La Bottega Moderna


La Bottega Moderna is this artist's studio I stumbled upon in Florence. I think the guy in the photo above is Richard Prosperi, who paints under the name Simafra...? I don't know, I link to things for a reason people. I popped my head in thinking the space looked cool and he was nice enough to let me take a picture or two. His work is really great, a bit grotesque and haunting, like it's channeling Francis Bacon.

© Richard Prosperi
© Richard Prosperi

I realized that two of his pieces are actually in Cameron Diaz's Kelly Wearstler-designed apartment, in the living room and bedroom, as seen in Elle Decor. Small world, right? Photos (below) © William Abranowicz / Elle Decor.

Cameron Diaz Manhattan apartment | Elle Decor
Cameron Diaz Manhattan apartment | Elle Decor

Long story short: I am a jetsetting international tastemaker, obviously, and if you hang out with me you will be connected to the art in Cameron Diaz's apartment by six degrees of Kevin Bacon or whatever. Seriously though, I felt much more attuned to the significance of design and the decorative arts on this visit to Florence. Pretty much every other shop reupholsters or refinishes or at the very least sells antiques. It's so accessible in this way that seems really foreign, or, you know, telling of the fact that you're in Italy, home to like, all of the craft ever.

I found this short and sweet video tour of La Bottega Moderna, if you're interested. It's like you can live my journey...#LiveMyJourney #WishThisWasSponsored #SomeoneSendMeSomewhereNew #ThirstyJourney

I Need/Want a Mid-century Console


As I write this I am binge-reading Manhattan Nest. It's better than Netflix. It's completely addicting. And it's got me thinking...thinking about my room. My room is a far cry from a design project, let alone a renovation, but Daniel's words have me convinced that I need to make some changes around here. Right now that means nervously re-stacking piles of books atop piles of cardboard boxes I can't get rid of because I'm running a serious storage deficit. But I've found my (dream) solution: a mid-century console.

The idea came to me, as all ideas do, while I was masturbating browsing Pinterest. Thanks to home tours on Designsponge (above left, ph. © Kelly Ishikawa) and The Design Files (above right, ph. © Annette O'Brien) I have a plan: buy a console (pragmatic!) and hang some abstract art—the large-scale painting previously seen here—above it (pretty!). I already have a lamp to sit atop said console and a pair of dream bookends that might make an appearance.

Urban Outfitters has a reasonably priced mid-century-ish option (with fugly metal legs I'd have to replace...and, actually, maybe some knobs are in order) while West Elm stocks a fancier, prettier, priced-just-out-of-reach media console with lots of storage space. My favorite option (below right) is the most expensive, natch, and is located in California to boot.

I've scouted the Brooklyn Flea the past two weekends, but that's not enough time to yield any decisive leads. I know one guy there who has good, negotiable prices, but stock is inconsistent at best. Le sigh.

Look how happy this couple is with their midcentury console! Is that so much to ask for?

Ok, I have some more updates re: actual progress being made in the bedroom (painted walls! bedding!) but am going to save that for a later date. Until then...

Shopping the "Ladies' Section" Gives Me All the Feels


I have sweater dressing agita. It all started back in September: the weather was turning and I found myself coming off a closet-cleaning rampage that left me sans half a hefty bag of last year's layers. I started shopping around, flirtatiously weighing the pros and cons of this knit versus that knit. How was the ribbing on this hem? Those sleeves? Can I settle for a wool/acrylic blend? A marked yearning for a camel cashmere jumper took root, so I sought out the perfect one and found J.Crew's Collection Cashmere Boyfriend Sweater. I headed to the store's Soho (women's) boutique and asked where I might find it.

"Is it a women's sweater?"

Ok, I guess I can forgive that. Someone might not know the J.Crew boutiques in Soho are (unfortunately) segregated by sex. But if I've memorized the name of the item I'm looking for, don't we think I know where I am? Anyway, I confess to the sales associate that I am indeed hunting down a ladies' jumper and proceed to the back, where she thinks I might find it, though she can't say for sure. A huge sale is going on and piles of cashmere, merino wool and cotton-cashmere blends are littered across every table and bench in sight. I show the sweater to another associate (I've saved a picture of it on my phone), who declares it to be sold out. I rifle through more piles of dejected merchandise, feeling slightly insidious as I do so, as if violating the women around me by forcing my man shoulders into a half-zip mockneck that's less forgiving than anticipated.

Eventually I find my sweater, albeit in the wrong color, and the small fits nicely. I resign myself to scoping out the brand's Fifth Avenue location later in the week.

"Do you know her size?"

It's another sales associate, this time a man—presumably a gay man, one who is small, like me. I let him know that it's for me and suppress the urge to be like, "Really?" Maybe America is too PC after all. It doesn't matter—they don't have the camel. Now I'm on this nebulous quest with no end in sight, but that's beside the point. The moral of the story is (or is intended to be): dividing stores by sex is stupid, especially during sweater season, especially when it's a "boyfriend sweater."

Simon Doonan summed up my shopping life in one of his recent trend pieces for Slate: "I grabbed a ladies’ size large and inspected it for bust darts. There were none. Et voilà! Unisex!"

I just get really sick of having to remind people that I know my own body—my waist size, my chest size, what have you. I wish people would stop dividing things straight down the middle as if that's normal or realistic and I'm the one who's lost my way. My favorite sweater is the one I'm wearing in the picture, a ladies' large from the COS capsule collection at Opening Ceremony a season or two back. It fits wonderfully and is gorgeous and I die. And I look like such a dude in it, right? I'm practically a Gap ad—not that that matters or is what I'm going for, really I'm just lazy.

Anyway, that's my gripe. I'll let you know if I find any good sweaters. Let me know in the comments or via Twitter or what have you—do you have these same issues? Or does the cheese stand alone? (Mm, cheese.)

Snapshots From Florence


Florence has a special place in my heart, as cheesy as that sounds. It was the first city I visited in Italy and going back felt like something of a homecoming, which makes no sense really except that I hit up some familiar restaurants? I haven't had a sec to sit down and get thoughts and real words out of my brain, but I here are some pics!

Sunnei Spring/Summer '15


I first discovered Sunnei on Instagram, and remember being so surprised to realize they're based in Milan. I suppose I've just come to associate Italy with a very specific kind of man, and an accordingly specific kind of men's wear. Sunnei, the brainchild of designers Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina, feels much less structured, more youthful and irreverent—kind of like a boy's version of Jacquemus, though that might just be because of their analog SS15 campaign. I tried to set up a visit to their showroom while I was in Italy, but ended up in Florence instead of Milan. C'est la vie!

You can read more about the brand here.

Let's Talk About Sacks, Baby


I came across the new French brand L/Uniform in this month's Monocle and was immediately smitten. I mean, look at how cute the brand's creator, Jeanne Signoles, looks when she's holding one of the bags. Are you not sold? The line is only available online for now, and their site is only in French for now, but I have a feeling that'll change soon. I hope? (On that note, their site is absolutely gorgeous and amazing and worth checking out for the art direction alone.)

My favorite style is the Sac de Marin, available in four base colors and a range of trim options so you can mix and match (and monogram!). (Speaking of monograms, it should be noted here that Signoles married into the family that owns Goyard, so...there's that.)

Here's a taste of the aforementioned branding goodness, which isn't limited to L/Uniform's digital presence. Graphic designer Cléo Charuet created a pretty sweet identity suite (hardy har har) for the brand that makes me hope Ms. Signole has good reason to correspond almost exclusively by post.

Then there's KikaNY. The Brooklyn-based brand lacks the je ne sais quois of L/Uniform, but cute logos aren't everything, amiright? LOL who am I kidding, cute logos are the only thing. Regardless, I'm particularly fond of their Canvas Harvest Backpack in Rust. It's waxed, just like my Joshu + Vela bag, and it looks like it'll age really well. And can we talk about how I'm such a sucker for leather straps?

The bag retails online for $345, but if you're local I believe they sell them for less if you buy from their stall at the Brooklyn Flea.

The Venice Biennale


Ok, I've had a crazy busy week, so much going on, and I was really hoping to have a somewhat-if-not-totally comprehensible post written up about Venice like yesterday—no such luck. My day trip up to the city of floating dreams (or whatever its official nickname is) was very spur of the moment and I'm really glad it happened, and even more glad it happened right before the Clooney wedding. Everyone knows celebrity water traffic is just absolutely tiresome.

These were taken on the grounds of the Venice Biennale, which is actually sort of like a World's Fair, but with art? Or, as is the case this year, architecture. The different country exhibits were nice and curated by Rem Koolhaas, so that's cute, but at the end of the day the sun came out and I stumbled upon this enchanted garden situation around the corner from the Arsenale and pretty well forgot about whatever else I saw that day.

I mean, damn, right?

More to come next week! Maybe even over the weekend? She dreams big...

Lunch Date Got Me Feelin' Cute


No, it wasn't a literal date, mom. To celebrate not wearing Birkenstocks, black jeans and an old Hanes sweatshirt for the fifth day in a row I met up with a friend for lunch at Bluestone Lane in the West Village, which used to be my old barbershop, Moustache. The shirt is Our Legacy, though that exact style is basically sold out. They have a similar one that looks a bit heavier? The pants are Carven—I wear them almost exclusively with this shirt because I love the blues together, though over the summer I wore them a lot with my favorite vintage Hawaiian shirt. The sportcoat is A.P.C., the belt is ladies' Uniqlo, and the bag is my ever-trusty Filson.

The café is perfectly cute, I guess, but also sort of highway robbery? Oh my god, you guys, I just Googled this place and found out that they officially call themselves "The BSL Collective Café." I can't, I give up. And I ate avocado toast there! I feel so guilty. I'm gonna go watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix and dream of simpler times.

P.S. Speaking of avocado toast, did you guys know grain bowls are a big thing? It's sort of like grain bowls are the new avocado toast (and I can't even fux with açai bowls). I have to admit that ever since I had the sorrel pesto brown rice at Sqrl I've been a total convert to that bowl life. Nothing in NYC compares, as far as my tastebuds are concerned, but the going rate for this hippie shit is taking a massive toll on my wallet anyway, so I Pinterested some hearty grain-centric recipes to try at home.

Left: photo © Ryan Liebe / Martha Stewart; right: photo © Jeanine Donofrio / Love & Lemons

One involves lentils and butternut squash and the other involves the combo that won't quit, avocado and poached egg. Sidenote: I am so ready for lentil season.

Industrial Italia


Something I've failed to mention thus far is exactly how I came to be in Italy the other week. If you follow Lonny's Instagram you may have witnessed a whole lot of tile going on, because I was trekking around Cersaie, a ceramics trade show. It was fun to pretend like I had a home I could return to and start implementing some of these new technologies and ideas. Instead, the best of the show is filed away in my dream home spank bank—though I'll try to mention here when I start posting about trends and takeaways over on Lonny. This is a roundabout way of saying that the show was held in an industrial exhibition space called Bologna Fiere that was dauntingly, inhumanly huge, but also really intriguing in a Baushaus way.

My group also got to tour a tile factory out near Modena (all of the employees rode these little bikes around the grounds!) and was allowed just enough time to wander Bologna and see some of the more Soviet-y residential buildings.

I would love to make this a project and go back sometime to shoot more buildings and spaces like this. It was something I hadn't really been aware of—or looking out for—on my last trip to Italy. Below are some snaps from an industrial park in Florence that caught my eye.

I'll share more travel snaps next week, along with our regularly scheduled programming!

35mm Around Bologna


Ph. © Sean Santiago /

So the majority of my Italy trip was spent in Bologna, which has a youth-in-revolt college town vibe. (Graffiti! White people with dreadlocks!) As I mentioned yesterday, I got in pretty late on Saturday and didn't have time to explore, but over the next three or four days I made it around to a host of museums and local sights. I quickly learned that if I said I was press (I am press!) I could get in to a lot of museums for free or at a discount, which was the best discovery ever. (Shout out to the bilingual docent who let me scope out the Artelibro festival.) Typing is hard, so here are a bunch of pictures:

Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /

Below are some shots I took in a museum I found while out walking. I can't remember the name, but if I think of it—or find my ticket stub—I'll update!

Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /
Ph. © Sean Santiago /

More to come soon. And it goes without saying, but just in case: all photos © Sean Santiago

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