Veneto + Liguria Luxe: 5-Star Splurging in Venice and Portofino

Belmond Hotel Splendido, Portofino

 

As we’ve come to know so well, summer in Italia means heat and crowds. But the scents, the sights, the culture and cuisine always seem to “spring” to life in springtime – as we so magically experienced on a recent luxurious whirl through Liguria and the Veneto, stopping in two of our most beloved cities.

Firstly, we cannot emphasize enough that if you’re thinking of returning to the Amalfi Coast, consider heading north instead, were we found solace and wonder in the magic that is lovely Portofino. An elevated oasis just about two hours from Milan, it’s the sort of place people are talking about when they speak of the Italian dream vacation.

 

 

We were in the mood for a splurge, and so booked a three night stay at the gorgeous Hotel Belmond Splendido. An historic property perched on a hillside overlooking the Portofino harbor, rooms come with balconies and breathtaking views of the Italian Riviera (for aesthetes, some have original frescoes). We were in good company, as the hotel has hosted a glittering parade of real and Hollywood royalty, from The Duke of Windsor to Madonna to Elizabeth Taylor and Steven Spielberg; there’s even a suite dedicated to regular guest Ava Gardner.

From Splendido it’s just a short stroll to the town’s famous Piazzetta. But with so much glamour and tranquility, we found it often difficult to leave the hotel. To wit, the hotel’s in-house spa offers a signature treatment program that is one hour and forty-five minutes of plush pampering – complete with cocktails matched to your nail color.

And for epicures, dinner at La Terrazza offers seafood risotto, crunchy king prawns and quinoa/pistachio crusted tuna with those breathtaking vistas.

 

 

We later took the train from Milan to Venice, to splash out not at some or other crowded San Marco hotel, but rather the legendary Belmond Cipriani, across the way on the much more private Giudecca. This is the sort of place where you might just bump shoulders with George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Donnatella Versace or Lady Gaga. Though we were so warmly welcomed by legendary greeter Roberto, you would think we were movie stars.

And indeed, the Cipriani is equal parts enchantment and luxury. We dined at the casual-chic Cip’s Club along the water’s edge with a view across the Lagoon to Piazza San Marco in the distance, happy to be just far enough away from the crowds. (It’s only a five minute boat ride to the main island, but you feel miles and miles away.) The food – roasted codfish with rosemary, risotto with turmeric and scampi – somehow manages to equal the setting.

 

 

For something a little more fancy, Oro boasts a Michelin star.

The property is surrounded by abundant gardens and the rooms have awesome vistas of perhaps the most ethereally beautiful place in the world. Another big plus? Cipriani boasts the only Olympic size salt water swimming pool in central Venice.

Truman Capote once famously said, “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” And at Belmond Cipriani, those chocolates come with the most breathtaking views in the city.

 

 

 

12 Must-See Works at the First Ever ‘Frieze Los Angeles’

 

Frieze Los Angeles made its much buzzed about debut yesterday, fully living up to the spirited anticipation surrounding the international fair. Thousands of art-seeking Angelenos, celebrities, New York transplants and far flung jet-setters flocked to the Paramount Pictures studio lot to experience what many feel has been long overdue for the art-driven city. These days considered a cultural hotbed, L.A. boasts galleries like Regen Projects, Hauser & Wirth, Hannah Hoffman, The Box, Night Gallery and The Pit – all of which are exhibiting this weekend, alongside a total of 21 local and 49 international dealers.

For opening day, it was a fair floor filled with the likes of Raf Simons, Brad Pitt, Maria Sharapova, Leonardo Di Caprio, James Franco…there was even a rumor Beyonce was on her way. For those who frequent the fair’s New York or London counterparts, you can expect Frieze LA to offer you a more pleasant experience logistically, with a curated selection equally stimulating.

Here are the 12 works that stood out to us most.

 

Doug Aitken

“Midnight Sun (distant pool with views)”

303 Gallery

 

© Doug Aitken, courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

 

Jenny Holzer

“Blue Laments Arno”

Sprüth Magers

 

© 2019 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY Courtesy Sprüth Magers

 

Nicole Wermers

“Untitled Chair”

Herald St

 

 

Andy Warhol

“Georgia O’Keeffe”

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

 

 

Hannah Greely

“High and Dry”

Frieze Projects

 

Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

 

Cooper Jacoby

“Force of Habit”

Freedman Fitzpatrick

 

 

Troika

“Borrowed Light”

Galeria OMR

 

Senga Nengudi

“Studio Performance with R.S.V.P.”

Sprüth Magers

 

Olafur Eliasson

“Flare Friend”

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

 

 

Dike Blair

“Untitled 1996”

Karma Gallery

 

 

Diana Thater

“True Life Adventures”

David Zwirner Gallery

 

 

 

Louis Vuitton’s Stunning ‘Volez Voguez Voyagez’ Exhibition Opens in NYC

 

Images by BFA

 

After being vacant for almost ten years, the former American Stock Exchange building in Manhattan’s Financial District has just been brought back to life for Louis Vuitton’s stunning three-floor exhibition Volez, Voguez, Voyagez. Curated by Oliver Saillard, it traces LV’s iconic journey from 1854 to the present day through ten thematic chapters, each in their own strikingly imagined space.

The show opens with the most symbolic object of the House: an antique trunk from 1906. It continues through the detailed makings of their classic trunks, revealing how the designs evolved and informed style during the rise of travel – at a time when expeditions, yachting, the automobile, aviation and trains has all captured the zeitgeist in their own way. While navigating through Volez, Voguez, Voyagez, you’ll find yourself beachside one moment, on the road less traveled the next, inside a cabin car of the Orient Express, gliding through the open skies, and then suddenly on the Oscars red carpet. (And indeed, the brand’s red carpet celeb fans turned out in force for the opening, including Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, Lea Seydoux and Alexander Saarsgaard.)

The Vanderbilts. The Rockfellers. Mary Pickford. Lauren Bacall. Ernest Hemingway. And today’s a-listers the likes of Ruth Nega, Nicole Kidman and Michelle Williams are all on display to attest to LV’s ceaseless star power. Marc Jacobs fans will swoon to the look back at the time when he was Creative Director of the House. And then there’s the Jeff Koons room, reminding us of just how much Louis Vuitton has influenced the look and style of travel for more than a century-and-a-half…and will surely continue to do so.

Louis Vuitton’s Volez, Voguez, Voyagez is on view at 86 Trinity Place, NYC, in the former American Stock Exchange building, though January 8. Admission is free to the public.

 

 

HOPE Stockholm Co-Founder Ann Ringstrand Launches New Brand in NYC

Last night in Soho, the co-founder of iconic Swedish brand HOPE Stockholm, Ann Ringstrand, launched her eponymous new collection to raves. The line features three exquisite blends of scents she developed with her Paris team and gemstone jewelry which marries 60s Scandinavian style with native mala beading.

From black tourmaline to white howlite to dark red jasper, each energetically charged piece was locally sourced and hand cut into uneven beads by artisans in Brazil. The fragrances and oils are meant to compliment the jewelry, with scents designed to linger on the gemstones and keep you connected to yourself while you navigate the rigors of the modern urban world.

“The story is that I have always created designs and concepts that reflect the time we live in,” she told us. “My path has travelled through the field of fashion towards this lifestyle concept that touches our senses. During my 25 years as a designer, I have constantly lived my life in the fast lane, focusing on the future. The now has never been on my agenda. Neither have goals been described as feelings.”

But with these new projects, she explained how she is attempting to slow things down, to be more reflective and inward-looking.

“I finally came to a point where I was missing the feeling of present life,” she revealed. “I started searching for tools to support my need to be in the moment. I discovered that a fantastic way to get in contact with myself was to include my senses. My new brand actually carries both native wisdom from the world of spirituality and a design for urban life that matches my aesthetic style.”

For the opening event, she collaborated with her former Lower East Side studio mate, sculptor Maria Moyer, to create one-of-a-kind sculptures and fragrance diffusers inspired by – and made specifically for – the new brand.  All were exhibited in the showroom of their third studio partner, lighting designer Lindsey Adelman. Together they created an atmosphere that eloquently exuded the ultimate essence of Ann Ringstrand.

 

 

 

Nine Must-See Works at Frieze New York 2017

Flocks of art-curious New Yorkers are heading to Randall’s Island Park this weekend for 6th iteration of the influential Frieze Art Fair. This global celebration of contemporary art (which opened Thursday and runs through May 7th) flaunts more than 200 galleries from over 30 countries.

This year boasts a canvas of neon, intriguing text-based works, mixed materials, contemporary masters like Anish Kapoor, 20th Century masters including Barbara Chase-Riboud and emerging artists like Charlie Ahearn.  Here’s what most caught our fancy.

Isabel van den Eynde’s “Focus.”  Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

Charlie Ahearn’s “Dota Rock (Bam Grey). Courtesy of artist and P.P.O.W

Eva LeWitt’s “Parted Plastic.” Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze

Gavin Brown’s “Enterprise.” Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

Eykyn Maclean. Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

Pace Gallery. Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

Giosetta Fioroni’s “Tribute to II Teatro Delle Mostre” (1968/2017). Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

Anish Kapoor’s “Glisten Blue”

Barbara Chase – Riboud’s “Bathers.”  Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York

Inside ‘Rick Owens: Furniture’ at MOCA Pacific Design Center

You know him as the overlord of modern gothic fashion. But the much anticipated exhibition Rick Owens: Furniture at West Hollywood’s MOCA Pacific Design Center looks at his creations not meant for the body. The work presented include recent furniture, a new group of large scale sculptures, video and installations – alongside a selection of works by the late artist and musician Steven Parrino, whom the Paris-based American designer admired.

Owens launched his eponymous clothing label in Los Angeles in 1994, and has consistently drawn influence for both his fashion collections and his sculptural furniture from a vast array of art historical sources, which span modernist design, brutalist architecture, monochrome painting, minimal art, and avant-garde dance. His radical and spectacular runway shows function as a form of performance art, and often call into question preconceived and culturally constructed notions of beauty promoted by the very fashion industry in which he works.

But since 2007 Owens has applied a punk and anarchist sensibility to furniture design as well, creating stark and elegant forms out of marble, alabaster, bronze, ox bone, leather and plywood. And in addition to displaying works in Owens’ signature materials, the exhibition showcases the artist’s first foray into foam, rock crystal and concrete.

The show is produced by Michèle Lamy, Owens’ wife, muse “fairy witch” inspiration.

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An Insider’s Guide To Eating & Drinking in Athens

Elad Yifrach has made it his life work to bring his inspired travels into the home with his lifestyle brand L’Objet. Having traversed the world in search of unique beauty and localized culture, He has built a global following with his artisan eye and gorgeous collections.

 

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With a passport filled to the brim, Elad nevertheless keeps coming back to his one of his great loves: The Mediterranean.  He is constantly enamored with Its people, its lifestyle, its art, its way of life and of course, its food. When it comes to Athens, for him, the restaurant and cocktail scene couldn’t be any better. Here are his top picks for the very best in the Greek capital.

 

La Maison Du Grece

Situated in the suburb of Kifissia, this casual yet refined café is a spot for true design lovers. Patterned mosaic tiles pay homage to traditional Greek architecture, whilst the mismatched chairs give it a fun, modern vibe. The produce is organic and regionally sourced, making it popular with the locals. The perfect spot for a chill and relaxed breakfast.

La Maison Du Grec

 

Zonars

Originally created by a local chocolatier, Zonars is one of the hottest addresses in town. Located by Syntagma Square, this Athenian legend was an artist’s hangout and a hot spot in the 40s, with many of its historical elements incorporated into the current design. The ambiance, music, and food + drink are all carefully considered…including decadent ice cream sundae desserts and expertly prepared cocktails.

zonars

Cycladic Cafe

This recently remodeled café is located in Kolonaki and was inspired by traditional Cycladic art – evident in the namesake museum building’s classical structure. Exquisitely designed, the giant sun roof allows for plenty of natural light to beam through the sculptural ceiling, whilst the wall of dense vegetation reaches all the way to the top. A seasonal menu of fresh, local cuisine is served up in the in a serene setting.

Cycladic Museum Cafe press image

 

The Zillers Roof Garden

Situated on the rooftop of the trendy boutique hotel of the same name, its on a small street near the Cathedral Square, For obvious reasons, it’s the perfect spot for a sunset drink in a lively atmosphere, with an epic view of the Acropolis and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

zillers rooftop

Capanna

Capanna is great for its fresh and delicious pizza paired with authentic Greek produce. It might sound like a weird combination, but it truly works. Set in the vibrant neighborhood of Kolonaki, It has a cosy, chic and intimate setting, and this fusion of Greek and Italian culture can also be seen in restaurant décor itself.

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O Kostas

For simple and delicious street food, head to O Kostas, which has been a landmark in Athens since the 1950s, and is still a truly authentic experience. No frills, just get your sandwich at the counter and enjoy the explosion of flavors…like the Souvlaki, a traditional Greek dish made from cooked veal or pork, in a pita with yogurt, fresh cut tomato, parsley and onions.

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Visual Artist Stef Halmos’ Insider Guide To NYC’s Chinatown

Stef Halmos is on the rise in New York’s visual art scene. Her signature plaster series “The Squishes” have been posting up like wild fire across social media and are being heavily collected by fashion darlings like Lisa Mayock of Monogram and Mckenzie Raley of Land of Women.

After attending art school in San Francisco, Halmos set up her studio in New York City where she continued her studies and since explored the process of molding winterstone with fibrous materials. With her newest show now up at Canal Street Market, Stef shares her insider tips on Chinatown’s classic gems.

T&T Plasticland is among my favorite stores in all of New York. Everything they sell is made of plastic, from gorgeous 6″ thick sheets to strange little bits and pieces. They also do fabrication work, and some of their sample projects are strewn about with no particular order. It’s oddly simple and comforting.
The fruit market at the corner of Mulberry & Canal is a magical, psychotic little place comprised of about 12 vendors…all with multicolor beach umbrella stands. Here you can be sure to find an assortment of magnificent fruit, all year round. The vendors and signs are all in Chinese. Sometimes I go and just take a wild stab at trying something strange I’ve never seen before.
Nam Wah Tea Parlor is the classic Chinatown spot for dim sum and overall wonderful food. It feels like an antique Chinese diner inside and the service is so fast it’ll make your head spin.
Mmuseumm is a tiny little hole in the wall museum that exhibits the “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored”. I think it is inside an old elevator shaft or something thereof. It only fits three people at a time and keeps strange hours. If you can catch it when it’s open, it is well worth a visit.
Canal Lighting & Parts has every kind of light bulb you can ever imagine. They’re all blended alongside kooky fixtures and bright neon tubes. It’s the filament equivalent of T&T Plasticland! I’m desperate to buy a ton of giant bulbs (some are up to 3 feet long) and create new work with them.
Stef Halmos displays her newest work beginning this Thursday, December 1st, through December 10th at The Canal Street Market, located at 265 Canal Street between Broadway and Lafayette, Open 11AM-8PM, 7 Days a week.

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Six New Fragrances to Awe Your Senses This Autumn

Your personal scent is so much more than a piece of your personal branding; it’s a sensory element of your first impression and, if all goes well, a key factor in your lasting impression. Fragrances are the key to unlocking memories and evoking feelings of love, lust and nostalgia.

The scent that surrounds you can change your mood in an instant, lead you from one direction to another, and completely manipulate your emotions. It’s remarkable, really, how powerfully influential one bottle of fragrance can be. That’s why choosing your ideal scent is important to the impression you’ll be leaving on the world around you this aututmn.

 

The Revenge of Lady Blanche by Penhaligon’s

British fragrance house Penhaligon’s introduces their newest collection, Portraits, which hits stores this month. Based off fictional characters in the British aristocracy, there are four new scents that represent different members of the Portraits family. Lady Blanche, the matriarch, is refined and delicate without ever being bland. Her scent is a narcotic green floral with notes of Powdery orris, Narcissus flower and Hyacinth. Shamelessly opulent.

lady_blanche

Apostate by Material Lust x Libertine Fragrance

Josh Smith, who founded Libertine Fragrance, is one of the rising tide of indie perfumers bored of what the big houses have to offer. Manhattan artist/designers Material Lust were enlisted to collaborate, and combining their ideals of rebellion, originality and equality – Apostate was born. The unisex scent, for body and home, is a blend of Moroccan rose, star anise, oak moss and soft black leather. Perfect for your inner Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Jim Morrison or Katherine Hepburn.

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India Ink by Heretic Parfum

Heretic is a natural, artisanal, fragrance brand that develops scents based upon the mysterious, sensual and feral aspects of nature. The term “heretic” refers to one who betrays the accepted thinking to follow their own path. By using natural ingredients, Heretic scents bend and bond with your skin for a totally individual experience; and India Ink will help you capture the essence of fall and the coming winter with a blend sacred resins, woods and spices like clove, frankincense, amyris and agarwood.

india-ink

I Feel Love by Cinnamon Projects

In this time of societal division, scent purveyors Cinnamon Projects felt compelled to explore the one feeling that is ultimately unifying: love. Their new unisex fragrance oil roller, I Feel Love, captures the essence of the change in seasons with a euphoric blend of iris, amber, leather, myrrh and oud. Titled after the pivotal collaboration between Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer, it is a wearable reminder of the political, artistic and sexual freedoms we may only achieve together.
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Belle De Tanger by BYREDO

Belle de Tanger, the new fragrance from Byredo exclusively for Neiman Marcus, is evocative of fall’s more spicy and playful moments. It opens with Moroccan tangerine and zesty notes of bitter orange, with a spicy floral tone which is comprised of citrus oriental infused with piquant, bracing juniper berries then paired with the sparkling, lightly rosy tones of pink pepper. But at its heart is a rich woody tone, with earthy midnight violet,  nuances of powdery wild orris and refined saffron flower. Perfect for those who are not so much mysterious as wonderfully complex.

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Rooted Oil by Noto Botanics

Noto Botanics was founded by makeup artist Gloria Noto, who is known on Los Angeles production sets for using her hand-mixed concoctions on her celebrity clientele. And as part of her recently launched eponymous line, she brings us the rich, smokey, unisexy Rooted Oil. Subtle hints of Bergamot and cardamom give this scent layers of grounding. With a base of argan oil and fractioned coconut oil, it can also be a nourishing hair oil.

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