A to Z

16 minute read
Andrea Dorfman, Kate Betts, Nadia Mustafa and Caroline Tell

A ARTIST COLLABORATIONS Fashion has always been linked to art, but this season more than ever, it seems the two are hooking up. Stella McCartney asked Jeff Koons to create a print for her spring collection, and Diego Della Valle of Tod’s asked illustrator Michael Roberts to try his hand at a company logo. The prize for most daring alliance goes to Louis Vuitton for employing conceptual artist Vanessa Beecroft to create an installation of 40 nearly nude models in the atrium of the new Champs-Elysées flagship.

B BAGS 2005 will go down in the books as the year of the handbag. Just in time for the resort season: a trend for leather-trimmed canvas.

BLACK Once black came back into fashion this fall, it was only a matter of time before the color would hit the furniture and tabletop markets too. Companies like Lalique and Baccarat are leading the call for darker hues with retro-inspired collections of inky black glass.

BOOTS Edie Sedgwick wannabes are snapping up the season’s must-have accessory: mod-inspired over-the-knee flat boots. Some of the best come from young New York City designer Devi Kroell. Big luxury houses like Dior are putting their twist on the trend, equestrian-style.

C CHANDELIERS From the more traditional Murano glass to the completely funky wineglass cluster version, above, chandeliers are suddenly everywhere, adding romance and whimsy to private homes and public spaces. One of the most innovative takes on this classic home staple is Foscarini’s halogen Caboche.

CHARITY When Kenneth Cole appeared on the runway at the end of his spring show wearing a Red Cross T shirt signaling a call to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, the message was clear: the biggest trend in fashion this year might just be charity. Cole, the board chairman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, will debut a showstopping ad campaign next month on World AIDS Day. Other fashion insiders are on the same track. Polo Jeans Co. Ralph Lauren held a national denim drive, targeting college campuses and challenging young Americans to help affordable-housing groups by donating old jeans. Proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity and were also raised as part of Polo’s G.I.V.E. campaign (Get Involved. Volunteer. Exceed.), introduced to inspire community service through volunteerism. Other socially conscious companies like Edun use factories in developing countries in an attempt to spotlight the issue of sustainable employment.

D DECONSTRUCTED Thanks to designers like Alber Elbaz at Lanvin and Consuelo Castiglione from Marni, all that is slightly unraveled now looks chic. The Canadian luxury label Ports 1961 takes its inspiration from the worn-in look of a global traveler—albeit one who stops in exotic locales. Costume-jewelry designer Roxanne Assoulin is selling out of her slightly rough-around-the-edges ribbon-and-crystal necklaces for Lee Angel.

E ELEMENTS CELESTES Coco Chanel had a thing for black and white, and also for the cosmos. That’s the inspiration for the brand’s latest fine-jewelry venture, Eléments Célestes, which includes 16 pieces made of 15,400 stones, including diamonds, pearls and sapphires for a total weight of 330 carats. To present the collection, Chanel asked contemporary artist Xavier Veilhan to create original artwork inspired by the Eléments Célestes jewelry.

ESPRESSO For finicky coffee fans, De’Longhi’s new, upgraded Magnifica, a digital compact brewing system with an automatic latte function, is a must for the holidays.

F FLORAL JEWELRY When it comes to precious stones, everything’s coming up flowers, from Dior’s blossom-shaped kunzite earrings and Kwiat’s brooch bouquet blooming with pink tourmaline petals and garnet pistils to a Vera Wang 18-karat white gold brooch boutonniere and a Van Cleef & Arpels clip budding with yellow gold and pink sapphires.

FOOD FOR LESS Forget vip phone lines, advance reservations and jaw-dropping dinner bills. Some upscale restaurateurs have set up shop in more humble locations such as, uh, the sidewalk. Danny Meyer (of Blue Smoke, the Modern and Tabla fame) last year unveiled a “roadside†food stand in New York City’s Madison Square Park. The Shake Shack serves up affordable fare like cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut fries, hot dogs, frozen custard, beer and even breakfast—you can eat your warm heirloom apple fritter and Shack-a-ccino (total: $5.31) on a folding plastic chair under the shade of a tree. In nearby Bryant Park stand four ‘wichcraft kiosks, offering such gourmet handheld meals as stone-ground grits ($4) and marinated white anchovy sandwiches ($8). Owner Tom Colicchio (Craft and Gramercy Tavern) also has an outpost on a Tribeca street corner and even caters to Hampton Jitney passengers. But don’t be fooled by these eateries’ casual façades and low prices. Fine ingredients and culinary methods can transfer from ritzy kitchens to patches of grass.

G GLASS Collectible glass is on the rise. And some of the best pieces are made from recycled bottles. Los Angeles design studio Artecnica has introduced tranSglass, an environmentally conscious line of glassware that has landed in MOMA’s tabletop collection. London-based artisans Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden have molded and handcrafted the hard, sharp, clean forms that retain the original colors of the shards fished from the Dumpster.

H HIP HOTELS The new trend in luxury lodging is the creative lifestyle hotel. Breaking from traditional cookie-cutter conformity, five-stars are inviting artists to reimagine guests’ aesthetic experiences without sacrificing comfort. To achieve this harmony of form and function, Hotel Fox in central Copenhagen let loose 21 graphic designers, urban artists and illustrators in 61 of its rooms. From wacky comical styles and fantastical street art to Japanese manga and simply spaced-out fantasies, each residence is an individual work of art. Madrid’s Hotel Puerta América has also gone eclectic. The boutique’s 12 floors have been transformed by 19 architecture studios from 13 countries. Each level showcases a different avant-garde interior-design concept, from Zaha Hadid’s sinuous lines and fluid spaces on the first floor to an exercise in geometry and light by London-based Plasma Studio’s Eva Castro and Holger Kehne on the fourth. Other designs include Teresa Sapey’s colorful parking garage, Christian Liaigre’s Latin-inspired restaurant, Marc Newson’s glass-enclosed cocktail bar and an oasis-like garden by Harriet Bourne and Jonathan Bell.

HOPPING From the makers of the original pogo stick comes … a super pogo stick! Invented by M.I.T.-trained physicist Bruce Middleton and developed with champion skateboarder Andy Macdonald, the Flybar mobile exercise and stunt bar enables riders to clear heights greater than 6 ft. by bouncing on a rubber-like spring system that feels similar to a trampoline.

I iDJ MIXING CONSOLE If you haven’t had enough seamless integration, check out the Numark iDJ mixing console for iPod, which transforms your portable music library into a source playback device. Its slick blue-on-white board features extruded, anodized aluminum panels and zero-tolerance precision switches and knobs for a tight, precise feel. Rock on.

J JEANS Casual meets luxe in a 7 For All Mankind/The Great China Wall collection of embellished clothing, including three “levels†of crystal-adorned denim in classic washes and fits. Level A retains a signature sunburst on the front panel and back pockets; Level B adds paisley-shaped swirls; and in Level C, above, the entire front and both legs are studded with Swarovski.

K KIDS Finally, modern design for the tots. DWRjax, Design Within Reach’s first collection of furniture and accessories for young’uns, isn’t just beds and tables. The line consists of more than 60 imaginative, versatile pieces, ranging from play caves and riding toys to whimsical chairs and rugs. Also thinking outside the box is Maclaren, where style seems to be climbing the corporate ladder. The baby-products company is experimenting with a new array of vibrant colors, fabrics and designs. It recently hired Phillippe Starck, Lulu Guinness and Burberry to design sophisticated strollers, like the Starck Buggy, which sports sleek, continuous frame lines. Its chic complementary changing bag—made of quilted black fabric with leather accents—holds Mom’s or Dad’s stuff but doesn’t com promise elegance. Kate Spade also designed a Maclaren carriage, covered in—what else?—polka dots. She sells a footed cashmere onesie and matching hat for infants, and for their mothers, baby bags that mirror Spade’s signature totes. Young chaps can slip into a Herringbone shirt by Thomas Pink, downsized to fit lads ages 3 to 14, complete with encased collarbones and buttoned cocktail cuffs.

L LASER CUT Furniture or sculpture? The answer was both for the vanguard brother-sister team of Thien and My Ta Trung at Canadian design studio Periphere when they created the all-steel, rococo-esque Iceberg table, with a laser-cut snowflake pattern in bright mirror chrome. In similar fashion is the Conran Shop’s Prince chair, with a wool-covered rubber seat and back—originally designed by Louise Campbell for an invitation-only competition to give form to a chair for Denmark’s Crown Prince. Swede Monica Forster was inspired by snow crystals and sunbeams when building her zinc-plated, polyester-powder-coated Cake and Sun tables, which catch light to cast shadows in magical and dramatic shapes.

M MEN’S SHOES English shoemaker Barker Black is trotting Stateside. Its premiere is an ode to old British lancers, bearing the regiment’s skull-and-crossbones logo. Bottega Veneta uses leather as canvas this season, perforating cotton-lined featherweight capretto lace-ups. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s loafers, Paris bootmaker Berluti has patched and darned its new line.

MODULAR With the FlatPak system, you can build your own modern home in four easy steps. First, decide on a model. Your choices include a 2,800-sq.-ft. house dwellmag.com) a 1,200-sq.-ft., one-story L-shaped structure; and a 2,000-sq.-ft., two-story vacation home. Second, choose your “components for livingâ€: wall type, finish, kitchen, bathroom, storage, built-ins and lighting. Next, Lazor Office (whose only existing prototype is Charlie Lazor’s Minneapolis, Minn., residence, although the firm is building 20 more across the country) will customize them to fit your space, even taking into account climatic and solar conditions. Finally, the prefab firm Empyrean will piece it all together.

N NUDE AMBER Who’da thunk it? Tom Ford has teamed up with Estée Lauder. The result is a collection of lipsticks, bronzers, eye lacquers and a fragrance called Youth Dew Amber Nude, with hints of jasmine, grapefruit, ginger and, yes, amber.

O ORGANIC Forget rigidity. Home décor is going organic, at least in form. Jason Miller’s ceramic Superordinate Antler chandelier imitates nature via incandescent bulbs. Lene Frantzen’s felt cushion looks like a slab of tree trunk. Ted Muehling’s porcelain vase “grows moss.†And Viva Terra bowls undulate like petrified petals and are carved from Chinese fir roots.

P PHONES The Nokia 7380 2-megapixel camera phone features voice dialing, an MP3 player and FM stereo. Motorola’s PEBL sports a smooth oval form with a dual-hinge mechanism to open and close the device with one swift, delicate motion. The VTech i5871 5.8-GHz cordless phone is part of a system expandable to eight handsets using only one phone jack; other highlights include a digital answering device, color handset display and dual caller ID. And the Vertu Special Edition Ascent White has polished leather keys and soft backlighting, and can store up to 1,000 contacts and 150 texts.

Q QUIRKY The more cosmopolitan the contemporary palate gets, the more specific it seems restaurant trends become, to the point that some establishments are going so far as to limit their focus to only one ingredient. In Milan, fashion insiders are talking about Obiká (Via Mercato), a new restaurant located in the trendy Brera district and devoted solely to mozzarella. The mozzarella di bufala is flown in fresh from Naples every 24 hours. As any Italian cheese expert will tell you, after that it loses its taste.

R RESORTS Sun-loving fashionistas retreat to Le Sereno on St. Bart’s to lounge in elegant interiors designed by Christian Liaigre. In the middle of the Indian Ocean in the North Male Atoll is One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah. You can reserve the 109-acre island with 12 beaches for a price of $1 million for five days. The Wynn Las Vegas is secluded from the Strip by a 140-ft. mountain and 100-ft. waterfall and has a Ferrari Maserati dealership on the premises.

S SECESSIONIST When Ronald Lauder, son of beauty legend Estée Lauder, opened the Neue Galerie on New York City’s Upper East Side, he knew he was sharing his love of Viennese art and design with the world, but he probably didn’t think he would be setting a fashion trend. The Wiener Werkstätte and the Secessionist movement that came out of Vienna in the early 20th century are influencing fashion and home design. Fabric manufacturer Maharam has reissued the fabrics of Dagobert Peche, and young designers like Proenza Schouler are picking up on the colors and graphic detail of the period.

SUSTAINABLE Innovative companies like the wildly successful organic-food chain Whole Foods Market and the Swedish mass-market furniture retailer Ikea have helped introduce the idea of sustainable lifestyle to the contemporary culture. Now Whole Foods has built a 2,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle store in West Hollywood out of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, and the company even uses reclaimed and reused furniture for displays. For its recent PS collection, Ikea asked 28 designers to think up ingenious ways to use such recycled materials as wood and plastic to create new home-décor products like the Ellan rocking chair while maintaining the company’s commitment to the environment and social responsibility.

T TAO Tokyo designer Tao Kurihara, 32, has quietly grabbed the fashion world’s eye with her delicate corsets and innovative handkerchief-inspired trench coats. A protégé of Rei Kawakubo, Tao graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins design school before going to work for Comme des Garçons. She is among a handful of designers to watch in Paris.

TORY BY TRB When New York City socialite Tory Burch first started cooking up the idea of a glamorous but affordable line of easy fashion in early 2003, she never dreamed it would become a runaway success. Now Burch, the mother of three boys and a fashion public relations veteran, cannot keep up with the demand for her’70s-style embroidered tunics and neo-geo print shirts. With three stores, a handbag line and an upcoming shoe line under her belt, Burch has unknowingly launched an empire.

U UPDATED A row of 18th century houses along the Amstel River has been reborn as seven hotel rooms, called the Lute Suites. Dutch designer Marcel Wanders contributed to the simultaneously modern and classical décor with pieces like his white neo-baroque SoapStars bathroom accessories. And Italian glassware firm Bisazza hired Marco Braga to reinvent a Venetian tradition in the entrance hall of Florence’s Una Vittoria Hotel. On a computer, Braga designed a 54-hue floral mosaic made of sintered glass cubed tiles.

V VACUUMS It’s a ball, it’s a chair, it’s Airpouf ! This home appliance doubles as a piece of furniture, with holes for a draft tube, start button and air vent. On its DC15 Animal vacuum with the Ball, Dyson swapped rear wheels for a motorized ball to keep the center of gravity near the floor and suck up pet hair with a twist of the wrist—no more push and pull. Finally, German manufacturer Sebo’s Felix Fun in retro orange and purple was designed flat to the floor for maneuverability.

W WATCH Giorgio Armani’s new Privé Orologi Borgo 21 collection timepieces are available in three variations for men and women. The options: a solid 18 karat yellow- or white-gold case, a beige or black dial and a strap in dark brown alligator or shiny black lizard.

WHEEL RIMS It was only a matter of time until Sean (Diddy) Combs extended his bling empire to automobiles. Weld Wheels has introduced a Sean John Wheels line. The one- and three-piece precision-forged aluminum rims are custom-made for sport trucks, high-end SUVS and American and German luxury cars. In nine signature designs, including elegant six-spoke and intricate 18-spoke versions, they are built to have low inertia for improved acceleration and increased air flow to help cooling and reduce lift and drag.

WICKER You can’t get more organic than interlaced osiers, twigs and rods. Italian furniture company Gervasoni has an entire collection, designed by Paola Navone, dedicated to woven materials. The CROCO line, for example, includes a daybed in handwoven crocodile rattan with a wooden frame and solid teak feet. Other pieces include armchairs and sofas made of black pulut and seats crafted from malacca canes—a type of liana originating in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra.

X IXUS CAMERA Canon has added two models to its Digital IXUS range: 750 and 55. The former maintains a “perpetual curve†design and comes in silver gray or satin beige. The 55 has a starburst radiating from the lens ring and is finished in silver-white palladium plating on stainless steel.

Y YSL When Italian-born designer Stefano Pilati stepped into his boss Tom Ford’s shoes at the venerable French house of Yves Saint Laurent, the fashion pack wasn’t sure what to expect. Three seasons later, Pilati has put the iconic brand back on the style map with cutting-edge ideas and a slew of hot accessories, including this season’s must-have purple suede or leopard-print platform shoes. Next up in the Pilati look book: matador style, as in ruffled collars, high-waisted pants and a blood red–based color palette.

Z ZAC POSEN BAG For his spring collection, Zac Posen wanted to go big, but he didn’t want to adjust the silhouette of his clothing. So he created the oversize messenger bag, playing with volume in accessories instead. Result: his first line of glamorous bags made of exotic skins (python, stingray and lizard), versatile enough for a last-minute weekend jaunt.

EVA ZEISEL A sensuous, multifunctional shape with a pedigreed past is reborn. Originally created in 1952 by the world-renowned Hungarian ceramics designer Eva Zeisel, the Classic Century teapot makes a comeback in a creamy neutral. Zeisel, considered one of the foremost designers of the 20th century, created sculptural pieces with rounded curves, arches, teardrops and wave motifs. Out of production for many years, during which it became a collector’s item, this timeless piece of high-fired earthenware was resurrected exclusively for Crate & Barrel.

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