I'm going to be glued to BBC1 at 4pm London time today to watch Barack Obama being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. What a happy day.
Obama memorabilia, or "Obamarabilia", will reach fever pitch in Washington DC today. Over on Etsy a search for "Obama" currently yields 3076 results. I think handmade is the most sincere and really comes from the heart.
The hand-screenprinted tea-towels in the photo were actually gifts from friends of friends in New York. We had never met F and J before, yet we were invited to their Brooklyn Heights apartment on Christmas Eve for the most amazing home-made Japanese feast. At the end of dinner, J produced these gifts of tea-towels she had hand screen-printed herself. I was so touched by this act of kindness to strangers – and ultimately, of hope.
Have any of you seen the latest Target designer collaborations in the States?
I'm positively swooning over the rather brilliant Thakoon resort collection, which features his signature Shibori print at ultra-affordable Target price points. Loving the beach-ready frocks and floral-print bikini – which are almost imaginable from the depths of a freezing London winter … roll on, spring!
The Hayden-Harnett accessories collection is also quite impressive, with this smart envelope-style clutch for US$29.99 and a range of totes and umbrellas in a vibrant leaf print.
And these bejewelled flats by Sigerson Morrison are also a great buy at US$29.99 …
And I've now discovered that the guys over at Apartment Therapy have just previewed the upcoming Orla Kiely homewares collection, which translates beautifully for Target and features some amazing ceramics. I'm also loving the tiered serving tray and the retro barkcloth-style print.
Making the most of a five day trip always comes down to good planning and excellent resources. In my case, my top three resources were Time Out New York for Visitors guide (which I bought in London before we left), Luxe City Guide to New York (a very handy freebie in my goodie bag from the Cult Beauty launch) and Metrotwin.com.
Over the past few months I’ve actually been moonlighting as a contributing editor for Metrotwin, a recommendations website for British Airways which links places in New York with London. Perceived bias aside, it’s got some very cool features like the unique twinning system, which links a place in London with its New York version (e.g. Habitat in London is linked with Crate and Barrel in New York). There’s also a plethora of lists to check out, like the top 10 shops to pick up decent workwear in London (that would be mine) and the best little cupcakes in town.
You need to register at Metrotwin to get access to all the lists and recommendations – and if you sign up now (it’s free), you also get the chance to enter in this very exciting competion…
If you register at Metrotwin.com before 15 January you could win a pair of return economy flights to New York and three nights in The Plaza New York. Conditions apply. http://tinyurl.com/7t9hnr
Good luck, birdies!
Finally. A moment to catch up on my recent trip to New York. As this was my very first trip to NYC (true!), it was all too short and sweet for me to really get stuck into the shopping side of things. Plus, I was on a mega budget, which kinda made things more interesting.
On the plus side, we were staying with our dear friends who have been living on the Lower East Side for the past two years, so they took us under their wings and fast-tracked us through some of the highlights. (Many thanks to T and L and apologies for breaking into the theme song from Welcome Back Kotter every time we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. What can I say. I am a child of the '80s).
So most of my short five days in NYC were spent gawping up at skyscrapers, slipping and sliding over Central Park, and ticking off several masterpieces I'd always wanted to see at MoMA. And did I mention eating and drinking? We were in town over Christmas, afterall, which was made all the more interesting by the fact that I was the only meat-eater in a group of vegetarians. Only in America can you pull a ready-made stuffed Tofurkey meal-in-a-box out of the freezer on Christmas Day. (Although I was very happy with my Wholefoods turkey breast, ta very much.)
When I wasn't museum-hopping and ticking off every New York cliche in the book, I managed to scratch the surface of some of the gems this town has to offer. Here's what I got up to…
My best New York purchase was from Belle (the sister line of Sigerson Morrison) which had 75 per cent off all their flats, heels and boots. I picked up a pair of silver ballet flats with an amazing honeycomb slab detail for a super-bargainous price.
I also scoured the A.P.C sale in SoHo and dove straight into the racks of smock dresses with peter-pan collars, emerging half an hour later with the rather unhappy realisation that a grown woman approaching her mid-30s is waaay past the days where she can get away with wearing baby-girl style gear.
I also made a beeline for what Luxe New York City Guide describes as "Marc Jacobs’ unsigned cheapie accessories store" on Bleecker and picked up a very sweet rhinestone heart-shaped cocktail ring for $10 and a novelty Marc Jacobs lipstick pen for $1. (I do recommend getting hold of a Luxe City Guide for an excellent – and highly entertaining – guide to shopping in New York. They also suggest that you “forge your way past the lardy tourists lining up outside Magnolia Bakery” – haha!)
After discovering that the fantastic A.P.C.-style jacket L was wearing was actually from Forever 21 (America's answer to Primark), I begged to be taken there. Somehow I managed to pick up a $40 black boucle jacket that will look even better once I replace the cheap plastic buttons with some Chanel-esque versions.
Over in Brooklyn, I found a boutique called Sir which stocked a covetable range of silk and jersey dresses that are worn by the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, and over the road at Jumelle I swooned over a line-up of emerging and high-profile designers including Mayle, Lyell and Alexander Wang.
I also stumbled across the Artists and Flea market in Williamsburg and found some cool printed tees by Gnome NYC, and a collection of vintage enamel animal brooches for $5 each by Blue Canary Vintage.
And if you’re into good indie record stores, check out Sound Fix for CDs as well as new and used vinyl. They also have regular free in-store shows, which are held in the lounge out the back (Los Campesinos is coming up, kids!).
Food-wise, I couldn’t go past the legendary Katz’s Delicatessen without trying their superb pastrami on rye, which is served with a sideplate piled high with pickles. Order at the counter and be sure to tip your carver. The vegetarians in the group opted for knishes, a Jewish potato snack, while I tried not to go all-touristy by pointing out the “I’ll have what she’s having” table from When Harry Met Sally.
For cocktails we went in search of The Back Room, a former ‘20s speakeasy with a dark and sexy vibe and sumptuous furnishings. After locating the secret entrance (just look for the toy shop sign with a bouncer standing next to it) we ordered cocktails that were served in teacups, Prohibition-style, whilst beer arrived on our table wrapped in brown paper bags.
The next day we had the most delicious brunch of macaroni cheese, baked eggs and granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt at Brown on the Lower East Side.
Macaroni cheese at Brown.
And if you fancy the idea of guacamole made and served fresh at your table, you might like to check out T and L’s local Mexican, Móle. The chocolate mole sauce is also well worth trying, as it’s a traditional recipe which is flown direct from the family home in Mexico.
Marc Jacobs accessories store
385 Bleecker Street
Tel. 212 924 6126
242 Mott Street
Tel. 212 941 5404
131 Mercer St
New York (near Prince St)
Tel. 212 966 9685
360 Atlantic Ave
718 643 6877
148 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11211
Tel. 718 388 9525
Artists and Fleas Indoor Market
129 North 6th St
Between Bedford and Berry
Every Sat and Sun 12-7pm
110 Bedford Ave (at N 11 St)
Brooklyn, New York
205 E.Houston St
Tel. 212 674 3270
The Back Room
102 Norfolk St (Delancey)
Tel. 212 228 0027
61 Hester Street
Tel. 212 529 3690
205 Allen Street (E.Houston)
Tel. 212 777 3200
I know I've never photographed dudes before, but I couldn't resist Justin's sharp New York-take on the uniquely English mod/rude boy/skinhead look from the early '80s.
A wee birdy told me he was wearing a shirt by Ben Sherman, vest by Fred Perry, braces by 99X (New York mod shop), jeans by Levis, cherry Getta Grip boots, and a vintage trilby. You might also like to check out Justin's splendid band, The Bowery Riots.