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Monthly Archives: May 2010

These are the aforementioned posters I have been putting up around Cooper Union for my new class Architecture Appreciation. The class will go on field trips around New York exploring new and historic landmarks and architectural gems. The posters were both made in InDesign, using photographs I had taken on a field trip I took my other Cooper Union class on (Architecture Through a Mixed Media Lens). The fonts used include Braggadocio and Arial and I played with the sizes and colors of the strokes and fills to change the appearance. For example, the ‘The Cooper Union Continuing Education’ line is actually Arial but with a very thick stroke outlining to make it stand out. One of the interesting things about InDesign is that it lets you use gradients for the stroke not just the fill. The poster on the right uses a gradient stroke to outline ‘Architecture Appreciation’. It’s always fun making posters; they get ‘built’ much faster than buildings!

Today, while I was out and about putting up posters for a new class I am teaching (Architecture Appreciation at The Cooper Union), I happened to stroll past Jamin Puech, and well, decided to stroll in once again. Needless to say I strolled out empty-handed. I’m not quite at that point in my life where I throw down $1000 without thinking (a lot) about it. But also I realized that there really wasn’t one particular handbag that stood out for me. It’s the store itself that holds the appeal. I have been fascinated by this store for quite a while, and now I finally know why. It’s because the duo are obviously collagists and collage is possibly my favorite medium (or maybe it’s photography or drawing-don’t make me choose). I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me before today. Of course they’re collagists-they use silk, wood, raffia, plastic, canvas, etc all on one piece. The piece just happens to be a handbag. (This is also why Desigual is interesting to me). Maybe wandering into Jamin Puech just feels more like visiting a gallery than a shop and I feel like I’m there to learn, to observe, and then leave.

Having lived in London for a number of years, I spent many a Saturday morning at Liberty of London looking for a little piece of Liberty to take home. And sometimes I even took a bigger piece home like Vivienne (my Vivienne Westwood coat). I have yet to find a department store quite as selective or as well curated. Its rather unflashy, unhyped cosmetics and perfume counters make it oh-so-alluring. No salesperson shoving perfume samples in your face, or worse, spraying you. (Hey, I already have my own perfume on-get that fruity scent away from me!).

Anyway, I digress. Now that I live in New York, I’m always looking out for all things Liberty and I’m sure you’ve all noticed that Liberty has teamed up with Target to bring you a whole range of items for you and your home. Well, this is all well and good, and I’m glad that everything is relatively affordable. A few words of warning before you go on your cheap Liberty spree. Most of Liberty’s famous prints were originally printed on their high-quality 100% cotton (Tana Lawn) or 100% silk fabrics. As well they should be. While the Liberty for Target range definitely uses their original prints, it doesn’t always use the fabric the prints were originally intended for. Of course, this is how it has been possible to make it affordable. But I do feel compelled to say beware the polyester pillows, dresses and so on. You might be better off getting a smaller piece of Liberty for Target in the form of a cotton scarf. These may not be Tana Lawn (I haven’t been able to verify), but they’re closer to the original than unpretty poly.

The point is don’t be fooled into thinking that Liberty fabric is only known for its prints; quality is a major factor. I am always glad when good design becomes accessible, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy Liberty for Target. It is cheap but you should still know what you’re getting for your money.

If you are willing to spend a bit more, many labels have used 100% cotton Tana Lawn Liberty fabric including Steven Alan and J. Crew and this season, 7 for All Mankind and Bensimon are amongst those using it for well-made, reasonably-priced clothing and shoes. If either your sewing skills or budget will stretch far enough, why not go straight to the source? You can get Liberty fabrics (or designer pieces made using the fabric) delivered here in New York from London. There are also stores such as purlsoho in New York where you can buy the fabric. And if your budget stretches all the way, just take a trip to London and set aside a Liberty day. I’m off to buy a Liberty belt online.

So, you’re going away to a beautiful beach and everything is packed. Ticket, passport and straw hat in hand. But wait, straw hat-really? I know, I know, the image of you in a gigantic straw hat lying on the beach, cocktail in hand,  is sooo irresistible. But don’t forget you will have to lug that thing around throughout your journey. So with your straw hat in hand, think about this. When you go through security, you may have to take off your shoes, your jacket, take out your toiletries, your laptop (if you insist on taking it), ditch the water bottle, and possibly have your bag searched. Is it really worth adding the straw hat to that list of security to-dos? And do you want to put that beautiful objet into one of those awful grey trays that everyone’s shoes have been in, only to see it come out squashed on the other side? I know I don’t and that’s why I recommend a floppy alternative.

Floppy doesn’t conjure up the same image as a straw hat, but seriously there are some great options. I bought mine a few years ago at Coccinelle London. It is actually a jute hat with a wire brim. You can flatpack and put it away and once unfolded you can reshape the wire. They don’t have the same hat this season, but they have a nice grosgrain alternative, and a couple of cotton ones I quite like the look of. If the brim or the price tag don’t quite do it for you, then Anthropologie actually has a very nice wide-brimmed grosgrain hat in coral or blue. I’ve never tried this site, but this jute hat looks promising. And for men, I found this jute trilby by True Religion online at Saks.

If neither grosgrain nor jute will do, and you insist on taking that straw hat, then make sure it’s big enough to double as a beach bag, and please invest in a glamorous hat box.

-Shaumyika Sharma

The 3 oz rule has been around for a while, but there’s no need to fear it-just have fun with it. Whether you’re addicted to your own products or prefer a ready made kit, there are plenty of options. Keep in mind where you’re headed. Don’t leave out the sunscreen if you’re going to be on the beach, and make sure you have a rich moisturizer if you’re going into colder weather. You may have to prioritize.

Ready mades

The nice people at Malin & Goetz have put together a fab kit of 6 3 oz bottles in a clear resealable bag. The kit includes face cleanser, face moisturizer, body cleanser, body moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner. Done. Just add toothbrush and (small) toothpaste. Available at department stores, Flight 001 etc.

For a perfect little dental kit, Flight 001 have done the work for you.

Free samples and smaller sizes

It is possible to get some of your itty-bitty toiletries for free. Certain cosmetics counters will give you trial sizes of some of their products. If there are products you’ve always wanted to try, this might be a good time. I’ve often tried products by Kiehl’sJurlique and Origins and ended up buying the product later.

Also, Aveda, The Body Shop and others actually sell smaller sizes-3 oz or less. Many pharmacies stock smaller sizes too.

Repackaging your own

If only the products you use right now will do, and you can’t find smaller sizes, then there are a number of places to buy little 3 oz containers. Muji has a great selection of different types of bottles and little jars. All you need is a little patience to squeeze or spray your fave products into these. They even have little tools to help you scrape, funnel or ‘inject’ your products in. Empty containers are also available at Flight 001, and elsewhere. You’ll just need to decide which containers are for what.

While I was in Australia I found a nifty little kit with a set of empty containers inside a clear resealable bag by Korjo, but haven’t seen it in NYC.

Something New

You can always use the opportunity to try some new products that happen to be the right size. I took it upon myself to try out Mor’s perfume oil-Snow Gardenia. Actually turned out to be the perfect scent for sun, sea and sand.

As an architect, designer and artist, I am here to talk about all things visual and how specifically they affect you and your environment. A trip to Tulum, Mexico made me think of all the ways my education and training influence so many aspects of my daily life even away from home. From the dresses I had bought for the trip, to the packaging of my toiletries, and the way I packed when we left, design and art pervade my daily life in a way I am sometimes unaware of. So I’m here to share ideas, thoughts, practical advice ranging from, styling tips for you to where to buy for the home to how to get organized at home and away. And beyond.