The Brooklyn Institute Debuts Online ‘Philosophy of Fashion’ Course



Who would’ve thought that 2020 would unfold into a terrifying sci-fi flick, converting our daily work, exercise and social routines into virtual events? Finding resourceful ways to spend the time that’s been freed up from grinding commutes and, let’s admit, FOMO, has become the new norm. But as no virus is capable of killing our love of learning, the Brooklyn Institute’s upcoming Philosophy of Fashion online course immediately piqued our interest.

It’s quite rare these days that the intellectual realm of philosophy would find itself bumping up against the oft fleeting world of fashion (we recommend reaching back to Roland Barthes’ exalted 1967 work The Fashion System), let alone become the topic of an extended course. But for those who thrive on dichotomy, the class provides a case study that answers fashion-focused cerebral questions: “What does fashion have to do with modernity, political economy, commodity fetishism, media and climate change?” and “How does the philosophy of fashion intersect with ideas about gender, class, identity, morality, politics, and sex?” Essentially, despite its reputation as being ephemeral, what depths does it uncover about us?

The course was designed and will be led by Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ph.D, and core faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Looking at the philosophy, theory, and history of fashion, Porte will turn to writings from influential theorists, sociologists, philosophers, and biologists including Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Karl Marx and Charles Darwin.

The four week course begins Wednesday, April 8th and runs through the 29th—so one might emerge from quarantine with a much keener understanding of why we wear what we wear.


The Brooklyn Institute For Social Research

First Images: The New El Llorenç Parc de la Mar Hotel, Palma de Mallorca




Sitting in the Mediterranean just off the coast of Spain, Mallorca has long been known for its gorgeous beaches and over-amped clubbing scene. But the largest of the Balearic Islands also boasts moderate temperatures year round, and a landscape diverse with mountains, lush groves and vineyards, hilltop towns, and a turquoise coastline.

Unsurprisingly, it’s also become one of Europe’s great expat magnets over the last decade.

The capital and cultural hub of the island, Palma de Mallorca, wears its rich history via striking Spanish, Arabic, and Moorish architecture. Cobblestone streets lined with art galleries, boutiques and cafes give way to enough medieval landmarks to impress the most discriminating beach bum historian.



In the heart of Palma’s Old Town, La Calatrava is a charming quarter surrounded by the Cathedeal Le Seu on the seaside, and ancient Arab baths inland. And a stunning new hotel, El Llorenç Parc de la Mar, sublimely captures the area’s mix of old and new. It’s also the newest member of the Design Hotels group.

Designed by Barcelona trained architect Pedro Rabassa, the structure takes its cues from the local aesthetic, with wide open spaces to maximize the spectacular views—including a three-tiered rooftop terrace decked out with with Palma’s longest infinity pool, and luxurious Balinese beds from which to take in the panorama of the city and marina. There’s also a poolside cocktail bar, for those languid, lazy afternoons and evenings.



Swedish interior designer Magnus Ehrland also worked the contrast of classical and modern, incorporating stone columns, Venetian plaster walls, and Arabic star patterned floors, with well chosen contemporary art and B&W photography gracing the lobby. The surprisingly warmly decorated (and all king-bedded) guest rooms feature custom furnishings from Roche Bobois, Kartell, and Flos, while bathrooms are equipped with futuristic Senso wash toilets and heated flooring. Suites are especially well appointed, and each features a pair balconies with glorious sea views.

One imagines its possible to spend a couple of days never leaving the hotel, with a 24 hour fitness room and wellness center with serene Arab baths and a beautifully adorned thermal pool. And back up on the roof, at the stylish DINS restaurant, Chef Santi Taura serves a Balearic style menu of freshly caught seafood—coca mallorquina, creamy rice with Mallorcan red prawns—and locally sourced farm provisions.


Drink Here During Art Basel: Sling Bar Opens at COMO Metropolitan + Four More Hotspots



With Art Basel fast approaching (December 5 – 8), organizing a proper schmoozing plan is absolutely imperative to a successful overall experience. And we’re guessing the cognoscenti will be enthusiastically hobnobbing over the turmeric rubbed cobia and red curry noodles at Traymore by Michael Schwartz, the star chef’s new-ish, Asian-inflected eatery at the perpetually trendy COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach hotel.

And now the restaurant has a complementary and very stylish new cocktail spot, Sling Bar, just opened this week. No surprise, the drinks menu is also steeped in Southeast Asian influence, and inspired by night market flavors – in fact, they’re elegantly conceived as “culinary cocktails.” Notably, the SB Sling – Bombay East Gin, BenedictinePF Orange Curaçao, pineapple, lime, cherry cordial – is a Miami-ish take on the classic Singapore Sling; and the Traymore Pimms is a nod to the city’s British Colonial history (remember that?).



Exec Chef Jorge Negron draws on traditional Singaporean street food – which means epicurean elements of Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Indonesian. So steamed snapper dumplings can be paired with a young coconut salad and Singapore style stone crabs, for a thoroughly continent hopping experience.

And here’s a new one: Sling’s lush interiors also feature a video installation of circadian rhythms which juxtaposes their varied behavior in natural versus urban environments. So, obviously, we’re considering getting one of those for ourselves.



“Singapore is such a vibrant intersection of food cultures,” enthuses Schwartz, also known for Michael’s Genuine. “I was able to experience its energy on a recent trip and was inspired by drinks, dishes and even new ingredients that have influenced the menu and cocktail recipes. We’re excited to give guests an opportunity to taste something different.”

Just as good, surely, will be the people watching – especially come early December, when the art world comes crashing into town. Come find us at the bar.


Where Else to Party During Art Basel


Nautilus by Arlo

With two NYC hotels and the super chic Nautilus in Miami, Arlo has been making waves with the culture cognoscenti. During Art Basel, the hotel will be turned into something called the Universal Playground, which will include a TIKI DISCO pop-up, plus a replica of The Box in New York. Expect the beach to be a scene here as well.


LIV at the Fontainebleau

Yes, it seems that there is in fact an intersection of art and EDM – and it will be cultivated amidst the glitz and glamour of Miami’s iconic Fontainebleau. The hotel’s LIV mega-club will host a ridiculously topline lineup of DJ superstars, including Tiesto, David Guetta and Calvin Harris. Sort out your entry plan ahead of time, obviously.



Mondrian South Beach

French sculptor Richard Orlinski will be a featured artist at Basel this year. And the evening of December 4, his feral Born Wild animal sculptures will be on display for the Mondrian South Beach’s official cocktail party. But expect the hotel to be schmooze central throughout the fair, especially with the promise of sunset cocktails overlooking Biscayne Bay.


Basement at the Miami Beach EDITION

The underground lair at Ian Schrager’s fashion fave EDITION hotel is usually up to something cheeky. But during Basel, it will be all about the music, with French turntable legends Dimitri From Paris and François K spinning on the 6th, and Idris Elba switching off on the decks with Diplo on the 7th. The former spins some mean reggae/dub/grime sets, and has even launched a DJ inspired clothing line. Should you forget your dancing shoes, there’s also a four lane – and very stylish – bowling alley.


Epicurean Northern Spain: Rioja Wines, Starchitects and an Enlightening Lesson in Evolución

AC Hotel Burgos



We have been for years trumpeting the glories of Spanish cuisine and wine, both of which still don’t get the same respect in America as, say, French and Italian. We still can’t figure that out.

So when the opportunity arose to spend a few days in Northern Spain‘s wine country, we were particularly piqued. After all, there’s plenty enough written about Napa/Sonoma, Burgundy and Tuscany. And sure enough, our visit left us wondering how a region so dotted with starchitect designed wineries, Michelin starred restaurants, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, has saved itself from the mass tourism of cities like Barcelona and Sevilla.


Burgos Cathedral


Heading a few hours north of Madrid, we were met with rolling hills, ornate rock formations that tower into the sky, and historic villages begging for thoughtful exploration. Our first stop was Burgos, in the Castilla y León region, a perfect dichotomy of the medieval and the modern.

The Burgos Cathedral, one of those aforementioned UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a landmark whose towers serve as a visual compass to the city, is a fascinating melding of Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture, and dates all the way back to the 11th century. Original stained glass windows, ornate spires, and gothic cloister gardens on the outside give way to interiors boasting a massive golden staircase, Renaissance chapels, and the Papamoscas, or fly catcher, an odd looking character that sits high above one of the clocks and opens his mouth to ring in the time on the hour.


Museum of Human Evolution


Built into the naturally elevated landscape, the the cathedral spans four levels, and a breathtaking panorama of the city from the top level inspired a more than a few earnest oohs and aahs.

Just a short walk across the river was the Museum of Human Evolution, a modern architectural marvel whose exhibits delve into the Darwin-approved progress of our prehistoric ancestors, as well as offering insight into the human brain, and charting our social and intellectual development. Heady stuff for the consciously curious, but equally entertaining and engaging.

We ended the day with a highly anticipated epicurean feast at Cobo Vintage, a Michelin starred restaurant with a sleek/modern, but low key vibe. Here, Chef Miguel Cobo deftly fuses his Cantabrian roots with the locally sourced provisions and traditions of Burgos. The tasting menu, eight courses paired with a local Verdejo or Crianza, saw us indulging in skewered hake in a garlic and hot pepper sauce, shrimp carpaccio with tomato tartar, and a melt-in-your-mouth beef rib accompanied by a rather bold green herb sauce. It’s a cliché by now, but the beautiful presentation was just slightly eclipsed by our delightedly dancing taste buds.


Cobo Vintage


Continuing our journey west to La Rioja, we wandered through medieval villages and walled hamlets while local artisans plied us with homemade cheeses, sausages, olive oils and bread to feast on as we took in the undulating grape and olive vines from a hilltop perch. Logrono, the capital of Rioja, seemed like the natural place to call home for a couple of nights, with its proximity to the bodegas (wineries), and to the best places to experience a pinchos crawl. Pinchos (sometimes spelled pintxos), Rioja’s version of tapas, are flavorful bites that accompany your wine or beer pairing in this region of Spain.

The most action could be found on the busy Calle Laurel, and the neighboring narrow and vibrant streets that are lined with over 50 tavernas and bars, making it easy to stroll and sample the local specialties. The vibe was definitely social, nibbling and sipping around makeshift tables made from aged wine barrels as we people-watched the locals and visitors buzzing by.


Street in Logrono


Some tavernas featured a particular signature dish, like Bar Angel, whose specialty was grilled mushrooms. Served stacked in threes and topped with a shrimp, they’re assembled over a slice of hearty bread that soaks up the olive oil, garlic, and also the secret ingredient they’ve been grilled in.

At Taberna del Volapie, we paired a citrusy white Rueda with a cone of bright orange prawns, head and tail included. And as we grazed our way through the streets indulging in barely fried sardines, tender beef in a hearty sauce, and tasty pork lollipops, we paired each with glasses of Rioja’s crisp whites and structured, fruit forward reds.

The de rigueur wine tasting, tour, and vineyard dining experiences are available at the many bodegas throughout the region – but La Rioja is also a hotbed for design enthusiasts. Exalted architects Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava and the late Zaha Hadid have all spectacularly made their mark in the area, in the process setting the bar ridiculously high. At Bodegas Ysios, considered by many to be the most “remarkable wine building ever built,” Calatrava crafted an homage to the surrounding landscape that offers a startling visual experience upon approach.


Bodegas Ysios


Sitting at the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range, the winery was built into the uneven terrain, and its expansive roof of thick aluminum bars mirrors the hills in the background. We strongly recommend scheduling a tour of the property and, of course, a proper tasting of the indigenous Tempranillo varietal which is aged in French oak barrels.

Oenephiles looking for a familiar name in Rioja wines will not be disappointed with a visit to Campo Viejo. We were particularly impressed that it is helmed by a trio of women winemakers dedicated to sustainable and innovative wine making practices; and its design, built almost entirely underground, is like nothing you can imagine.

A tour of the winery, a bouquet workshop to identify the smells and tastes of spice, tobacco, plum, and berry notes of the wine, followed by a dinner on the terrace overlooking the vineyards, and we were irreversibly in love with Northern Spain.


Campo Viejo


AC Hotel by Marriott Burgos

AC Hotel by Marriott La Rioja

Originally a designed-focused hotel brand founded in Spain, AC Hotels was brought under the Marriott umbrella in 2011 – and has been in growth mode ever since.
Style remains a priority, with modern lighting and mid-century furniture creating inviting lobby spaces and lounge areas for kicking back between cathedral tours and pinchos crawls. We especially loved the European style breakfasts and tapas lunches, which fused local flavors with more traditional Spanish cuisine.
In Burgos, the AC is located alongside the river pathway leading to the city center, and is a cool oasis of modernity. The warm, neutral palette of the rooms perfectly suits the minimalist design philosophy, a cool aesthetic respite from all that medieval architecture outside.
In Logrono, proximity to both the town center and aforementioned bodegas make it the best located hotel for a Rioja excursion. The light filled rooms are outfitted with warmly modern furnishings and particularly comfortable beds.


Top image: AC Hotel Burgos; bottom images:  AC Hotel Logrono


First Images: The Ethereal New Standard Maldives Villas



Despite a reliable stream of boldface name visitors – Gwyneth, Sophie Turner, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Victoria and David Becks – the Maldives is by no means a scenester destination. Rather, those seeking serenity and de-stressing visit for its quiet, ineffable beauty.

Into this comes The Standard, Maldives, debuting next month. And despite the hotel group’s reputation for galvanizing the party crowd, that is not quite the hook of this ethereal new property. Rather, the 115 colorful villas (located at the Raa Atoll on Huruvalhi island, a quick sea plane ride from Male) is selling relaxation, and a lot of it. Jutting out into the crystal clear Indian Ocean, rooms are done up in playful, breezy chic – with soothing, light woods and plush, platform beds. Each has a private lounge deck and plunge pool.

Acknowledging the destination’s spirit-feeding seclusiveness, the Standard will feature six restaurants, from BBQ to local cuisine; and there’s also a glass-bottom nightclub, BeruBar, which surely promises excellent dancing-celeb photo ops. While in between diving and snorkeling runs, the The Standard Spa offers yoga classes, an aroma steam area, and personal treatment rooms.

The official opening will be sometime in November. But advance bookings are being taken through December 20 at a special rate of just $481.


Greek Island Chic: The Stylish Parilio Hotel Opens in Paros



In the last few years, the Greek Island holiday has become de rigueur for in-the-know sorts, whatever your pleasure. But if you find the throngs of tourists in Santorini and Mykonos just a bit too much, considering joining the de-stressing cognoscenti in Paros, nestled just in-between the two. Dotted with quintessential fishing villages, pastoral farmlands, and low-key tavernas, the vibe is considerable more tranquil.

And tucked serenely away on the island’s northeastern coast, between the tiny town of Naoussa and the small sandy coves that make up Kolymbithres Beach, is the recently opened Parīlio hotel. A member of the exalted Design Hotels group, the 33 suite property marries traditional Cyclades whitewashed block architecture with touches of understated, contemporary luxury. Carved stone arches and concrete columns mix with custom furnishings by IDLaboratorium, resulting in a cooly stylish oasis with captivatingly old-world charm.



The visually appealing suites feature modern and vintage pieces with neutral colors accented by terracotta, marble and wood, and concrete bedside tables by Copenhagen 101. Some also boast mountain views.

In addition to all that peace and quiet, the hotel offers all the amenities coveted by the 21st Century epicure: a breezy terrace, pool and bar nestled amongst subdued gardens, where long, lazy afternoons turn into Instagrammable sunsets; Mr.E, a modern Greek restaurant with dishes cultivated from the bounty of the island; and a fully equipped gym and spa.

Travel + Leisure names Paros its top Greek island for 2018. And with temperatures in the high seventies and eighties throughout September and October, it remains an alluring getaway well into autumn.


Evocative New Book ‘Miami Beach 1988-1995’ Captures the City in All its Pre-Millennial Iconoclastic Beauty



Miami, like other major American cities in the 1970s (ahem, New York) watched helplessly as its glory days gave way to a drug-riddled war zone, one that left hollowed out landmarks and blocks of Art Deco hotels in rueful ruins. Hindered by corrupt law enforcement and a significant Latin American narcotics pipeline, it struggled along until the latter end of the ’80s, when a music/fashion driven revitalization began to at last introduce new hope.

During that time – 1988, to be specific – Barry Lewis, a London based photographer on a family vacation, was captivated by the newfound vitality and the diverse group of people that were bringing life back to the once trendsetting destination. So much so that over the next seven years, he made Miami his home base, documenting the snowbirds, the flourishing LGBT scene, the Cuban expat community and finally, the tres fashionable crowd, through his all-seeing photographic lens.



The stunning new book Miami Beach 1988-1995 is a collection of Lewis’ evocative black and white photographs from that time, that before now had never been made available to the public. From drag queens and models on the Ocean Drive party circuit, to the migration of retirees from the north and Cubans from the south, readers are taken on a visual tour of the eccentric and lovable characters that revived this tropical paradise. And to give it some palpable chronological context, this was all before the infamous 1997 assassination of Gianni Versace in front of his mansion at 1116 Ocean Drive.

No stranger to photojournalism, Lewis, who earned a humanitarian award for photography in 1990, has worked with magazines from Life to National Geographic, been exhibited at the V&A and other museums, and produced numerous films and books – this latest of which, certainly, is possessed of a particularly personal resonance.

Miami Beach 1988-1995 is published by Hoxton Mini Press and distributed by ACC Art Books.



BlackBook Exclusive: Delectable Cocktail Recipes From DC’s Sky-High New 12 Stories Bar


With partisan political battles raging and so many unseasonal downpours, we’re seriously ready for maximum summer fun to kick in. And as the headlines bear down, seeking solace in a fussed over cocktails with views of the majestic Potomac seems just about right. So expect to find us making haste for The District Wharf, D.C.’s much buzzed about, mile-long urban development along the river – and its stunningly conceived new Gerber Group rooftop nightspot 12 Stories.

The Wharf itself is lined with hotels, restaurants, shops and residences, a veritable waterfront city within a city. And perched, yes, twelve stories up in the plush Intercontinental hotel (also home to Kith/Kin), 12 Stories boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, and a sprawling outdoor terrace, with panoramic views ethereally taking in the Potomac and some of DC’s most iconic monuments (reminding that we once had real presidents like Jefferson and Lincoln.) The space itself is a paradigm of industrial chic, with stark concrete floors and leather, velvet, and marble accents.



Of course, the aforementioned Gerber Group are behind the likes of Mr. Purple and The Campbell Bar in NYC – so creative tipples are a highlight here. Some were clearly concocted to offer relief from the summer swelter, like the zero-degree Superchilled Martini 24 and the Superchilled Negroni. But the colorful Blue Velvet tempts with its blend of Casamigos Reposada tequila, blueberry and lemon juices and soda.

One can readily assemble “dinner” from an assortment of small bites including locally sourced oysters, ceviche-style crudo, and the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. Day drinkers should keep a watch for the soon-to-be launched weekend brunch.

The 12 Stories drinks wizards were kind enough to share with us the secrets behind some of their most coveted creations. But we highly recommend enjoying them in situ, because, well…those views.


Exclusive 12 Stories Cocktail Recipes

Killroy Gimlet

  • 2 oz lemongrass infused Belvedere vodka
  • .75 oz Lime juice
  • .5 oz Thai chili pepper agave syrup
  • Rocks glass. Skewered Thai pepper
Thai chili agave syrup
  • 16 Thai chili peppers, halved and macerated
  • 64 oz agave syrup (2:1 ratio)
  • Infuse 1 day. Strain off chili peppers
  • Stable: 1 month


Golden Compass

  • 5 oz Brugal Anejo
  • .5 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 25 oz Ginger/Turmeric Passion Mix
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • Crushed ice in 14 oz glass tiki mug. Blue straw, paper umbrella and grated nutmeg 
Ginger/Turmeric passion Mix
  • 18 oz passion fruit puree concentrate
  • 5 oz simple syrup (1.5:1 ratio)
  • 45 oz water
  • 12 oz fresh ginger juice
  • 4 tbsp turmeric powder
  • Mix and chill. STIR BEFORE USING
  • Stable: 7 days



  • 2 oz Ketel Botanical Peach and Orange Blossom
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash ube extract (1:5 dilution)
  • Coupe. Lemon twist
Ube extract
  • 2 oz Ube extract
  • 14 oz water
  • Combine
  • Stable

Above: Ube-B and Golden Compass

First Images: The Plush New Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como


As the shores of Northern Italy’s playground-on-the-lake awaken with the annual arrival of spring, all that glamour and style begin to radiate across Lago di Como. Set against the foothills of the Alps, all the bougainvillea wrapped villas, those rustic towns of the Lombardi region, and of course, the possibility of flitting about in the general vicinity of George and Amal, all add to the allure.

Celebrity shoulder-rubbing notwithstanding, there is no lack of Instagram worthy moments – and we will be capturing most of them from our perch at the plush new Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como.

Indeed, last week welcomed the arrival of the newest splashy luxury hotel to the lakefront – the southeastern tip, to be more geographically precise. Surrounded by lush botanical gardens, the urbane but unshowy resort is a sanctuary of calm, with a choice of 73 rooms and suites and two private villas, which all blend modern Italian elegance with a subtle Oriental charm.



For poshie summer fun, there’s a floating pool, water sports, parachuting, and horseback riding…plus a very-well-appointed spa, complete with thermal baths and Himalayan salt room. And to be honest, our visits to Lake Como are always a constant struggle between wellness and decadence.

Speaking on the latter, there’s almost nothing we treasure more than an evening of dining against those life-changing Lake Como vistas. And MO’s restaurant L’Aria boasts a breathtaking bounty of the latter, while offering such culinary temptations as risotto with yellow tomato and red prawns, or faggotini stuffed with smoked eggplant and vendace. While the fittingly titled CO.MO Bar & Bistrot will be for whiling away lazy summer afternoons with an Aperol spirtz and a dogeared copy of Where Angels Fear to Tread.

Hold all our calls, please.