The New Focus is coming into focus

Dieter Rams Ten Principles of “Good Design”
Good Design Is Innovative : The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
Good Design Makes a Product Useful : A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Good Design Is Aesthetic : The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
Good Design Makes A Product Understandable : It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Good Design Is Unobtrusive : Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
Good Design Is Honest : It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept
Good Design Is Long-lasting : It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail : Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly : Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible : Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Creative Direction

This week I've had two young friends reach out to me to ask me my advice on what they should do with their careers. I think this is hilarious because I'm still wondering what the hell it is I'm doing going on...a long time now.

I'm going to tell them both to make a list of what they like - brands, companies, and what they do on their own time. I'm going to tell them both to find a mentor, someone doing what they want to do and take them out for coffee. Learn how to use design programs. Talk to people. Work at it. What good advice, I think. Wish I took it myself!

I think people come to me for advice on their career is not because of my own illustrious career but because I know so many people who have done amazing things with their work life. I was/am a head hunter, and I just like people. Head hunter is a horrible job title that doesn't describe me at all, I think. I guess I'm more like a mid-weight career coach with a lot of advertising industry contacts. I hope I've helped a lot of people. The question is, how do I help myself?

People keep telling me to write write write my blog - so here I am. Writing my blog, sitting at my beautiful tulip table looking at my wilting Trader Joe's rananculi, listening to David Sedaris's new (audio) book in the background. I have listened to it already about 20 times and will continue to listen to it daily for probably the next year, at least. That's what I've done with all his books. His stories are like aural spaghetti bolognese - very comforting, and funny. Funny spaghetti. People ask me how can I stand to listen to his weird, high-pitched voice, but I don't think of it as annoying. To me it's like a friend's voice, which I know is weird it's just very familiar to me. Some friends gave me some tickets to see him speak at Royce Hall last week. I've never seen him live, which I can't believe. The tickets are so effing expensive though. I was so happy to be there and when he started to talk he sounded exactly like he does on the tapes. I know this is one of the dumbest observations ever, but there you have it. I don't know why I thought it would sound any differently, but it was like seeing a kookabura live after only ever hearing about one in a story. Which is just how I got distracted on youtube watching bird videos like this one on the incredible Lyrebird that can mimic any sound (Seinfeld bassline, Richard Attenborough):

Dream Set - My Covers Album

The King and I.

I have always had a secret playlist of songs that I want to eventually make into a covers album a la Cat Power, and all those other cover albums. Here is my current dream song list, an edited version:

1. Strangers by The Kinks (featured in "The Darjeeling Limited")
2. How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees (don't knock it!)
3. Heart of Chambers by Beach House
4. Daniel by Elton John
5. One by Harry Nilsson Beechwood Park by The Zombies
6. Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon
7. I'm So Tired by Fugazi
8. Don't Give Up On Me by Solomon Burke In the Evening, as sung by Karen Dalton with clarinet by Woody Allen (In fact a whole other cover album would just be Karen Dalton's 'It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best)
9. Going to California by Led Zeppelin
10. Misty by Ella Fitzgerald
11. Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum
12. Please, Please, Please by James Brown
13. Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks
14. Brain Damage by Pink Floyd
15. On the Street Where you Live by My Fair Lady

After Laughter would be on it (by Wendy Rene) but when I heard Sasha Spielberg belt it out with her band Wardell, I decided this is just a really really good song for other people to sing. Like, people who can really sing. Not just car sing. (I'm the love child of Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin in the car. I don't play for strangers though, sorry.)

What would be on your covers album?

A Midnight List of Things to Think About, to Dream About

Hidden Treasures
Color Palettes
Pink Floyd
Color Fields
Reusing, Reducing
Games, Game Nights, Game Playing

Je love...McCall's Meat & Fish

A happy place for me here in LA. Going to McCall's is always exciting and inspiring - though they only carry the finest cuts of meat. No lamb's neck here, much to my hardcore meat-eating friend's chagrin (you can special order it, though). But, for a perfect NY strip, gorgeous fish, magical cheeses I've never seen anywhere else (more on that later!)...all local and humanely raised. Plus, supporting local businesses always gets my wheels going. Check it out - on Hillhurst south of Los Feliz Blvd.

It's a Wonderful Town

Hi Family,

My first trip back to New York since moving to LA has been like seeing an ex-boyfriend.
At first, I was excited and happy to see the town - there will always be a reason I was attracted in the first place, right?

Then it snowed and hailed on me for days.
And it took all my money.
And it made me work, a lot.
And I realize that perhaps I left him behind is because he doesn't really take good care of me.

I'm tired, though very well fed.
Last night we had three dinners -
we first stopped at The Spotted Pig for chicken liver on toast and haddock chowder made with a stick of butter.
Then to a cocktail party at a Venetian/Italian spot called Locanda Veneta - about 14 pigs were sacrificed to four obscene heaps of prosciutto and salami, unfortunately for somebody, the turnout was weak. Not unfortunately for me and my prosciutto-loving face.
Next we stopped by the Odeon for a post-dinner/appetizers. I had tea.
The office is big and bright, the people are nice, and the work is plentiful. My friends are all doing really well and I haven't bought one thing that wasn't edible. Tomorrow night we're going to a play and then we have to go to Boston and then, finally, we get to return to our sweet tree house at the intersection of calm and sunshine. I'm looking forward to it.

Miss you family. Sorry I don't have any pictures to send - but if you go look at a dirty wall in a public bathroom for a couple of minutes you'll know what New York is looking like right now.


scrap book

some things I've pulled out of the internet recently-ish.

holly hunter and anna paquin from jane campion's the piano. One of my favorite movies, and directors. Harvey Keitel is crazy hot in this movie, with all the tattoos. If I were to ever fill out one of those questionaires that asks me what is my favorite cinematic sex scene it would be this entire movie. And I love the music, and I love her wooden finger, and I love the fairy wings on the little girls, and I love the image of the piano sucking her down into the ocean.

Speaking of wooden fingers and hot, unrequited love...Margot Tenenbaum.

Rodarte for Knoll fabrics are my current textile obsession.

pencil puzzle vie that everything is organized blog.

Ben Jones loves Popples.

shapes on the outside.

Outdoor Rug.

Eye Mask.

Black Swan

Just saw Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky.
I am completely blown away. I haven't ever in my life been so transported by a film like this. I left the theater in a daze, like I was on drugs. Natalie Portman was sensational. She should win a lifesize Oscar made of diamonds and chocolate. The costumes were so beautiful. Those tutus omg. The grey one she carries around with her. I love that.
Ben asked me if I hated the mother. I thought Barbara Hershey - well ALL of the actors - were great. Terrific. And, no, I don't hate the mother. I feel that the movie was so from the point of view of Nina that everything I feel about the mother is what the ballerina herself feels. Love, anger, hate, fear. I think that the director played his cards all right. This was a Kubrick-esque feat of complete creative freedom and a complete vision and total high art. I couldn't stop crying when the credits rolled. Granted, I cry at any movie because I dunno it's such an intimate experience of being alone, in the dark with a hundred other people.
Black Swan was a brilliant example of the play within the play reflecting each other ala Hamlet, while avoiding the pitfalls and cliches of the trope. And avoiding the usual cliches and pitfalls of the dual personae within a character both fighting to survive. I am so pleased that Black Swan wasn't predictable.
It was simply amazing, and I am not saying this because I don't have the vocabulary to use another word. I am truly amazed at the performances, the transformation, the art direction, the camera work. other random thoughts can't put into completion at the moment: the unromanticization of the ballet; comparisons to the red shoes and to showgirls (sorry), the horror and the beauty- the horror casting such a deep dark shadow over the beauty that it truly puts into question the sacrifices she made for her art, for the dancing. It seemed that before this role she never truly 'lost' herself in her dancing, and that by losing herself to the dark side of her art she basically lost her life, and eventually her art. Is it all worth it? Absolutely yes. I don't know what kind of dark passages Darren and Natalie had to go down to make this movie, but for me it was a rapturous experience and I felt completely shaken by it. I couldn't see straight leaving the theater. It might have been because I haven't changed my contact lenses in a few weeks, but I like to think that my head was spinning from the ecstatic horror.
ok gotta go ben just started watching tv without me.

Butts are Big These Days

hey you! Watch this:

Pretty Lady

It's exciting when someone you know if featured in the NYTimes website.
Christene Barberich is the Fashion Director of - a fantastic fashion web rag (I write for them sometimes). Here's a story on her fashion life.
Christene has such pretty coloring, and clothes, and I love her haircut. She has the perfect blend of auburn and wave. Lucky.
LA in fall is crisp and reminds me of walking to the bus stop with my dad and the dog, hanging out with the kids and singing songs and laughing at Phil (the dog) because he was dirty and had anger management issues. Super early September days, LA as a child.
New York in fall is serious anticipation - for snow, for Christmas decorations, for freezing temps and praying for no pneumonia. Excitement and anxiety and changing leaves.

What have I been doing?

Time has been quite a lull lately. A lull in terms of blog posting, but not, apparently, a lull in terms of eating.
Things we've been doing: working, walking up the Silverlake hills and around the Silverlake reservoir, making super spicy pumpkin curry soup, wearing orange Dries Van Noten sweaters, looking at old photos, watching a dvd, buying Juniper Ridge sweet grass incense fromDriftwood, eating sweet Seitenbacher muesli from Three Squares Bakery, dreaming of Isabel Marant jackets, cleaning the house and making it prettier...

My Favorite Pizza: An International List

1. Pizza al Volo, Campo Santa Margherita, Venice, Italy. Best spicy Diavola slice. I ate there practically every day for a year. That's the stuff dreams are made of.

2. Joe's Pizza on Mercer Street, New York NY. I guess I prefer it by the slice.

3. Ricotta Pizza at Place whose Name Shall be Forgotten, Ischia, Italy. Made by a pair of the nerdiest twin brothers you've ever seen. Homemade ricotta.

4. Pepe's Pizza, New Haven, CT. Clam and Garlic and the Salami. One of each!

5. Lucali Pizza, Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY

The Cambridge Cake

One of my favorite things to do, always, has been to sit and read (I know, I know...this is soooo internetty) Julia Child's "The Way to Cook." No, no I'm not embarking on some gimicky personal cooking challenge to keep myself occupied. Rather, I am just recounting something I enjoy to do on days when there isn't much to do except think about cooking. I am planning a "Paris" themed dinner for next week for some friends who sadly have had to postpone their France trip due to some untimely issues, let's say, and so I'm treating them to some good old French standards. So, to whom do I turn to? Julia, of course!
Reading through "TWTC" is something I've always done, as long as the book has been around (well, around me). When I was fifteen I had my birthday off from school for a semester break. I remember it was a cold January day in LA and, having just finished finals and not really wanting to do anything other than stay in and bake myself a fancy cake - specifically the s0-called "Cambridge Cake" that is the cover star of TWTC's Cakes & Cookies section (page 454). This is what we did and still do at my mother's house - there is no cable, no video games, nothing to do but to bake elaborate dishes and play canasta. I remember when my lovely mother brought home the tome that is Julia Child's "The Way to Cook." I thought it one of the most beautiful cookbooks I had ever seen. Up until then she just had her copy of "The Joy of Cooking" which was held together with brown packing tape and had family recipes up and down the inner covers. That book, her old Julia cookbooks of course, which I actually never really picked up until that movie came out last year, a collection of hilarious Time Life "Cookbooks of the World," and maybe some Wolfgang Puck books which were cute and had great recipes, but were nothing like this one. "The Way to Cook" was the biggest cookbook I had ever seen, and had such sumptuous photos and so charmingly written. I think I've read it cover to cover 1,000 times over my lifetime. When I moved back to LA in June and into my own house she gave me my very own copy.
Back when I was fifteen and drooling over the pictures in TWTC, the Cambridge Cake was my favorite page. The walls and ribbons of black chocolate, layers and layers of beautiful Genoise cake tied up in bows of creamy, mocha-y French buttercream frosting. I determined that day, my fifteenth birthday, that, fuck it, I'm going to make this cake. It's just a bloody cake, how hard could it be? Well, it took me all day and looked nothing like the picture, but it was damn good. My chocolate wall was cracked and uneven, but my cake was moist and the buttercream buttery and smooth. I was quite proud of myself, having mastered making madeleines and cookies of all kinds, this cake was a triumph. A delicious, delicious triumph.

It's almost that Time of Year

When all the good movies come out!!!
Coen Brothers+Western=Best movies ever! Does "The Big Lebowski" count? Yes!!!
Can't wait for their version of "True Grit."
Just finished reading "True Grit." Well, listened to, if we are being completely honest here. I downloaded it because it is narrated by Donna Tartt, one of my favorite writers. She gives a wonderful interpretation and performance being the voice of the 14 year old heroine, Mattie Ross. And I'm super duper excited for the Coen Brothers take on this, with Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. I never saw the John Wayne version and I don't know if I will. I might just re-listen/read the book. It's really fantastic, action packed and funny. Mattie's voice is dry and straightforward, a real character, and the wild wild west setting is pure dusty excitement. I think the young Jodie Foster would have been perfect for this part. I hope the girl they picked can do the Mattie Ross in my head justice. This is a plum role for a young actress, but she's such an iconic character that it's going to be hard for her to get in the critics' good graces.

What's Doing Today

After reading about Leonard Koren's house in the New York Times I am not determined to at least look at all his precious little books about design, and design philosophy.

And This lady from a still from a Garance Dore film from Sonia Rykiel's fashion show. I think I know who this is but I can't remember her name. She looks like Lisa Mayock and has a great haircut. I am collecting curly haired pictures because I've broken the first rule of being a woman which is cutting my own hair and now I need a genius pair of sheers to bring me back to the light.

And finally Luise Rainer. She looks like my friend Tanya (or, vice versa rather), and was stunning in "The Great Ziegfeld." She was the first woman to win two Oscars back to back and then disappeared from the scene. The first Winona Ryder type, pre-Audrey Hepburn waif.

mas rojo

From Scott the Sartorialist, of course.
I love love love this lady in red.
I love her curly hair, and her paleness.
I've said it before, I'll say it again.
Where oh where is my red dress?

On another note, I'm loving my new Vena Cava green cape jacket.
Highly recommend it for it's coziness and it's ability to just make any outfit look awesome.

Better Red or Dead

I need more red clothes in my life.
Don't you?
Like this dress on eBay.
I wonder if it's still up...
Or like this Karen Elson from Pair-Ee.
The shoes that started it all?
I'm sure Garbo's not wearing red here.
It's too flashy for her.
But she doesn't need it anyways.
Love you Greta.

Starts and ends in the same breath.

The seventies trend is now over.
Fashion show month is coming to a close,
and there are so many things to remember for next spring
fashion wise.
Color, no color. 70s, 90s. etc etc.

I predict the next things on the runways will be
our father's clothes.
per Dries van Noten.
Big body con backlash
slouchy Anna Karina sweaters
lightweight wide and low pants
le smoking
etc etc etc.

The seventies are over. Long live the seventies.
Sorry Marc Jacobs.
In my opinion, it's Dries always leading the pack.
I must admit this S11 collection of DVN wasn't my favorite
it felt a little all over the place
and I hate his colors
but I like the slouchiness of it.
And come to think of it,
very similar to ideas in Celine,
though Phoebe Philo seems quite rigid in her style.
I admire the change she's bringing to the ladies of fashion
who were clearly starving for a change from the rocknroll Wang/Balmain look.
And thank god for Phoebe for coming on the scene so strongly.
I was counting the minutes till the Wang look took its last gasp.
So now we are in a camel dream
and headed towards a looser aesthetic,
which makes me happy.
For a season we will have 70s
and Diane Keaton
whom every girl worth her necktie worships.
But then it will evolve into a looser, more laidback look.
Maybe California is getting to me.
I wear my Clu sweatpants a lot these days
as they pass for cigarette pants quite well
and no one can tell that they are actually made of sweatshirt material.
Love that.

Rain in LA!

I love it when it rains in Los Angeles.
The weather can be so tedious here.
Hot hot hot, or lately grey grey grey.
Rain is always a welcomed happening in the desert.
I like the chance to wear a coat,
and listen to the drops on my roof,
and know that tomorrow everything is going to be refreshed and green,
and probably sunny.
And that's when I'm happy to see the sun.

The last time I saw rain was the day we drove north out of New York City to Providence.
For the last time!


Just getting into this show called 'Dexter.'
I have a pretty tv
but I prefer to snuggle with my warm laptop next to my warm man
and watch this increasingly disturbing show.
I think it gives me nightmares.

yikes stripes

Doesn't this collage from depicting this seasons bold strips thing
remind you of this Sean Scully from the Modern Fort Worth collection

and all the rest of them from my previous post on Sean Scully?

Dries and Rochas

My two absolute favorite collections (sorry, Miuch)
can't wait to discuss.
Rochas is an A+! I looooove Zanini and am newly obsessed with his
spectacular sister.
Head scarves!
I love Mark Holgate's review on
Will write more later.

Zanini's sister and muse, Miki. Love her. Who is she??

such a tassle

prediction: tassle necklaces will be everywhere.
Oscar de la Renta, Vena Cava, and...someone else I can't recall.
All have them on their runway.
What's with the tassle?

I am waiting

I am just tired right now,
but feel like writing something down.
These are things I like at the very moment.

Nan Kempner's debutante gown.
Boxing art.
Anita Berber. She was so skinny because she was on drugs and died at 29. But she is certainly iconic now.
Models of my childhood, muted colors, fall is coming but the leaves don't change in California.
And of course the simplicity of this magazine cover makes me eternally happy.
One headline, one model, beautiful and simple and elegant and calm.
I don't know yet what I think of next season's fashions. I kind of don't care, it's all kind of dull to me, except the Vena Cava, the Proenza, and I'm waiting for the Prada, the Dries, the Isabel Marant, and more street pictures from Paris. That's what is exciting to me. These are people who always do wonderful things that predict the future. Of what we are going to wear, which is a secure feeling. But I think what I love most of all of these designers is the colors they choose. The neons of PS, the orange and chartreuse of Vena Cava, the reds and browns of Prada, and the purples, greens, pinks, and again orange of Dries Van Noten. And Isabel, well I just like to watch the feeding frenzy. She's a master at creating that. As is my former employer Jane Mayle who's opening up a pop up any day now, and the blogs are already wagging. I can sense that the Mayleophiles (Maylentologists?) are starting to feel that familiar lurch but that it's now accompanied by a subtle choke. They worked hard on releasing their obsessions and funneling those dollars on new, other designers, but now JM is popping back up with expensive frocks and shoes by Sigerson Morrison. I personally am feeling excitement and also a sense that I kind of want to stay out of the whole thing. But, if she does do another wool trench coat like the one I missed in those final days, I will bite.
And, for the finale, this watch from OK. I've always had a crush on it.

And the lyrics to this song...can you help but sing it? So beautiful and calming.

(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

I am waiting, I am waiting (all year, all year)
I am waiting, I am waiting (all year, all year)
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere

You can't hold out, you can't hold out
all year, all year
You can't hold out, you can't hold out
all year, all year
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere

See it come along and
don't know where it's from
Oh, yes you will find out

Well, it happens all the time
It's censored from our minds
You'll find out

Slow or fast, slow or fast
all year, all year
End at last, end at last
all year, all year
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere

Stand up coming years
and escalation fears
Oh, yes we will find out

Well, like a WINTER STORM
Fears will pierce your bones
You'll find out

Oh we're waiting, oh we're waiting
all year, all year
Oh we're waiting, oh we're waiting
all year, all year
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere

Oh we're waiting, oh we're waiting
Oh we're waiting, oh were waiting...


Ines de la Fressange was the Chanel model of the 80s.
She was in almost every campaign throughout that decade.
They should bring her back. I enjoy sophisticated models who are womanly and command respect, or whatever it is, rather than the stick figures rock star babies that are everywhere these days. Dree Hemingway? Give me a break. That girl needs to learn how to read.

Shalom, Christy Turlington, Kristen McMenamy were the Chanel models of the 90s.
These are the earliest Chanel ads I can remember. The red hair, the inception of my obsession with Shalom and little black dresses.