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MiN New York

MiN New York, at 117 Crosby Street in Soho, is a Haute Perfumery, Apothecary & Atelier. Established in 1999 by Chad Murawczyk, MiN New York creates and curates niche grooming products from around the world.  They carry everything  bespoke and beautiful: rare perfumes (the Gin & Tonic scent Grace Kelly wore, anyone?), to French Royal Family candles, gifts, antiques, to furniture.

The boutique exudes class from the moment one walks through the intimidating, iron entryway. The dark space, smelling of tobacco leaves, juniper, spearmint, orange bitters and old papyrus, hearkens back to the library of Alexandria. I almost felt like a wizard was going to appear from any corner. Tall, wooden shelves anchored by metal stairs, display hundreds of unique items. The leather couches and exposed brick walls suggest a masculine, cigar bar.

MiN Sunlight Display of Goods

MiN New York Walkthrough

MiN Black Candles

MiN Apothecary Candy

MiN Perfume Bottles

MiN Magnifying Glass

Cire Trudon at MiNCire Trudon cloches of Vegetal Wax Candles – burning for 80 hours – and smelling of various perfumes: tobacco leaves,  stonewalls, rose, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, ripe guava fruit, bitter orange, lemon, sweet lime, eucalyptus, buchu leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, Chinese osmanthus, and more wild herbs!

MiN PlenaminsA plenamin is a fancy and antiquated word apothecaries used for multivitamins.

A SoHo boutique review, from The WalkupImage via Shopikon.
A SoHo boutique review, from The WalkupImage via Shopikon.
A SoHo boutique review, from The Walkup

A SoHo boutique review, from The Walkup

MiN Branches and Scents

MiN Potpourri

Imagine what the noses in the shop smell daily. 

My MiN New York scent is Vetiver Dance Eau de Toilette by Tauer Perfumes. The fragrance is comprised of luminous grapefruit oil, black pepper accords, green clary sage, Bulgarian rose and lily of the valley which is surrounded by a heart composed of Java vetiver oil, adding a trail of cedar, soft ambergris, tonka beans and citrus extract in a base. All this in one scent!

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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

[Read more]

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Bugging Out

Entomology (from Greek ἔντομος, entomos, “that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented”, and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of insects. Insects account for more than two-thirds (2/3’s) of all known organisms on the earth. The study of insects is a form of biology, ecology,  arthropodology, specifically in zoology. That’s a lot of “ologies”. The scientific study of insects is thought to have begun around the 16th century – which accounts for the first century of the Renaissance.  As Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) wrote, “It is indeed true that art is omnipresent in nature, and the true artist is he who can bring it out.”

Christopher Marley, The Coleoptera Mosaics, each piece is signed and labeled and no two are exactly alike.

Whether we are discussing beetles (25% of all known lifeforms are in this order), bees, moths, butterflies, ants, grasshoppers, or candidas, it should be noted that most of the bugs’  exoskeletons are gorgeous. Bugs usually rely on the defense mechanism of camouflage so as not to be eaten or seen. This mechanism (through the course of evolution) has allowed bugs to have colors as variegated as tree moss, tropical birds, succulents, desert flowers, and rainforest bark. Historically, several species of bugs have been incorporated into ritual objects because of tribal religious significance. In Mexico, live beetle brooches (don’t be squeamish!) are a growing trend. Several living artists have reinvented the idea of scientific insect study and raised the pinning and conservation of insects as an art form.

Christopher Marley, “Lumens Prism”, Via.

A gallery wall featuring several Christopher Marley creations, for purchase go HERE. 

Framed insects via The Evolution Store in Soho, NY. 

Steven Kutcher works with animals far too small to hold any paintbrush!  He treats insects as living (and thus, moving) brushes in order to create his canvases. Kutcher’s bug art concept grew out of his work as an insect wrangler for Hollywood films, including “Arachnophobia” and “Spider-Man.” The inspiration came on a Hollywood set in 1985, while working on the Steven Spielberg television project “Amazing Stories.” He explains, “I’ll take a bug in my hand and, leg by leg, [and] load the paint onto each leg.”  This concept of letting animals roam free on a surface creates his “masterpieces” – sometimes with sup rising patterns and results! No insects were harmed in the making of his paintings!

Via.

 Steven Kutcher, Starry Night, Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), with Gouache on Paper, 18 x 24 in., 2004.

Sunrise No. 1., Darkling Beetle (Eleodes sp.), With Gouache on Paper, 18 x 24 in., 2004.

Bug stationery!   102. Earth Nova, by Darkling Beetle; 103. Butterflies in the Garden No. 1,by Darkling Beetle; 70. Olympic, by Darkling Beetle;  (front row, left to right). 93. Fireworks in the Forest by Darkling Beetle; Making Tracks*byDarkling Beetle; 74. Dancing Beetle LL (Lower Left, part of a series of four paintings), by Darkling Beetle.

Bug art prints as decor, image from DesignSponge, HERE.

Bug Under Glass is an amazing online retailer that features several styles of bugs, prints, dioramas, and insects on maps! Check it out, HERE.

As a teen, Christopher Marley spent 2 years in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. As a professional photographer his assignments sent him to dozens of countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. All he saw and photographed generated a desire to produce a work that would share the awesome variety of insects world-wide. Besides insects, he also has designed items with fossils, minerals, botanicals, bones, and sea life.  If ACTUAL bugs on the wall are not your cup-of-tea, feel free to purchase this gorgeous coffee table book instead.

Or you can invest in bug prints, without using the actual insect bodies. Either way – the colors and shapes are inspiring!

Barton Lidice Benes, Bug, 2009, Mixed-media on paper , 16 x 14 inches, found HERE.