I've always been drawn to Japanese design even before our visit there. I was thrilled to come across Japanese furniture and product maker Mark-Manna Furniture Service. Drawn to its modern rustic aesthetic, I love the warmth, simplicity and craftsmanship that goes into the design of simple objects as well as their furniture. That ladder rack is brilliant and I want that piece for our place now.
Images from Mark MF Service
I'm coveting the beautiful winter and spring collections from Belgian label, Rue Blanche. Founded in 1987, designer Marie Chantal-Ragout has been designing clothes which are playful, luxurious yet minimalist - timeless pieces that will become classic staples in your wardrobe. Whether blazers or comfy modern chic dresses,they're definitely on my closet wishlist.
According to the brand:
"A Rue Blanche creation is tactile and sensual. It arouses buried emotions and feelings, alluding to past actions that we find poignant. Vivid colours, soft fabrics and timeless designs characterize the collection. Rather than a total look for special occasion, Marie-Chantal Regout likes to mix garments and accessories, revealing the individuality and essence of each woman. As a gateway to the imagination, rue blanche addresses fashion with verve and generosity."
Images from Rue Blanche
Featuring contrasting elements of brass and silk cord, we currently have pieces from her " Factors" collection. As the brass parts, " external factors", hang on the looped silk cord, they provide the individual shapes of the necklace and can change through movement of wearer. I love her modern interpretation of the classic pearl necklace. The Imperfect collection is a collection of string pearl beads strung on a silk cord with the cord exposed intermittently.
According to Noako:
"When the pieces are worn over clothes of similar color to the silk cord, the silk cord will blend with the clothes and disappear, allowing the pearls to float on the clothes while still drawing an overall form.
Although this form is imperfect due to the visual interruptions along the necklace, the form of the necklace as a whole is clearly defined as our mind can connect the pearls with imaginary lines in place of the missing pearl. To imagine these invisible lines along the "imperfections" intensifies one's awareness of how beautiful the form of a necklace on the body is."
I'm always amazed by Naoko's innovative approach to integrating the wearer's movement, body and materials into her thoughtfully designed necklaces. Her designs combine simple minimalist design with understated elegance for the modern woman.
Model photos courtesy of Naoko Ogawa
|from their new Return of Han-Sur-Lesse Collection|
You are currently based in Brooklyn New York. What are "must see" things or "must do" in Brooklyn or your hometown?
-take a class at the Textile Arts Center. They've got one in Brooklyn and one in the city and offer classes by loads of great local designers like Shabd and Ilana Kohn.
- during the summer, a lot of bands play in Prospect Park. We always end up missing them - we were crushed to miss Os Mutantes this year - but one day we'll make it!
- many of the local parks, including McCarren, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, offer free weekly movie screenings during the summertime.
What are off the beaten path local hangouts? Favorite neighborhoods, parks, etc.?
- McGolrick is a really nice little park in Greenpoint. Smaller and leafier than McCarren, but really pretty. On Sundays they have a few farm stands lined up along the outer edge.
- Ashbox is a Japanese Cafe on the quieter side of our neighborhood (Greenpoint), right near the bridge that goes over to Long Island City. It has the best onigiri ever. It's about a block from the water so you can get your rice ball to go and sit by the water.
- Achilles Heell is another spot in our neighborhood, and has delicious drinks and nice little bar snacks.
Favorite places to shop: boutiques or outdoor markets
- The Saturday farmer's market at McCarren Park in Williamsburg is great. They have seafood, meats, loads of produce, flowers, and a great table of cacti and succulents.
- Raised by Wolves is a really cool boutique a few blocks from our house. If you go a little further, or into Williamsburg there are loads of great shops, like Moon River Chattel for housewares, Sprout for plants, and Beautiful Dreamers for clothing and gifts.
Favorite places to eat or type of food:
- We love ramen and think we have pretty much tried every Ramen place we could find. Our favorite is Chuko Ramen in Prospect Heights.
- Sri Pra Phai in Woodside Queens has the best Thai food ever. The fried watercress salad (with shrimp and calamari) is amazing.
- Flushing, Queens can be overwhelming but the food is so good. You can just walk up Main St getting a bun here, a bowl of noodles there, and try a million different things at the many hidden food courts.
- Ilana Kohn
- Collina Strada
- Helen Dealtry
- Dusen Dusen
Easy day trips from New York or your home-cool places to see right outside the city:
- Fire Island. This is about a 2 hour trip from Brooklyn. You take a ferry over (dogs allowed!) to the Island which takes about 15 minutes. Once you get off it's this incredible beach town made up of boardwalks and homes that look like treehouses. There's a beautiful beach that's long enough for you to reach an empty stretch of it if you walk far enough.
- Ever since we got Phillip about 2 years ago we started planning our trips around him. He's too big to carry him onto a plane, so we started going upstate more. You can make a day trip of it but we usually rent a cabin in the Catskills or near the Hudson Valley area. Lots of hikes, swimming holes, farmstands, and even a few drive in move theaters!What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited? Where would you like to travel next?
- We love to visit LA. We have a lot of friends there, and there is some really great food to eat. We wanted to move there before settling on Brooklyn. Maybe one day we still will.
- We have always wanted to travel south, especially to the Gulf Coast. We would love to take a long road trip - going south on the way to the west coast, and north on the way back.
- We've had a trip to Mexico in the works for about a year, but keep postponing. We want to stay in a little fishing village like Puerto Morales and take day trips to Tulum, Merida and more.
|View of Downtown LA:Photo by Ed Pulella|
Thank you so much Pheobe and Peter for the wonderful travel tips!It's always a pleasure to chat with you guys and hope we get to meet and hang out either in NY or my hometown of LA. Plus we can chow down at some of my fave local eateries. As I've always said, some of the best things in life are "good food and good company". Cheers!
One of my favorite items picked up in Japan is a top by Japanese designer Suzuki Takayuki in collaboration with Uniqlo. Unfamiliar with his work then, this comfy shirt has become a favorite. It features a drapey shape and just the right amount of little tie detailing in the back...plus it's super comfy. Simple details, silhouettes and use of natural fabric are the hallmarks of his designs, which instantly makes his well-crafted clothing an instant favorite for the comfort, feel and timeless simplicity. Blue has been a favorite color of mine and there's nothing like the feel of cotton....so I was thrilled to come across the Ikkuna/Suzuki Takayuki spring/summer collection filled with indigo hues and comfortable pieces that are sure to become summer staples. There is an emphasis on the process of using a natural fabric-from growing and using organic cotton in the collection. Yay! They're pieces that are easy to move in... I just want to wear 'em all!
Model photograpy: Mahiro Arimoto
Milena Silvano shawl/Trois Petits Points Heart Necklace/Margarete Hausler tote/Ellen Truijen little bits pouches/Slow Studio Mug/Aoko Su Earrings/Kerrie Yeung signet ring /Shino Takeda hanging planter (showcasing a pretty flower or little plant!)
|drawings and patterns from her PANAMA theme collection|
|work in collaboration with Julie Ho of Confetti System|
All images from Ana Kras