Alice Saga

I think, best I can remember, 
that the first time I saw the vt blog
on a blogroll was at Alice in Wonderland
And, because Alice Saga has such
exquisite taste, it really is impossible
for me to tell you how much 
that meant, many months ago,
when this blog was quite new...

And still does. Alice Saga, thank you. 

Above, at the window, Jenny Reyes.
(More about Geronimo, & Jenny, here.)

All photos from Alice in Wonderland, 
the equally ethereal Alice's Salon Coquette

[Alice Saga is an 
amazing amazing 
brilliant stylist 
who is a.k.a.



One More

from illustrator Hiromi Suzuki

more, below

The Art of Hiromi Suzuki

Don't you just love this? 
The art of Hiromi Suzuki.

Here's a link...mostly in Japanese, 
but wonderful in any language...


all illustrations copyright Hiromi Suzuki


april twenty-second: a good day to start something

Twenty eight years ago, on the twenty-second 
of April, a charming boy who had captured my 
heart (forevermore) proposed. We were married 
a year later, in June (on a warm Georgia day), 
surrounded by people we loved...six years later, 
on April twenty-second, our third child was born.
Today is his twenty-second birthday
(happy birthday, dear redhead of ours!). 

April twenty-second is a lovely, lovely day.

Perhaps is it is a good day to start something 
else new...we (for the past several months, 
there is another wonderful designer with whom 
I've collaborated on several projects) have 
a few treats in store for you. Stay tuned! 

Holly Brubach. "Once Upon A Time, It Had Your Name All Over It."

That Thing You Buy

New York Times | Design | Spring .o9

In 1985, a brash new pop star named Madonna, channeling Marilyn Monroe and surrounded by a chorus of men proffering diamonds, declared that we were ‘‘living in a material world’’ — a proposition that at the time seemed provocative and even a little crass. By today’s standards, the song’s music video, a campy anthem to ’80s excess, looks unbelievably quaint: the party was just getting started. And now it’s over. We woke up one morning to discover that we had too many toys and no retirement. Somewhere along the way, our entire economy came to be based on consuming stuff. Waving the flag for those who persist in the belief that shopping will be our salvation, Louis Vuitton’s ad campaign this season features the Material Girl herself.

Lead times in book publishing being what they are, Deyan Sudjic could not have foreseen that the culture he was writing about would come crashing down before he sent off his manuscript for ‘‘The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects’’ (W. W. Norton & Company, June). The book reads like ancient history already, recapitulating our obsession with material goods, disentangling the multiple strands of desire and emotion that have bound us to our possessions.

Like all the best critics, Sudjic articulates a philosophy of his chosen subject, identifying design as ‘‘the DNA’’ of a society, ‘‘the code that we need to explore if we are to stand a chance of understanding the nature of the modern world.’’ Considering fine art, the condition to which many designers now seem to aspire, Sudjic remarks on the ‘‘curious paradox that even the most materialist of us tend to value what might be called the useless above the useful.’’ By these standards, he concludes, Gerrit Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair, in the Museum of Modern Art’s design collection, ‘‘remains to a certain degree stigmatized by the fact of being useful’’ when compared, for instance, with a Mondrian painting and its utter lack of utility.

Gerrit Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair

A big thinker given to bold statements, Sudjic proves an entertaining commentator and, for those who bring their own opinions, a worthy adversary. ‘‘If there is one thing other than a chair that every designer wants to have put their name to at least once in their career,’’ he contends, ‘‘it is an adjustable light.’’ News to me. In what seems an arbitrary association, he attributes the black finish and contrasting red control switch on the Tizio lamp to the Walther PPK, a black semi-automatic pistol with a red indicator for the safety catch.

Sudjic is at his best analyzing contemporary designers and their work. Philippe Starck, he claims, ‘‘has only one trick, and it’s a good one: his childlike view of the world.’’ In Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge, he identifies a variety of influences, including André Dubreuil and the French decorative arts, ‘‘Australian hedonism’’ and ‘‘the stressed-aluminum skins of the early days of commercial flying.’’

It’s when we get to luxury that Sudjic’s bravura begins to falter. What does luxury stand for anymore, now that it’s been rendered meaningless by a flood tide of status handbags and gourmet kitchen gadgets? ‘‘Scarcity can make luxury from the simplest of things,’’ Sudjic writes, as anyone who has ever gone camping can attest. ‘‘Luxury in an age of abundance is harder to get right.’’ More to the point, what is luxury in a time of economic collapse? Today’s definition would be freedom from financial worries, which is getting harder to come by all the time.

Still, it’s fun to read Sudjic’s terse indictment of a gold-plated cell phone pretending to be fine jewelry while its technology will be out of date in six months. ‘‘Rather than gold adding luster to the phone, the phone undermines the prestige of gold as a material.’’

Armed with nothing but his slingshot and a few choice words, Sudjic takes on what he calls ‘‘the fashion monster’’ for co-opting and exploiting other forms of visual culture, for shaping almost every other industry, for engineering built-in obsolescence as the driving force behind cultural change. ‘‘What has fashion done to design?’’ he asks. ‘‘What has it done to art and photography and architecture?’’ Good question. The answer is a book, and I wish Sudjic would write it.

Sudjic writes from the perspective of a willing participant in the consumerist binge we’ve all been on, noting ‘‘the bulimic fluctuation between gratification and self-disgust that comes from the compulsion to acquire too much too fast.’’ 

In an epilogue that feels like a hasty addendum, he wonders what will happen to our ‘‘narcotic addiction’’ to acquiring new things. ‘‘After excess comes sobriety,’’ he predicts, not by choice but because we can’t afford to get high. A nation of addicts forced into sobriety is not a happy prospect. Time to rethink the pursuit of happiness. 

After two decades of defining ourselves in terms of our possessions, we now need to figure out who we would be without them.

More on Brubach: at Home, at NYT/Living in the Age of Entitlement (thoughts, here, from the Stone Street Press) and so on, & on all things vintage. Books, here.

tail of the yak

the magnificent legend, in berkeley

flickr image: here
more: here

[go jordan ferney, thou of exquisite taste!]

Time for William Blake and M. B. Goffstein

“Goffstein is a minimalist, 
but her text and pictures carry 
the same emotional freight as 
William Blake’s admonishment 
to see the world in a grain of 
sand and eternity in an hour.”

"People, Houses, Sky"

taught, for many years, at 
Parsons School of Design.

for additional Goffstein information on blog: tap



the work of M. B. Goffstein


new: heaven

As a true fan of the 
work of the magnificent 
M. B. Goffstein,

it is with great pleasure that I note:
there are wonderful new additions
to her website. Heaven: here.

why not visit

things, quite beautiful: the ugly earring

 beaton in the rough: the selvedge yard

sublime photos (better to see at): the fat of the land

"After two decades of defining ourselves in terms of our possessions, we now need to figure out who we would be without them."

Holly Brubach today:

visionaries, any way you slice it:
madonna and marc, from hotsheet

Most Remarkably Beautiful: Irena Sendler

"My emotion is being shadowed by the fact that no one from the circle of my faithful coworkers, who constantly risked their lives, could live long enough to enjoy all the honors that now are falling upon me…. I can’t find the words to thank you, my dear girls… Before the day you have written the play ‘Life in a Jar’, nobody in my own country and few in the whole world knew about my person and my work during the war …”
Irena Sendler. More, Here.
also: here and here