I have now been in the city that never sleeps for 4 days and I have had to use sleeping pills to get some. It's so fast, it's so interactive, it's so jam packed that having a free moment to breath only feels like a wasted moment. I am typing this all out on my iPad. I decided not to bring my computer this trip to save some weight but in hindsight this upsets me because I can't share right this moment some of the momentous insights I have had into this city. But I will summarize.
1. Jewish tailoring of Crown Heights, Brooklyn
A contact in Sydney put me onto a lovely guy here called Zelman who met me in Crown Heights. It is an Hasidic neighborhood full of character but no so much colour since everything is mostly black and white with the Jews of New York. Fascinating and far more intricate than meets the eye, I was taken on a tour of work rooms which make kapotes of wool and silk and of wool and silk blends (these are the black coats worn by Jews). I was then taken to a hat store where I saw hundreds of Borsalino fedoras stacked outside the shop awaiting to be stocked on shelves and sold to Jews before Chanukah . The photos are phenomenal and over the coming weeks I will share with you what was a privileged experience. I will elaborate on some of the ins and outs of Jewish tailoring and the origins of their dress at a later date.
2. Shloime of AM Bespoke
I also met with AM Bespoke, a custom suit maker which operates in Crown Heights. They go directly to clients and although catering to a Jewish clientele offer everything from kapotes right through to the latest fashion trends with an excellent finish quality. Their go to client approach means that they offer all their designs from vector graphic illustrations on iPads rather than the traditional model of measuring that a tailor employs.
3. Dressing for New York
Nothing prepares you for the cold if you have not already done a New York winter. One of the most important things I could recommend for Australians is a decent overcoat. It is the one item which lets thos sartorially minded that you know what you are not a tourist. And gloves. I never knew there was so much choice in the world of gloves.
4. Tim Vernon Moore In Soho
Yesterday I caught up with Australian contemporary artist Tim Vernon Moore who is just finishing up on his latest collection. Walking the streets of Soho, I had a very Nick Nolte New York Stories moment as I glimpsed not only the world of an artist in New York but I was lucky enough to see one of the few authentic art studios which still remains in Soho.
5. Saks 5th Avenue
If I could recommend one department store over all the others it would be Saks. The department store had the best service, the best selection and the quietest atmosphere despite the hectic rush of the season. The Internet can never kill retail when it is done like this. Go straight to the 6th floor.
6. Alexis Zambrano of Monsieur De Phocas
I have talked about the duo of Alexis Zambrano and Jesus Torres before but for the first time I met Alexis in person. He has an amazing style, perfect waves in his hair and his first collaborative design with Le Noeud Papillon for bow ties proved very successful. Keep an eye out for them. They are going big places.
7. Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits
I was fortunate to finally meet Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits. We talked silk and bow the styles and then I was privileged to be shot by her. More of that later.
8. Christmas In New York
Something must be said for the way in which New Yorkers all pitch into make Christmas exciting. We could very much learn from the way in which New Yorkers make everything sparkle and shine during this festive period. Retailers make beautiful window displays, decorate every wall, every ceiling, public space. Walking the street is a visual pleasure that entertains you and keeps you in the Christmas spirit even when its dark, you are zapped of energy and you are cold to the bone.
More to come.
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