Friday, June 27, 2008

Bela Borsodi

As part of my big decluttering project I went through my file cabinets and threw out tons of old paper--some really interesting information but all now easily available on the internet. I had clipped and saved lots of articles about trees, housplants, museums, places, food, etc. I also examined stuff I haven't seen in years, lots of which I am keeping, including invitations to parties and weddings I attended, old photographs, files on friends . . . I found a cache of portraits of me and Charles including these of me by Bela Borsodi, circa 1992 (?--I think?). Sorry for the self indulgence--will try to get back to posting about design soon. Please visit Bela's website:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cherry Picking in Los Angeles

Read all about my brother Charles' cherry picking expedition at EatingLA:


Check out this early portrait of Yves Saint Laurent by Mark Shaw. Shaw's estate is managed by my good friends David Shaw (son of the late photographer) and his wife Juliet Cuming. Don't miss their gorgeous Mark Shaw site:

Yves Saint Laurent, Tommy Nutter, etc.

Following the death of Yves Saint Laurent I've seen this photo of Mick and Bianca Jagger on their wedding day on a couple of blogs that have erroneously stated that Bianca's suit was made by YSL (more on YSL on the next post). As far as I know both of their suits were designed and made by TOMMY NUTTER. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. If you don't know about the late Nutter get a copy of Savile Row: an Illustrated History, by Richard Walker (see pic) in which he gives a detailed history of the House of Nutter aka Nutters (sic) at 35A Savile Row. On Bianca specifically he writes: "Nutters was an integhral part of the 'London Scene', providing finery for the likes of Mick Jagger, the Beatles (three Nutter suits adorn the 'Abbey Road' album cover), Eric Clapton and adventursome aristocrats like the Duke of Bedford. Girls too, after Bianca Jagger walked in and demanded a suit just like Mick's. 'He wasn't very pleased, because he treated me as his tailor,' Nutter recalls. 'He was slightly old-fashioned like that.' Bianca was not happy with the first effort, which she considered too feminine--'she took my jacket and put it on and said that's the way I want it, so we cut her a man's jacket and that whole look started with her . . ."

Cooper Hewitt Museum Garden Party

A few shots from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum garden party. Note the pretty lady in the beautiful yellow dress. I wish I could have gotten her to pose a few blocks away in front of the Dutch Girl buggy.

Carnegie Hill Cleaners

As the say these days, how adorable is this?! This is the delivery buggy of Dutch Girl Cleaners in Carnegie Hill on Park Avenue at 88th Street, seen on the way to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum garden party (see next post for the party with an attendee dressed to match the buggy)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Education Through Severity

In my decluttering campaign I threw out a pile of art and antique fair catalogues but I had to scan and save this image before it went in the trash. This is a 1712 allegorical group of putti by Dresden sculptor Paul Heermann (1673-1732) titled Education Through Severity: Corporal Punishment, offered by Galerie Neuse in Bremen Germany. It is one of a series of four Virtues and Vices including Subduing of Untamed Nature, Love of Neighbour, and Crowning of the Hero of Virtue. The last is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Last Day For Shibata Zeshin

Tommorow (Sunday 15 June) is the last day to see "The Genius of Japanese Lacquer: Masterworks by Shibata Zeshin" at the Japan Society. Don't miss this gorgeous exhibition:
"Shibata Zeshin (1807–1891) is history’s greatest lacquer artist, recognized worldwide for his exquisitely detailed lacquered boxes, panels, sword mounts, and other objects, as well as scrolls painted in both ink and lacquer. In addition to his mastery of traditional techniques, Zeshin developed a range of daring new lacquer textures and finishes imitating rusty iron, rough seas, patinated bronze, and even the delicate grain of Chinese rosewood. With The Genius of Japanese Lacquer: Masterworks by Shibata Zeshin, Japan Society presents the finest collection of the artist’s works ever assembled outside of Japan."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


A rarity from my library--issue number 4 of ID magazine, June/July 1981. If anyone has, and wants to sell, issues 1, 2, 3 and 7, please contact me. I have all the others through issue number 30.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


My new bookshelves:

Organizing My Library

I'm in the middle of an enormous project organizing and editing my library. I just installed a whole wall of shelves and as a result hundreds of books and magazines are going from piles on the floor onto the shelves. I'm sorting through the magazines and finding lots to let go of (I'm filling several bags to donate to the library at FIT) and rediscovering lots of treasures (design and decorating magazines from the 1930s-1970s). I'll be posting scans of some of the cool stuff. From a pile of 1980s Lei magazines that I'm letting go of is the one below, December 1983, starring my good friend and web designer Alison Cohn, photographed by Paolo Roversi. Alison's website is

Monday, June 2, 2008

Art Smith at the Brooklyn Museum (oh, and Murakami too)

You must go see the Takashi Murakami exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum but when you go don't miss the small show of silver jewelry by Art Smith. See picture and blurb below for more info. My favorite aspect of the Murakami work is that you can actually see the fine, smooth, brush-strokes.

This exhibition honors the gift of twenty-one pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by the Brooklyn-reared modernist jeweler Arthur Smith (1917–1982), primarily from Charles Russell, Smith’s companion and heir. The presentation of Art Smith jewelry is enhanced by archival material from the artist’s estate, such as sketches, the original shop sign, Smith’s tools, and period photographs of models wearing the jewelry, along with thirty pieces of modernist jewelry from the permanent collection by such artists as Elsa Freund, Claire Falkenstein, Ed Weiner, and Frank Rebajes. Inspired by surrealism, biomorphicism, and primitivism, Art Smith’s jewelry is dynamic in its size and form. Although sometimes massive in scale, his jewelry remains lightweight and wearable. The jewelry dates from the late 1940s to the 1970s and includes his most famous pieces, such as a “Patina” necklace inspired by the mobiles of Alexander Calder; a “Lava” bracelet, or cuff, that extends over the entire lower arm in undulating and overlapping forms; and a massive ring with three semi-precious stones that stretches over three fingers. Trained at Cooper Union, Art Smith, an African American, opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946. One of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-twentieth century, Smith was also an active supporter of black and gay civil rights, an avid jazz enthusiast, and a supporter of early black modern dance groups.