Design Lovers’ Escape: The Brentwood at Saratoga Springs

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Need a little relief from the current climate, political and otherwise? If the urban grey of winter and the bad news on CNN have got you down, then look no further to rest your world-weary head than the stylish new Brentwood hotel, just a quick train or Zipcar ride up to Saratoga Springs, NY.

From Brooklyn’s Studio Tack, this revamped 12-room motor lodge is brilliantly situated directly in front of the Saratoga Race Course, making it nirvana for the equestrian obsessed. Every room enjoys a view of the massive, 50,000-seat historic thoroughbred track; yet the cozy-chic accommodations are perfect for a quiet, off-season retreat. (You know, like Valentine’s Day?)

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Avoiding that cookie-cutter soullessness we’ve seen in so many modern makeovers, Studio Tack took a homegrown approach to the design, collaborating with local craftspeople they consider friends and colleagues. Partner Brian Smith says, “Working with talented people helps us grow and learn as a company and always makes for a more compelling product.” The result, a refreshing eclecticism that goes just slightly irreverent.

The lobby, for instance, feels like a classic parlor room, with custom millwork, reclaimed white oak flooring from Hudson & Co., antique gilded mirrors and an intriguing collection of vintage oil paintings. Part check-in, part bar, and tons of welcoming charm.

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In the rooms, the solid clear pine beds with signature octagonal posts were handmade by Dave Cummings, a local woodworker in nearby Bolton Landing. While the custom, hand-dyed French bed linens are from Brooklyn-based textile purveyors Sharktooth. Even the vintage oil paintings hanging above each bed were handpicked from regional collectors, featuring bucolic scenes meant to complement surrounding Saratoga. And with considered amenities like bath products from our favorite, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries, as well as rain showers, and a refreshment bar stocked with local snacks, the stresses of city living easily melt away.

Smith enthuses, “If you appreciate handsome and classic spaces, you’ll love our design. If you like small-town charm and, of course, horses, you’ll love our location.” And the property is delightfully dog-friendly – so there’s no need to leave Fido behind.

Top Restaurants in Saratoga Springs

Salt & Char, Gray Kunz’ modern American steakhouse; Lake Local for seafood classics and lakeside dining; The Mouzon House for farm-to-table Creole in a striking Victorian setting.

To Do in Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Yaddo Artist Community; Saratoga Automobile Museum; National Museum of Dance; Tang Museum at Skidmore College (pictured below)

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Maude: Sex Accessories For Modern People

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Sex sells. Maude wants to sell it better – and the brand’s three female founders, Eva Goicochea, Dina Epstein and Maya Bodinger, are intent on disrupting the sex industry. Together they’ve combined their experience in retail, strategy and product development (Epstein was head of “toy” design at kinky lux label Kiki de Montparnasse), to create a line of products that puts the sexy back in sex (to)y. The goodies? Sleekly designed condoms, lubes and vibrators, simplified, sustainable and of particularly high quality – but still very much about getting it on.

They also put a feminist spin on an often gender-biased industry – which they inform us dates back to avery unsexy bit of history-as-inspiration. Little did we know that condoms were readily available and distributed (to male soldiers) in the mid-1800s – and then along came Anthony Comstock, a fervently religious military man, who lobbied for the making the sale of anything deemed “obscene” illegal, including condoms. Thus was born the Comstock Act of 1873.

Condoms

It wasn’t until the 1930s that the issue caught the attention of the FDA, which went on to create universal standards. Until this time condoms were sold in unmarked packaging so as not to attract attention. A popular supplier, Three Merry Widows, named their ‘rubbers’ Mabel, Agnes and Beckie. ‘Maude’ in name and design is a nod to the widows, the subversively beautiful packaging of that time, while “fighting the stigma of sex—much like they did almost 150 years ago,” says Goicochea. “While Maude is a female name, the spirit of Maude stands for all.”

As the big brands rushed in, companies like Trojan did loads of advertising to not only gain legitimacy, as Goicochea notes, but to get doctors on their side. She sneers, “And so began the era of Trojan: Overtly sexual condoms that defined sex through a hypermasculine lens.” Outdated…and terribly boring.

Maude is just the opposite, representing “interesting, diverse and real voices.” It’s pro-sex and progressive – or as Goicochea puts it: “Sex is great. Do it. We support the quickie. But wear a condom please.”

Maudern sex debuted February 14.

 

Teatum Jones’ New SS17 Collection Celebrates Scottish LGBT Tolerance

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Motivated by a passion for “human stories,” UK fashion label Teatum Jones (Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones) launched their latest London runway show for SS17 with a touchingly real, at times rambunctious video. “Talk to me, like lovers do,” made in collaboration with Nice Productions, features an eclectic cast of young Scots: artists, musicians, designers and poets, all “impassioned by their political and social environment” and all bedecked in the label’s colorfully cool, modern designs.

Intent on “making the world a better and inclusive experience for everyone,” Teatum says, “Talk to me, like lovers do” was conceived as a “thank you to the country of Scotland for its progressive legal protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.” They’ve since received numerous messages from people telling them how “the film touched them or reflected how they believed, and the reasons they were proud of the Scottish outlook on inclusivity and life.”

 

The clothes themselves, an “open love letter to Scotland,” the designers note, reflect a seamless merger of exquisitely tailored shapes in bold hues and brilliant prints, in both men’s and women’s collections.

The designers, since winning the esteemed International Woolmark Prize earlier this year for their textile innovations, have been traveling the world launching their Woolmark collection at some of the most prestigious stores across the globe. But surely more importantly, they had the opportunity to show the video to members of the Scottish Parliament, “which made us feel proud that our message was cutting through.” Proving perhaps that love really does trump hate.

 

 

Your New Favorite BKNY Restaurant: Sunday in Brooklyn

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For all the enthusiastic global copycatting of the so-called Brooklyn restaurant aesthetic, its clichés (farmy pretentions, obscurantist ingredients, tattooed chefs) have actually become awfully predictable and tired.

But we’re officially in love with the invitingly named new Sunday in Brooklyn – which, by bringing a refreshingly unpretentious vibe and responsibly sourced food to a formerly lonely stretch of Wythe Avenue, actually lives up to its name every day of the week. Pedigreed partners Adam Landsman and Todd Enany – previously Chief Operating Officer and Director of Operations, respectively, of Major Food Group (Santina, Dirty French, Sadelle’s, Carbone and Parm) and Chef Jaime Young (formerly of the two-Michelin-starred Atera) offer up a progressive American menu – and marketplace – with sustainability as a mission more than a marketing ploy.

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“We are actively seeking to find and source better product,” Enany emphasizes. “We do our best to get our fish from sustainable sources, as well as utilize as much local produce as possible. It not only creates less of an impact on our environment, but it also supports our local producers.”

Tasty offerings like the wood fired “whole fish for two” (changing daily and prepared with smoked mussel butter), sea trout with clam dashi, and Boston mackerel with sunchokes are a delectable testament to Sunday’s investment in native seafood.

With seasonal cooking as its core concept, Chef Young actually anticipates “what’s to come,” rather than merely glomming on to extant and worn out trends. “It’s as exciting as it is challenging,“ he enthuses, “creating the right relationships with like-minded people to find what’s available and most delicious.” Each season gives him something to look forward to, for instance “tender young shoots and leafy plants in spring.”

Some other menu standouts include an exceptionally delish appetizer of black cod pastrami with rye sour cream and garden pickles, a tidy loaf of buckwheat sourdough bread served warm with yummy beer butter, and the most succulent roasted chicken we’ve ever tasted, fresh from their wood-burning oven. Note: there’s even a secret vegan menu available upon request.

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Inside, the large yet cozy, refreshingly not old-timey space boasts striking original timber ceilings, lots of rustic charm, a coffee counter and a take-out market where you can stock up on hot sauce, jams, and pickled vegetables. And Landsman let us know that this month Sunday is opening the upstairs dining room during the day as a community co-working space.

“We want to be a place that feels comfortable and conducive to creativity, but where of course you can also eat something delicious and hearty.”

The bar is open late, and there’s a Magnum Happy Hour weekdays from 6pm – 7:30pm. A roof deck garden will open in spring.

And what of the name? Just three best friends making the everyday – not just Sundays – about “serving those specialties surrounded by those we love.”

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An Insider Guide to Singapore Fashion & Style

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Shopping in Singapore is usually synonymous with splashy, high-end boutiques in even splashier sprawling malls, most along bustling Orchard Road or luxe Marina Bay Sands. But savvy stylistas look to a long thriving scene of homegrown fashion designers, who have been working to change this perception. For every Louis Vuitton or Prada (with repeat locations throughout the Little Red Dot), there’s the likes of In Good Company and Matter.

With a little guidance from local style guru Sharon Wong, here is our exclusive guide to the very best of Singapore’s indie fashion scene.

Matter

“Pants to see the world in” is how this socially conscious label got its start. Focused on creating affordable luxury (almost a misnomer in SG), co-founders Yvonne Suner and Renyung Ho have reinvented travel wear for the modern nomad. Matter’s mission: foster collaborations with artists and artisans, “inspire consumers to value provenance and process, and pioneer industry change and sustainability for rural textile communities.” No small feat, but one that has resulted in an eye-catching array of “dhoti” pants (think an updated version of this multifold draped style), versatile shorts, and even jumpsuits, all in their super cool, signature prints.

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Depression

Describing it’s aesthetic as “black, genderless and morbid,” this line from former advertising creatives Andrew Loh and Kenny Lim isn’t new to the Singapore fashion scene. Founded in 2006 as a rebellion against SG’s staid design industry, the aptly named Depression maintains its edgy vibe with men’s and women’s collections like ‘Inner Demons’, ‘Dark Nature’, and ‘Dysmorphia’. Mixing the macabre and Manga to create what the duo calls “street goth luxury,” the clothes are at once structured and free – just right for a cult-like following of well-dressed misfits.

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IN GOOD COMPANY

Eschewing the vicious cycle of seasonal trends, four friends founded this unique fashion label. Designers Sven Tan and Kane Tan, with managing directors Jacyln Teo and Julene Aw, together create thoughtfully edited women’s (and even kids, Mini Me) collections quarterly or bi-monthly. Minimal, modern, clean and simple, the homegrown selection in their stand-alone store at ION Orchard (one of those splashy malls) is at once modishly of-the-moment, yet completely transcendent. An affordably priced, fresh adaptation of wardrobe classics, In Good Company develops their textiles directly with local mills to ensure exclusiveness of fabrics, while maintaining an in-house sample room in Singapore. Did we mention their amazing eyewear and necklaces? They’ve even incorporated Café Plain Vanilla into the flagship space – an SG favorite for its exquisite baked goods.

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MAX.TAN

For those seeking unconventional basics with a darkly quiet edge. With a few prestigious industry awards already under his belt since graduating from The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA, where he also teaches), Tan is one of the first designers selected to show during Singapore Fashion Week at the National Gallery, for which he collaborated with Microsoft Surface to present a stunning collection this past October. Encouraging women to “dress for no one else but yourself,” the MAX.TAN take on femininity is flattering and fluid; he takes shapes and drape to the next level. And it is his “masculine” spin on details like mesh, corsetry lacework, ruffles and fringe, that really sets him apart. If Rei Kawakubo and Rick Owens had a baby, he’d look a lot like Max.Tan.

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Elohim by SabrinaGoh

Singapore’s gleaming new Capitol Piazza mall may be difficult to get to (even Uber gets turned around), but Sabrina Goh’s one-stop shop makes it worth the trip. Featuring her own collection, ELOHIM BY SABRINAGOH, she also carries several other designers’ accessories and leather goods. Winning the ELLE Awards Singapore Designer of the Year in 2010 helped propel the local designer to international recognition, including Vogue Fashion Night Out Bangkok and Fashion Futures 2015 X Singapore Fashion Week/CFDA. Inspired by architectural form, she’s made a statement creating strong yet sensuous silhouettes; yet she has her playful side, doing an uber cute collab with Disney called Minnie Rock the Dots.

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Ong Shunmugam

Former-lawyer-turned-designer Priscilla Shunmugam eschews excess for longevity, evident in her very contemporary take on the traditional cheongsam. She’s taken this stereotypically Chinese body-hugging dress style and boldly reinterpreted it for today’s woman. In an array of textures and colors, with attention to craft and detail, she uses traditional Asian textiles in fresh new ways; and her prints are to die for. Collections are also produced in limited quantity, adding to the specialness of the line. She’s also exhibited at Beijing’s Chinese Museum of Women & Children and shown at Coterie in New York, the youngest Singaporean label to ever do so. And you’ll find her shop, Atelier Ong Shunmugam, as enticing as the brand’s beautifully curated Instagram account.

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Stay Singapore

Lloyd’s Inn

A minimalist’s dream, designed in a palette of (mostly) white, clean yet comfortable. Book the Big Skyroom for its lofty-vibe and outdoor private terrace, where you can thrillingly bathe al fresco.

The Patina Capitol Singapore

Find true, new luxury here. The hotel is actually two exquisitely restored, historic buildings, re-imagined by Starchitect Richard Meier and the late, celebrated interior designer Jaya Ibrahim. With a big nod to sustainability, this stunning property is certified as a Green Mark GoldPlus building.

Eat Singapore

Humpback

Seafood, seafood, seafood, in an adorable venue, situated along picturesque Bukit Pasoh Road. And get your drink on with their sister bar, Jigger & Pony, conveniently located upstairs.

Bincho

Housed in a 70-year old traditional kopitiam (coffee shop), this unique Tiong Bahru bar and restaurant boasts some of the most inventive Japanese-inflected bites in town.

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