I don’t know why I’ve been posting so many red//white//blue items recently (see: Thom Browne, Hublot, Bally, etc.) but the extended phase is pushed further with Moncler. The first image below is a hand-painted tee found in the Moncler store on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. Inherent in its description is the reality that each shirt is slightly different from the next. The shirt isn’t available on the Moncler website but you can find it on the UK’s Pockets website for £125.00. The summer tee is made complete with the £155.00 flip flops which can be bought directly from Moncler.
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Tags: hand-painted, hand-painted tee, mocnler, moncler flip flops, moncler tee, moncler top
I came across a 2011 article from Design Boom announcing an exhibit at London’s Design Museum called “Making Britain Modern” featuring product designer and London native Kenneth Grange. The exhibit, which spanned 50 years of Grange’s prolific work, included “both iconic consumer products and familiar landmarks from the public sphere”. I’ve featured a few of his designs below which, by themselves, are aesthetic but unremarkable until you look at the attached dates. The avant-garde artist created a large swatch of everyday items including, but not limited to, a locomotive still used throughout Great Britain today.
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Tags: design museum, kenneth grange, kodak instamatic camera, making britain modern, modern london, short & mason steel clock, venner parking meter, wilkinson sword razor
It’s been a week since I moved to LA and I took advantage of my first full weekend to discover the city. After a quick drive through Hollywood where every club sports a line halfway around the block, I found myself at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. The hotel, owned by the sbe Hotel Group (an entirely new company to me) is part of chain and their pictures (shown below) look incredible so we decided to try their bar.
The sbe Hotel Group was founded by Sam Nazarian, an Iranian-American entrepreneur of Jewish decent who serves as Chairman and CEO. Nazarian’s father, Younes Nazarian, is co-founder of Qualcomm. The sbe Hotel Group owns a host of hotels, clubs, and restaurants which, according to Wikipedia, are “frequently visited by the characters of HBO’s Entourage”.
The company’s partnerships are impressive and stand out from the crowd. Philippe Starck (a perennial favorite on this blog) lends his name to the Kasuya Uechi restaurants throughout LA while Michael Mina (another favorite) partnered for a restaurant on Sunset Strip (which subsequently closed in 2011). The SLS hotels (which create an instant association with the Mercedes SLS… presumably a purposeful hijacking of the connotations) appear in Beverly Hills and South Beach while Las Vegas, New York, Miami, and Seattle are scheduled destinations over the next two years.
The bar inside the SLS in Beverly Hills is the Bazaar by José Andrés and its name is appropriately defined by its character. Half the bar is a museum best described as a cross-breed of the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, a nod to eclectic contemporary design (previously featured here), and typical Beverly Hills glamour. There are a lot of oddities to witness and the general interior is interesting as worst and a perfectly executed one-of-a-kind presentation at best.
If I rated our experience on Yelp, it would only receive 3-4 stars. I’m sure the bar would be a 5-star destination during the late evening but their nighttime environment is far too busy for the layout and size of the bar. The bartenders are wonderful at keeping the line moving but it still takes ages to get to the front. Given the amount of seating and general space, I would have expected that the counter would be (at least) double in size.
The champagne and Manhattan cocktails cost $36 together but the latter couldn’t even muster an average rating. There was far too much vermouth and the bartender (in her haste to keep the line moving) spilled a good portion before handing it to me. I chalk this up to the severe under-staffing and wouldn’t mind going a second time but only during a less busy occasion. The cherries, presumably made in-house, were by far the best garnish I’ve ever had.
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Tags: bazaar by jose andres, beverly hills hotels, contemporary hotels, hotels in beverly hills, jose andres, modern hotels, sbe, sls hotel, sls hotel beverly hills, unique hotels
Part of me believes that hanging lights should be limited to college dorm rooms and the holiday season but there’s something pleasant about illuminating a room with something less harsh than your typical 60 watt. Throw away the Christmas tree lights and upgrade to the adult version for $70 per 9 meters (about 26 feet) of flexible LED lights (found on The Fancy). They remind me of the San Francisco Bay Bridge installation and, like those lights, the string is waterproof so you use the lights both in- and outdoors.
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Tags: flexible leds, light string
I previously wrote an in-depth article navigating the different factors for choosing the right sheet set and avoiding mis-advertisements but sheets by themselves don’t make the perfect bed. I have been wanting to follow up with a post covering the essentials of the perfect duvet but haven’t found the right motivation until I saw a collection from Sferra in the Century City Bloomingdale’s. Their top duvet collection, the Utopia, starts at $4,915 and reaches the astronomical height of $12,775. Normally I’m skeptical of, but intrigued by, brands whose prices are far-beyond anything I’ve previously seen but the duvets were on display and feeling them showed a huge jump from your typical duvet; they genuinely felt as good as their price tag. Wanting to know more about these duvets (and competitors who might have similar products) prompted this post.
One of the first factors most people consider is the warmth of their duvet. They instinctively determine whether they’re competing against warm or cold nights and match the information with their ideal sleeping temperature. The standard unit for measuring this information (i.e. thermal resistance) was developed by The Shirley Institute in the 1940s and named the tog. Both Wikipedia and Pure Living Collection provide slightly different guides for choosing the perfect tog value:
Lightwight Summer Duvet: 3.0 – 4.5 tog
Spring/Autumn Weight Duvet: 7.0 – 10.5 tog
Winter Weight Duvet: 12.0 tog – 13.5 tog
Pure Living Collection:
Cool: 3.0 – 4.5 tog
Medium: 9.0 – 10.5 tog
Warm: 13.5 tog
Pure Living Collection expands on their article and offers a four seasons approach: by purchasing a 9.0 and 4.5 tog duvet, you have a summer and spring/autumn duvet when used separately and, when combined, a winter duvet. For the life of me I cannot find an article that I read years ago but there is a study that tested various down pillows against their advertised levels. In many cases, the pillows did not live up to the claims but, interestingly enough, some pillows exceeded the advertised levels. This is something to bear in mind when looking for a duvet because false advertising is possible and, possibly, common.
Tog can be easily confused with fill power but the two measure different (but related) things. Fill power is a measure of the loft or “fluffiness” and determines the amount of air per ounce that the down traps; the higher the number, the more insulating ability per ounce. According to Wikipedia, fill power is the most common measure of down quality. For testing, a one ounce sample is placed “in a plexiglas cylinder with a weighted piston compressing the down. The test requires controlled temperature, humidity, and preparation of the sample. All other things being equal a [duvet] made with high fill power is lighter and more compressible than an equally warm one made with lower quality down”. In this sense, two down duvets may be equal warmth (i.e. same tog values) but have different fill power values (or vice-versa).
Another factor in choosing the perfect duvet is picking the right filling. The first step is to understand the difference between feathers and “down”. The terms appear to be used interchangeably but there’s a big difference between the two. According to Linenplace, ”feathers on geese or ducks are the outer covering of the bird… [and] have quills; they repel water and make it possible for the bird to fly”. From my experience, this is what most people imagine to be in their down duvets and pillows and, in many cases, this is exactly what you’ll find. I’ve bought “down pillows” from Macy’s only to be poked by the quills from feathers as the pillow ages.
Down is a different product from the feathers that we typically imagine. Down is “underneath the feathers” and actually “looks like fluffy cotton balls. A down cluster has a rounder center called a plumule, with thousands of tiny fibers radiating from its core”. Linenplace explains that “these fibers link to other down plumules creating air pockets, which in turn trap heat”. The website claims that most people who are allergic to feathers are not allergic to the down. If you’ve previously avoided natural down duvets (or pillows) for fear of allergies, it might be worth your time to look into a higher-end product. Finally, feathers (since they repel water) are not washable while down is much easier to clean.
You must determine whether you want to pay extra for having the right bird. I’m not remotely enthusiastic about synthetic downs so this article won’t address those options. Unlike Christmas where you can simply cook a Turducken to get the best of three birds, there’s a clear hierarchy for down and it’s the single variable of the pocketbook. Pure Living Collection explains the following:
Duck feathers and down gives a heavier filling than goose feather and down, and is the cheapest of the natural fillings. Goose feather and down feels more voluminous and more expensive, with a pure goose down being the most luxurious. Geese from colder climates, such as Eastern Europe and China, produce bigger down clusters and the best is considered to come from Hungary, while other contenders might hail from Russia or Serbia.
The last duvet that I bought was awful. As I researched to write this article, I realize I made two mistakes when I bought my last duvet: I 1) compromised to keep price low and unknowingly bought a duvet with feathers (not down) and 2) bought a duvet whose casing was poor quality which allowed feathers to escape and scatter across my room every night. In case you’re wondering, it was a Level 4 from Charter Club. In this situation, I think a buyer must simply use good judgement. How does the duvet feel and appear? If it doesn’t list the thread count (a deceptive measure that I previously wrote about here), you should be able to get a good idea by interacting with the duvet. Ultimately, you’re going to be sleeping with the duvet so you need to find it comfortable. You’ll probably be adding a duvet cover so keep that in mind. Beautiful duvets, like the high-end versions from Sferra that I mentioned at the beginning of the article, have beautiful patterns with a silky-soft texture but this benefit is lost once you place it inside a cover.
My experience with a few brands is below:
- Frette: a brand I’ve mentioned a few times throughout the website, Frette has duvets ranging from $1,295 – $1,700. They have great quality products and they don’t appear to inflate their numbers. Unfortunately, Frette is a well-known brand and holds the title of being the bedding of the pope (though, presumably, not the bedding of the current — and exceedingly modest — pope) which translates into the price-tag. Part of your dollar will be lost in the premium you pay for the popularity of the brand.
- Sferra: the brand that inspired this article will cost an arm and leg but rest assured that you can save money by buying a twin duvet which, with 2/3′s a body after losing your limbs, should be sufficient. The bottom-line light weight queen duvet is $1,275 while the heavy weight queen duvet in their top line is $9,985.
- Pratesi: the website for Pratesi has been under construction for some time but I had the opportunity to stop into their shop in Los Angeles the other day. I did not see whether Pratesi offers duvets because I was distracted by their absolutely incredible sheet sets. Their bottom line linens will be many levels more expensive than the bottom lines of the other two mentioned brands but this was one of the rare circumstances where you can immediately see and feel the difference in quality.. Unfortunately, the salesperson hurt the image of the brand by being hyper-pretentious (surprise) while interrupting me whenever I tried to speak. Presumably, though, you would only need to deal with a salesperson once (or simply buy online once the new website launches).
That’s what I got. Hopefully this guide helps you find the perfect duvet. Don’t forget to check out my previous guide for buying sheets. Remember to include the cost of dry cleaning when determining the final price of that perfect duvet. And finally, remember that you spend 1/3 of your life in bed so investing in the right bedding, even if costly, cannot be overstated.
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Tags: down duvet, duvet, frette, pratesi, sferra, sferra utopia
The Kēvo lock from Kwikstart was found on Hypebeast and features some neat and convenient technology. The new lock reminds me of a Prius (or a range of new cars) where starting the engine is as simple as pressing a button when the key is nearby. The Kēvo pairs with your iPhone (and only your iPhone… for now) and recognizes when you’re close. Tap a finger on the lock and the technology will recognize the authorization.
According to Engadget, a user downloads the app to control the lock. “Once logged into the app, you can send and delete eKeys, or transfer them to another device (this also deletes the eKeys associated with a lost handset, for example) — you can even create eKeys that only work once” for visitors, friends, and family. The lock’s release date and price haven’t been released but you can sign up on the Kwikstart website to receive updates.
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Tags: kwikstart, kēvo lock
This post brings a mix of goodies found on The Fancy. The first picture features the Kaddy by Tonelli and comes at $5,000. Described as “a modern interpretation of the clothes stand”, the standing fixture includes clothes pegs, an upper glass sheld, and a double-sided mirror on the back with a revolving chrome base. While looking for information on the Kaddy, I discovered the Dappertutto (pictures two and three) from the same designer.
The fourth picture is the EAGO Luxury Clear Whirlpool Hot Tub. The 72″ tub of luxury is designed “so that water never remains in the lines of the whirlpool jets or the drain… [which] prevents bacteria, mold, and odor buildup”. At $6,750, you receive 7 different LED color schemes and a touch-friendly interface to operate the mood-lighting and jets. Multiple pressure settings, an inline heater, and a digital sound system complete the experience.
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Tags: clear hot tub, dappertutto, eago, jetted tub, kaddy, kaddy by tonelli, luxury hot tub, tonelli, wirlpools