By the time September comes, I usually welcome the change of light and the cool, dry air that makes mornings in New England unspeakably beautiful.
When I was at university in Providence, I took a Chinese lyric poetry class and I remember the professor saying that the only 2 places in the world where you can see as many color hues in the leaves during autumn are New England and the Chinese Wudang Mountains. So basically a photographer’s dream. I’m not complaining.
But New York City is a little moody lately. Grey skies and dark light, with hot temperatures and smoky air. In Central Park the trees are still so green that it’s like walking through a jungle. Humidity drips from the leaves and if that iconic view of the San Remo apartments wasn’t there, the murky waters of the rowing pond could be in Belize, or the Amazon.
It’s nice to have a little respite from the hot sun though. It makes going wool shopping a little easier and I’m really excited to finish up a few chunky knit sweaters. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to be enjoying a glass of rosé at Grand Banks before the summer ends. Rosé on a 142 ft wooden sailboat docked in Hudson River Park? I’m there.
Photos taken in Soho, Central Park, Tribeca, and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Right now I’m designing a permanent collection that will launch in September. Knitwear design is a fast process - a lot of the time you just sketch, measure, and be willing to improvise as you go.
Tops, scarves, and hats are central to the collection, which has minimalism at its core and New York City at heart, with all of its contradictions. Blacks and neutrals, loose fitting sweater tops and big scarves…
This last week I:
- Designed and made a few spa day face towels in a nice waffle stitch (main photo).
- Designed and made a loose fitting wool halter that’s super cozy and will be ready for fall.
- Celebrated the engagement of 2 friends in Brooklyn.
- Went to an art opening at wix lounge.
- Was prescribed Anthrax medication for mosquito bites (what?)
- Made this story about designing knitwear on the new app Steller. I’m really loving it!
Have a great rest of Sunday!
The summit of Mt. Ventoux in both directions. At the top of the mountain, you can see Alps in the distance.
And the vineyards… Where some of the best wine in the world is made at Châteauneuf-du-Pape and districts close by it. Because it’s summer I drank rosés almost exclusively (I’ve kind of been off white wine lately - dry rosés are so much more appealing with a single ice cube!). Every glass was marvelous, from floral to a little more fruity, perfect for a light lunch in the afternoon sun.
One of the things on my list was to check out the lavender fields in Provence. I remember when I was younger biking through the countryside and seeing fields of sunflowers, but I didn’t remember the lavender. So when we drove along the Routes de la Lavande just outside of the town of Sault, I was taken aback.
Because the air is perfumed with lavender, and all you can see are fields upon endless fields of that rich pastel purple. I definitely wanted to stay in those fields for hours - or even days! - taking pictures of these marvelous little flowers.
Next time you pick up a sprig of lavender, take a small part of it and crush it in your hands. This releases the scent and will make you relaxed and happy as much as any aromatherapy!
(ps - that’s me in the shadow! I like taking shadow selfies…)
I’ve often lamented the end of the golden age of travel. That age when people loved to cross the Atlantic by passenger ship, and always managed to have a few love affairs on the way. When travelers wore their best on airplanes (also, when there was no first class, because all travelers were technically first class).
And although I never lived in the 1940s (or 50s, 60s, 70s… I’m 26), I’ve watched so many classic films that I’ve got traveling like a lady down to 5 essentials. And at least any combination of 2 or 3 of these will get you to your destination in style - and at the mercy of your travel companions.
1. RED LIPSTICK.
A tasteful, deep red lipstick. Keep a compact mirror in your bag so you can touch it up - in your seat. Bonus points if you turn to the stranger next to you, shake your head slowly, and say something like, “There is never enough light.” (Note: color above is NARS “Shanghai Express,” which is another movie you should catch.)
A stylish fedora will do - just like Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. Need I say more? Yes - the TSA officers will probably pick you out for special screening at the airport. If this happens, show them your boarding pass and passport, insist that all of your “papers” are in order, and then say you’re for the free French.
3. HAND LUGGAGE.
A vintage suitcase or a rolling suitcase made of leather. Pack lightly so you can carry it. Or pack heavily, and make someone else carry it. If you have a long layover, set up at the airport bar and read on…
At the airport bar, order a French 75, invented at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in 1915. If you’re in Casablanca, order a Cointreau. Don’t forget to talk to the bartender. Say things like, “Everybody’s sorry for something. I’m sorry to still be stuck in this town with only 20 dollars and this suitcase.”
5. TCM LANGUAGE. Finally, the Turner Classic Movies language. You can’t be a talking pictures star if you don’t talk like one. Whether you choose to talk like Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, or Ingrid Bergman, pick an accent and stick to it. The flight attendants will most likely think you don’t speak their language, or any English - just know you’re speaking classic movie language. Bonus points if you order another cointreau from the flight attendant before the plane takes off.
PLACE: Lower Manhattan. DATE: Monday, August 4, 2014. New York is a tall place. It so often happens that what looks like an unremarkable piece of architecture changes when you look up, and then you see these details that are castle-like, or like a grand home in Budapest, or domes crowned with statues made of bronze or iron but that look like pure gold. I often find that the best way to show off the luxury of color in the city is through a black and white photo. Only black and white photos encapsulate a mood of glamour and elegance similar to gold.
I was walking around the city yesterday, trying to come to terms with the decisions I made in the last month. I just quit my job after coming back from France. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, and now seems as good a time as any to start making my own life. Photographer? Writer? Designer? Sure. I have always been all of these things. I’ve always done them. What changes? Owning time, owning life, owning decisions.
So I sat on a bench in a small park in Lower Manhattan. I was vaguely on my way to Purl Soho, which has the most amazing silk and cashmere and linen yarns. A few tourists stood in the park snapping photos of a black squirrel and I decided to join them. The photos I took weren’t very good, and I probably looked a little crazy following a squirrel around the park even after the tourists left. The strange places you go, when you don’t really have to go anywhere…
I did make it to Purl Soho. I wandered there. I gazed wistfully at the specialty linen and silks, dreaming of the kinds of projects I could make and the clients I could make them for. My dream, and my goal for the year, is to have a few clients in New York and a few clients internationally who are excited by the things I make for them. A photo or a scarf that might give someone a reason to dream, or a better sense of themselves - both, I’d hope!
So I took these photos through the trees, looking up.
Photography, for me, is a meditative act. It helps me to focus and to forget the cares of the day - and the world, or the past. One of my favorite travel writers, Patrick Leigh Fermor, wrote once that he didn’t like taking photos on his travels because he missed everything that was beyond the camera. I used to write a lot more than I do today for that reason.