London Calling! My husband and I are lucky enough to have family all over the world: Venezuela, Israel, England, France, Spain, Morocco, Canada, and more. We’re a veritable Model UN of relatives. Our goddaughter happens to live in London, and we delight in getting to visit her yearly. Because of timing, and an overbooked year, it turned out that we only had time for a weekend jaunt to the sweet Thames.

A Weekend London Visit(top left) What would a trip to the UK be without some Fish & Chips, malt vinegar, and mushy peas? (bottom left) While passing Buckingham Palace, the queen was in residence and all the pomp and circumstance was on full display.

We “fooled time” and were able to see The Tate Modern, The National Gallery, The Globe, Borough Market, The Golden Hinde (Sir Francis Drake’s pirate galleon), have dinner at sketch Sketch (délicieux!) and even spent a ton of quality time with our family. Even stranger? This was my first time in London without rain! The skies were as blue as can be, the weather was almost tropical, and it felt like a tropical island.

A Weekend London Visit(top left) The George Inn has been around since 1677 and is said to have hosted both Dickens and Shakespeare for meals, (top right) At the Royal Academy someone placed a beautiful, fresh wreath around the stature in the middle of the square, (bottom left) Oh the classic, red Telephone Booth! Many have now become libraries and wifi stations, how cool. (bottom right) The famous Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass,  is an 87-story skyscraper in the London Bridge Quarter.
A Weekend London Visit (top left) St. James’s Square is the only square in the exclusive St James’s district of the City of Westminster. It has predominantly Georgian and neo-Georgian architecture and a private garden in the center. In the garden we found amazing burnt wood and bronze sculpture by Aron Demetz. (top right) No summer trip to London is complete without a Pimm’s and Lemonade. The historical drink has become synonymous with British festivals, weddings, and sporting events – especially the tennis at Wimbledon. So refreshing.

 A colleague’s boyfriend who has been living abroad in the UK for a few years also sent me these wonderful suggestions. Yay for expats. 
  • For brunch or a pub dinnerThe Grazing Goat in Marylebone near Marble Arch.  I used to live nearby and went very often.  It’s especially good with nice weather because you can sit outside on a quiet street.
  • If you’re touristing around in central London, I can say that most pubs that you pop into for lunch would be pretty good and will serve things appealing to kids – fish and chips, pies, burgers.  Also, I think a lot of people go to some of the nicer chains like Cafe Rouge (French), Leon (Fresh Fast Food), Byron (Burgers) and Carluccio’s (Italian) – it’s all very consistent food, not horribly expensive.
  • Tayyabs – very authentic Punjabi cuisine with an accessible atmosphere.  Service is curt but they can help suggest orders.  If you want beer to cool down the Indian food, pick it up at a convenience store on the high street before you get to the restaurant.  They don’t serve alcohol and the street the restaurant is on doesn’t have anywhere to buy.

G-d Save the Queen!

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Michael Andrews Bespoke

Michael Andrews Bespoke is a custom tailor. The space is incredibly intimate, trendy, and modern. The storefront, hidden in an alleyway on Great Jones Street in Soho, NY, is an appointment-only boutique offering bespoke suits, shirts, tuxedoes, sport coats, pants, overcoats, pocket squares, cufflinks, neckwear and other formalwear. A self proclaimed “recovering corporate attorney,” Michael Andrews donned a suit and tie to a law firm every day for nearly eight years. When he could not find off-the-rack suits cut to his liking, he began having his clothes custom made. After trying over a dozen tailors without finding exactly what he wanted, he decided to open his own tailor shop. All of the fabrics in shop are courtesy of Savile Row ( A shopping street in central London, renown for its high quality men’s tailoring. The term “bespoke” is thought to have originated in Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to “be spoken for” by individual customers).

In 2006, Michael Andrews Bespoke was launched with the vision of crafting high-end yet approachable menswear with a modern flare.  Since its inception, the storefront has been named “Best of New York” by Time Out New York, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Markets, AM New York and JW Marriott Magazine. My boyfriend has had the distinct pleasure of being fitted for one of Michael’s perfect suits (this takes several visits), and during his visit was hosted at the bar (complete with vintage typewriter) and given hundreds of textile options. My boyfriend and the owner have also stayed late discussing stocks, sports, and every other subject under the sun – the kind of attention that makes shops like this rare in this day and age. This exceptional, design oriented, unique and yet causal space is absolutely outstanding.

The hidden, back-of-the-alley space during christmastime. Courtesy of Robb Report, HERE.

A side street in Soho, achievable only by a hidden gate and doorbell. The sort of forgotten alley that makes a NYC resident feel as if they have finally discovered the secrets of an ancient city. Workers in the space have won Esquire Magazine’s “Best Dressed Real Man in America” (Dan Trepanier, Senior Advisor) and one is a fifth generation master tailors hailing from Monaghan, Ireland (Rory Duffy, Master Tailor). To find out more about the spot’s motley crew, click HERE. Visiting the space feels like taking a time machine to the turn of the century (and sometimes prior) to a space that appreciate patience, craft, and fit. To a time before electricity, when calling cards, gloves, and canes were a la mode.

 Image found HERE. 

The inner sanctum of the holy custom tailor’s floor. The black and white podium tables are offset by the velvet, velour, and corduroy knit suits adorning the ceiling shelves.

Could you ever say no to a man dressed in this suit? Bond, James Bond. The tuxedo first appeared in 1889 while dinner jacket is dated only to 1891. These two options are predated by the tailcoat and smoking jacket. Thanks to the evolution of tailoring, the menswear is now appropriate for both formal and informal locales.

Aside from the french cuffs, the lapels, the hemming, the lining, and all other custom aspects of a piece of clothing – the store itself is a beautiful exploration of masculinity, modernism, and restraint. The details all complement one another perfectly so that the end product feels contemporary yet vintage. New; yet old. This juxtaposition of companies based in old world techniques, married with the styles of new, helps Michael Andrews Bespoke to succeed.  In the end, would you trust a tailor to make you an aesthetically pleasing suit if he did not work in an aesthetically pleasing shop?

“It’s Ok To Be A Square”

The choices, the choices. Which fabric swatch calls to you?

The MAB Studio

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Mod About You

The alternate title I wanted was also “Mod, Mod, World”.


Elle Italia, 1992 (Here.)



(F*** Yeah 60’s Fashion!)

The term “Mod” is actually short for “Modernist” which was the term avant garde Jazz musicians used to describe their new creations in the 1950’s. The style, as we know it, was originated in London via working class, foppish, homosexuals. Many middle to upper class Jewish individuals joined the cause alongside London-based East Enders. The style of the “mod” subculture was derived from Italian fashions and things worn to beatnik coffee shops. The “mod” niche co-opted much of its symbolism from Jamaican Ska Colors, African American Jazz, bespoke Italian Suits, and anti establishment ideals. The British Mod style emerged from a desire among British youth to break away from the stiffness of “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” and their parents’, working class clothing.   Sociologist Simon Frith calls “Mod” the “first sign of a youth movement”, youths would meet collectors of R&B and blues records, who introduced them to new types of African-American music, which the teens were attracted to for its rawness and authenticity, they also watched French and Italian art films and read Italian magazines to look for style ideas. The Mod color palette usually ecompasses the primary colors (red, yellow, blue). Technically speaking, British Mods were actually part of larger gangs, traveling via scooter, and often their message was a bit violent (if not exciting). The Mods frequented clubs such as the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, and the Flamingo and Marquee in Soho. Riffing on the symbolism of the “mod’s” color scheme and often times revolutionary mores Barnett Newman created Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? in 1966.

Barnett Newman, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, 1966.

Whereas the “mod” subculture is short for the term “modernist” many “mod” painters used bold patterns, anti-establishment techniques, and youth culture to create “modernism”.  Piet Mondrian was already using primary colors to challenge past “traditional art” motifs. He was also inspired by jazz, as noted in the title of his unfinished painting Victory Boogie Woogie (1942–44).

Piet Mondrian, Composition 10, 1939–1942, private collection

Marimekko at Crate and Barrel, NYC, 2012. The design shop had its origins in the 1950’s in Finland, but it’s most iconic prints hail from the 1960’s, greatly influenced by the “mod” aesthetic.

Clearly the “mod” boldness, colors, and youth culture are experiencing a bit of a revival and resurgence in Fashion Week’s 2012 Ready To Wear Lines both by Alice + Olivia and Kate Spade’s collaboration with fashion photographer Garance Doré

Images from Alice + Olivia and The New York Time’s coverage of Fashion Week 2012.

So how does this all translate into Interior Design? Midcentury furniture with a modular, almost futurist curvature help. Also, wallpaper in large, bold, repetitive patterns – usually with an amorphous, floral shape. The two images below actually show a subdued color palette based in watercolors and pastels.

Vintage French Flag Framed in Black
$600 – roomandboard.com

sasha rug in rugs | CB2
$399 – cb2.com

Marimekko Joonas 20 Pillow
$73 – crateandbarrel.com

Zebra Frame 4″ x 6″
addisoncollection.net

Marimekko Kivet Black Standard Sham
$32 – crateandbarrel.com

I believe in the primary color scheme! When in doubt, buy some Alexander Calder prints here. The colors will inspired you and help to explain when a pop of yellow, or a dash of red are needed. For furniture, shop at CB2. Their whole collection has a hint of modernism that favors pops of color and bright, cheery rooms. Bold, typographic prints based in BLACK fonts also go along with the Mod look. When in doubt, anything with a Vespa or Scooter (an icon of the Mods) helps, like a time machine, to land  your room in 1960.

Image found via This Isn’t Happiness. 

Scans from CB2 2012 catalog.

As the mods would say, this is all so “choice”, “groovy”, “mint”, and “neat”.