holidays.

Tune In

For those of us who have followed the life and writings of Fran Lebowitz, the problem is we never get enough…Fran! After all, in 32 years she’s published only two collections of essays and one children’s book. But she’s had a larger-than-life impact with her smart, witty and always original musings on culture and assorted culturatti. Director Martin Scorsese and producer Graydon Carter call their documentary Public Speaking, but that doesn’t really capture what this HBO special is all about. Airing November 22, it’s more like The World According to Fran—from Jersey girl cum onetime taxi driver and housekeeper to social pundit and friend of the rich and famous, she may be the funniest one-woman show around.