Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/holidays everyone! I'm all packed up and ready to board the flying kangaroo home to Oz, where for 2 weeks I get to play pirates with my nieces, swim in the ocean (hopefully) and catch up with old friends and family. My suitcase weighs a ton with all the godchildren gifts, but I am happy, happy happy because the anesthetist is coming home for the big family intro! Wish us luck and have a wonderful break. Until 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daphne Guinness

I must admit I have never been that "in" to Daphne Guinness. She's always been on my peripheral vision here in New York - tottering around on heel-less shoes at the same art exhibition as me,  dining at the same restaurant, getting ready for the Met gala in the window of Barney's - but I have never actively followed her exploits or had a fashion crush on her. I always dismissed her as some poor lost spoilt english heiress who was undernourished and overwrought and had nothing to do except try and look eccentric.

But recently, all that has changed. There's a "Daphne Air" at the moment. She has pervaded my space but in a good way.  It started with a fantastic article on her in the New Yorker, followed by a trip to the Fashion Institute Museum's exhibition of her wardrobe.  And after watching various videos about her, I actually think she is quite a fantastically (still) eccentric, interesting,  humorous-as-only-the-Brits-can-be and rare creature.  For those who are not intimately acquainted with her, here are some 101's:
  • Heir to the Guinness beer fortune
  • Granddaughter of Diana Mosley, one of the Mitford sisters
  • had 3 kids with her first husband (how they emerged from her teeny pelvis belies belief)
  • Was besties with Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow
  • Bought all of Blow's clothing after she died to save them from going to auction and being plundered by "souvenir-seekers"
  • Has a fantastically interesting wardrobe collecting vintage Chanel, McQueen, Alaia, Givenchy and Valentino as well as a jewelry collection to die for
  • Wears a badger stripe through her hair and gets away with it
  • Involved with Bernard Henri-Levi the French philosopher who remains married to a chanteuse
  • Famous for wearing staggeringly high platform shoes without heels and not falling over
  • Prefers to think of herself as a "bee, flitting from one designer to the next" rather than a muse
  • Has done collaborations with MAC, Barneys and Comme de Garcons
  • One of today's most original fashion icons
Here is her tribute to Mcqueen that is showing at the FIT exhibition.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I took a girlfriend to Dumbo last weekend. It was her first time off Manhattan! There is always something interesting happening on the street over there. This installation was a remnant of the recent DUMBO Arts Festival. Alexsander Macasev has brought into the public sphere two years of his "chromatweets," swatches of color he picks at the end of each day to best represent his moods and feelings on that day then posted onto his nano blog. The title of each post is the hexadecimal code of each color. No words, no explanation, just a block of color. This daily visual representation compresses everything into one piece of information: color. You can see the blog here

The project is currently 400 feet long and hugs a beautiful historic building. It looks like a glorious pms swatch sheet, as you see each daily "entry" next to each other and follow how the artist's mood changes over the days and months. His only rules? No black (000000) or white (FFFFFF)!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Go Round

You may remember my post here about Jane Walentas' beautiful restoration of an old carousel she recovered in Ohio. When I wrote that post, it was still waiting for a home. Well, now it has one. And probably with one of the best views of Manhattan. Located in a beautiful, simple glass "box" in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Famed architect Jean Nouvel has designed a pavilion that will amaze adults while the kids delight in finally riding the restored ponies.

images: (1) jane's carousel, (2-5) mine

Saturday, December 3, 2011


My last work trip this year before going home.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Progress" in Brooklyn

Progress (DEF): Development or growth....steady improvement.
-The Free Dictionary

You may have read my post here about my walkabout in Brooklyn. One of the more memorable areas was 'Admiral's Row,' a line of wonderful if not dilapidated houses that date back to the Civil War. Part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they have housed naval families over the centuries but most recently been left to decay due to government wrangles over ownership and conflicting development/preservation plans.

Well, all that has all come to a head now in the name of progress. The site has been handed back to the Navy Yards and approval has been granted for a mega supermarket, industrial space and car park!

Nothing like destroying a piece of history in the name of economics. Apparently one of the houses and the unique Timber Shed are planned for restoration and preservation. The rest of Admiral's Row will eventually be demolished. Let's enjoy glimpses of what were once beautiful architectural gems while we can. More images can be found at this website.

images: (1) mine, (2-3) brownstoner, (4) atlas oscura, (5) admirals row, (6) arch paper, 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"You Say Tomato, I Say......."

Language is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I almost wish I had studied phonetics and of the history of the English language. This desire was prompted by my reading of a recent survey in the Economist about the "Americanization of English". I started thinking about the language barriers that exist between Americans and Aussies living here. I know that seems odd given we all speak “English," but I have been in plenty of meetings where I say something that I don't think is anything other than english and am faced with completely uncomprehending stares. 

For example, did you know that Aussies pack a picnic in a hamper, but when I suggested this as a holiday gift for editors, the American members of the meeting blanched. Apparently here, a hamper is what you put your dirty laundry in! 

And when I talked about “bits ‘n bobs," the meeting positively turned into riotous laughter, followed by a necessary explanation from myself. I am pleased to say I was later exonerated on this one, when with much excitement, my colleague called me to say she had just heard a TV morning show 'anchor ' (a word we definitely don’t use in Oz unless referring to boats) had used the same phrase. And never say you will check your “diary” when planning a meeting. Here they think you are about to reveal your deepest, darkest personal secrets. 

Pronunciation is also a bone of contention. Since when has aluMINium been ALUMinum? And is there conTROVersy or CONTRAversy? I must admit I now look at my “skedule” instead of my schedule and have learnt to roll my r's.  This was prompted by an incident when I first arrived in New York. I asked a “store” assistant in my clearest english where the butter was. They sent me to the pasta pantry. Like water, apparently both words have a d in the middle not a t and end in errrrrrrr. However “erbs” for me will forever have an 'h' at the beginning.

No, in order to be understood here, you really do have to alter your language, but this then causes groans from those back in Australia. A girlfriend implored me to stop calling autumn “fall” and my brother was horrified when I suggested he "reach out" to a friend rather than call. I now wear flip flops on my feet and thongs as underwear. I take vacations instead of holidays, the elevator not the lift and "savor," "flavor" and "color" in my written language (but that is probably because of my american spell check more than anything). I cook with cilantro not coriander and unfortunately wear a sweater instead of a jumper. But I will never, ever, wear "panties." And if any man ever asks me to take these off, he will be promptly banished from my sight. One of the better things about going out with an older South African. He just takes them off rather than referring to them at all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

"As we express our thanks, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
- John F. Kennedy

To all those Americans, may you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. To all of us not from this land, may we savour the color and beauty of this time of year.

images: (1) carolyn roehm, (2, 7, 8) martha stewart, (3-6)  mine

Saturday, November 5, 2011

McQueen McCool

I was wandering aimlessly through the Marais in Paris a few weeks ago and stumbled upon this wonderful photography exhibition of Steve McQueen at La Galerie de L'Instant. It's an amazing photographic gallery that just finished showing an exhibition on Kate Moss.

I think I have only ever seen one of McQueen's movies - The Great Escape - and I know he was hot and all that, but he was never one of my pin up boys. I was more into David Bowie androgyny than the muscular and rugged American acting hero. But I have to say these photos literally stopped me in my afternoon reverie and coaxed me into the galerie for a closer look.

Taken by John Dominis in 1963 for Life Magazine at McQueen's home in Palm Springs, these photos truly capture McQueen's sexy-sure cool even before he was the icon he became. Apparently this is the first time the photographs have been shown in a galerie. If you are in Paris before December 11th, it is worth taking a look.

If you can't get to Paris, try and find the book "Action" that has been published in conjunction with this exhibition. Nothing like going to bed with Mr McCool on your bedside table!

All images: John Dominis from galerie de l'instant

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snowy Interlude

We had a slight aberration in the weather pattern yesterday. We are in fall, the temperature is above freezing, the leaves are still on the trees, some haven't even turned yet and there was a snowstorm! Crazy. So of course I dragged the anesthetist on a walk upstate today to view the "winter wonderland." Pretty spectacular seeing the snow against the fall colors.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


This is my last stop. St Petersburg. Oh how incredible! Off to the Hermitage, the Winter Palace and Tsarkoye Selo, home of the former imperial family. I have waited my whole life to come here. It is a true gift. Thank you work!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


In Moscow! Home of Rachmaninov's vespers, potatoes and babushka dolls.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Leaving Paris today for Stockholm! Never been there. Apparently it's on a series of islands and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We're staying at the Hotel Skeppsholmen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Leaving tonight for a week in Paris - work, not play!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Happy, happy weekend! Hope you're all doing marvelous things. The anesthetist is whisking me away to the Connecticut River tonight for my birthday. We're staying in a gorgeous old inn at the mouth of the river in Essex. It's going to be 25 degrees with autumn colors! Apparently we are taking a steam train ride along the river, kayaking, "Antiquing" as they call it here and gulping in large doses of fresh air! Yippee! Will share pics when I get back.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Change of Season Meltdown

I had a major meltdown last week. You know the one; contents of bag thrown onto the floor, clothes flying, door banging, heavy footfall, screeching banshee etc. It was my first for a long time and certainly the first in front of the Anesthetist. I don't think he knew what hit him.  He sat on the couch in the dark staring at a wall until I had calmed down.

It all started because I couldn't find my keys - the product of being totally disorganized due to 11 hour work days, constantly traipsing between my house and his, never being in the city because of travel and really just because of a general feeling of exhaustion and hopelessness.

So this weekend, I decided to take my life back into my own hands. I cancelled a gorgeous country weekend away with the grey-haired wonder and decided to "get stuff done." I think the anesthetist was genuinely relieved to not have Medusa sitting next to him in the car for 7 hours. So was I. It meant that time was filled instead with a massage, yoga, reading, admin, fall wardrobe shopping and a catch up on all things wonderful about the start of fall in this city!

Fall is the best time to be in New York. Not only is the weather (usually) perfect, but the city comes to life with a gazillion cultural treats. After voraciously reading the NY Times this weekend, here are my top picks so far if you are going to be here:
  • Italian conceptual artist and joker Maurizio Cattelan is about to take over the Guggenheim. There was a great piece in the New York Times on Sunday you can hopefully read HERE.
  • Beer heiress Daphne Guinness gets a solo exhibition focusing on her extraordinary wardrobe at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum
  • Harpers Bazaar celebrates 10 years of high-impact fashion photography at the ICP
  • Frank Langella (of Frost/ Nixon fame) hits Broadway in Man and Boy
  • The incredibly sublime White Light Festival at Lincoln Centre has a second airing in November. I wrote a piece here about one of the concerts last year.
  • It's opera season again! This year The Met's program includes the usual faves like Aida, Barber of Seville and La Boheme,  plus Wagner's Ring cycle. There's nothing like frocking up to attend one of the world's most venerable institutions.
  • Woody Allan and Ethan Cohen have written one act plays as part of a Broadway program called Relatively Speaking, directed by John Turturro.
  • And of course, everyone is talking about the De Kooning retrospective at MoMa. 
So get those culture boots on and start preparing to wait in long lines!

image: Steven Klein