Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I hope you will be able to check out my feature in the October Fashion issue of Elle Decor magazine which begins on page 95! Editors Michael Boodro and Peter Terzian asked me to talk to ten American fashion designers about their very first apartment in New York City. Peter Som, Stephen Burrows, Anna Sui, Michael Bastian, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Rucci, Jill Stuart, Adam Lippes, Josie Natori, and the the boys at Rag & Bone, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, all shared their very charming memories with me. I hope you enjoy it and the issue.
Talking to the designers reminded me of my first apartment in New York. When I moved to New York I crashed with some acquaintances from Martha's Vineyard in a loft in Tribeca, but my first real apartment was on Second Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets. I had a temporary job at the time working as the chauffeur for Mr. Perry Ellis, which is another story. One morning as I sat waiting for Perry in his bottle-green Jaguar at the curb, I looked through the classifieds (remember those?) in the back of The New York Times and spotted an ad for a three bedroom apartment with a big deck out the back on Second Avenue. It was $1,200. My brother Thom and his high school friend Bob Manogue and I were looking for an apartment together, so I rushed to the corner pay phone (remember those?) on Columbus Avenue and called them, and we met that night at the apartment's open house. There were scores of other groups looking at the apartment. I sought out the superintendent, one Mrs. O'Brien, to whom we politely introduced ourselves.
And we got the apartment!
But Thom and Bob and I did not have the security deposit! I called my friend Abby who was good with this sort of thing and she loaned us the money. We all met at a bar inside the Port Authority bus terminal and then headed over to meet with Mrs. O'Brien, who we subsequently nicknamed Obie.
After we signed the lease and got the keys, the four of us went over to the vacant apartment. It was kind of a strange configuration; two apartments had been combined together, so the kitchen was the hallway which you passed through to get to the bedrooms. We were thrilled to have it. We ordered a pizza and sat on the floor under one light bulb. And there our lives in New York began.
Monday, September 15, 2014
With Matt Fox, one of the proprietors of Fine And Dandy.
I recently had fun stopping in to visit the newish Fine and Dandy shop at 445 West 49th Street in Hell's Kitchen. Matt Fox and Enrique Crame, the boys at Fine and Dandy, have an online business which sells "accessories for dapper guys." With its success, they decided to expand and open a permanent "bricks and mortar" store in the neighborhood where they live, Hell's Kitchen. When I visited recently I found Matt tending the shop as Enrique was entertaining out-of-town friends.
Matt and Enrique have their goods made here in New York City and their prices are gentle. I like their aesthetic and taste, and always find something irresistible. The accessories also make great gifts. The small, charming ground level shop is jammed with unique discoveries - including ties, scarves, pocket squares, jewelry, and leather goods. It's like a well curated attic. There are also toys and games and vintage finds –
Some of the wool scarves are edged with colorful piping. I bought a grey scarf finished with light blue piping, very dandy indeed –
College pennants are stacked next to bowls of silk knot cufflinks that are colored like candy -
Fun suspenders to wear under a conservative suit –
Ties and bow ties in all different hues and patterns –
A view to the front door –
The charming front window of Fine and Dandy at 449 W. 49th Street –
Matt reports that he and Enrique are now recognized on the street by their neighbors in Hell's Kitchen. Check out the shop, and tell them I sent you!