The crisp in the air, the spotted gourds, the harvest pumpkins, the flint corn and the bales of hay: things I love about the final quarter of the year. In the northeast, especially in New York, we feel the four seasons quite distinctly. Although I might be pretty isolated from expansive farmland, we Brooklynites still feel the harvest season in special ways.
Pernille Folcarelli’s Unika Hand Leaf Prints
The sunday farmer’s market carries arugula, apples, chard, chestnuts and Crispin apples (my husband’s favorite – juicy and tart). Sweater weather also brings the best layering fashions. I am a sucker for heavy-knits. Finally, the leaves! In Carroll Gardens, I happen to be pretty close to some of the trees planted in the Million Trees Project, a citywide, public-private program with an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. The foliage on my street is astounding! I also happen to have a 70 year old dogwood tree in my backyard.
Pernille Folcarelli’s Unika Hand Leaf Prints
The various shades of the deciduous trees and shrubs on my walk to work range from fire-engine reds, to a crimson brick, to cornmeal yellow, sunset oranges, tyrian purple, and worn-leather brown. The tones are inspiring.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus
Botanists and scientist know a lot about this yearly phenomenon. As the trees are ridding themselves of chlorophyll and reabsorbing it along with other nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous to store them for the winter, they also suddenly begin to expend energy creating anthocyanin. Chlorophyll normally masks the yellow pigments known as xanthophylls and the orange pigments called carotenoids — both visible when the green chlorophyll is gone. We understand the chemical changes of the colors, but plenty of questions still remain to as to ‘why’.
Tom Mora, the designer behind J.Crew’s womenswear for the Winter 2014-2015 collection, was inspired by Berlin’s Weimar Republic of the 1920 and 1930’s. Think cabarets, coffee shops, Dada-ism, red lips, drop waists, trousers, short hair and Bauhaus-styles. This period is frequently cited as one of those with the highest level of intellectual production in human history; hello Einstein.
This Outfit: J. Crew Women’s Fall-Winter 2014-2015 is slightly masculine and geometric, yet keeps it girly with tinges of burgundy, blue, navy, camel and pale pink. // That Room: A patterned bedroom from Better Homes & Gardens is not afraid to mix things stripes with wide strips, floral with geometry, and wicker with fabric. The patterns all mesh because they follow a specific color scheme. A lesson for interiors and clothing!
Continuing my J.Crew obsession, let’s rewind to Spring 2014’s Ready-to-Wear collection that included unfussy uniforms inspired by a laid-back surfer culture. The palette is overtly minimal: black, white, and a punch of orange. The orange brings the summer, the sun, and the light. The fabrics are cut structurally and yet remain casual and crisp. The designer explained that the theme of summer on the Venice Lido, circa the turn of the twentieth century informed much of his thinking. “Back then, going to the beach meant dressing up,” he pointed out. “It was very polished.”
This Outfit: Look 20 from the Spring 2014 collection reminds me of what a business woman would wear to a meeting on the Italian Riviera during the height of a heatwave. The chandelier, jeweled earrings bring sophistication. But, overall the shape remains boxy with geometry pervading the shirt, the shoes, and even lining of the shorts. // That Room: A daring black and white striped rug centers an otherwise stark and achromatic room. The bold pillows, side stool, and wall hanging bring life the room by adding electric orange. Photograph fromBo Bedre(Live Better), a Danish magazine, that creates dreams for the Scandinavian lifestyle.
Continuing our time travels, the J. Crew Fall 2013 collection paid homage to opulent Morocco. The rich embellishments, heavy fabrics and deep hues conveyed a sense of North African royalty. The colors – burgundies and palatinates – played nice with the arabesques. All looks were topped off with jewel details, glittery brocade and jacquard. Luxurious yet, sporty.
This Outfit: Look 14 from Fall 2013 combines the texture of a Kilim rug with a jacket. The moorish trellis (quatrefoil) pattern pervades the oxblood, silk shirt. The look remains athletic with tracksuit piping. The model’s vintage-inspired sunglasses are the colors of Moroccan sands.// That Room: A fashion designer’s oasis blends tribal artifacts with exuberant color. Liza Bruce and artist Nicholas Alvis Vega’s home near Marrakech features a 1940’s Yoruba armchair, a carved-wood chair from Ethiopia, jewel tones, and a variety of West African accessories. The guest room, as photographed by Simin Upton for Elle Decor, features a Tuareg bed with pillows covered in silk from Uzbekistan.
Jenna Lyons, J. Crew president and creative director, and all around well-dressed woman, sold her Park Slope, Brooklyn town-home in 2012. She moved back into Manhattan, into the downtown, abandoned-factory rich area of Tribeca. Prior to selling, we voyeuristically got a peek inside the trendsetter’s digs, thanks to Sotheby’s. In a wondrous tight-rope act, the space is modern yet antique, glamourous yet minimal.
Step inside, and learn to recreate this renovated 1880’s Brownstone.