Absolut Icebar!!! I've always been curious, i'm still dying to visit the Ice Hotel some day ~ and ironically, this little excursion wasn't even part of the official Absolut event/weekend. Apparently the Icebar changes its design twice a year, and it happened to be closed Oct 26 to Nov 1, so today was the first day it reopened, but, just barely! (Opening party is tomorrow night!) Luckily, i was able to stay an extra day, and they managed to get us in today. So here is a first look at the latest ~ "Factory" designed by Sofi Ruotsalainen and Nille Nilsson. Along with the completely new space, there is also a brand new menu! It's quite amazing, you enter through the little store passageway where you see racks of ponchos with gloves clipped on... then into the airlock... and into the ice bar! Within the ice bar (which is literally wall to wall ice) there are ice sculptures, an ice display (looking like an upright arcade game), the bar and more... the giant red "Don't Push" button - is totally ok to push. As long as you're cool with the light flashing! (So fun!) Also playful are some of the Icebar goods ~ you can buy a replica glass (that won't melt!), a puffy jacket of a laptop sleeve, matches, and other silliness... This is one of three Absolut Icebars ~ the first was in the Ice Hotel, this one is in the Nordic Sea Hotel and is open year round, as is the one in Below Zero London. See all the fun on the next page, as cold as my fingers got, i couldn't help taking a bunch of pics, and they even let me take pics from behind the bar!
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Sometimes you desperately run around the city all evening, desperately hunting for an open restaurant after having two drinks at the ice bar for "breakfast", almost genuinely considering buying 7-11 food, tweet for help, call for suggestions, and almost everything that comes up is closed... then you stumble upon the adorable red cozy outdoor section of Grodan, and peek into a stunningly ornate dining room that smells delicious... and there it is. Froggies! Everywhere! On the menu... embroidered on the napkins, on the door - a simple red silhouette of a frog! (Yes, i now know Groda means Frog in swedish)... but the most intriguing instance of this little red frog i encountered was as i sipped my water... there it was on the bottom of my glass! And it looked so fun with its reflection and prismatic colors projected on the table... I had to share... and i'm so tempted to make mini vinyl stickers to apply to the bottom of my glasses to surprise people when i get home... see more of the pics on the next page!
Brio Network Collection ~ first time seeing it in person, i just noticed it in a tiny kids play cubby hole in Magasin 3 in Stockholm! Between the lovely space and works i totally got sucked into photographing these very well played with and possibly chewed on little woody guys reenacting how computers work... from emails to viruses and search and more! If you recall, i've written about Series 1 here and here in the past... but this is the first look at them up close, now i'm so tempted to try to track down the full set!
for americans, i found a few at Amazon: Brio Network Toys!
Tattoo Socks! Tel Aviv designer, Gaby, makes tattoo socks which first turned up as NotCouture #5165 in its octopus incarnation (which i love!), but when i looked at the rest of her designs, the Twitter referencing "Follow Me" with birdie needed more sharing... taking twitter back out from digital to real world to really play with the idea of following... sure, people do tshirts and necklaces, but come on... its more likely a guy will literally follow you to ask you for your twitter handle as you saunter past in a short tight black dress and these sheer knee high tattoo socks... although i do wonder, would it be better to custom print your twitter handle on the other leg? Let people physically follow you and then start digitally following you without even really meeting in person face to face? Much food for thought, so many possibilities, definitely a cute idea... see more pics on the next page!
On a quick look at Stockholm shopping before Absolut madness kicks in... turned a corner, saw this brightly lit store of enticing colorfulness... realized it was Brio! And proceeded to let my inner 5 year old out ~ i don't think i've ever had the chance to see all of their toys in one place (we certainly only get bits and pieces of the collections in the US lately) ~ and i had no idea they had so many amazing strollers and high chairs too! Unfortunately i didn't have my proper camera (was in shopping mode!) but did snap a bunch of cell phone pics to share with you on the next page... the walrus is just adorable... the flying bunnies are hilarious... the fake cellphones cute too (but we all know kids know better and never stand for the imitation phones when they can grab at your fully functioning one!)... and yes that pez dispenser looking walrus is totally in a hoodie (and the hood can be pulled back!)... so take a peek at some cell phone pics from the Stockholm Brio store of the Brio "My Very First" collection...
NOTCOT Exclusive!!! From our awesome friends at Hard Graft ~ they have been kind enough to share it with us first! Check out their latest bag, the 3Fold! It can play portfolio case, laptop case, AND overnighter... ready for the juicy details? (I'm loving this new one! So tempted by it!)
"3FOLD multi-use leather laptop bag - Three bags in one - the 3FOLD is a slim LAPTOP BAG, a sizable A2 PORTFOLIO BAG and a spacious OVERNIGHTER. Just switch to the configuration you need, this bag is as flexible as your lifestyle demands. The function of this bag speaks volumes. Clever hooks (traditionally used for heavy duty hiking boots) make varying between the different styles possible. The 3FOLD is handmade from a bespoke vegetable tanned Italian leather which is dyed through and hand finished in grey with a hint of teal. This is juxtaposed with a chestnut brown leather shoulder strap which can be used in all three configurations. The leathers are coloured with natural dyes which enhance the look over time and use. Each limited edition 3FOLD is individually numbered and carefully assembled by a family of leather artisans in the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy."
Take a peek at pics and specs on the next page!
On awesome design that they clearly had far too much (or just enough?) fun with... how cool is this Yelp Elite Metal Lunchbox and Thermos?!?!?! In fact, Michael Ernst, an ex-Yelp-team-er who worked on the design project and sent this awesome gift over even took that main picture up top ~ emailing, "I actually went to a gravel pit in my tiny hometown of Minocqua and asked if I could shoot this there. The guy who ran it was utterly confused at my request. I wanted it to look like another planet." ~ how coudl i not use the pic after a story like that??? So take a peek at more close ups on the next page ~ its the details that will really get you chuckling at your screen...
Yes, i totally impulse bought myself a TAD Gear Titanium Rescue Ring last time i popped by the store. But it's really for safety reasons! I mean, how do you know when you might need to bust a piece of glass to escape from who knows what? And its just so light and beautifully, simply designed with the little removable stainless steel glass breaker tip! And you can even swap on an optional compass! And so nicely thought out, there is even a little keychain loop to hold that tip when you're just wearing it as your titanium ring... the real question is, who doesn't need one? See more pics of mine up close on the next page ~ it has cute packaging too!
On exciting new launches, the lovely ladies of Delight.com have just announced the Gent Supply Co.! While i have always loved the selection of goods at Delight, i must admit that the Gent Supply Co definitely leans a lot more NOTCOT ~ not that we're more boyish over here, but for some reason or other it definitely leans more towards the fun vices like scotch sipping, mad men loving (yes they totally have a Sterling Cooper style section), card playing, gadgets and tech set. Also, i hear that the gift wrap will be less pink tissue paper and more grey kraft paper with a black satin bow! (Delight has always had the loveliest UX when it comes to gorgeous gifts to send to people! So i'm super stoked about a more NOTCOT styled color palette!) So congrats to Tracey, Lynda, and team on their newest venture, Gent Supply Co.! I can't wait to see what goodies pop up next!
Tracey has just offered us Free Shipping through the end of Oct with the code: GentSupplyCo22
The Dyson Air Multiplier Fan is inescapable since its launch two days ago ~ and to be honest, i'm a huge dyson fan (honestly, smart innovative tech/science for everyday products with gorgeous design and sleek packaging, what's not to love?)... so instead of showing you the usual press photos, how about a peek into the really fun launch! You know Dyson, they don't overlook any design details, so as expected, everything from the custom tees on the all black tee/pants dressed fan plug-in-ers to the adorable mini BLT branded mini toasts to the bottom lit displays with cable captures (think half cable turtles) for perfect length cords when displayed... also, when it comes to a product like this, while the object itself and the technology are fascinating, there is something truly awesome about being able to watch a crowd of people respond and react to it for the first time (or perhaps that is just my voyeuristic inner user experience junkie!)... So take a peek at everything from the stunning sunset river views to launch reactions to the munchies to the beautiful displays and Dyson Air Multiplier Fans on the next page!
I was heading to Petaluma from the Broad Summit ~ and just as i was getting out of Sebastapol i did a double take, pulled the car over, made a u-turn, and popped into California Carnivores in hopes it was open (it was late afternoon on a sunday) ~ and it WAS! And it is AMAZING. Apparently it is the "largest carnivorous plant shop in the united states"!!! AND omg. wow. you HAVE to see how stunning (and huge) this place and their plants and their kiddie pools filled with more plants in the process are... Good news is that they are carnivorous plant obsessed, extremely informative, super nice, and you can order online and they will ship anywhere in the US (he was even describing their intense packing process for shipping, and after hearing about it i'm confident to order more soon!) ~ but for now, i couldn't resist and currently have a box of 4 in my car... SO beautiful. They are so incredibly inspiring, take a peek at the pics of many species i have never seen up close before!
On unexpected discoveries, next time you're up in wine country california style ~ California Carnivores is a definite stop not to be missed!
Sometimes there are moments where it feels like the universe is against you and you're torn between too many awesome opportunities ~ those are definitely the moments where you just have to step back and find less obvious solutions? In this case, i double booked myself. Months ago i agreed to be a media sponsor for Beyond Eden (AMAZING collection of my favorite LA galleries coming together for a HUGE show in the gorgeous Barnsdall Park LA Municipal Art Gallery) which has the VIP opening tonight, and runs through the weekend... i also got committed to join the lovely ladies of the Broad Summit up in wine country (hence my currently being up in SF!).
None the less, i think somehow this has worked out perfectly thanks to the quick thinking of Andrew (of the fabulous Thinkspace Gallery and co-founder of the event) ~ because he let me go sneak in early before i drove up to SF, and get some exclusive sneak peek pics to tease you with! And it was SUCH a fun challenge! I promised not to show you and full pictures... so i got a chance to shoot some amazing close ups and details as well as a few overview shots to give you a feel for the massssssssive space! I dare you to figure out where all the details came from... and there are so many pieces i'm dying to share with you fully soon too! But Angelenos, you HAVE to go check this out ~ especially if you love art, gorgeous parks, and stunning views of LA (you can see downtown skylines, hollywood sign, and griffith park observatory to name a few from the grassy goodness right outside the gallery perched upon the hill!). So first things first ~ go peek at what you'll find at the show.
And no joke. AMAZING show lined up over at Beyond Eden this weekend! Go check it out!!!
Last night popped over to the Beverly Hills Anthropologie down the street to celebrate the launch of the new Sundance Channel Show Man Shops Globe ~ and some late night shopping, some Stella Artois and Ferrero Rocher too of course... While normally not so much a reality TV person, this one is pretty fun! I love Anthropologie, and global shopping, and in this show you get to explore the world with Keith Johnson, buyer-at-large for Anthropologie, as he scopes out everything from St. Ouen Flea Market in Paris, the Kapalicarsi Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and Piet Botha's Craft Shop in Cape Town... it's a shopaholics dream. Did you know they actually shop for all the one offs strewn across the stores... and absolutely anything you see in a store (furniture, displays, etc) are ALL for sale?!?!?! I had no idea... on that note, take a peek at a preview vid as well as some pics of the very cute (and huge!) beverly hills store ~ the succulent and bromeliad displays were my favorite of course...
On products that i've put through the paces a bit more than usual before sharing with you, when i was up in SF the guys over at Rocket World gave me one of their new Ronin softshell jackets ~ it was hot that day. Super sunny out. But i was curious, it felt incredible, lightweight, thin, warm, and i was about to embark on one of my whirlwind trips (remember i just did LA-Paris-Reims-Paris-London-NY-LA?) ~ and those are all cities you never know quite what to expect in when it come to weather! Luckily it was primarily gorgeous out the whole trip ~ but on those days when it got iffy (which was at least one or two on each leg of the journey!) ~ the Ronin definitely came through. Like when they say to be ready for "all weather" for the Veuve Clicquot harvesting... oh yea, basically any time i didn't need to be in heels and looking a bit more polished? You'd find me in the Ronin, tank top, and jeans. This unisex jacket fit beautifully (my sister and i both love the XS ~ that's her modeling it in the pic in the Hazlitt's room so i could get images of the patches to share with you) ~ and while i always loved that you could put any velcro patches you wanted on ~ with this latest jacket i almost don't want to because the detail of the sewn in skull and paw print are so subtle and awesome. As with all Rocket World gear, the Ronin is of the highest quality, the subtlest branding, and really the details will blow your mind in person ~ every zipper, every pocket, every little headphone jack hole, every angle of the hood... is meticulously thought out. If you're looking for something sleek to get you from running around the city ready for anything to exploring the great outdoors with some understated styling... i'm definitely smitten with the Ronin and its versatility, definitely making it on my "must pack" list for unexpected adventures! ... take a peek at more pics on the next page!
OH! and i nearly forgot, while supplies last, they come with the SUPER adorable IWG Black Bear Mini Figure!
I love libraries, books, bookshelves, and since i was a little girl i've always wanted one of those massive libraries with a rolling ladder to climb and slide around on... maybe that's part of the inevitable draw i have to leaning bookshelves. Combine that with a sleek, slim, modular swedish design in stunning blacks and whites and you've got me. When i came across the Swedese Libri shelving unit at Tom Dixon's The Dock. Favorite aspects, they are slim, yet wide enough to stack my favorite bigger design books every which way interspersed with objects, and simple enough to fill a wall with half a dozen units and still have it look beautiful... or even attach them to each other for non-wall-leaning freestanding units. It's always bad news when you see, fall for, and already envision exactly how something would fit into your space. Take a peek at more pics of it in context, in real life at The Dock, and product shots ~ on the next page!
On fun brands and packaging, after visiting the Mr. & Mrs. Smith HQ in Chiswick ~ grabbed a lovely brunch with my sister and couldn't help popping into the ever adorable and enticing Cowshed. I won't lie, the mix of black and white vector prints with just a splash of single color, combined with cheeky names like "horny cow" and "knackered cow", lovely scents, and even custom lined hunter boots... of course i loved it. But beyond that, it was fun to read up on the background of the company which launched in 1998 originally for use in the Cowshed spa in Babington House, Somserset, is actually part of the Soho House Group, and is used in all of their venues (including NY!)... and i was delighted (amidst the fever boiling up within me) to happen across the one airport location you can find them last night as well... Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Lounges!
So take a peek ~ while the shop girl panicked slightly a the idea of letting me take pics in the store to share with you, you can see the few i picked up to try (and they were SO fun and awesome as tested out in NY) ~ and an overview of the packaging style on the next page!
While its fascinating (and exciting!) that Evisu is evolving once again ~ and this time with newly appointed CEO/Creative Director, Scott Morrison, at the helm. As a former Paper Denim & Cloth junkie ~ it's hard not to be excited to see what Morrison is doing to reinvent Evisu while looking back to their heritage... For those who forgot, Morrison was also behind Paper Denim & Cloth as well as Earnest Sewn. While initially those Evisu Seagulls on the back pockets make me envision a denim lifestyle that never quite fit my own... when they sent over a few, i fell in love. They denim feels incredible as ever, just softly broken in enough, yet hugging you in all the right places... and the subtlety of the back pocket designs was just enough to grab your attention, but not enough to slap you in the face like so many can lately... (yes, i'm a little over the over embellished pockets, but also like pockets to have a bit of character!). Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Evisu when i started looking into their heritage, was the evolution of the Seagull... and how the line came to be. It's fun to see Morrison looking back at the heritage of the japanese line even with the separation from Evisu Japan.
The full story can be read on the next page, as well as lots of pics of the signature pocket designs... but for the short version: Hidehiko Yamane, a love of fine denim, founded the company in 1991 in Osaka. Having a hard time finding the finest quality pre-WWII selvege denim, he found a 50's american shuttle loom and started the "replica movement" ~ his originals mimicking the Levi's Original Red Tab 501XX... and my favorite part? He personally hand painted his Seagull logos on each pair! What i love about what Morrison has done with this, is he's taken that hand painted logo and distressed it to a perfectly worn in subtlety, so noticeable, yet so understated. Take a peek at them on the next page!
On adorable discoveries in London Design Week, Matt Pugh's wooden owls are adorably irresistible! Available in oak or walnut and a variety of colors, they certainly demonstrate the power of simplicity done right. Definitely worth adding to the potential gift list, although the hardest part really is how to pick the perfect color... or group of colors? (They are quite nice in little flocks!) See a few more gorgeous wood pieces from Matt Pugh on the next page as well!
Last year when i was in Paris, i fell in love with Penhaligon's Artemesia ~ and while in London this year i had to make a pit stop to check out their stores... always exquisite with their packaging, and perfume being a bit of a pain to travel with, i fell for the Penhaligon's Artemesia solid fragrance in the silver plated compact ~ perfect for my purse, and such a nice weight to it too... so on pretty packaging details, and a beautiful gift to keep in mind next time i'm stumped on gifting... take a look at the details on the next page. And it smells divine, and the solid fragrance has an ever so subtle shimmer to it as well...
On stunning bottles, i couldn't resist this G&J Greenall's Bloom Gin ~ beautiful color, gorgeous silhouette, particularly from the side! Found it at Liberty in London when we were late night wandering, while waiting for a table in Soho for dinner... The other random note ~ who knew! The bathroom in the St. James Hotel and Club would be so incredible for taking backlit snapshots of the bottle?!?! And slightly disappointing note on packaging, that nice black extruded part on the neck? Just a sticker... As for the taste, its quite refreshingly delicious - the Bloom Gin website describes it as "... a new romantic twist to the world of gin. With its ornate jewel-cut bottle, Bloom's fresh flavour offers a strikingly smooth, soft taste. This triple distilled gin uses demineralised fresh spring water and natural botanicals for its flavour. Created from juniper, chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle it offers a light, refreshing experience rounded with subtle notes of honey and orange. Bloom -- a new gin to be enjoyed by lovers of nature." Definitely yummy ~ and will look stunning on any shelf. Take a look at the details on the next page!
Troy Abbott's Nano Cage - "All digital beauty. No Mess or Mortality." Came across this piece at Tent Digital at Tent London 2009, and it was hard to ignore, adorable little digital finches living in gps sized screens inside colorful bird cages... my favorite is of course the Yoko which lives in the classic bird cage in a matte black. In fact, all of these are even available for purchase!
While i can't possibly imagine having one of these replacing the joy of having an adorable little bird accompanying you... it's an intriguing concept mixing nature and technology, and it's certainly fascinating to watch... so take a peek at more pics and a quick video i made while at the show on the next page!
I love bent plywood, and i love simple multipurpose pieces that are incredibly versatile... and when i spotted John Green's Embrace shelf/table at Tent London out of the corner of my eye, i was smitten. And i wanted a few! Basically they are a pair of tables that can be interlocked to form a lovely floating shelf with room for magazines/etc to rest on the side. The first use case that popped into mind with this was - bedside table! And laptop resting in the shelf, such that when it got too hot on my lap in bed, i could grab the tray and flip it over my legs to lazily laptop in bed! With my current offi one i never know where to put it when not in use! It's too shallow for a side table, to big to slide under the bed.... this would be perfect! And its so beautiful! No wonder why its been winning awards!
On exciting finds at London Design Week ~ my favorite discovery at Designersblock is definitely Masako Sugar and her Mushroom Hooks! I feel like i've been hunting for years for the perfect coat rack or hallway hooks ~ in fact i had a big post during my hunt back in 2007! Well i wish these had existed back then! Even though i'm not exactly sure where they will go when i get home, i couldn't resist buying three of the red ones ~ made of silicon rubber, it is nice to your clothes, far softer aesthetically than many of the harsher powder coated steel options omnipresent these days, and they are all one of a kind mushrooms (slightly different in spots, etc) ~ not to mention they look absolutely adorable on the wall, and i love the packaging! Also brilliant is the simplicity of the metal mount, and you can simply slip the silicon shroom over... or perhaps someday she'll expand the line to different hooks you can swap in? But for now. LOVE the mushroom hooks, take a peek at close ups on the next page!
First you saw the Beatles Rock Band controller versus the actual Rickenbacker 325, next you got to peek into the woodshop, then you saw how they were painted and electronic components added... and now for the final installment, here's a peek at some of the incredible design details from vintage pieces, limited editions, and concepts that never made it to market...
First you saw the Beatles Rock Band controller versus the actual Rickenbacker 325, next you got to peek into the woodshop, now take a look at how the guitars get finished ~ from the priming to the sanding to how each and every little electronic component finds it way to make the Rickenbacker 325 the icon it is...