Report From Aloft Live: Troye Sivan’s Insider Guide to Perth, Australia

 

 

Until recently, Perth lurked in the shadows of sister cities Sydney and Melbourne, due to its remote position on the West coast of Australia – though it is naturally blessed with over 270 days of sunshine a year, refreshingly fresh air, beautiful beaches and a significantly laid back lifestyle. In recent years it has experienced an economic and cultural boom, however, and with that the emergence of hip, burgeoning neighborhoods outside the city center.

Recently we had the chance to experience Perth through the eyes of Australian pop sensation Troye Sivan, as he returned home as part of the Live at Aloft Homecoming Tour, giving an intimate concert on the rooftop of the Aloft Perth hotel.

“Being able to return home and connect with my fans in Australia is always a really special experience for me,” he enthused. “And being in my hometown of Perth, where my musical journey began, is truly magical.”

 

Aloft Perth

 

The Homecoming is part of Aloft Hotels‘ continuing efforts to cultivate a dynamic music program, pivoting between established and relatively unknown artists. In conjunction with Universal Music Group, the eight stop tour takes artists back to the places they came from, and gives the fans that supported them from the beginning a chance to see their hometown heroes in a genuinely intimate setting.

Sivan continued, “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of Aloft’s Homecoming Tour and share my music with both the community that shaped me and with the music-loving travelers staying at Aloft.”

Hoping to get to know his home city a little better, we asked him to give us the real 411 on Perth.

 

Northbridge

What was formerly considered the skid row of Perth, Northbridge has undergone a major makeover and has become the center of Perth’s vibrant nightlife scene. Just north of the Central Business District, the area still maintains a gritty feel, but the graffiti has now morphed into Instagrammable street art, which decorates the concrete buildings that are now home to galleries, independent boutiques, bars, nightclubs, outdoor cafes and restaurants.
As the neighborhood borders Chinatown, Northbridge is considered to be Perth’s melting pot, where you can find different cuisines from around the world, such as Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Greek, Japanese, Italian, and Mexican. As you pass through CBD to Northbridge, stop by Perth’s newest outdoor cultural and retail plaza, Yagan Square, also the hub of the recent Perth Fashion Festival – which attracted Australia’s top designers and newcomers from around the world.

 

 

 

Brunch in Leederville and Mount Lawley

One of the favorite weekend pastimes of Perth is brunch. And two of its coolest neighborhoods, Leederville and Mt. Lawley, are home to five of the city’s best brunch spots. The Eat the Street Brunch on Beaufort tour takes you to all of them, sampling local delicacies and meeting with the chefs and restaurant owners.

 

 

Fave Restaurants

Embodying a breezy, 1970s-Los Angeles vibe is Henry Summer, an urban indoor/outdoor cocktail and wine bar that always feels like summer. Bask in the sun amidst a lush décor of plants and colorful furniture, with a farm to table menu that changes seasonally, featuring classic Australian grilled specialties or delicious veggie packed salads. It’s a perfect spot to grab a rosé, sangria, wine spritzer, or mojito to get into the spirit of summer. (N.B. Australian summer runs from December 1 through the end of February.)
Load up on carbs before a late night on the town at the hidden gem Francoforte Spaghetti Bar, known for serving Perth’s best pasta paired with organic wines. For an ‘only in Australia’ experience try the kangaroo bolognese. Though the menu is small, there are plenty of other more traditional yet delicious Italian options such as an eggplant sugo, kale pesto and guanciale carbonara.

 

Henry Summer

 

Fave Nightclub

For a glam, over the top night out I head to Connections, Perth’s premiere gay and lesbian club, beginning the evening watching their extravagant drag queen cabaret show. The real party gets going after midnight, when the upper floors open to a dance club as well as an open air rooftop terrace with plenty of potent cocktails to fuel the night.

 

Rottnest Island

A protected island off the coast of Perth that is only accessible by ferry, Rottnest is a beautiful unspoiled nature reserve, home to the smallest and most adorable marsupial in Australia: the quokka. Thanks to Instagram and celebrity selfies with this cute creature, the island has seen a major spike in visitors, as tourists follow them around the island to take the perfect #quokkaselfie. Explore the coastline by boat and witness whales and dolphins swimming in the ocean in their annual southward trek to warmer waters.

 

Aloft Perth

For cool, loft style living, the design oriented Aloft Perth is the surely city’s best choice. Stylish guest rooms are decorated with well-chosen contemporary art and bright pops of color, and feature panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the cityscape and the Swan River. Works by Western Australian artists adorn the hallways, embodying the unique landscape and cultural perspective of the region.
The seasonally driven Springs Kitchen has indoor and outdoor seating areas for casual all day dining – followed by drinks at the stylish XYZ bar, which also serves a light bar menu along with creative cocktails, against a backdrop of intimate live music performances.

 

 

The Aloft Live Music Series

The best thing about the Aloft’s live music events are that the performances are free and open to everyone; those looking to attend Live at Aloft Hotels Homecoming Tour should RSVP to alofthotels.com/homecomingtour. Obviously capacity is limited, RSVP does not guarantee entry, and attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. However, a Marriott Bonvoy credit card gives one VIP access to cut-the-line, plus attend meet & greet events with the talent.

 

Dua Lipa Stars With an Eagle in New YSL Beauté ‘Libre’ Campaign

 

 

Dua Lipa is free to do what she wants. And smell beautiful doing it.

Indeed, the model turned songstress was been tapped by YSL Beauté as the brand ambassador for their latest fragrance, Libre, which is French for “free.” And as someone who has a rocked a few memorably androgynous looks, advocating a scent that walks the line between masculine and feminine seems perfectly reasonable. Her utterly modern take on classic beauty does genuinely seem to embody the Libre ethos.

Proof of YSL’s enthusiasm for the collaboration was the splashy NYFW party we attended for the launch – for which the Classic Car Club on the Hudson River was transformed into a seductive playground, with an interactive Freedom Wall, where we were given the opportunity to film our own Freedom Manifesto (we’ll spare you the result). DJ Caroline Polachek and free-flowing champagne entertained the considerable style/culture cognoscenti, including Anwar Hadid, Diplo, Mark Ronson, Zara Larsson, Elsa Hosk, Lauren Wasser and Halima Aden.

The campaign itself shows Dua Lipa communing with a majestic looking eagle, while an update of the The Stones’ classic “I’m Free” provides the musical backdrop. Here’s what it looks like.

 

NYFW: Karen Elson, Kate Moss and Emily Ratajkowski at The Daily Front Row’s 7th Annual Fashion Media Awards

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Karen Elson and Tomo Koizumi attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

To get New York Fashion Week on its way, the Daily Front Row kicked off the festivities with their star studded annual Fashion Media Awards Thursday night, this year held at the Rainbow Room. Think of it as the Golden Globes of the fashion world, with celebs, influencers, and style icons turning out to take center stage as presenters, recipients and, in some cases, just very well-dressed supporters.

Amongst the A-listers honored were Kate Moss, who was naturally given the Style Icon award, Spiderman star Zendaya as the Fashion Force, Emily Ratajkowski as a Fashion Entrepreneur, Frederic Fekkai as the Beauty Innovator, Edward Enninful from British Vogue, and Halima Aden, who was recognized as a Breakthrough Model and activist.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Adut Akeck, Kate Moss and Cecilia Bonstrom attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

Host Graham Norton bestowed the best of his riotously witty Brit humor, as he led the ceremony which also honored Zoey Grossman, Tomo Koizumi, Michael Mente and Sasha Siem as they thanked their considerable peers and presenters, which included Tommy Hilfiger, Karen Elson, Yara Shahidi, Jordan Barrett, Ashley Graham, Tan France, Candice Swanepoel, Stephen Gan, Christian Louboutin, Sailor Brinkley Cook, Alexander Lundaqvist, and Vanessa Williams.

But rather than making a fuss over the extravagant attire and styles, this year the honorees focused more on the social change they hope to engender.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

The Pose’s Indya Moore, who was the first transgender to grace the cover of ELLE, took the award for Cover of the Year. Using her fashion prowess as a tribute to make an impactful social statement, Moore wore custom designed “Keepsake” earrings with photos of 16 transgender black women who have been murdered in hate crimes. She thanked Lady Gaga and Ryan Murphy for making a positive impact on her life when living in a group home.

“Trans people deserve safety, acknowledgement and respect,” Moore insisted. “Not just when we are on the covers of magazines, but when we are poor and when we are on the streets.”

It was a particularly poignant moment, considering transgender rights are once again tragically under assault.

 

Above Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Christian Louboutin and Maye Musk attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: (L-R) Emily Ratajkowski, Kathy Ireland, Raissa Gerona, Halima Aden, Candice Swanepoel, Zoey Grossman, and Indya Moore attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

Dock to Dish: Sampling the Sustainable Delights at Montauk’s New Showfish

 

 

It’s the same every Hamptons season: you’ve barely recovered from your Memorial Day hangover, and suddenly it’s August. And wouldn’t you know, we’d yet to set foot in Showfish, the buzzy new eatery in the stylishly renovated Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina.

We quickly remedied that situation, and learned just what all that buzz was about. Epitomizing the joys of laidback summer dining, the Montauk restaurant is the latest to follow the principles of Dock to Dish, a program recognized by the United Nations in 2017 for its innovative approach to sustaining our troubled oceans.

Indeed, Showfish offers up some of the freshest seafood all caught by local fisherman in the Long Island Sound, and prepared with vegetables sourced from local farms. The seasonally focused menu was created by Chef Jeremy Blutstein, who had won heaps of praise for his stint at Bridgehampton’s perpetually trendy Almond bistro.

 

 

But here, he is decisively elevating seafood shack classics to a whole new level of sophistication.

“As an East End native,” he explains, “it’s incredibly rewarding to utilize my longstanding relationships with the community’s top farmers, fishermen, bay men and artisans and put my knowledge of sustainable practices to use with local products. We really want our diners to experience the best of the region and to provide the opportunity to enjoy local produce and seafood in ways they haven’t before.”

The name Showfish is actually a reference to the sprawling nine-foot seafood display and lobster tank where diners can select their catch of the day.

 

 

Though we were tempted by the fruits de mer raw bar tower, we started with smaller shareable plates: the slightly cured Montauk fluke crudo, tuna crudo and scallop carpaccio. We then moved on to vegetarian options found on the From the Farm section of the menu, including Sagaponack Foster Farm spring asparagus and Quail Hill Farm warm carrot salad.

Chef Blutstein’s entrees, an innovative mix of the fresh and the cured, included some genuine showstoppers. Standouts were the house dry-aged bone-in tuna ribeye, tagliatelle with Maine uni butter and Calabrian chili, and, our fave, seared scallops with house-cured duck prosciutto.

Something you don’t often see out East, the cocktail program at Showfish Bar mirrors the restaurant’s values on sustainability and localism. Unused strawberry stems from the 1 Tequila 2 Tequila strawberry margarita are refashioned to create a strawberry vinegar used in dishes or in mocktails. Leftover fruit is also utilized in house-infused spirits and syrups such as the habanero herradura tequila and cucumber vodka.

 

 

Other potent tipples on the drinks menu included the Shaolin Sour, featuring Bombay sapphire, lemon verbena, matcha green tea, lemon and black sesame, and the Caffe Shakerato, Showfish’s excellent signature espresso martini.

Though the interiors exhibit an inviting, breezy-chic (rattan chairs, natural woods, parquet floors, curved white banquettes), we highly recommend dining alfresco, under the stars and twinkling lights, on the porch overlooking the marina. Oh, and Gurney’s has played host to the likes of Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz – so here everything on the Dock to Dish menu comes with a side of superb people watching.

 

BlackBook Rooms w/ a View: W South Beach Hotel, Miami

 

 

It’s no secret that things change in the blink of an eye in trend obsessed Miami. But a decade after its debut, the W South Beach still finds itself at the epicenter of the scene during everything from Swim Week to Art Basel. At any give time, supermodels, contemporary art stars, glamour hunters, and the media cognoscenti will still be descending on this significantly design driven hotspot hotel.

We checked in during Miami Swim, while the W SoBe was playing host to some of the most anticipated shows of the season, as well as all manner of star power parties, beachside soirees, model-led fitness classes and even a few enlightening wellness conversations. We enjoyed a bit of genuine South Beach living in our Wonderful Studio Suite, where the ocean views were, must say, truly and absolutely wonderful.

Here’s what we loved.

 

The Location

Sitting just across the street from Collins Park (at 22nd and Collins), this gleaming glass beacon lords over South Beach, commanding unobstructed prime oceanfront views, and easy beach access. It’s not just a hotel, but a full-service resort – so outside of our scheduled meetings and parties, we hardly felt the need to leave the premises. But it’s also within walking distance of all the Downtown, all-night nightlife.

 

 

The Rooms

The Wonderful Studio Suite, is, we can confirm, exactly that. Feeling more like a lofty studio apartment than a hotel room, it’s got a home-away-from-home vibe, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a stark modern design that make the generous living space, from the wet bar to the sitting areas, feel even bigger.
Generous closets and a sprawling dressing space adjacent to the marble bathroom was great for our quick outfit changes. But after all the parties, we slept like an all grownup baby on the signature Heavenly Bed, topped with comfy Egyptian cotton sheets. When we weren’t out schmoozing, we spent a lot of time on the private glass balcony taking in the life-affirming, panoramic ocean views.

 

 

The Beach or The Pool

We soaked in the blazing South Florida sunshine at the lush, outdoor pool area, surrounded by poolside cabanas, and shaded by sweeping palm trees. But the beach is so close it takes little effort to find yourself dipping toes in sand on a pink and white striped chaise lounger…or floating in the cool, turquoise waters of the Atlantic.
A couple of times, we were craving daytime cocktails and a little light lunch fare; and, as happened, the beach and pool areas were fully serviced by the Wet Bar & Grille. So without even leaving our chairs, we were soon drinking rosé sangria and their signature Watermelon Krush cocktails and Skinny Wet Margaritas. When paired with a brick oven pizza and buttered lobster rolls, it was seriously winning.

 

 

The Restaurants

With its white brick walls, pendant lamps and all around artful atmosphere, we found The Restaurant at W South Beach a cool place to indulge in the daily happy hour of half price oysters and bubbles. But if you tend towards a bit of celeb-spotting/people-watching, the scene at haute Chinese eatery Mr. Chow is one of Miami’s best – as is the specialty Velvet Chicken.
But most nights we could be found prepping for an evening on the town, or grabbing a cultivated nightcap in the W’s signature Living Room Bar. There amongst the furry chairs and zebra pillows, impressive DJ talent could be counted on to rock us well into the morning.

 

Tabula Rasa: The 26th Annual Watermill Center Benefit Offers 100 Artists a Blank Slate

Images by BFA

 

 

Possibly the pinnacle of the Hamptons summer social scene is the annual Watermill Center benefit at the end of each July. 1,000 guests meander through an enchanted, 10-acre forested space at sunset, and experience fantastical performance art based around some or other esoteric theme – which, this year was Tabula Rasa: a blank slate with no preconceived ideas or common goals, open to interpretation by the current 100 artists-in-residence, hailing from all over the globe.

As the best art is meant to provoke or, hopefully, expand our minds, some of this year’s installations symbolized new beginnings, such as Humberto Diaz’ It’s All in Your Head performance with saran wrapped artists. Yet another, The Purger, nodded to surrealism and sci-fi, a half giant fly and man becoming one.

 

 

Notable guests from the art, philanthropy, fashion and social worlds who came out to support this year included Isabella Rosselini, Nicole Miller, Polina Proshkina, Peter Marino, Bill Powers, Sally Hirshberger, Kelly Behun & Jay Sugarman, Nicolas Bos, Madison Cox, Anke & Jürgen Friedrich, Alexandra Munroe & Robert Rosenkranz, as well as Katharina Otto-Bernstein & Nathan Bernstein.

The evening was generously supported by its presenting sponsor, Van Cleef & Arpels and honored Katharine Rayner, philanthropist and early support of The Watermill, as well as Carrie Mae Weems, artist and recipient of the Center’s 2017 Inga Maren Otto Fellowship.

 

 

Over dinner, guests enjoyed an immersive installation and performance by Bianca Casady of CocoRosie and Ira Anufrieva. Helga Davis performed a touching rendition of “Perfect Day” as a tribute to the late Lou Reed. DJ Kitty Cash kept the artsy after party going ’til the wee hours, as always.

The Watermill Center was founded in 1992 by avant-garde visionary and theater director Robert Wilson, and acts as an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities, situated on ten acres of Shinnecock ancestral territory on Long Island’s East End. With an emphasis on creativity and collaboration, the Center encourages experimental artistic practice and regularly convenes the brightest minds from across many disciplines to do, in Wilson’s words, “what no one else is doing.”

From what we could tell, the mission remains a success.

 

Images: Champagne Armand de Brignac Throws Glam Hamptons Clambake

 

 

As Labor Day approaches, with its promise of spending less time in the sunshine, and more time chained to a laptop, the Hamptons cognoscenti palpably ratchets up the fabulousness, to get as much out of last of the season as possible.

To wit, Armand de Brignac, the prestigious champagne house owned exclusively by none other than Jay-Z, hosted an elegant summer sunset clambake this past weekend at the perpetually chic Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton. The swinging soiree paired the brand’s Gold Brut and Rosé, poured from metallic jeroboam bottles, with a raw bar of oysters and mussels and an interactive caviar station.

 

 

For the main event, chef Jean Georges – whose eponymous restaurant at Topping Rose is one of the Hamptons’ top tables – prepared an elaborate clambake, with lobster, clams and summer corn. Which we can definitively confirm all tastes better when washing it down with $300+ bottles of champagne.

The glittering guest list included Marc & Pam Murphy, Kelly Bensimon, Florence Fabricant, Andrew Warren, Casey Fremont, Julia Moshy, Tara Sowlaty and many more, who mingled by the pool in the balmy clime, before Andy Mac took to the stage for a live acoustic performance.

 

Music City Chic: Eight Particularly Excellent Things About the New Dream Nashville Hotel

 

There are those who express concern regarding the recent spate of relentless over-development in Nashville city center – but as we always ultimately have to admit, there’s simply no stopping…”progress.”

Of course, you can still seriously get your honky tonk on – or head to East Nashville for full hipster immersion, catching the latest indie darlings at Basement East. And the hard-partying city still loves its cowboy boots and 10 gallon hats, to be sure.

But on our last visit saw us checking in to one of the positive developments to come out of all that…development. Located just moments from so many of Music City’s main cultural attractions is the shiny new Dream Nashville Hotel – which brings a bit of NYC/LA chic to 4th Avenue N, while also revitalizing the storied Printer’s Alley – once the center of all manner of naughty behavior. Drawing from the neighborhood’s rich history and exuberant energy, the Dream has quickly become a magnet for the creative set, with six dining and nightlife venues, from the casual cool of Natura, to the sexy decadence of Dirty Little Secret.

Here’s what loved most.

 

Location, Location

Right along historic, sometimes infamous Printer’s Alley. The stretch the hotel occupies has been a nightlife district since the 1940s, and has even done time as the city’s Red Light District. It’s tidied up a bit now, obviously. But, hey, you never know.

The Rooms

Thoughtfully styled by Meyer Davis Studio, the 168 art deco referencing, loft inspired rooms are awash in deep jewel tones. Bold color schemes and playfully modern furnishings  play nice with the historic details of the landmarked heritage buildings in which the Dream is located. Deluxe King rooms have generous windows framing the Nashville skyline.

 

Easy 8

An ideal spot for a casual grab and go lunch or, even better in a town like Nashville, a late night, hangover pre-empting munchie run. They serve mouthwatering, overstuffed sandwiches, juicy burgers, and decadent options such as the Kobe beef hotdogs, that are as big on flavor as they are on calories. And did we mention their foot long french fries? Obviously the perfect way to soak up all that bourbon.

Stateside Kitchen

Something a little different for Nashville. Signature brasserie-style restaurant Stateside Kitchen serves up sophisticated modern American cuisine under a beautiful, airy glass atrium. Helmed by chef and Hillstone Restaurant Group alum Michael Kopfman, you’ll find yourself torn between the bucatini jumbo prawn pasta and the 22 ounce cowboy ribeye with, naturally, jumbo asparagus.

 

 

Your Chariot

Why call Uber when you have a complimentary 2019 Lincoln Navigator at your disposal? Guests can tool around Nashville in style and substance – and, like the steaks, it’s also really, really big.

Parlour Bar

Vibing with the legacy of the area, the intimate and sophisticated Parlour Bar skips the over-concepted-cocktail trend for a chance to update the classics. Whiskey and bourbon aficionados will appreciate the Suntory Sidecar, and the very southern Smoked Peach Old Fashioned. But there’s also the CBD laced Gin & Chronic, made, believe it or not, with strawberry rhubarb.

 

 

Snitch

Those who have fully committed to the fussed-over cocktail scene will love Snitch. Located right on Printer’s Alley, they’ve enlisted top local drinks alchemists to create a menu of distinctly Instagrammable imbibables. And when the DJs aren’t spinning familiar rock and hip-hop, expect impromptu live performances on their vintage stand-up piano.

Dirty Little Secret

And finally, we’ll let you in on the Dirty Little Secret…which is hidden behind the wall of an intimate All Saints boutique, also tucked away down Printer’s Alley. This dark and seductive hideaway hosts live music, intriguing entertainment, and some of the world’s top international DJs. Virtually anything goes.

 

 

Our Favorite Art Basel 2018 Moment: Loupe + TILA Celebrated Black Women Artists

 

With the Art Basel 2018 dust settled, we took a moment to reflect on what was surely our favorite moment: a brunch on December 5 which saw Loupe and TILA celebrate black women artists.

As one of the top streaming art apps in the world, Loupe has been a game changer in the way people view, experience and acquire art. For Basel, they partnered with Atlanta’s TILA Studios to host an EmpowerHer Brunch attracting a powerhouse audience comprised of 250 of the most prominent black female artists, curators, and influencers who celebrated their talents and held a spirited and exhilarating discussion about equity and the secrets of artistic success.

“I wanted women to have the same feeling I had the first time I visited Art Basel,” says TILA Studios founder, Tiffany LaTrice. “To see themselves and feel empowered knowing they had a seat at the table.”

 

 

Held at the high-profile Perez Art Museum Miami, the brunch was sponsored by Mailchimp, and featured lyricist and poet Aja Monet and keynote speaker, Naima J. Keith (Chief Curator at the California African American Museum), along with artists Nikia Phoenix, Ebony G. Patterson, and Myrtis Bedolla. Miami’s own Jill Tracey from HOT 105 and celebrity influencers Shelah Marie, Coco (Coco and Breezy), and TK were in attendance, as well.

The 10 featured TILA artists were selected by Grace Gardner, TILA’s in-house curator, and Daricia Mia DeMarr of the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport Art Program. Their inclusion was based on the creative ways they approached narrative elements in their work, and their past exhibition history. It was a rousing success, and infinitely inspiring.

Of course, BlackBook were already big fans of Loupe (see our ongoing collaborative City Guide Series), who have been exposing a new worldwide audience to both emerging and established artists, with 30 vibrant smartly curated channels of streaming art for both personal entertainment and purchase. They are the future of art, to be sure.