Archive for February 4th, 2009

$1,800 Thom Browne x Converse Sneakers

February 4, 2009

Impish cutting edge men’s designer Thom Browne has collaborated with classic sports shoe brand Converse on a limited edition pair of patchwork grosgrain ribbon sneakers. The quirky take on Converse’s iconic canvas Jack Purcell model sells for $1,800 at so-hip-it-hurts Parisian boutique Colette. A pair of original canvas Jack Purcells, designed in 1935 by the badminton champ of the same name, runs about $40. The red, white and blue patchwork ribbon motif was used by Browne for one of his characteristically loopy men’s suits in his spring fashion show. Men’s style expert Alan Flusser, who called out President Obama’s dodgy inauguration ball tuxedo, has dubbed Browne’s out-there designs “irresponsible.”


IWC Gold Aquatimer Vintage Collection Automatic Watch

February 4, 2009

Last year the watch loving public was delighted to see the Vintage collection from IWC that included a vintage styled Aquatimer watch, closely resembling the first Aquatimer watch from 1967. This was easily the best of the new Vintage line watches in my opinion, and still looks great a year later. This year IWC has taken the entire new IWC Vintage line and added 18k gold (white or rose gold) versions of the 44m wide case to the strong lineup.

This is the rose gold IWC Vintage Aquatimer on a honey alligator strap. The look is about as beautiful a retro diver watch as you can get. The internal rotating bezel is controlled via the top crown on the right side of the watch, which is screwed down. Inside is an IWC manufactured 80111 calibre automatic movement with Pellaton winding system and integrated shock absorbers. Sapphire crystals (antireflective) are on the front and rear of the watch. This true diver’s watch is water-resistant to 12 ATM. Price likely $15,000 – $20,000 for the gold versions of this highly desirable IWC Vintage Aquatimer watch. Perfect for actual diving or otherwise.

T. Anthony Alligator Desk Set

February 4, 2009

In the electronic age the elegant executive’s desk set is something of a throwback to a more Mad Men-ish era. In December we wrote about Bottega Veneta’s luxe sterling silver version. Now Manhattan luxury luggage and leather goods company T. Anthony has come out with an even more luxurious set in genuine Louisiana alligator skin (above). Available by special order only with a production time of up to three months, the price depends on the market for the exotic leather, but was recently quoted at $13,000. Available in brown with polished gold fittings or black with polished nickel fittings, the set consists of a document tray, blotter, letter opener, scissors, memo pad holder and pencil cup. T. Anthony, founded in 1946, has a rich history of making custom luggage and travel items for the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Onassis.

Women’s Bvlgari Bvlgari Moon Phase Watch For Baselworld 2009

February 4, 2009

The current economy has not been kind to Bvlgari, both in its watch and jewelry selling capacities. Not to be discouraged, Bvlgari has apparently returned to its roots with new designs that are attractive and conservative, though complex. A barrage of new models will be released at Baselworld in April, and the public reception of these watches will be an indicator of Bvlgari’s short-term economic future.

New to the women’s line is this updated “Bvlgari Bvlgari” (Bulgari Bulgari) Moon Phase watch. The classic name is taken from the double use of the brand name on the bezel. The dial is mother of pearl with diamond pavé decoration in a crescent moon shape. Opposite is the moon phase display also in mother of pearl. Other than the moon phase display, the complications are simple with just the time and a subsidiary seconds dial. Powering the watch is the automatic mechanical B77 movement, with applied Côte de Genève and perlage polish decorations.

The 38mm case is steel – as the company must remain a bit more modest these days – and is attached to a handsome white alligator strap with a folding deployment clasp. It is a fine luxury watch that is unmistakeably Bvlgari, exactly what the company needs right now. Availability starts in May at select Bvlgari boutiques.

Naked Scot Whisky

February 4, 2009

Australian liquor producer ASM Liquor operates under the premise that spirits without chemicals will deliver less of a hangover. The company has a range that includes vodka, rum, gin and tequila with the quirky names, Vodka O, Kinky Nero dark rum, Kinky Lux white rum, Jinn Dry Gin and Tequila Blu. The latest is a whisky called Naked Scot. As Bill Dowd reports ASM Liquor has the whisky distilled on the Isle of Mull and aged three years. They claim that the whisky is free from residual herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides (it doesn’t mention if the product is organic).

Van Cleef & Arpels Offers the Design of Your Dreams

February 4, 2009

French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels is giving some of its best clients the opportunity to collaborate with its Parisian designers on custom-made pieces at America’s International Fine Art Fair being held February 3-8 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. For the first time at the show, the company’s two head designers will come from Paris with important loose stones―including a 2.45-carat fancy intense orange-yellow diamond, an 11- carat cushion-cut ruby, and a 138-carat green beryl―to meet with clients individually and guide them in selecting a gem for a personalized design. After the final sketch has been approved, the piece will be made in either the New York or Paris workshop and delivered within six to eight months. In addition to the “Design of Your Dreams” concept, the house will present its Ballet Précieux high jewelry collection and vintage pieces, such as the 1971 gold Sequins necklace and earrings (shown), at the Palm Beach show.

Pure Sole

February 4, 2009

Following in the footsteps of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo, Rickard Shah has, over the past decade, slowly attracted an A-list Hollywood clientele for its sexy stilettos. Now the Italian footwear brand, owned by U.K-born Elizabeth Rickard and her American husband, Binith Shah, has launched a comfort-shoe division for men. Unlike the signature collection, Rickard Shah Pure, the new line of boat shoes, driver moccasins and sandals, is constructed entirely from sustainable materials. In addition to uppers made of naturally tanned pigment-dyed leathers and soles rendered from 100 percent tree rubber, the shoes are fabricated using only water-based glues. Moreover, the footwear’s proprietary rubber sole is an interchangeable hybrid. “So it’s the same sole on all our shoes even though the uppers look completely different,” says Shah, noting how the shoes, starting at $400, come packaged in boxes made from recycled paper. Even the delivery process from production to point of sale is green: The shoes are shipped via boat, which leaves a smaller carbon footprint than shipping by plane.

Super Surround Sound

February 4, 2009

Electronics company MBL, based in Lake Forest, Calif., has created the 101X-Treme speaker, a new system using pulsating spheres that radiate equal amounts of energy at all frequencies through a 360-degree sound field, producing the exact same signal whether you are sitting in front, behind, or alongside. Sound complicated? MBL vice president David Alexander says, “It just energizes an entire room.”

The secret to the 101X-Treme is a four-tower system. The main tower houses a pair of driver arrays supported by an acrylic, steel, and wood frame, and the woofer columns each hold 12-inch bass drivers with internal amplifiers (for sound control even in the loftiest living rooms). Each pair of speakers, weighing in together at nearly 2,500 pounds, takes 90 days to create and customize. The pair will set you back $250,000, and only three sets are available for purchase in the United States this year.

On the Block: Fashion Inspiration

February 4, 2009

Designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, shared more than a love for haute couture. During their almost 50 years together, the two men amassed more than 700 works of art including old master and modern paintings, objets d’art, and furnishings. Their entire collection, valued between $280 million and $430 million, will be sold as part of Christie’s Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection, a series of five sales from February 23 to 25 inside Paris’ Grand Palais. Bergé and Laurent, who cofounded the Yves Saint Laurent Couture House in 1961, took some obvious inspiration from their art when designing fashion throughout the decades. Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black (1922), for example, served as the muse for Laurent’s fall 1965 Mondrian shift dress, a signature piece.

When Laurent died in June 2008, he bequeathed his half of the collection to Bergé under the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. The proceeds of the sale will go to Bergé’s newly formed foundation dedicated to scientific research and the fight against AIDS. Other highlights of the sale include about 20 pieces of furniture from Jean-Michel Frank (in straw marquetry, parchment, ivory, oak, and quartz, estimated between $75,000 and $600,000), Picasso’s Instruments de Musique sur un guéridon (1914), and Gustave Miklos’ Paire de banquettes, vers 1920-1922, shown.