June 30, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Fashion, Accessories

Bottega Veneta Olimpia Handbag
Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

For Bottega Veneta, designing an accessory that both breaks new ground and holds to tradition is an attractive premise. Its new Olimpia bag, which debuted in late June, does just that, representing a never-before-done style for the iconic label.

Creative director Tomas Maier christened the bag after the venerable Teatro Olimpico, a structure by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio located in Vicenza, Italy, where Bottega’s atelier is located. The new arrival features the brand’s signature intrecciato hand weaving in an array of rich colors, including aubergine, brown and a textured dark gray. (We’re partial to the Signal Blue [$2,580] pictured here.) Snakeskin versions ($5,250) come in chartreuse and light gray.

Similar to Vicenza, the bag is sure to develop into nothing less than an international classic. Available at Bottega Veneta boutiques worldwide; 800-845-6790;

June 25, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Spirits

The fate of Cachaça (ka-sha-sa) in the United States is much like that of soccer: Every few years we cross our fingers and wait for the trend to catch on. This year has proven successful for both imports, thanks to the World Cup and the craft-spirits movement.

Distilled from freshly cut and pressed sugar cane—making it a closer relative to the lesser-known rhum agricole than the more ubiquitous rum styles made from molasses—Cachaça has a distinctive funky, herbaceous nose and a clean, complex flavor profile that varies according to the location of its cane fields and, if aged, the type of barrel (umburana, ipê, cedar, balsam) used.

Despite the variations (there are hundreds of Cachaças produced in Brazil), U.S. liquor stores have only recently replaced the unrefined rocket fuel we associate with the spirit with more indicative, artisanal expressions. Bartenders, in turn, have begun to use it to create cocktails beyond the traditional caipirinha. Here are three bottles to try.

Un-aged: Avuá Prata
Avuá produces two single-estate, limited-production versions that use a family recipe developed over three generations. Prata, rested in stainless-steel casks for six months before bottling, offers a clear view into Cachaça’s grassy, yeasty character, with a pleasantly dry finish. There’s really no end to how you can mix it.

Aged: Novo Fogo Gold
Matured for two years in small American-oak second-use bourbon barrels—which are dismantled, washed, sanded and re-charred before using—Novo Fogo Gold may be the most approachable Cachaça on the market. Hints of vanilla, caramel and banana (all derived from the cask) mitigate the intensity of the spirit’s vegetal notes, making it a gentle introduction to the category. Use it in cocktails that call for brown spirits, like a dark and stormy or a Boulevardier.

Wild Card: Cedilla
We’re not typically drawn to fruit-forward liqueurs, but we’ll make an exception for Cedilla (named after that phonetic marking added to the “c” in “Cachaça” and “açai”). A blend of Leblon’s un-aged Cachaça and the macerated Amazonian superfruit, it is surprisingly dry for such a sweet, viscous spirit. Add carbonated water for a refreshing soda or mix it into cocktails (in lieu of simple syrup) for an all-natural berry accent.

June 25, 2014
By Janelle Zara | Arts + Culture

Postcard from the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale
Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia

History lessons, almost as a rule, tend to be on the dry side—unless, of course, they’re dispensed by Rem Koolhaas, the Pritzker prize–winning Dutch architect and polemicist known for never following the rules. Under his direction, “Fundamentals,” the newest edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale (through November 23;, which opened June 7, looks at the past hundred years of architecture’s global evolution in ways that are provocative, inspiring and almost never boring.

The main event takes place in Venice’s historic Giardini, where Napoléon Bonaparte’s former garden now houses 30 national pavilions, architectural marvels in which the 65 participating countries set up their shows. As a departure from Biennales past, which have highlighted glitzy, unrelated showcases of recent starchitectural achievements, Koolhaas prompted the exhibitors to look inward at the effects of globalization on national identity. Here are a few of the most stimulating standouts to catch this year.

  • Russia welcomes visitors with Day-Glo versions of the classic jet-age flight attendant—women decked out in pink and purple standing at the entrance to “Fair Enough” (pictured above), a darkly satirical trade show selling off farcical pieces of Russia’s architectural history, like vacation packages, metro stations, artist El Lissitzky and more.
  • The United States pavilion, led by a team of New York architects, academics and designers, hosts “OfficeUS,” a functioning architecture firm complete with receptionist, desks, MakerBot 3-D printers and fellows busily researching the past and present of their industry to produce a weekly design relating to an issue in American history. The results will be published in a series of four books at the Biennale’s end. They are happy to talk but by appointment only.
  • Korea puts on the best show and was rewarded for it with this year’s Golden Lion award for best pavilion. “Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula” is a profound look at both the North and South and how differences in economy and ideology can manifest in buildings. Although photographs of Pyongyang and Seoul show two separate histories with various architectural styles, the two cities share a search for national identity in the midst of rapid urbanization and foreign influence.
  • In the center of the main event is Koolhaas’s own pavilion, called “Elements of Architecture,” an exhibition that zooms in on the overlooked essentials of erecting a building: the floor, the walls, the ceiling…the toilet. An entire gallery, in fact, questions our cultural transformation through the lens of the loo, from using the stone-carved ancient Roman commode to the electronic bidet, under a very compelling premise: “The toilet is the most fundamental zone of interaction—on the most intimate level—between humans and architecture,” reads the exhibition’s wall text.
June 25, 2014
By Nicole Schnitzler | Food

Three Ideal Japanese Breakfasts
Maya Jimenez

Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day, but its benefits—not unlike those of sleep or hydration—are especially appreciated on the road. The Japanese version of the meal, with its satiating, sky-high protein content and lower sugar dosage, which help mitigate midday fatigue, is prized for being hearty, not heavy. And the menus are becoming increasingly prevalent at hotels worldwide. Here are three of the best.

Clement, The Peninsula, New York
Chef Brandon Kida brings his Japanese heritage to the menu at The Peninsula hotel’s brand-new Clement restaurant, where dishes composed of locally sourced ingredients receive an Asian flair, such as miso-accompanied Elysian Fields lamb or Barnegat Light scallops paired with yuzu and apple. Look for the same range at daybreak: A bento box of grilled sockeye salmon, tofu-rich miso soup and pickled vegetables is teamed with a tamagoyaki—a rolled, paper-thin Japanese omelet that is an alternative to the restaurant’s fluffy American version. At 700 Fifth Ave.; 212-903-3918;

Le Cinq, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Executive chef Eric Briffard’s dedication to fresh, carefully sourced products helped earn this hotel restaurant two Michelin stars and a local following. The morning-time fare follows suit. One look at Briffard’s ten-plate Japanese breakfast reveals the hyper-specific stops around Paris he took to complete it: daikon turnips and spinach from a Japanese garden in Île-de-France; soya and rice from Japanese delicatessen Workshop Issé; and steaming pots of genmaicha from the tea room Jugetsudo, in the Sixth Arrondissement. At 31 Av. George V; 33-1/49-52-71-54;

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
Guests need not travel far from London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park to get a taste of the world—or the talents of three different chefs. For traditionally inspired British bites, leave it to the team at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and the crew at Bar Boulud satisfies midday French-bistro cravings. But morning hunger pangs are eradicated in the lovely main dining room, thanks to executive chef Chris Tombling, whose Japanese breakfast is a tray of ten components, including ginger-laced tofu, dried seaweed and a detoxifying juice selection of spinach and pineapple or carrot and ginger. At 66 Knightsbridge; 44-20/72-35-20-00;

June 23, 2014
By Scott Rothkopf | Art, Arts + Culture, Museums

Jeff Koons
Collection of the artist. ©Jeff Koons.

Scott Rothkopf, curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art's survey of the artist, opening June 27.

Jeff Koons and I began talking about putting on a show in 2010. The Whitney knew it was going to be moving downtown, and we were thinking about ways to celebrate its departure from the Breuer building. An unprecedented Jeff Koons retrospective felt like an exciting grand finale. It allowed for something we’ve never done before: give a single artist the building. People are often shocked that Jeff has never had a major museum show in New York. But once we started working on the exhibit, it was clear why that might be. The works are very fragile—and very expensive. We’re talking about large porcelain objects that could break, shiny metal surfaces that attract fingerprints. To do the show required a tremendous amount of logistical collaboration. People are aware of Jeff as the center of hype about the marketplace, about artists as celebrities, about industrial fabrication. But that has obscured the fact that he’s made some of the great works of art in the last half century. The scandal of his reception is central to the way that he’s pushed the limits for so many artists today. I hope the exhibition will allow people to marvel at the variety of subjects, materials and scales that his art comprises. “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” is on view through October 19; 945 Madison Ave., New York;

June 23, 2014
By Caroline Tell | Fashion, Accessories, Style

American Designers: Dannijo
Photo courtesy of Jens Mortensen

Sister designers Danielle Snyder and Jodie Snyder Morel have gained a following with their colorful statement bibs and earrings, and now they’re taking the high-impact approach to leather pouches and totes stamped with their signature chain detailing. From $495;

June 23, 2014
By Shannon Adducci | Shopping, Fashion, Style

 Chloe Gosselin
Photo courtesy of Jens Mortensen

It takes guts to get into the shoe business these days, as even the most astute novices have to stack up against the Manolos, Christians and Giuseppes of the world—which is why newcomer Chloe Gosselin started small. “I wanted to clearly define my language: a timeless shoe with a little twist,” she says of her 12-piece collection, which debuted at New York Fashion Week in February. For the 29-year-old former model and fiancée of magician David Copperfield, that means ’50s-era rounded toes in rich, painterly colors. From $680;

June 23, 2014
By Horacio Silva | Fashion, Style

 Adam Lippes
Photo courtesy of Meredith Jenks

When New York designer Adam Lippes shuttered his Adam label in 2012, he actually received hate mail. “People get really attached to their favorite items of clothing,” says the affable Lippes, 41, a former creative director of Oscar de la Renta who, after eight years in business on his own, had won countless hearts, minds and pocketbooks with his luxurious basics. “Once you convert someone to the perfect sheath dress, or even to a T-shirt or underwear they love, they want nothing to do with change.”

Now, after a protracted legal battle to win back his name and an equally long sabbatical in South America, India and Europe, Lippes is back with a new collection of luxe women’s clothing that is a much-needed boost of lean Céline in a showy Cavalli world.

“I wanted to make pieces that were sophisticated and refined and had nothing costumey to them,” explains Lippes of the sumptuous duchess satin and lace pleated skirts, superfine cashmere gowns and capes, and crisp Italian cotton shirts and dresses that comprise his coming fall/winter collection.

“It’s not about taking over the world,” he says. “It’s about making really beautiful products that we can be really proud of.” For store locations, go to

June 23, 2014
By Anthony Rotunno | Restaurants

Michael White
Photo courtesy of Anthony Jackson

Chefs Michael White and Jean-Georges Vongerichten have opened more than 20 New York City restaurants combined. This year each expands his empire northward with outposts in two separate but equally tony Westchester suburbs less than an hour from Manhattan: White with two restaurants at the Bedford Post Inn, in Bedford, and Von­ger­ich­ten at the Inn at Pound Ridge, in Pound Ridge. A taste of what to expect when city meets country.


The Bedford Post Inn

Culinary Kingdom: Since 2009, Michael White’s Altamarea Group has opened 15 establishments in cities all over the world (London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Washington, D.C., among them). Still, his crown jewel remains his first restaurant: Manhattan’s swanky seafood temple, Marea, on Central Park South.
On the Menu: Not straying from his specialty Italian cuisine, White incorporates the Bedford Post Inn’s bucolic surroundings into his farm-to-table dishes (think housemade pastas and plenty of fowl and fish, like the olive-oil-poached swordfish above) through a seasonally driven selection of produce from nearby farms.
In the Details: The design of the eight-guest-room Relais & Châteaux property’s fine-dining restaurant, Campagna, has gone largely unchanged from the original structure (yes, the oversized woodburning grill remains). Same goes for the more casual Barn. Bedford Post Inn, 954 Old Post Rd., 914-234-7800,


The Inn at Pound Ridge

Culinary Kingdom: Alsatian chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s 26 restaurants include ten in New York City alone (ranging from the drowning-in-Michelin-stars Jean-Georges, on Central Park West, to Madison Square Garden’s Simply Chicken stand), along with locations in France, China and the Caribbean.
On the Menu: Rumors that Vongerichten would christen his first non-urban eatery ABC Country proved false, but they weren’t entirely off: At the Inn at Pound Ridge, dishes like baby beets with yogurt and herbs and fresh ricotta ravioli are near replicas of those served at his ABC Kitchen in Manhattan.
In the Details: The 181-year-old building’s interiors were transformed by Thomas Juul-Hansen—the chef’s design collaborator—to evoke rustic modernity: A soft gray palette is countrified with exposed wood beams and natural elements like marble and zinc. Inn at Pound Ridge, 258 Westchester Ave., 915-764-1400,

June 23, 2014
By Jessica Flint | Travel

Easy-to-Access Urban Parks NPS
Courtesy of National Park Service

The NPS has more than 100 parks and recreation areas close to major cities. Here, four to explore.


Great Falls

Nearest City: Washington, D.C., a 30-minute drive.
What It Is: In McLean, Virginia, the park overlooks the Potomac River’s, well, great falls. 703-285-2965.
What To Do: Early in the morning, hike the one-and-a-half-mile River Trail, which runs along the river’s stunning cliffs.


Santa Monica Mountains

Nearest City: Los Angeles, just outside the city.
What It Is: At 154,094 acres, the country’s largest urban national park is in L.A.’s backyard. 805-370-2300.
What To Do: Go beyond Griffith Park: Hike at Paramount Ranch, where dozens of movies and TV shows have been filmed.


Harbor Islands

Nearest City: Boston, a 20- to 40-minute ferry ride.
What It Is: A group of 34 islands and peninsulas across the harbor from Boston. 617-223-8666.
What To Do: There are tons of activities: Explore a Civil War–era fort, visit lighthouses, hike, picnic, fish and more.


Golden Gate

Nearest City: San Francisco, within city limits.
What It Is: An urban recreational area that’s home to George Lucas’s headquarters. 415-561-4700.
What To Do: Hide away at lux­ury resort Cavallo Point. Rooms, from $400; 601 Murray Cir.; 415-339-4700;

For more on national parks, see U.S. National Parks (Without the Crowds).

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