Monthly Archives: May 2009

*Achoo*: Tickling my nose AND tickling my fancy


Ladies and Gentlemen: For the first time in years I managed to stumble into Trader Joe’s when it was not a complete and utter mob scene – and any one who lives in NYC knows that “mob scene” is its usual state. This meant that I actually got to wander around and peruse a little. And I saw this tissue box and it filled me with a bit of glee:

Charming, is it not?! I have particularly potent allergies this year, and have a tendency (historically) to catch myself a cold or two over the winter; so, I know my tissue boxes, and you don’t find ones like this terribly often. Sure, the Grand Tissue Companies have been making an effort to put a little life into the typically yawn-worthy tissue box (much appreciated) but this one adds a little humor. The Someecards aesthetic, but a little friendlier. They even remind you to check your pockets for tissues before putting them in the wash; a reminder I could have certainly used at certain points in time.

Sweet, yes? A+ in packaging design, Mr. Trader Joe’s. Keep on rocking.

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites

I ain’t no DJ but I do love my tunes


You recall that I dig record players, right? Isn’t this concept record player/CD player (dubbed “Zero .1”) from designers Francesco Cugusi and Roberto Strippoli super swanky? I’d love it even more if it were robins egg blue. Or yellow. A hint of retro to deflect from the otherwise uber-modernness. Hm.

Anyway, the swell thing about this lovely creature is that it allows you to play your records by the track, just like you do with a CD. That would be pretty nifty, wouldn’t it? Granted, there is a bit a charm in just sort of having to listen straight through…. you know how you can get stuck on one track to the detriment of all the other’s sometimes? Well, having to listen straight through could prevent that. And, also, it’s kind of fun to have to search for the song manually. Oh, the sweet needle-on-vinyl screechy scratch noise of my youth/college-days-when-my-roomie-had-a-record-player.

It’s the perfect time of year to be doing the charleston around the living room to the tune of 1920’s jazz records *sniffle*.

(AND the capability to, with the Zero.1 switch right after to, perhaps, one of the cringe-worthy CDs of my early teenage-hood that I still have hanging around…somewhere)

Via Yanko Design

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites



Am I a little weird for thinking this is kinda beautiful? I was hunting down pictures for my last post (since I know you dears love to have something to look at) when there was some sort of glitch and instead of loading the picture this showed up. And I was charmed.

I just love the colors all running around and into eachother.. like pixellated pointellistic watercolor something-or-other. Err. Maybe?

Happy Accident!

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites

good words & imaginary conversations.


I’m pretty big on writing things down. I’m not one of those people who hears or reads something nice and says, “Golly, that was interesting!” and then puts that book or magazine down and continue on my way. No sir. I have to write it down. It’s a quirk, what can I say. And so, the other day when I was perusing Clear Magazine (issue 31) and came across an interview with design legends Leila and Massimo Vignelli of Vignelli Associates I found some of the things they had to say so interesting that I had to yank out one of my little spare notebooks and jot them down. Since this is not an uncommon occurrence, I soon find myself looking over some other bon mots I had scribbled out and noticed some similarities. So, I’ve laid them out here for you; I imagine it sort of as though these designers and writers are sitting around having a sort of imaginary conversation (except for Leila and Massimo, who are actually speaking to one another). Maybe we, the reader, are a sort of fly on the wall, or the quiet shy guest content just to listen and we hear bits and pieces of the conversations going around the room:

Massimo Vignelli (M): We believe that history is very important – history of yesterday, history of a thousand years ago, whatever it is. And then to design in such a way that it’s going to last, because we feel a responsibility towards the client and toward the user. Designing something that is going to last rather than be thrown away. We do not belong to the culture of waste… We despise the culture of obsolescence and are in the favor of permanence . However, having said that, we love the fact that there are trends, because trends are the sparks.

Leila Vignelli (L): Yes. Sparks for the fire.

M: Trends are the sparks; permanence is the fire. The sparks make the fire brighter, pleasant to watch… and so there is room for both. There is room for permanence and there is room for trendiness. Then each one decides what fits best for him. For us, permanence is more interesting; for others, trendiness is more fun. As a matter of fact, you could even say there is a certain permanence in trendiness. For example, look back at things done 50 years ago, 70 years ago, or think of people that were in fashion but still valid today – like Coco Chanel, who was innovative then, but still very, very good today

L: There are things which are very trendy, but because of the period, and thus the period element…

M: …They are testimonials of a time.

Emilio Pucci with model, 1953

…The reproductions also include the constricting armholes and narrow shoulders of yesteryear. Indeed, in 2001 when the firm reproduced a Marilyn Monroe look – a blouse and capris – “the pants were so tight around the calves, some clients couldn’t put their feet through,” the designer says. “But if it were different, it wouldn’t have been the real thing. I think that’s one of the reasons girls find it fashionable, because the portions are a little distorted. The idea of having real vintage collections, not only vintage-inspired, makes it really unique. It gives you a taste of what you can’t find today.
-Laudomia Pucci on designing vintage reproductions, in W Magazine. April 2009

L: We are very realistic about our design…We feel that a designer has to give that. When you see a designer do something that costs a lot of money, but you can’t sit on it…you think, okay, that is art, if you want to call it, but it is not design. A designer has a responsibility to the public, to the manufacturer – that he doesn’t do something too expensive or something they cannot sell – so something….

M:…Something very balanced. This doesn’t prevent us from looking for gestures. Beyond the function, it has to have a character. So we take that into consideration. We try to have it, but we don’t like a gesture that is contrived. You can see when it is contrived. We like to see a gesture that belongs to that object in a natural way. It’s like this [with] people, too. You like a certain amount of extravagance here and there, but not too much. You like elegance better than extravagance…. We treasure intellectual elegance much more than intellectual extravagance. That’s why we like permanence rather than trendiness. Trendiness is extravagant by nature, whereas permanence has to be elegant. Otherwise, it doesn’t survive. So elegance is a sublime state of intelligence. It’s not something that you add; it’s something that you get by taking away – by subtraction, not by addition. The moment that you add to things, you can’t get to elegance. You can get to extravagance, because extravagance is the byproduct of addition, and elegance is the byproduct of subtraction.

image by Barbara Kruger

The irony of conspicuous consumption is well past its due date after all. It’s simply not enough to throw evermore exotic materials and precious jewels at a garment. Instead a celebration of individuality and purity of design is back on the agenda. Above all, it has never seemed more apposite to make a statement with one’s wardrobe. Inspiration over aspiration, is fashion’s new holy grail.
– Susannah Frankel, “Power of Invention” Another Magazine.

via The Guardian

Hats are about escapism. Of course, they can keep you warm, or the sun off your face, but they’re predominately about escapism, about being somebody else. When I come to work this morning, there were lots of people in rain hats, and of course they perform a function of some description but they also make people look glamorous, they make them look fun. Especially if people are coming to me, they’re looking for a costume, a way into becoming somebody else. Whether you’re a lady going to Ascot or you’ve got a sort of felt on and you’re becoming Garbo, or you’re putting on a baseball cap and becoming 50 cent but you’re really a nice boy from Winchester. The self expression for the milliner is about creating something that is dynamic and can be an expression of themselves. For the person wearing the hat, it’s about expression too, not necessarily of yourself, but of another self.
-Stephen Jones, in Another Magazine

Alexander McQueen, F/W 2009 from

If people are going to invest in fashion now then they need to know it’s worth it. They’re not going to want to buy a cashmere coat they can wear any season, they’re looking for something more individual than that, and from a more individual designer. Fashion is about fantasy as well as being commercial. We don’t all want to dress like soldiers in the same uniform. There is a viewpoint that people should play safe because they can’t afford to frighten their customer but, in fact, the opposite is true. You have to push forward and realise the power of fantasy and escapism. What’s the point of doing this job if you’re going to stagnate.
-Alexander McQueen, by Susannah Frankel “Power of Invention” Another Magazine

(from the Another Magazine article)((yes, I need a scanner)

That is one of the great things about being a milliner. We exist in our own little tributary, it is incredibly diverse. Fashion designers have to be precise, very clear about the boundaries surrounding their work. As a milliner you can do all sorts of different things. It’s all about instinct, and often the less though that goes into a hat, the better. Because, you see, a baseball cap, worn by the right person, can be the wildest thing on the planet; a simple beret can be Garbo. Hats don’t have to be these incredibly extravagant five-foot constructions.
-Stephen Jones, in Another Magazine


Some things to think about, hmm? But you’re kind of tired of reading and wanting to digest. Oh, alright. Some other time then; in fact, I already have an idea.

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites

What would I give..


To be able to travel back in time and dance with Gene Kelly. Maybe have legs like Cyd Charisse. Sigh. I had a huge crush on Gene when I was a teen. Now, older and wiser, I have fully realized that he is a)really no longer alive and that b) time travel is a long, long way off. Such a pity.

Anyway, Happy Saturday, and enjoy this gorgeous, standout scene from the classic Singin’ in the Rain.

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites



I’ve been noticing a bit of a trend towards taxidermy lately. Artists and designers have been taking creatures out of the traditional super-stiff literal taxidermy traditions and having a little bit of fun. Katie Bode, imminent graduate of the Design and Technology program at Parsons School for Design, jumped into the wearables spectrum and took vintage fox stoles and made them do a little something special:

“FriendlyFox is the take anywhere, no-hassle furry friend for the modern girl. With soft pet-able fur and a pleasing, vibrating ‘purr’ sensation when you stroke its head, FriendlyFox is the perfect pet for those without the time or effort required for a ‘living’ pet that still want the pleasure of furry companionship.”

I’ve seen this critter in real life and it’s definitely a trip. What looks like a regular, albeit mildly creepy, vintage fox stole suddenly springs to purring life when you stroke its fur. No-hassle pet for our super-busy don’t-have-time-to-take-care-of-anyone-but-ourselves lifestyle or a reminder the fur was in fact home to a living creature (not that you can forget what with the eyes)? Imagine if a straight up fur coat (sans animal head) did the same, purring and making happy noises when it was pet. haha!

Regardless of your feelings on taxidermy and fur, you’ve got to admit to being a little tickled from the logo. Mr. Firefox gets a little loving!

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites

Sitting Pretty


I really dig this idea of covering chairs in dresses! Could be a good way to use pretty vintage ones that don’t quite fit but that you are too fond of to give away while at the same time adding a beautiful, interesting design element to a room.

Also, that’s a really nice shade of grey. Looks lovely with the yellow.

Spotted on Desire to Inspire, photo by Damian Russell

Bookmark and Share add to Technorati Favorites