Monthly Archives: February 2010

Custom Men: a cut above the rest

For all you tailored men out there…if there are any other than my husband…I have a recommendation for you!

On Saturday, we went to Custom Men – a custom suit maker on West 57th Street – to get my husband a new suit to be ready for the Spring.  Remember – he is Italian and it has been VERY hard to find something to substitute for the old Italian tailor that he used to go to in Milan…

The experience was fun and charming and in an old-world kind of way. When we arrived to the building, we had to call a phone number to be let in and led upstairs. They don’t have a typical office  or retail establishment – actually far from it. We entered a large room with tons of fabric samples, design books, dressing mirrors, a big consulting desk and a sitting area (for those who are just assisting with confirmation and fabric choices – me, in this case). The gentleman who helped my husband was very pleasant and polite – he knew what he was talking about, he didn’t rush my husband or push for a sale, he negotiated the price to be VERY reasonable, and he even appreciates his loyal customers by offering two custom shirts for every referral!

I wish that more men would try to dress well and get things that actually fit their shape. Although it is more expensive than shopping at Zara or Daffy’s, the fabrics alone are worth the price. Not to mention the fact that the suits are MADE for the customer.  Off-the-rack suits never fit perfectly – a jacket may fit on the chest, but it’s either too big or too tight on the waist. If a shirt fits around the neck, it’s either too big or too tight around the rest of the body. And if the pants fit around the waist, they are usually too long or too baggy around thighs and knees. A custom-made suit gives you the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. Custom Men even makes hand-stitched button holes and include personal embroidery on the inside pocket.

Ladies: they also do women’s custom tailoring, but I think it pays more just to have them fix up our men!

140 W. 57th Street,
Suite 4C (Near Carnegie Hall),
New York, NY 10019
Tel: (212) 767-0545

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The Jane Hotel – Cafe Gitane

the Jane Hotel

This past Saturday, we had dinner with three friends at Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel. I have been to the Cafe Gitane in Nolita, and it’s always been a staple hot-spot to grab a quick coffee or bite to eat – or a long one if I was lucky enough to score a table outside on a nice sunny weekend afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect for dinner at their new Jane Hotel location, though…

Cafe Gitane

Since I have been to Marrakesh, I was probably a bit pickier about the authenticity of the French-Moroccan menu, but it did resemble Morocco at least. The attractive, Euro-chic clientele has certainly transplanted themselves from their Sunday brunch in Nolita to their Saturday dinner on Jane Street. The fashion set dine on warm avocado toast, brie with apple, and couscous towers served with chicken, shrimp or sausage and a dollop of hummus. My friends and I definitely enjoyed our dinner, but I wouldn’t say it was because the food was amazing – it was good and fresh. I can’t blame them for the simplicity of the menu, though – they’re cooking with electric burners in there! They could improve their bar selection, though. Their clientele definitely want Averna or Moscato at midnight…or at least a Moroccan equivalent…


High ceilings and more square footage make this location much more conducive to group dinners and table-hopping without bumping into the servers. The black-and-white checkered floor, marble bar, waitresses clad in apron-style dresses and male servers in sailor-striped t-shirts make Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel as charming as ever.

Cafe Gitane

113 Jane Street (212-255-4113)

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Club owners shouldn’t open restaurants…

So…last night we ate at Abe & Arthur’s and it was quite an experience. The food was good, the design of the space was nice, but that was ALL that was good about this place.

James van der Beek

Let me list the disappointments:

  • there was already a crowded bar when we arrived at 6:45pm without any place to sit
  • waitress was bitter at the world and was hustling us the entire evening
  • checking our coats was a HUGE mistake – they couldn’t find my boss’ wife’s bag for 20 minutes and we were being pushed by a huge crowd trying to be seated, get their coats, or check their coats. One of the hostesses actually got loud and asked for a security guard when my husband requested that they let him look for the bag.
  • James van der Beek was waiting with us at the coat check – I haven’t seen him since he was kissing Katie Holmes in Dawson’s Creek
  • some moronic investment banker was screaming at the coat check girls above my head with the most annoying shriek of a laugh I have ever heard
  • we couldn’t make our way to the front door because the bar area was a messy club scene
  • I lost my voice trying to speak over the loudness in the dining room
  • there was a BOUNCER at the door when we were leaving – honestly?!?!?
  • last but CERTAINLY not least – there was a girl from the Jersey Shore waiting to get in when we were leaving…never did I think I would be at the same place as someone from that show…

Jersey Shore cast

My conclusion…EMM Group should stick to clubs!

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speaking of…

I was looking around Opening Ceremony’s online shop and I found a skirt that The Sartorialist posted yesterday!

Here it is on The Sartorialist:

The Sartorialist - 2.17.10

Here it is for sale at Opening Ceremony:

denim-trimmed skirt - Opening Ceremony

connecting the dots…

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Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony - NYC

I follow a few other bloggers to find inspiration and stay on top of what’s going on – primarily in NYC, the art world, the restaurant industry, and in fashion. Bloggers can be the best source for honest content and new ideas, but it can be overwhelming and somehow depressing to see how many blogs are out there – all with the same purpose: to share their voice with the world. I decide not to let this discourage me because I use my blog to digest my thoughts and share my world with others – some of whom are my family and my in-laws in Italy – its a way of communicating my life to those I care about and to strangers who may be interested.

Jane Aldridge - Sea of Shoes

One blogger I enjoy is Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes – I think she’s adorable and I like her point of view – its like she truly has a love affair with every outfit she puts on. Being a girl from Texas who has gained a voice of authority in fashion is also quite an accomplishment. A few other bloggers I enjoy are: The Sartorialist, Garance Dore jak & jill, the year in pictures…my favorites list changes quite often…just about as often as blogs change…

Scott Schuman - The Sartorialist

One thing I have taken from the blogs this week is that I need to visit Opening Ceremony. I have read about it countless times this week – as many fashion bloggers have been in the city for fashion week – and most of them mentioned stopping in at this store.

10 Corso Como - Milan

Opening Ceremony is a multifaceted environment with retail spaces, a showroom, and a gallery. This brings 10 Corso Como to my mind…which is one of my favorite places to visit in Milan. Opening Ceremony differs from 10 Corso Como in that it focuses on bringing together emerging American talent with both young and established designers and artists from abroad.  Opening Ceremony recreates a shopping excursion based on four different perspectives: established designer, emerging designer, one of a kind vintage pieces and select items from the open-air markets.

It’s on my list  –  thank you bloggers!

Opening Ceremony New York
35 Howard Street
New York, New York 10013

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Abe & Arthur’s

Tomorrow night, my hubby and I are having dinner with one of my bosses and his wife. We’re very close, so this dinner won’t be one of those awkward business dinners where the conversation has to remain on point and every drop of a fork makes you cringe…

DANGER: red food dye present!

One issue to consider in choosing the right restaurant is the fact that my boss’ wife has a very intense food allergy to Red Food Dye. I had NO IDEA how often red food dye is used in products that I have always thought were just naturally red…prosciutto, bacon, red meat, tomatoes – pretty much anything red is deathly dangerous for her! You can imagine what kind of limitations this puts on our typical restaurant choice = anything Italiano! She can eat Italian, of course, but it has to be a menu with some variety – fish tends to be safe.

So, in my brainstorm of restaurants, I thought of a spot that I have been wanting to try and have been reading about non-stop during fashion week: Abe & Arthur’s in the Meatpacking District.  Nicole Richie was there this week, Whitney Port, Charlotte Ronson, et all! The EMM Group is behind it (Tenjune)  and I have known Eugene Remm since his “early” days at Level V – at which he left some VERY bitter relationships…but c’est la business, right?!?!

Eugene Remm

In the same address, you used to find yourself between Nicky Hilton & Lenny Kravitz on the dance floor back when it was Lotus. But times have changed – models and bottles just don’t cut it anymore. You need models and a juicy burger made from a boutique meat blend. The EMM Group is focusing on the new form of partying that has been called gastrolounging, which combines all the gluttony of eating a large meal with the option to lounge it off in the basement after dessert.

Abe & Arthur's

Even though we may be like sardines with jet-set fashion types – I tend to end up in those circles more often than I like to admit – I think the food and ambiance will be good and entertaining for us – always good for a Thursday night dinner. I’m also glad I was able to get a reservation last minute during fashion week – Maialino made me pull out all of my reservation connections!

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Houston’s…because big is better sometimes…

During fashion week, the evenings tend to fill up with events, shows, dinners, and whole lotta other hoo-rah-rah…the only requirement I have is to at least be able to eat at a nice place with good food and drinks…

Tonight, we’re having dinner with my husband’s best friend and girlfriend at Houston’s on Park Avenue South & 27th Street. My husband’s best friend is also from Milan and is a very successful photographer and film director, so I was expecting him to suggest something molto $$$ with a lot of hype, but refreshingly, he just wants to go to Houston’s for some good steak and fish. done and done.

I like Houston’s – it reminds me of the restaurants I find in Pittsburgh. Though that may seem odd coming from someone who wines and dines at some of the best restaurants in NYC…I crave dinners like they offer at Houston’s sometimes. Its a large establishment with a large menu, big portions, big drinks…just the way the franchises do it in the ‘burgh!

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L’uomo Vogue/John Varvatos

Last night, my husband, another couple and I had dinner at Faustina…delicious…doesn’t get much better than Scott’s cooking. The bill was a shocker considering the small plates, though – we’re thinking they’ll be revising their menu prices as the restaurant settles in…hopefully.

Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, John Varvatos

After dinner, we went to a party for L’uomo Vogue at John Varvatos on Bowery. It was a madhouse outside – people begging bouncers, bouncers having power trips, celebrities, socialites…the usual. Thankfully, my husband was on the guest list, so we walked right in. I was quite surprised at the ambiance of the party. It was much more hardcore rock than I would have expected – with performances from Alberta Cross and Guns N’ Roses. The crowd, which included Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, brought down the house until 3 am…although we didn’t stay the whole time – we have jobs that require some effort even on Fridays

Guns N'Roses performing

Rachel Hunter, Kelly Cutrone, Mick Rock, Sean Lennon, Sebastian Bach, Nur Khan, and Robert Fowler rounded out the rest of the stylish guest list, with DJ Francesco Civetta manning the music and sister Cristina Civetta running the event.

Kelly Cutrone, Brent Bolthouse

Alberta Cross was the first group to take the stage, after which the audience waited over an hour for Axl Rose to finally get up and sing. I thought those days of making everyone wait were over for Rose, but he made it up to the crowd by performing a spectacular set of 17 songs. The crowd was ecstatic when the band played Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child O’ Mine.

Axl Rose

Let Fashion Week begin…


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R.I.P. Alexander McQueen

His presentation for McQ was meant to be today at Milk Studios, but has been canceled. So sad…

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Papabubble…Custom Candy for Your Valentine!

I think a lot of people get sick of the cliche that is Valentine’s Day…my husband hates the pressure that the holiday puts on all of us. He’s a true romantic, so he likes to show me his love and affection on his own terms…not Hallmark’s. Though I definitely see his point (and can appreciate the fact that he loves me EVERY DAY – not just one day of the year), I holidays and I celebrating anything that I can…so I try to find a nice medium for the both of us.

One thing I always try to do is something original without being over-the-top – something that shows thought in a more sentimental way that with a large price tag. How about a bouquet of custom-made candies?!?!

Papabubble’s Manhattan shop can create fantastical, slightly Koons-esque candy blossoms and foliage. The only limit is how far your imagination can go – and some slight constraints of the hard-candy material. Possible blooms include: begonias, ranunculus, tulips, crocuses, or even (for the more traditionally minded) a bunch of classic red roses.

Place your orders soon as you can – it takes two days to process them. Being that it’s Thursday…I’d get your behind to Papabubble!

380A Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 966-2599

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