Sao Paulo, Flare

25 Sep

Visit Sao Paulo, Flare, July ’14

Rockaway crush

21 Jul

Nowness and I have a Rockaway crush! July 14

Paris_CB

1 Jul

Paris’ hipster economy, Canadian Business, July ’14

Last night at Creative Time

7 May

“People are going to want to lick it off,” joked artist Wangechi Mutu, staring up at the massive sugar sculpture crafted by her friend Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory. Last night the industrial space was decorated with a warm, oriental touch for Creative Time’s Spring gala, which brought together an elegant and colorful crowd – uptown socialites, downtown artists and Brooklyn bohemia. Chloé Sévigny, Chuck Close, Mickalene Thomas, Vito Schnabel, Waris Ahluwalia, Jenna Lyons, Solange Knowles, Stefano Tonchi and of course Walker’s vocal admirer, André Léon Talley were all there, sipping champagne and admiring the 75-feet-long sculpture.

 

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Walker, who is known for her large silhouette paper cuts depicting racial oppression in American narratives, created this sphinxlike figure to resemble a plantation worker, both menacing and sensual with her soft, shiny surface.

Talley marched in as the cocktail party drew to an end and guests took their seats at the dinner table, wrapped in a long pale blue kimono. “Kara’s a genius. Her work is about history,” he shouted, rushing towards the crowd.

Ladies showed off elaborate and sexy evening dresses, but Jenna Lyons wore a relaxed suit and white sneakers. “I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years,” she said. “I was at the Met Ball last night I stayed up late but there was no way I was going to miss it.” Indeed, from the Met’s rose-filled red carpet gala to the vacant Kent Avenue factory, it was quite a change of scenery. Guests walked down the rugged road in high pumps towards the glimmering Hudson, as the sun set behind the Williamsburg Bridge. “Manhattan has changed a lot,” mused Lyons. “There aren’t’ that many opportunity for surprises anymore. So many of the people who influenced my life grew up in Brooklyn.”

Brooklynite Solange Knowles was a stunner in a satin red shirt and red pants. “I’ve just finished recording an album on a Louisiana sugar plantation, so this work is really interesting,” she said. “Walker addresses race in such a powerful way.”

“Brooklyn fosters creativity,” she continued before dashing off with Lyons. “It’s really nice to be back here.”

Brigitte Lacombe, NOWNESS

2 May

Brigitte Lacombe’s photographs, Nowness, April ’14

Singapore

16 Apr

Singapore’s food scene, Canadian Business, Apr 14

Gaultier in London

14 Apr

Gaultier in London, Fashionista, Apr. 14

Beirut’s design scene

11 Mar

Beirut’s design scene, Four Seasons Magazine, Winter 14

Puerto Rico

27 Feb

Puerto Rico, Ralph Lauren Magazine, Winter 2014

Poetry

10 Jan

Read me on contemporary Arabic poetry

Alex Prager

10 Dec

Read my post on Alex Prager in Nowness

Isabella Blow

2 Dec

Isabella Blow, Fashionista, Nov. 13

Chromeo

2 Dec

Chromeo’s White Women, MTVIGGY, Nov. 13

Gaultier

23 Oct

Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, Fashionista

Marseille

15 Oct

Watch our video on Marseille’s new architecture on Tag Heuer! 

Beer

4 Oct

On beer and gastronomy, Canadian Business, Oct. ’13

Four Seasons

24 Sep

Designers to watch, Four Seasons Magazine, Fall 13

Dion Lee profile

11 Sep

Dion Lee, Fashionista, Sept. ’13

Artinfo

10 Sep

Cover story, Artinfo Paper, Sept.13

Fashion week essentials

1 Sep

My fashion week essentials, revealed on Fashionista!

Norman Parkinson

15 Aug

Norman Parkinson, Four Seasons Magazine, Aug. 13

Antwerp: a fashion capital

8 Aug

Antwerp, Ralph Lauren Magazine, Aug. ’13

Karl Lagerfeld’s Monaco Pool

29 Jun

Read my interview with Lagerfeld on his new Odyssey space at the Métropole 

Antwerp’s graduate show

19 Jun

Antwerp’s anniversary reunion and show, Fashionista, June 13

Marseille: the Rebellious city

11 Jun

Marseille: European culture capital of 2013, Ralph Lauren Magazine, Summer 13

 

 

Michael Rakowitz

25 May

Read my profile of artist Michael Rakowitz in The National 

New posts on Nowness

30 Apr

Read my interviews with artists Urs Fischer and Mounir Fatmi on Nowness

Lyon

24 Mar

Read my article about Lyon, city of all delights, in Ralph Lauren Magazine

Tulum

6 Feb

A boho paradise: Tulum. Read my article in Ralph Lauren Magazine

New post on Nowness

6 Feb

My article about renegade artist JR is on Nowness: http://www.nowness.com/day/2013/1/31/2778/jr–blow-up?icid=Previously_Home

Jade Lai

31 Dec

Read my interview with Creatures of Comfort’s Jade Lai in Surface Magazine.

Holiday flower trends

15 Dec

Looking for ideas for your holiday decorations? Check out my latest article for Ralph Lauren Magazine

In L’Officiel

14 Nov

L’Officiel Levant asked me about my favourite NYC spots. Read here!

Boho Beirut’s New York launch

25 Oct

On Tuesday night at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, we celebrated the New York launch party of Boho Beirut: a Guide to the Middle East’s Most Sophisticated City with P-Thugg of Chromeo, who’s Lebanese! Here’s a snapshot for those who missed it.

Nomad-Chic

18 Oct

Yours Truly is Nomad of the Week on Nomad-Chic

Serge Becker

15 Oct

Serge Becker, Aleim Magazine, Oct. 12

Montreal’s dreamers and punks

23 Sep

Just in time for Pop Montreal, my article on Montreal’s indie music scene is live on MTVIggy

Latest work on Nowness

13 Sep

My latest article is about Chinese pop star and fashion icon Laure Shang on Nowness

Boho Beirut

10 Jul

My book, Boho Beirut: a Guide to the Middle East’s Most Sophisticated City, is finally out! It’s an insider guide to the city, with profiles of tastemakers and tips that only locals would usually know.

Boho Beirut is available at major Lebanese bookstores and through the following booksellers:

www.antoineonline.com

Drawn and Quarterly, Montreal

McNally Jackson, New York

Stanfords, London

Coup de coeur for Ghent

11 May

It was a grey, rainy day when I landed in Brussels and took the train to Ghent, the Medieval city that was once a major port and textile center. My taxi passed the Gravensteen (Castle of the Count), waffle stands and canals, and finally stopped in front of an unassuming storefront behind which my chambre d’hôte, Chambre Plus, was tucked. I walked through the garden and pond and reached my room, a two-floor suite with bright orange and red touches and a cosy fireplace nook. Perfect for me. And the jacuzzi was just a bit large for myself alone. The best moment, of course, was breakfast: A decadent succession of fruit salads, home baked pastries and breads, jams and the divine chocolate-hazelnut spread concocted by the owner, Hendrik Mesuere.

The cobblestoned streets of Ghent are quiet and charming, filled with students and laid back locals. This kitsch bar caught my attention:

Pink Flamingo

Ghent has a brilliant mix of historic and contemporary culture, such as this installation on the river bank:

This is the Rococo centerpiece in St Baff’s Cathedral:

At Volta, I had a very memorable dinner.

The mixologist at Volta added a dash of orange bitters to a state of the art rum Old Fashioned

Yes, I get to flirt with handsome chefs (at Volta)

This cod in mushroom broth was seriously delicious (at Volta)

Helsinki in April

4 Apr

An exclusive look at the new Kamppi Chapel of Silence

 

Design Forum

The new Music Center

 

Stylish waitress at The Savoy, Aalto's 1937 restaurant

 

Original Alvar Aalto table and vases

Latva, a charming bar

 

The converted American server at Latva

Lingam berry cocktail at Juuri

 

Yes! I ate smoked raindeer tongue!

The reception at Klaus K, my hotel

 

At Klaus K's club, two girls can share a bathroom

The charming Café Ekberg

A hipster server at Sis Deli+ Café

Alvar Aalto's Academic Bookstore

A seriously delicious rhubarb basil cocktail at A21

 

 

European voyage

18 Sep

Day one – after a speedy flight from JFK we land in sunny Helsinki. The city is clean, quiet, soothing even. Stylish young people on bikes, trams, design stores and cute cafés. Yes. I am finally in Europe.

Helsinki was voted best place to live by Monocle and I can see why. The air is pure and the sky is a crisp blue. The Finns are endearing and sweet and have a bit of a dark sense of humor. And of course, they love their saunas. Here it’s all about the saunas. At night we take a ferry to one of the island restaurants and taste the freshest raw salmon and down neat vodka. We sing drinking songs while the sun, with its neon pink ribbons, kisses the still river. Kippis. (Cheers)

Day four – after traveling throughout the country on Eurail trains and looking at the stark tundra through the massive windows, we hop on the Allegro – Europe’s first high speed train to Russia – and promptly pass the borders. As a dashing blonde man with chiseled cheekbones checks my passport, the flashbacks of the Russian visa application nightmares vanish. Soon we’re looking at soviet bunker style buildings, barbed wires and modest houses. Olga, a language teacher and guide, is waiting at the St. Petersburg station. Later tonight we have a reservation at The Idiot, named after Dostoyevsky’s famous book. But now I have a date at the New Holland cultural complex, located on an old industrial site.

The temporary exhibition at New Holland

Model, editor and art patron Dasha Zhukova is transforming historical wood warehouses into to art studios, venues and perhaps a store or two. That’s thanks to her husband Roman Abramovic’s 4M$ investment. On the site, a flat, vast field covered in gravel and grass, giant inflatable rats greet visitors. They are by the Bruce High Quality Foundation and part of the summer exhibition at New Holland. My hostess, lovely Anna Dyulgerova, offers me a tasting of Georgean cheeses – pungent and complex- and herb tea which we drink with spoonfuls of honey, wrapped in thick wool blankets.

Walter

29 Aug

Check out my interview with Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck, one of the Antwerp Six who’s having a retrospective at MoMu in September! Love, sex and David Bowie…  http://www.hintmag.com/department/hinterview

Moments from recent trips

24 Jun

Lately I have been restless. In May I visited Antwerp to report on the historical port’s new slew of avant-garde talent. I walked through the tiny cobblestone streets, taking regular breaks to bite into a steamy, sticky gaufre or crunchy praline-filled chocolate. Young people overcrowded outdoor terraces, drinking icy beers and munching on fries; there was a sense of careless freedom in the air. I attended the opening of the much-awaited MAS Museum, which celebrates Antwerp’s portuary history and the rich cultural exchanges that took place there throughout the centuries.

One day one, we flew over the city in a helicopter. The Schelde glistened, the Gothic Cathedral rose from the flat city, and the MAS, with its rust indian bricks and asymetrical facade, stood proudly on the waterfront.

In the helicopter

The MAS is a massive cabinet of curiosities, filled with antique boats, paintings from Flemish masters, contemporary installations, and art works commissioned from the city’s best talent. There is an in-house composer, whose remarkable noise-like ambient tracks add an eerie dimension to the shows. Vicky Geunes, the region’s most celebrated chef, serves his delicate compositions in his Michelin-starred restaurant, ‘T Zilte, which is surrounded by glass and overlooks the city. I tasted an acid-green iced cucumber yogurt bonbon, fresh and fragrant and delicious.

Mas Museum

Easter in New Orleans

25 Apr

A woman stands in a silk emerald dress and little victorian booties, holding a straw umbrella. Curled tribal earring hang from her ears; her chocolate hair is twisted in braids and buns. She sings in front of her big band, The Smoking Time Jazz Club. Men of all ages, some bearded, some dark from the sun, play their trumpets and strings. A tall man with a bowl hat and a frizzy goatee dances with a young woman with an athletic build and a cotton skirt. They twist, tap and swing, looking into each other’s eyes and smiling. It’s smoking hot. Further, a tune of old blues on a guitar. A man is playing in his tweed vest and pants, sweating in the sun. Sometimes he gently taps his tambourine with his foot for a jingle.

Families pass by, the men dressed in seersucker suits and bow ties, the women clad in tight cocktail dresses, elaborate flowered hats and stumbling on their vertiginous heels. Tourists in souvenir t-shirts flaunt the shiny, colorful plastic bead necklaces they have collected from the parade, where exuberant characters on floats pitch plastic trinkets and candy on the crowd’s heads.

At Antoine’s, a French Quarter French-Cerole restaurant that’s been open since 1840, pink, green and blue balloons rise from wooden bistro chairs. A fleur de lys motif decorates the wallpaper and moldings of the high ceilings. Antique chandeliers cast a dim light on a very colorful crowd. Here, a man in a Hawaiian printed shirt; there, a woman with fifties cat frames, tomato red lips and nails and a flower-printed dress. In the corner, a woman with a waxy complexion and thick red-traced lips sings oldies with a deep, sensuous voice. Her orange flame-printed dress billows softly as she moves her hips.

My charming waiter lights up a brandy infused with lemon peels and brandy. He stirs the potion to heat it up, then mixes it with coffee and serves it in a little cup. I dig into my warm pecan bread pudding and take a sip of the hot, sweet, toxic concoction.

 

Style queen

28 Mar

She dashes in, a lithe, golden body, her sun-kissed mane undulating wildly, her tan highlighted by a petrol-blue sweater with a hoodie. She is 64. In her sun-drenched penthouse conference room, fuchsia and white orchids bloom by the floor-to-ceiling windows; leopard-printed rugs line the floor; zebra skins adorn massive wood chairs; the heavy conference table is scattered with colored pencils, images and books. As for the walls, they are covered with hundreds of artworks: Man Ray lips, a tortured Anh Duong self-portrait, a picture of veiled women on a beach by Shirin Neshat.

A DVF portrait by Francesco Clemente

Diane Von Furstenberg sits straight on the edge of the couch, throwing her shoulders back like a ballerina. She puts down her Ipad, with its lip-covered screensaver. She holds her thick locks in her hands for a moment, closing her eyes. It has been a busy morning, as usual. Then suddenly she perks up again, beaming and talking about her business – her favorite topic. This year her resolution was to expand in China; she is leaving for the country in a few days. On April 2nd, Diane Von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress, a major exhibition of her work and influence, opens at Pace Beijing after a stop in Moscow, featuring portraits of the princess by Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente and Helmut Newton, dresses. Portraits DVF has commissioned from contemporary Chinese artists (conceptual artist Zhang Huan, photographer Hai Bo, painter Li Songsong and multimedia artist Yi Zhou) will be unveiled.

Memories of war

13 Mar

We Lebanese are always worried. We’re paranoid about politics, people, everything and anything. We think everything is a mysterious and dark conspiracy. We don’t really believe in a better world; battered by centuries of political manipulations and war, we have mostly accepted the corruption and decay in our country. In Beirut, most people dream of the “West.” People save up for shopping trips to Paris. They plan a whole holiday around a London concert. They talk about their relatives in Australia, France and Canada. Who could blame them? In Beirut, there’s not much to do – except tan at outrageously priced beach resorts and comment about so-and-so’s marriage and so-and-so’s outfit.

So I didn’t quite know what to expect when I opened American journalist Annia Ciezaldo’s first book, Day of Honey. I knew she had lived in the region and married a Lebanese man; I thought she might offer some insights about the region, like a scholar or a distant observer — or the many cynical correspondents I knew.

But I found the book refreshingly hopeful and poetic. Ciezaldo embraces her husband’s family and culture with curiosity and humor. She learns to make typical Lebanese and Iraki meals. As she navigates the complex, violent realities in both countries, she draws vivid portraits of the courageous and inspiring people she meets. She does write about the absurdities and the contradictions and the corruption, but she also describes how civilians deal with the chaos everyday and shows that they, too, have dreams, even it if may be so much harder for them to reach them. And she shows that everyone needs love and food to survive.

Annia Ciezaldo loves Lebanese food

 

Current reads

17 Feb

The light has muted from icy to warm and soft; today I went out for the first time without my heavy down jacket (which makes me feel like a very unattractive bear). I opened the windows wide and bought some hyacinths. I’m getting ready for a big cleanup. But before summer comes I want to spend more nights reading in bed. How soothing to be isolated from the noise, smells, and aggressions of the city, to forget about trash culture – Lady Gaga’s eggs, Justin Bieber’s haircut and other subjects everyone seems obsessed with. Right now Philippe Sollers, Mario Vargas Llosa and James Joyce are on my bedside, but I did promise to share my impressions of the last two books I read.

First, La Carte et le Territoire, by Michel Houellebecq, winner of this year’s Prix Goncourt. It’s the story of this strange artist, Jed Martin, who finds massive success in the most serendipitous circumstances. The people he eventually meets include Michel Houellebecq, a degenerate depressive character who’s gruesomely assassinated; Olga, a sex-bomb/PR girl from Russia, Frederic Beigbeder, a coke-addicted celebrity writer who’s equally bitter and hyperactive.

As usual, Houellebecq offers a dark and incisive analysis of our corrupt, PR-savvy, vulgar world. While La Carte et le Territoire is not as powerful as the writer’s older books, it’s definitely an interesting insight into the art world and our times. If you want to be completely disillusioned and demoralized, read it.

At the Nars boutique

9 Feb

Tomorrow the world’s first Nars boutique, designed by star art director Fabien Baron, opens officially.

The intimate Bleeker Street boutique holds the full Nars range and exclusives such as the Bleeker matte lipstick, a burnt red stain. Here you can play with everything with the makeup artists, protected from the hysterical action of malls. I’ve always been a fan of Baron’s sensual black casings for the brand (I remember stealing my mom’s almost-empty Nars eyeshadow palettes and getting the last bits with a Q-tip. I must’ve been 11). I also love the Orgasm blush and gloss (it’s true, you look like you’ve just spent the day doing it on a beach rather than bitching at the New York transit system). The makeup remover is epically efficient and the lipsticks – my fave is Senorita, a golden-peachy nude – are creamy and pigment-rich. For summer, there’s a Studio 54-inspired collection – I’m especially impatient to try on the copper nail polish, inspired by the disco divas and flashy decadence of the era.

Finally, there’s an inspiration wall with books, films, fresh flowers, and other pretty things that evoke the poetic world of François Nars – an adoptive New Yorker who lives in a hotel suite on Central Park South and enjoys long strolls in the Village on sunny days.