Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chic Reads: My First New York

Photo courtesy of: New York Magazine and

I miss the launched of this book by two days when I was in New York last week. I saw it advertised in a new issue of New York Magazine and ran to Barnes & Noble to buy it but was told it wasn't in yet.

It is a collection of essays about people's early experiences in the Big Apple and contributors include Graydon Carter, Naomi Campbell, Harold Evans, Rufuf Wainwright, Diane von Furstenberg, Liz Smith, Lauren Hutton and many other personalities - famous and infamous.
Judging from the excerpt from Nora Ephron's piece published in New York Magazine, it seems like it will be an excellent read.

However, this is the kind of book that will not be distributed widely in Asia. So, I kindly ask my local bookstore in Hong Kong to order it for me. Now, I just have to wait for two weeks until I can finally devour the essays. I am most especially looking forward to Andre Aciman's piece as I loved his book Call Me By Your Name.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chic Finds: L'Objet

A lot of people really liked my gold lizard magnifying glass and letter opener from L'Objet which I found at Saks. I also bought the bejewelled crocodile napkin rings in silver and black from Bergdorf's (photo above.) I first saw these napkin rings in the New York Times where they asked Colin Cowie to dress a table Oscar's style and he picked the crocodile napkin rings but in gold and emerald.

I am now in love with L'Objet and I look forward to owning more of their pieces.

A product shot of our napkin rings

These wine stoppers are divine.

A pagoda shaped napkin ring. It also comes as a salt and pepper shaker.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let There Be Light

I've been debating whether we should get these candle wall sconces from Altfield and hang them on both sides of the lip picture in our dining room.

Would they take the attention away from the picture and the black glass chandelier which was our very first purchase together? I've visited Altfield so many times now, looking at the sconces and trying to imagine how they would like at home. I have yet to decide. Maybe you can help...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chic Comeback

Mrs John L Strong stationery is back in business. I discovered this because I took the chance of going to their shop on Madison Avenue and was pleasantly surprised to find them open. Last September, news came that they closed. The people at Mrs Strong told me that the company has a new financial backer and that they have resumed operations.

While at the shop, I picked up note cards with a shell motif and envelopes lined in orange. I also bought menu cards with a Chinese pagoda design.

The gold lizard magnifying glass and letter opener are from L'Objet which I found at Saks. And the orange shagreen pencils are from Dransfield & Ross.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On The Shelves 2

I spent the afternoon accessorizing and trying to make my books fit on the shelves.

What do you think of the result?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On The Shelves

Upon my return to Hong Kong after almost two weeks in New York, I was greeted by the sight of this:

Now I just need to recover from my 24-hour flight (a gruesome 6-hour layover in Seoul) so that I can start arranging the books and accessorizing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Open House

We went to the Architectural Digest Home Show at Pier 94 on the West Side Highway yesterday hoping to see a lot of fabulous things. Sadly, we left uninspired. We should have known better as Architectural Digest has really been rather dull for the past couple of years. Like the magazine, the show need huge doses of glamour and style. Except for the 1stdibs pavilion and The New Traditionalist booth, everything else looked humdrum and derivative. For the first time, I went to a show without feeling an urge to buy anything.

Other than the exhibitors showing off all sorts of furniture and accessories, there was a section dedicated to an exhibition called Dining by Design which features table settings done by different designers. There were a couple of really good ones, but the others really looked amateur and unfinished. See the photos below and judge for yourself:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

At The Museum

The big ticket draw at the Museum of Modern Art is the Tim Burton exhibit but I found myself breezing past the exhibition as I expected to see a lot more than sketches, movie posters and animated features. I expected to see costumes from the movies, life-size tableaus of scenes from Sleepy Hollow or Alice In Wonderland. There were a few displays of this sort like a model of Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, but I found this lacking.

So I rushed through the exhibit to move to other galleries and found two walls of black and white Richard Avedon portraits in a room dedicated to photography. I love Avedon's work especially his fashion photographs and portraits of society women like this one of Marella Agnelli, wife of Gianni Agnelli, owner of Ferrari. Despite her already swan-like neck, Avedon was said to have manipulated the picture to lengthen her neck a little more. I love the elegance of this photograph.

On the bottom left corner is a portrait of two of my favorite style icons: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. I love their style and sense of fashion, especially the Duke's dandy look which remains relevant to this day.

Coco Chanel and Marilyn Monroe (bottom right) continue to be referenced and serve as inspirations for many people, especially those in the creative field. I love the photograph of Coco Chanel because it's sort of candid, as if she were mid-sentence, perhaps in the midst of uttering one of her fashion bon mots such as "Elegance is refusal."

The pictures of Twiggy, Veruschka and Brigitte Bardot (bottom) were also part of the exhibit entitled Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 at the International Center of Photography last year.

Also worth seeing is the retrospective on the work of performance artist Marina Abramovic but be warned though that there is a lot of nudity; not only in photographs and videos but in person as well. I found the exhibit very thought-provoking as it explored so much more than sexuality. It questioned couplehood, loneliness, sacrifice, deliverance and many other existential themes. Abramovic's performace was featured in a Sex and the City episode as the setting for Carrie's and Alexander Petrovsky's first meeting and first date.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Window Dressing

Fashion and Interior Design Meet at the Windows of Bergdorf Goodman

Derek Lam

This Carolina Herrera display with the upside down sofa on the ceiling reminds me of the Viktor & Rolf store in Milan

Monday, March 15, 2010

New York State of Mind 2

One of the first shows we watched on Broadway on this trip is Looped starring Valerie Harper. It is about a recording session of Tallulah Bankhead for one line for movie which turns into a whole day affair of raunchy comedy with doses of catharsis. I didn't know much about Tallulah Bankhead before the play except that she's inspired several designers.

Valerie Harper as Tallulah Bankhead in Looped

I walked out of the theater wanting to learn more about her because she was quite the revolutionary with a tongue that was fierce, cutting and full of sexual bon mots. Kim Cattral's Samantha seems like a virgin next to her. For example:

"I am a bi-sexual. Buy me something and I'll get sexual"


"I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic And the others either give me a still neck or lockjaw"


"The worst position I can think of is on a hammock... standing"

Tallulah Bankhead photographed by Eugene Robert Richee

It's a really hilarious play and if you are in NYC, make sure to see it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New York State of Mind

Since we are in New York right now, I would like to reprint a quote from Donna Karan — the quintessential New Yorker — from an interview with Women's Wear Daily about the current state of fashion which we totally agree with.

She said:

"Pre-fall shouldn’t exist, I’m sorry. Wrong. Let’s start there. We’ve got to bring clothes into season."


"Resort screwed up spring. And then pre-fall screwed up spring. Everything screwed spring up. Spring got sort of caged out. I’m saying to reinvent spring again, reinvent fall again, reinvent the season we’re designing for."

This all makes sense because when it is the dead of winter (January-February), when the weather is at its coldest, you can't find a warm sweater or jacket in the stores as they are filled with pre-spring or spring merchandise. And in July and August, you'd be hard-pressed to find a straw hat or linen trousers because the stores are stocked with cashmere and shearling coats.

I've made a career about writing and analyzing fashion and while I get excited about seeing new fashions all the time, I'd like to be able to buy clothes when they are in season, not months before.

Photo courtesy of WireImage and Getty Images

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Delivery

This came yesterday:

The chaise for my closet/study in peacock blue velvet. I cant wait to organize this space so I can start lounging on it while looking at my clothes and shoes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Waiting Game

I thought that by now we would have already settled in quite nicely in our apartment. But a month and half later several things are still missing due to the long Chinese holiday break and the unusually humid weather, at least that is what we've been told. Things get usually get done quickly in Hong Kong.

Right now we are still waiting for our bookshelf which would look like this:

So we can sort these out:

We are also waiting for our TV shelf which would look like this:

Meanwhile we have to live with this:

The dining table's new legs are supposed to come today. As will the chaise that's to go in my study and the headboard for the guest bedroom. We shall see...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chime In

With Hong Kong winter over, we finally got to test our central air conditioning in our new apartment. Anyone who has ever moved in to a new place would know that you never really find out what’s great or wrong about your apartment until you’ve lived in it for a few days. For example, on our first week when Paul was staying with us, we discovered that there was a design flaw in the bathroom. Even with the shower curtain in the bath and shower area, water would still spill onto the floor when you shower because the tub is slightly raised than the border surrounding it. So the water would splatter on the border, collect and flow onto the bathroom floor.

As for our air condition, the first time we turned it on it kept making a vibrating noise. The repairmen came the next day and it seemed like it was fixed after they gave me a demonstration. But that night, it was the same story: the same vibrating chugging noise akin to a train about to leave the station. But that wasn’t the only noise, the air blowing from the AC unit would hit our crystal chandelier and the crystals would sway and hit each other and produce a sound similar to those of wind chimes. It’s been three nights of more or less the same thing: crrrkk, crrrkkk, crrrkkk, chug, chug, chug, ding dong, ding dong, ding dong. It’s like were roughing it out somewhere in the woods with the cacophony of noises.

No wonder I keep having weird dreams. Last night’s was especially strange as I dreamt that Andre the Giant’s son was our houseguest and because he was so huge and tall he would step on all our furniture and destroy everything. I wonder what it all means.