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March 06, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Books

A Greenwich Village Tale
Photo by Robert Otter, 1965

If neighborhoods could talk, New York’s Greenwich Village would have plenty to say. And thanks to the new book Greenwich Village Stories: A Collection of Memories (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation in collaboration with Rizzoli International Publications; $30), readers get to hear its tales (almost) straight from the source—namely 66 notable residents, who themselves figure into their home turf’s mystique as much as the jazz clubs, restaurants and residences do.

The likes of Calvin Trillin, Brooke Shields, Mimi Sheraton, Lou Reed, Wynton Marsalis, Graydon Carter, Donna Karan and Patricia Clarkson weigh in with short stories and poems. Read excerpts from the pieces written by Simon Doonan, Barneys New York creative ambassador, and Nat Hentoff, columnist and music critic, here.

In celebration of the book, several of the contributors will hold readings in the coming weeks. John Leguizamo kicks things off at Strand Bookstore on April 10 (7 P.M.; 828 Broadway; strandbooks.com), and Doonan joins performance artist Penny Arcade, Isaac Mizrahi, Parker Posey and others at Symphony Space on April 23 (7:30 P.M.; 2537 Broadway; symphonyspace.org). Greenwich Village Stories: A Collection of Memories is available March 25 at bookstores everywhere; gvshp.org.

March 05, 2014
By Jason Chen | Books, Home + Design

Jacques Garcia: Twenty Years of Passion: Château du Champ de Bataille
Photo © James T. Murray

In 1992 the French designer purchased Château du Champ de Bataille in Normandy. After 20 years of meticulous sourcing and renovation, his masterpiece is complete.

Champ de Bataille—restored, furnished and decorated—weaves together all the threads of Jacques Garcia’s life and work. The narrative ostensibly starts in 1992, with the Paris-based architect and interior designer’s acquisition of the derelict estate. But in fact the story goes back much further, to Garcia’s first visit to the château as an awestruck 12-year-old with his father.

Over the course of two decades—including periods when Garcia, 66, came close to giving up entirely—the project slowly but surely took shape, eventually pushing beyond the boundaries of the Normandy estate to encompass Italy and India. In the follies and temples that dot his gardens, Garcia has reconstructed history; in his library and cabinet of curiosities, he has given expression to an encyclopedic ambition; in his Mogul palace and gardens, the riches of the world are on display.

Champ de Bataille is the culmination of a personal journey and life story; it is also the most subtle and eloquent of self-portraits.

Adapted from former Louvre director Henri Loyrette’s introduction in Jacques Garcia: Twenty Years of Passion: Château du Champ de Bataille (Rizzoli), which comes out March 4.

February 19, 2014
By Rima Suqi | Books

El Bulli from A to Z
Courtesy of Phaidon

Chef Ferran Adrià closed El Bulli three years ago, much to the dismay of those never lucky enough to procure a table at the legendary Michelin three-star Spanish restaurant. But some solace might be found in elBulli 2005-2011 (Phaidon; $625), a seven-volume book set scheduled for release in March but available for preorder now.

The books, billed as “a journey inside the creative process of the world’s greatest chef,” weigh in at a hefty 50 pounds and include one volume for each of the six seasons El Bulli was open. (The seventh is dedicated to an evolutionary analysis of the restaurant.) The collection features every recipe created during that time—more than 750 of them—in categories like cocktails, snacks, tapas and “morphings.” Full-page photographs (1,400 of them in all) illustrate the dishes.

“It’s like a catalogue raisonné,” says Adrià. “The importance of this book is not a specific recipe but in the ability to make the reader understand why we acted and focused on our cooking in this way. The result of these acts and thoughts became our recipes.”

Those recipes aren’t for novices, Adrià cautions. “They can be replicated perfectly in professional kitchens,” he explains, “but it was not really made or thought for home use.”

What might be easier to digest is a traveling exhibition of Adrià’s drawings, called “Notes on Creativity,” currently on view at the Drawing Center in New York (through February 28; drawingcenter.org). Next up: the ACE Museum in Los Angeles (May 4 to July 31; 400 S. La Brea Ave.; acemuseum.org) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (September 26, 2014, to January 18, 2015; 11400 Euclid Ave.; mocacleveland.org).

January 29, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Books

Inside Look: Thrilling Hotel and Restaurant Interiors
Peter Paige

When it comes to a full restaurant experience, chef Thomas Keller, in the forward of the new book Tihany: Iconic Hotel and Restaurant Interiors ($50; rizzoliusa.com), says it best: “Great restaurants, after all, aren’t just about great cooking.” That acknowledgment comes alive in the first book by Adam D. Tihany, renowned restaurant and hotel designer and the man credited with creating the hospitality design profession.

Showcasing many of his favorite endeavors, from Per Se in New York to the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas to At.mosphere in Dubai (Le Cirque 2000 is pictured above), Tihany’s book reflects on 33 years of groundbreaking projects and tells the story behind his 360-degree view of hospitality. (We learn about his early days as a design student and his time spent as a restaurateur.)

“What defines me is the ability to understand the unique quality of each of my clients and projects and cast them into a design that showcases their brand,” he explains. The range of his work reflects this and edifies three of his most important rules: “Listen to your clients, put yourself in their shoes and add a dash of the unexpected.”

Clearly, a recipe for success.

December 09, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Books

Why We Buy
Courtesy of Portfolio/ The Penguin Group

Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World (Portfolio Hardcover), by writer and DEPARTURES contributor Mark Ellwood, examines the desire for a discount from every angle with humor and in-depth reporting. We chatted with him about the strategy—and the science—behind the almighty deal. amazon.com; mark-ellwood.com.

Q: What surprised you the most as you put the book together?
A:
Finding out that we are genetically pre-programmed to respond to discounts and deals—that a chemical in our brain urges us to act when we see a sale sign. It’s a hormone I nicknamed “buyagra.”

Q: Seems fitting! Is it the same everywhere?
A:
In the 18 months I spent researching the book I traveled around the world, from Japan to Turkey to Australia to the UK, and I was staggered by the shift in buying attitudes across the world. Put simply, developed nations, which were once so discountphobic, are embracing their inner haggler, while China, India and others are discarding their discount mindset.

Q: How will bargain mania continue to affect luxury goods?
A:
In the 1990s the luxury market boomed, as high-end marques became household names. It’s a situation that combines profit and pitfalls: Expanding in response helped juice these labels’ bank balances, but it also risked tarnishing their cachet. I suspect that luxury will cleave in half, where a customer can decide if he or she is cheap or choosy. Everyday items from a core collection might be produced at large volume and potentially discounted at season’s end; a few ultra-select, truly limited-edition pieces will be custom created—their scarcity driving the retail price skyward.

Q: What does it mean for travelers?
A:
The retail Rubicon that the travel industry will likely be the first to cross is what’s euphemistically dubbed “personalized pricing.” This is a tweak on dynamic pricing that uses more than just market data to decide cost for a certain customer: It factors in that customer’s history, loyalty and spending power. If you consistently book a last-minute business-class fare, for example, it telegraphs to an airline that price isn't a deciding factor for your purchase, so that firm can charge you more. It will make browsing and booking anonymously ever more important. Even now, when it comes to travel I only use an incognito Google Chrome browser window—a price prophylactic.

November 21, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Books, Films

Bruce Weber Writes the Book
Photograph of infant wearing bowler hat and sunglasses while standing on Monterey chair, c. 1940, Wolfosnia Collection by Bruce Weber

Fans of celebrated photographer Bruce Weber—renowned for his contributions to art, fashion, advertising and film—can enjoy a double helping of his work this month, thanks to the latest installment of his literary-and-art-journal series and a compilation of his documentaries.

All-American Volume Thirteen: Born Ready (teNeues.com, $125) lauds a variety of brave, risk-taking personalities via words and photos. Weber, who thinks it’s a dying art to be a character in the world today, profiles Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries, who runs the organization that the late movie producer Ray Stark started to help guide young men out of gang life in Los Angeles. Then there’s Micky Wolfson, an art collector who created his own museum, and Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who challenged the Defense of Marriage Act and won. There’s even a spin through the world of pro motocross racing.

Bruce Weber: The Film Collection ($60 for four DVDs) is no less impressive or thought-provoking, featuring four of the artist’s documentaries, including Let’s Get Lost (1988), an Oscar-nominated look at jazz trumpet player Chet Baker, and Chop Suey, a look back at Weber’s career. “My camera lets me flirt with life,” he once said. We’re lucky enough to see the results.

November 11, 2013
By Shivani Vora | Books

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Van Cleef & Arpels
© 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.

October 31, 2013
By Departures Dispatch | Books

1963: The Year of the Revolution
Photo courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Famous wasn’t even a term then. It wasn’t even a concept. Famous was the people we loathed already. The Beatles were trying to be famous. They weren’t yet but they were on the edge. It looked like they were going that way. People who were famous were game show hosts and people like that. Fame wasn’t part of the program or the agenda.”

—Eric Clapton, as quoted in Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve’s new oral history, 1963, The Year of the Revolution: How Youth Changed the World with Music, Art, and Fashion (It Books)

October 24, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Books

Interior Design by the Book
© 2013 SANDRA NUNNERLEY, INC.

After 20-plus years as a residential interior designer, Sandra Nunnerley realized it was time to put all her projects in one place. The book Interiors (PowerHouse Books; $70) was born, and it was done entirely on Nunnerley’s own terms.

“I very much didn’t want to do just another design book,” she explains. “I wanted to do a book that would chart my inspirations and encourage readers to look for their own. One of the things that comes through is how important travel has been to me and how the wonderful things that I’ve seen all over the world filter into what I do.”

Travel connections are made clear throughout the book, which is organized into chapters like “Subtlety,” “Individuality” and “Glamour.” (Vintage Scalamandré fabric on a headboard and a bed skirt, for example, calls to mind Machu Picchu.) But working with art and antiques—commissioning site-specific pieces from artists and dealing with clients’ existing collections—is what Nunnerley is best known for. A Richard Serra painting overlooks a seating area, a Coromandel screen stands out in a dining room, photographs by American photographer Morton Bartlett hang above a Louis XIV beechwood table.

And while Interiors is a chance for readers to get familiar with her aesthetic, it also gives Nunnerley the opportunity to look at her creations in a new light.

“In preparing this book, I was looking at photographs of work I did 20 years ago, and you know what? Some of that work looks as fresh today as it did then,” she says. “It’s the same body of work: refined and luxurious, tailored but not minimal. And that hasn’t changed.” Interiors will be available October 29; powerhousebooks.com; nunnerley.com.

October 04, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Books

The Book of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé

The Book: Chloé: Attitudes (Rizzoli, $85; rizzoliusa.com)

The Story: Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion—credited with shifting the way women dress with her forward-thinking belief in luxury ready-to-wear fashion—Chloé has been a fixture for decades and a magnet for young designers. The book celebrates the label’s modern take.

The Major Players: A 28-year-old Karl Lagerfeld joined Chloé in 1964. Stella McCartney (1997–2001) made her mark; Phoebe Philo (2001–2006) ushered in a significant rebirth of the brand. Current creative director Clare Waight Keller keeps the narrative moving forward.

The Highlights: Photos by the likes of Helmut Newton, Deborah Turbeville and Patrick Demarchelier. Aghion wrote the book’s forward; fashion journalist Sarah Mower handled the text.

Who Should Own It: Those intrigued by fashion-house histories—or who simply appreciate a cool-girl approach to clothes.

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