Wang, deconstructed.

A few years ago, when I first visited Hong Kong, I discovered Joyce – the HK version of Barneys. I was going around looking for a birthday present from myself to myself.. finally got a black leather shoulder bag without knowing anything about the brand. That was the day i put Alexander Wang on my watchlist.

A true master of garments – his cuts, structures, textures, shapes… so beautifully crafted. Talented, intelligent and most certainly inspirational to many. Here are some fave pieces from his Resort 2013 Collection.

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Istanbul Doors Impresses Again with CA’D’ORO

CA’D’ORO is the latest gem of Istanbul Doors Group, a nearly twenty-year-old leading restaurant and entertainment group based in Turkey. Located in the newly opened SALT Galata building on Bankalar Caddesi in Karaköy, CA’D’ORO offers a menu designed by French chef Julien Maisonneuve, consisting mainly of international cuisine spiced up with a Turkish touch that will indulge your appetite and sense of adventure.

The décor is quite minimal, already feeding from the classic architecture of the building itself, which was designed by architect Alexandre Vallaury and opened in 1892 as the official state bank of the Ottoman Empire. The interior of the restaurant is designed by Han Tümertekin, and is spread accross two floors – with a café downstairs and a more formal restaurant upstairs. 

Talking about food… the menu is simply de li cious. It offers a little bit of everything. Breakfast offerings are mostly traditional Turkish selections, while the rest offers diverse choice options ranging from fish to fillet, from Turkish Burger to pide. Appetizers are extremely rich in flavor and texture; desert list is too good to suffice with a single one.

My personal favorites… for starters – grilled artichoke, crispy risotto with tomato, goat cheese and pide with Keş cheese accompanied by eggplant gratin. For main course – strongly recommend the grilled fillet served with the yummy spinach/ricotta cheese souflé. Do make sure to spare some room for desert because they really are among the best (if not THE best) I’ve tried. Strongly recommend the chestnut Mont Blanc and the caramelized pumpkin.

I barely use the word “favorite” for a restaurant just because it’s not so easy to like the atmosphere, location, service, food and wine menu all at the same time.. but no hesitation for CA’D’ORO. Go pamper yourself for a Sunday brunch with your newspaper, or enjoy a sophisticated dinner on a Friday evening with friends and family. Downstairs would also be the perfect coffee break spot if you’re in the area for some art action.

For more about CA’D’ORO, and Istanbul Doors Group, please visit http://www.istanbuldoors.com

Bon Appétit!

Oldies But Goodies: Looking Back to Black & White Films

I like having theme weeks. Yes, you heard me right. I enjoy watching a few Hitchcocks once in a while one after the other. Or Bergmans. Same applies to an Italiano week. Sometimes a nice Frenchie. Feels good to watch a couple of Grace Kellys if you stay in the weekend. Or watch biographies of musicians, painters and writers. These last couple of days, I’ve been in a mood to watch some oldies but goodies. I randomly felt like watching Manhattan this past Saturday, which made me take a look at the great black & white movies I’ve watched – and would like to watch over and over again.

Black & white movies leave much more room for emotions and thoughts. It seems so natural to me as if it wasn’t acting. I don’t get wowed by clothes or jewelry or grand set ups.. but rather about the script, personalities and the analogue music. There are no special effects, no computerized backgrounds. Everything is as it seems. 

If you haven’t truly enjoyed a black and white movie till today.. give it another chance. Below are the ones I watch over and over again – without getting tired, and as excited as the first time. There’s lots to discover in there. If you don’t like romance, try thriller. If you don’t enjoy Godard, try Woody Allen. If Fellini is too slow, try Scorsese. If you don’t enjoy Manhattan, try Paris – or even a deserted volcanic island in the Mediterranean. You will enjoy the company of Monica Vitti, Claudette Colbert, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Humphrey Bogart and many more. And when you do – please let me know.

Un Homme et Une Femme by Claude Lelouch 1966 
Casablanca by Michael Curtiz 1942
Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick 1964
Manhattan by Woody Allen 1979
L’Avventura by Michelangelo Antonioni 1960
À Bout de Souffle by Jean-Luc Godard 1960
Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock 1960
Roman Holiday by William Wyler 1953
The Big Sleep by Howard Hawks 1946
Pi by Darren Aronofsky 1998
Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese 1980
The Philadelphia Story by George Cukor 1940
Temps Modernes by Charlie Chaplin 1936 
Les quatre cents coups by François Truffaut 1959
Persona by Ingmar Bergman 1966
Brief Encounter by David Lean 1945
It Happened One Night by Frank Capra 1934
La Règle du Jeu by Jean Renoir 1939
Spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock 1945

iPod + iPod = miShare

Sharing you music has never been this easy. Want some new tunes from your friend? Simply connect both iPods to the miShare unit, press the button – and ready to go. You can copy a single file, all the songs of a particular artist or an entire playlist.

You can literally swap music from one iPod to another w/out any computer. Only, would cost you $ 100. The most useful gadget I’ve seen for a long long time.

Play nice and share.

Things Organized Neatly: A Bit Obsessive, A Bit Compulsive

Yes, I admit. I’m slightly obsessive compulsive. I have weird habits. I’m excessively meticulous and perfectionistic. I can’t stand disorganized places. Everything must be neat. My books should be put aligned. The decorative objects in my living room have their own places – and that does NOT change. I need to make my bed before going to work, unpack the minute I come back from a trip.. because I truly dislike coming back into a disorganized apartment. Inside my fridge is always organized. Inside my suitcase is always like a wardrobe. Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behavior include excessive cleaning, repeated checking and aversion to particular numbers. Guess what?! I’ve got them all.

If you’re slightly like me – and would like to feel better – here’s another one of us! Things Organized Neatly is one of my fave blogs lately. Not only it makes me feel better – but it also gives me some dangerous inspiration!

 

Misela: In Between the East and the West

To a dearest friend who has always been a true inspiration to me…

A journey between East and West, a smooth mix between chic and casual, a perfect blend of colors and textures.. Misela is all about details. Founded by Serra Turker, a textile design grad from RISD and an ex-New Yorker, the brand aims to transform its collection into timeless art pieces that are not meant to be on the wall but could as well be carried.

Rich colors and textures that combine the ethnic touch of the East as well as the modern look of the West, influenced by Moroccan tiles, New York interiors and the antique soul of Istanbul, blend in perfectly to give a bold feminine look. The collection, with a diverse range of designs, textures and colors, can accomodate any style and event.

Sea snakes, leathers, furs, vintage trims, special-cast metal accessories, handmade antique chains, custom interiors, zipper pockets… I don’t want to tell you all about it. Here, discover Misela yourself. (You can also shop online at http://www.shopmisela.com/ )

In addition to the accessories line, Misela also offers a home collection consisting of pillows, trays and other decorative objects. Again, colors, textures and signature prints dominate the line. In addition to taking custom orders for the home line, Misela also works on personalized interior design projects.

Inspirations: Jan Yoors

Jan Yoors, Flemish-American artist, photographer, painter, writer and tapestry creator, ran away to live with and to photograph the Romany gypsies at the age of 12. A few years later, he wrote a book called The Gypsies about his experiences with them. In 1971, Yoors picked up where he left off with The Gypsies and wrote another book entitled Crossing; he also took all of the photographs for the book Only One New York. His art ranged from paintings to tapestries, from photography to sculptures.

For more on Jan Yoors, his life and his art, you can visit http://www.janyoors.com/ .

Here are some of his thick strokes and bold lines.

On another note, I am looking for these – if you have an idea where i can find any kind of poster or anything, I’d be very happy.

 

From Shanghai With Love

To Begum.. for making me feel home on the other side of the world.

A city that brings together the lights, the energy and the beauty of London and New York, and adding some Chinese spices on top… Shanghai is my latest favorite place to be.  Taking the two Chinese characters in its name from 上 (above) and 海 (sea), this upper sea city is a true gem in the Eastern part of China. With so much to discover.. it’s a little frustrating to decide where to start from, but here’s the Shanghai I loved.

Here’s my Shanghai..

Casa Pagoda A home furnishing and decoration store bridging the European style with an Asian touch. You don’t necessarily have to buy something – even walking around the store is as pleasing.  

Taikang Lu (Tianzifang) The Soho of Shanghai. An art district with small magazines, craft stores, coffee shops and trendy art studios hidden among narrow streets where you can find interesting bits and pieces.

Kommune Cafe in this district is one of my favorites. Try the falafel wrap with a freshly brewed cup of coffee served in old-fashioned milk bottles. Or if you’re in the mood, you can go for a coctail, or even better, a house spirit. Outdoor seating is available in spring/summer– right in the epicenter of the Taikang Lu quarter.

Antique Market on DongTai Road A true Chinese experience. Never pay more than 10% of what the seller is proposing you! Bargaining is what makes it more fun. Antique Chinese porcelaines, Buddha statues, Art-Deco flyers, Mao statues, pins, old books, watches.. anything you might think of. Truly inspiring.

Xintiandi A rather chic neighborhood offering you another bunch of stores, coffee shops and great restos. There is also a recently opened Hotel Costes – which brings together the classic Parisien Costes style with a slight Asian touch.

Dr. Wine Another recently opened spot where you can stop by anytime you like. Either sit at the bar or take one of the comfy leather couches for a glass of wine with one of the cheese/charcuterie/pate plates from the menu.. or if you prefer, you can also get a table. It’s a two-floor wine bar that is extremely relaxing. Friday and Saturday nights, the bar gets really cool. Cheers!

Lola A club-to-be lounge from two Barcelonan DJs that also has an outdoor seating section to enjoy in good weather. Great music, great sound, great bar. The club part is slightly separated from the bar/lounge section – which, I think, is a win.

Glamour Bar The name says it all. Great decor, great drinks, great experience. A must go – pre or post dinner.

Barbarossa Right in the middle of a pond in People’s Park, it’s a Moroccan lounge – and more importantly, my favorite brunch spot. Beware – doesn’t open before 11am on Sundays. If you go during spring time, enjoy the beautiful jasmines around.

Franck A tiny classic French bistro. Too many reasons to love it.

The Up! House That Really Flies

If I told you it’d only take 300 helium-filled balloons to turn imagination into reality.. would you believe it?

National Geographic put together a team of scientists, engineers and two balloon pilots to launch a 16′ X 16′ house with weather balloons from a private airfield east of Los Angeles. The Up! house reached 10,000 feet and flew for about one hour. The filming will be part of a new NatGeo series called How Hard Can it Be?, to be premiered in fall 2011. 

Surely this 16-by-16 house is not a real house – but who cares? It is a house that flies for real! It is the Up! house! So if you want to avoid going somewhere and want to be really inaccessible.. this would be great. If you’re feeling blue.. or simply if you want to spare some time for yourself.. Or how about staying in on a Saturday evening with friends.. with a nice movie and a glass of wine. But wait – you can also stay Up!

Dream people, dream big. 

Proenza Schouler: An Uber-Cool Kaleidoscope

Definitely among my greatest discoveries during my time in NYC, Proenza Schouler is my definition of cool. It’s young, it’s comfy.. yet still edgy. Textiles are stuning, motives are genius, graphics are bold, color palette is extremely accessible. It is spec-ta-cu-lar.

Although the talented duo, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, has been in business only since 2002, they’ve come a long long way. Inspired by a road trip they took to Santa Fe, where they were attracted to the beauty of Native American blankets, they designed their own prints on the computer. Obsessed over Japanese shibori dyeing techniques and the process of making guipure lace, they then “exploded and pixelated” these prints themselves.

The result: kaleidoscopic.

I’m head over heels in love with their Autumn RTW 2011 Collection.

And some snaps from the Pre-Fall 2011 Collection..

From the Front Row: Elif Cigizoglu

Some people, through their vision, have the ability to take you somewhere else.. to make you imagine, to make you dream. Well, Elif Cigizoglu is surely one of them.

I won’t be telling you about Elif Cigizoglu only as a part the audience who watched her fascinating 2011-2012 Autumn/Winter Collection last night, but also as a friend. It is not surprising for such a lively person – full of laughter, joy, courage, compassion, determination, imagination – to put together a collection that is a journey of colors, textures, shapes, curves, waves, forms.. simplicity yet details.

Her collection last night not only amazed me, but without a doubt impressed everybody present at the show. Colors started off from different tones of brown, khakis.. ranging to red, orange.. and concluded with white. The collection offered skirts, pants, dresses, coats, blazers, half-pant-half-skirt pieces.. The orange eye make up of the models looked amazing on their pale skin – was in line with the khakis and oranges, yet shouted silently with the whites. The music was two thumbs up – one moment the upbeat highlighted the motion of the curves and textures, the next, the downtempo electronica slowed the movement of the eyes. Not to mention, Oliver Koletzki ft Fran – Hypnotized was a great choice of track at the very beginning. Rather difficult to put it into words, I would simply like you to get a glimpse of the Elif Cigizoglu runway with the below slide show.

But before that, here is my favorite piece of the show.

And the ravishing finale…

A friend that is a true inspiration to me, and a designer that is able to create different worlds at once.. Elif is a true artist.

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For more information on Elif Cigizoglu, her designs and contact information, visit http://www.elifcigizoglu.com/.



The Greatest

A nice Sunday morning coffee could be the greatest moment of all week. If you pair that with some nice tunes – give classical music a chance, you might really like it – becomes even more enjoyable.

Below is an article/series I read in NY Times this morning – aims to compile the top 10 classical music composers of all times. I will not discuss whether I completely agree with the author or not. There is one or two major composers I really enjoy that are left out in this article – yet it might take you to an adventurous journey through the world of classical music. Might even help you choose what you’d like to listen to tomorrow morning ?  

Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/arts/music/23composers.html

Enjoy – and have a great w/end!

Copie Conforme: Kiarostami at his best

A man and a woman. In a small village in Tuscany. A mental journey. A story that could happen to you, to me or to anybody else.  Simply put, a conversation between two people – asking you to fill in the blanks.

I can’t tell you what this movie is about. Nor does the film want me to. I can only tell you the simple question you will be asking yourself: Have She and James met before? Is this a 15-year-old romance or an awkward first date?

This movie is strong – it changes itself and asks the unanswerable. And does so in three languages: English, French and Italian. Does it so nicely, so poetically, so beautifully and elegantly that it is sublime. Everything you think you’ve just realized about the characters starts slipping away as it progresses. You know things, then you don’t know them. You are sure of something, then you doubt it.

It is a great work of art. It is Kiarostami at his best.

À voir absolument.

Black Swan: A True Masterpiece

At the end of an amazing weekend with amazing friends, quality food and a bunch of movies – both good and bad (by bad, I mean very bad! ) choices – somehow all I remember is the Black Swan.

 

Black Swan is the latest masterpiece of Aronofsky – the director of Requiem for a Dream – starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis. I’m not sure about how to classify this movie. I guess you can call it a psychological thriller with a slight touch of a dark horror movie which leaves you emotionally drained at the very end.  What do you get when you mix ballet, Swan Lake, Natalie Portman, a breath-taking thriller, jealousy, revenge and 40 amazing costumes designed by Rodante?

Set within the highly competitive and prestigious world of a New York City ballet company, the story revolves around a production of Swan Lake. Nina, an emotionally immature and fragile perfectionist still lives with her mother in New York City’s Upper West Side. When the company’s director, Leroy, decides to retire the aging star, Winona Ryder, to find a new soloist for the upcoming production of Swan Lake, Nina seems to be a perfect fit for the timid and innocent White Swan. But to get the part, Nina must also be able to play the dark, sensual and seductive Black Swan – a role that seems rather suitable for the company’s newest member Lily. Despite his misgivings, Leroy gives Nina the role, sensing within her some kind of wildness hidden beneath her calmness and timidity.

As the opening night of the Swan Lake gets nearer, the pressure on Nina gets heavier. What begins as a simple state of mind that could be explained by a stressful job and a repressive mother soon takes the form of a much darker psychosis – Nina begins to hallunicate, seeing her face on other women, indulging fantasies of self-mutilation, and grows paranoid that Lily, recently assigned as her alternate, is conspiring to take her part. When the two compete for the part, Nina finds a dark side to herself. As she gets into a darker psychosis, she is dancing the Black Swan better and better.

Black Swan is a beautifully disturbing movie. Aronofsky, mostly somewhere in between madness and genius in his movies, goes into deeper complexity with Black Swan. Not only you ask yourself questions while you are watching it, but it gets stuck into your mind for some time after you finish it as well. It is beautifully shot. While Aronofsky shows the physicality of the ballet – straining limbs, torn ligaments, bloodied feet – there is a constant nervous energy by the cinematographer’s follow shots.  The sound editing is similarly claustrophobic, amplifying Nina’s every rasping breath or compulsive scratch of skin. In addition to all these, Natalie Portman, surprises with a bravura performance.  

Black Swan is the best film I’ve seen for a long long time. I couldn’t get my eyes off the screen – couldn’t stop asking myself questions while I was watching Nina losing sight of herself. The 108 minutes were dark, obsessed, paranoiac and tense. But left me hypnotized and fulfilled. Nina transported me into another world. This movie was the most artfully acted and visually stunning movie of the year. The drama, scenery, costumes and music were genius… the casting was truly magnificent. It did not make me feel good or make me smile  – but certainly that was not the intention. 

Go see it. Experience it.

On another note – If you’re more interested Rodarte’s Behind the Scenes for Black Swan, you can check the article on Interview Magazine.

The Natali Project

How good are you in the kitchen? Good? Bad? So so? Do you ever buy cookbooks to try something new? Well most cookbooks – although look very stylish and offer amazing photography – are not as helpful. There is always an ingredient that you cannot find. Or a kind of bowl you don’t have at home. Or simply the recipe skips a few steps along the way – which you cannot figure out on your own.

Natali offers you her recipes and takes you into a walk among her memories in doing so. Natali: Tarifler ve Anilar is about 35 years of cooking – meals ranging from simple everyday food to recipes of hidden treasures you have been wondering about for years. There is a little bit of everything in it. And in the most user-friendly way possible. It’s a delicious and tasteful work of genius. So delicious and tasteful that it got the “Best First Cookbook” at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards.

Get it. And as Natali says, try it, cook it and share it.

This is a Mad, Mad, Mad Men’s world.

I rarely get hooked on TV shows. Yes, there are a couple of them that I watch but this one… this one is different. Probably it’s the first TV show I watch so excitingly, the first TV show I enjoy this much and the first TV show which really takes me elsewhere. There’s at least one unique piece that gets stuck in my mind after finishing each episode – a song, a scene in the office, the print of a dress, a drink, a NYC moment… No matter what, that shot stays in my mind until I watch the next episode – which, in most cases, is even better than the previous one. 

Mad Men is set in the 1960s, first at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce starting from the 3rd season. The main character of the series is Don Draper, the creative director of the agency, the incorrigible ladies’ man and the American Dream incarnate,  the husband of Betty Draper and a father of three. Although he suffers from a masculanity crisis, Don is always impeccable. No tears no blood on his suit. No close ties to other man. What is it that makes him so captivating? He appears to have the world at his feet as the first season begins – a beautiful wife, the perfect 60s house and a job that sees him at the height of his creative powers.

Each 50-minute-or-so episode takes the audience to the 1960s America – the changing moods, social mores and political correctness. I can’t help but wonder:  Can people really live such lives? Sexism, racism, status symbols, office politics, four-martini-lunches, misbehavior, cheating, 9-am-bourbons, chain smoking, loveless marriages, loveless affairs, mysteries.. Are men today different at all? Or women for that matter?

Why do I love Mad Men so much? Fashion! Costumes! The big bows, hats with veils, white gloves, the Jackie-O-style swing coats, prints, pencil skirts, high heels, fitted blouses.. Betty Draper reminds  me of Grace Kelly with her Hitchcock style blond hair and full skirt dresses. Joan Holloway also so impressive! How perfect can one look be? As for men, so lovely to see them in hats and suits. The drinks! No wine no beer. Real drinks Ladies and Gents – a Brandy Alexander, a Manhattan, the Harpoon, a Bloody Mary, an Old Fashioned, a Gibson Martini, and a Tom Collins. The music! Julie London singing Fly Me to the Moon, Vic Damone crooning On the Street Where You Live, Ella Fitzgerald doing her best to (I’ll Take) Manhattan. The 60s witnessed some great music and Mad Men does the most with it. And.. The Nostalgia! Clothes, cocktails, Madison Avenue – this is the style of the show.

Mad Men is a drama that encompasses so many original themes – and does it with such intelligence. It is funny, entertaining and stylish. Give it a try if you haven’t watched any. If you’re done with Season 4, just sit back and wait for the new season to come. In the meantime, you can go to madmenyourself.com to style yourself on in a chic red dress, gloves and pearls… or else indulge in a coctail.

Manhattans, anyone?

Dress the Part / Framework

Below are some excellent movie posters inspired by men’s style – that were designed by Moxy Creative HouseDress the Part highlights ten cult films via their iconic style. I’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men lately – not gonna lie – that might have something to do w/ that too.

Wait – there’s more!

They also have a Framework collection that illustrates the most iconic men’s eyewear of the last hundred years. That one is a compilation of posters featuring 28 of the most iconic glasses from male characters in music, film, entertainment and politics.

If you’d like to get a print of any of these, you can check Moxy Creative House’s website to order yours.

Street Art Below the Street and Out of Reach

103 street artists from around the world came together in a long-abandoned New York City subway station for a street art exhibition way below the street. The show – whose existence has been a secret – has been seen by almost no one. The only potential crowd was the urban explorers of New York City or the employees of the MTA – until New York City Transit described such actions as trespassing and punishable by law. The dark, uninhabited and echoing climate is far different from the standard gallery scene. This is a show without a crowd. This is an exhibition that has been mounted illegally in a long-abandoned subway station. Known as the Underbelly Project, “this is an art exhibition that goes to extremes to avoid being part of the art world, and even the world in general”. This is just too, too New York.

To get a better glimpse of how this idea came up, how the artists worked underground and see more photos, check out the New York Times article.

Dare to see?

Paris vs New York: A Tally of Two Cities

Americano by Central Park? Or espresso à Saint Germain? Bagel with cream cheese? Or baguette jambon fromage? Cupcake in West Village? Or un p’tit macaron au Saint-Honoré? Woody’s Annie Hall? Or  À bout de souffle du Godard? Station métro Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau? Or the F/V line to Chrystie Street? Ville Lumière? Or Big Apple?

Randomly ran into this interesting blog which is a visual challenge of two of my favorite cities: Paris vs New York. Here is the link if you’d like to take a look and decide for yourself whichever you prefer.

 

                                  

 

Inspirations: Jil Sander

minimalism. maximalism. couture. cut. flowers. stripes. lightness. colors. feminin. masculin. no decoration or excess. focus on structure, shape and body.

Below is a preview of the Jil Sander 2011 Spring/Summer Collection. Already one of my favorite brands, Sander amazes me again with a minimal yet bold and colorful collection. Reminded me of an Yves Saint Lauent touch.

Enjoy – and have a great week!