Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Material Girl Photo Shoot

Behind the scenes at the photo shoot for Madonna's Material Girl clothing line with Taylor Momsen as the embodiment of the modern Material Girl.

Why am I posting these? I designed the buttons on the denim.

Check it out at Macy's premiering August 3rd at your nearest Macy's!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Get me my pills!

Somebody found a way to render bacon, pepper it with spices and puree the whole thing into a spreadable jam! No need to break the skillet out!

This is the end of civilization! A little bit of torture just in time for Holy Week/Passover.

You can order yours here.

I'm getting a case and checking into a hospital.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Way

Makio Hasuike and MH WAY.

Makio Hasuike is a Milan based designer of Japanese descent (I think!). He first started designing portfolios for artists, designers and architects back in the eighties.

Now he has a whole line of bags and accessories that are functional, innovative and unique pieces you would be proud to own.

The store on Corso Magenta is small, concise and compact. You will not be able to resist to pick up a couple of things. I certainly didn't!


(The LIBRO line)

The first thing that caught my eye is the LIBRO line. It is essentially zipper pouches in varying size and construction that you can assemble together into an urban bag by means of a "ring-strap". I thought this was very clever and very affordable at about $30. Makio uses a lot of synthetic earth-friendly materials and uses leather sparingly (usually as trim).


(Buccia Briefcase)

The Buccia line is inspired by peeling fruit. Laid flat, it remains unassuming until it is zipped up. Then, it achieves shape and volume to become a functional well designed bag. Unzipped, it stores flat and easily stowed.

(Buccia Large Briefcase)


(Model ZP1 - Simple Briefcase)

Continuing with his fascination with zippers, the zip line features a zipper that outlines the shape of the briefcase - including the handle! It is very light and comfortable. I use this to go on interviews and store my portfolio in it.

(Model ZP1 - Simple Briefcase Handle Detail)

A small magnetic leather "flap" creates a comfortable grip at the handle.

MH Way is also credited with a lot of other innovations including fabric moulding which is now ubiquitous in those cheap luggage you get in small side streets everywhere. He still has more designs and innovations up his sleeve and I think it's only a matter of time before a Target or other mass market retailer gets their hands on this genius.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

La Pelletteria Venezia

Venetian leather arts.

I passed by this shop on the way to the Fortuny Museum and it caught my eye since it reminded me of those souvenirs from Italy I got as a child which I thought were probably made in Hong Kong.

I saw some stuff that were cool.

(Kiss-lock eyeglass case)

The first thing that caught my eye was the kiss-lock eyeglass case.  It had structure but wasn't hard edged.  These would make a great minaudiere.  It fits small cell phone, cash, credit card and small lipstick.

(Interior detail)

I'm not sure what they do to the interior but they sueded the leather in such a way that it was so dense it almost felt like it had a rubber coating.

I interviewed the shopkeeper, Pagan, who married into the family that manufactured the leather goods.  He said while this type of leather is more commonly associated with Florence, their family business has been in Venice for hundreds of years.

(Key-ring coin wallets)

The leather is first painted, then stamped in 22k Gold using stamps that has been in their family for at least 300 years.  The stamps reflect what was being traded at the time, which explains the Oriental/Middle Eastern motifs.  Then the leather pieces are assembled and finished.


(Pagan and me.  That's gelato I'm holding.)

Pagan mentioned that they sold some stuff to Barney's.  He said they could not supply large quantities since there are fewer and fewer tradesmen familiar with this technique.  In short, it's a dying art.

(Map of La Pelletteria)

I love the way they drew the map of their store in Venice.  Very Art Noveau.


Designs by Gaetano Pesce.

FISH Design is a clever play on the artists Italian name (Pesce is fish in Italian).

I caught some of his work at the Mariano Fortuny Museum in Venice.

I picked up a piece very carefully expecting it to be heavy and extremely breakable but to my surprise - it was actually some kind of latex/rubber!

It's not cheap though, a larger piece was around US$500 and the tumbler-size piece was about US$200.

He also has some wearable pieces like a bracelet and ring which looks like ceramic.  I think it's amazing that in a place where designs in Glass were developed and flourished that a new medium (latex) is flourishing as well.

Latex seems to be everywhere.  I am particularly impressed by the designs of Brazil-based Melissa and Cesare Paciotti's Gelly line:

(Melissa wedge)

(Cesare Paciotti Gelly platforms)

......and I covet the Cesare Paciotti  Gelly mocassin!  I could use a present right about now - anyone?

For more on Gaetano Pesce, visit

Fish Design Srl • Viale Lombardia, 23 • 20131 • Milano
Tel +39 02 8945 1099

Monday, April 20, 2009

La Serenissima

See Venice and die!

Venice is a short trip from Milan (2.5 hours by slow train). It is a very popular day trip for locals and visitors to make. I wish I could stay longer next time. I would be interested to see what Venice is like after the daytrippers leave.

(Venezia Sta. Lucia Station)

Venice is very accessible from Milan Central Station.  The Venezia Sta. Lucia Station is right on the water.  You can catch a vaporetto (water bus) right outside to take you to St. Mark's Square.  We decided to go to the Square (about 40 minutes from the train station) then slowly work our way back to the station to catch our return.

(Venetian waterfront home)

(A venetian vignette)

(Venetian Bridge)

Covered Bridges dot the grand canal on the way to St. Mark's Square.

(Relaxing at the vaporetto)

(Gondola seating)

(Approaching St.Mark's Square)

(St. Mark's lunette showing how they smuggled St. Mark's body into Venice)

When Venice was becoming a prosperous and powerful city, the dukes wanted to have a patron saint and protector for the city.  They decided on St. Mark.

Well, the problem was, St. Mark died and was buried in Alexandria in Egypt.  The merchants convinced the church in Alexandria to give them the body (they kept the head in Alexandria). Since the Muslim population was growing in Alexandria the Venetians made a good case of having a safe haven for such an important relic away from the infidels.

In order to evade the nosy Muslim customs agents, the Venetian merchants placed the body in a pork barrel since the Muslims would not dare touch it. Et voila! - instant patron saint and shrine!

(St. Mark's Square)

(Café on the square)

(St. Mark's clock tower)

(Souvenir stand)

(Doge palace fountain)

(Golden staircase at the Doge Palace)

The Doge Palace is an amazing structure which housed the Dukes and government of Venice.  They had a huge room for Senators (they had about 50 -  for such a small city).  They also had receiving rooms for dignitaries and map rooms and even a prison!  I did not quite understand how the government of Venice was structured but it seemed very complicated and multi-tiered.  Aside from a Senate, they had a Council and sub-council and another sub-council to do checks and balances - oy!

(Left, Doge palace.  Middle, the Campanile.  Right, St. Mark's Dome)

(View from the Bridge of Sighs, with construction)

One of the highlights of the Doge's Palace is crossing the Bridge of Sighs.  They call it the Bridge of Sighs because the prisoners who crossed it saw their last glimpse of the glory that is Venice and they heave a sigh.  Unfortunately, when I crossed the bridge, the view was obstructed by some construction (neatly covered with murals) so I could only conjure up a half-sigh...

(A typical Gondola pier)

(The winged lion - symbol of St. Mark and Venice)

(At the Fortuny Museum Courtyard)

A great discovery during the trip was the Fortuny museum. This was Mariano Fortuny's workshop, residence and storefront.  It houses several of his artwork (his own and his peown personal collection.  I saw Delphos dresses up close and his unique hand printed velvet capes, the technique and ink formula of which died with him.

(At the Rialto Bridge)

(Rialto Market)

The Rialto is the traditional market of Venice. If you come early enough, you can see stalls of produce and meat dotting the market area.  There are also small eating places around to sample some Venetian cuisine.

(Streets of Venice)

The best thing about Venice is getting lost and discovering small and pretty side streets.  We somehow found our way back to the train station using a crude map which I clipped from Travel + Leisure magazine.

Ahhhh, Venice!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Picnic in the Park

Sampling the delights of Rosticceria Galli.

We decided to do some shopping away from the city center and we ended up in Corso Vercelli. Unfortunately, a lot of the stores were closed on Sundays.

(At the Rosticceria Galli takeout counter)

All was not lost when we discovered the neighborhood caterer, Rosticceria Galli. Although it looks older, this family run enterprise has only been open some 10-odd years and they sell everything from appetizers, first courses, second courses, pizza, rotisserie chicken and dessert. The locals come here to order full meals or pick up some dishes to round out their family meals. Apparently the place is open all the time including holidays.

We placed our order using our limited Italian coupled with the turo-turo (pointing) method and before you know it,  they packaged everything so we can take them with us to the park and have a moveable feast.

(Francesco Baracca Park)

We found this quiet park near the Conciliazione.  

(Picnic Benches!)

(Our food neatly packaged and heated for our moveable feast)

The whole meal cost USD50.00 (for two people) and we finished everything!

(Left, Fried Octopus.  Right, Fried Calamari)

We started with some fried octopus (salty!) and calamari (tasty!).


We got some veal which was delicious.

(Hand rolled noodles with Shrimp and Olives)

I picked up some hand-rolled pasta with shrimp.

(La Paella)

We also tried some paella, which seemes to be one of the house specialties.  The locals seemed to have taken a liking to this Spanish dish and Galli is one of the places that does it well.

(Our unexpected guest)

It did not take long before we had an unexpected guest.  The poor dog was drooling at the sight of this food but it broke my heart not to share with the doggy since he obviously had an owner and I did not want to cause an international incident by giving the dog something he shouldn't have!