While in Stuttgart, i had a field day going to toy stores! Germans seem to have far more fun toys ~ particularly wooden ones and i adore their amazing puzzles and stunning miniatures! After falling for the bowl of Japanese Wooden Tops (which i can’t seem to give any away so far, they live on my table and are far too fun!) ~ i think a fascination with unique tops is growing! Quickly! So when i encountered 1000 Schoen in Stuttgart, it was hard to resist buying up the pile you see above! The incredible wooden ones are made by Mader Kreiselmanufaktur, and their site even shows them being made by hand! Absolutely fascinating! The other type i fell in love with are these metal and metal/wooden tops that initially look like gears! For the wooden ones with metal tips and a bent metal rod included, you basically insert the rod into two holes in the top, twist to wind it up, and when you let go, the tension gives you incredible spin! The flowery gear you hold between two fingers and blow to get it spinning super fast, and drop it and watch it go! The man at the store mentioned it’s great to use a straw to keep blowing on it to keep it spinning. Take a peek to see them all close up on the next page, as well as a video of some in action!
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I forgot how lovely it is to just wander in Milan ~ spent a few hours today walking all over, and inevitably stumbled across a few things too inspiring and fun not to share. Like these Hermés window displays i ran into on Via Spiga! Inspired by fables and fairytales this series of beautifully intricate overdressed animals coming out of gilded frames ~ love the way the colored paper is juxtaposed with the black and white storybook illustrations! See more on the next page!
Picked up a NaoLab NaoLoop ~ 90% because of the packaging (after all its pretty much a fancy elastic loop), at Magazin ~ while i was hunting for designy/unique stores in Stuttgart that i’d never seen (my favorite finds? Ikarus, Manufactum, Grüne Erde, 1000 Schoen). The use of layered cardboard is certainly a bit excessive, but intriguing, and a fun idea on ways to packaging other notes for mailing… take a peek at the unboxing on the next page.
While checking out some of the new malls that popped up in Singapore since my last trip ~ came across the adorable new Atomi in Mandarin Gallery ~ specializing in “Japanese Designs x Comfortable Lifestyle”. Irresistible were the beautiful pearls by japanese parisian Miya Shinma (grew up in japan and studied perfumery in paris) ~ the Perle Parfumée was designed in Paris made in Japan. Basically these spheres (housed in a wood box sealed with wax paper) are scented… and you can leave them in little dishes or satchels around the house ~ and every 4-5 months, if needed, you can refresh them with essential oils. The whole box would make such a lovely gift! Take a peek at close up pics on the next page!
p.s. Also a fun idea ~ her scented fans!
I currently have a thing for super multipurpose furniture… especially the type that is versatile and beautiful enough to fit in both inside and out! Launching at the Salone in Milan in a few weeks ~ here is a peek at Expormim’s new “Nido” by Javier Pastor. Isn’t it just perfect for the simple mod california house… or out on the deck? And it’s so very NOTCOT, coming in only black and white! See a close up on the next page…
Sandy Vohr has been making the most adorable luscious little leather bean bag creatures for the last 30 years. In fact i think i even received one of her beautiful little leather frogs as a paperweight as a kid! The site even says, “The animals are made from cowhide and deerskin, and filled with various combinations of fiberfil and beadlike materials.” When i spotted the Bunny Bookends at Barneys, i got nostalgic and ended up looking up Sandy’s site… where i discovered so many new adorable leather creatures ~ from moose to dragons, robots to octopi! See some of my favorites on the next page! Looks like she’ll even do customs!
Swinging us back towards man made design (vs the little nature sidetrack of posts!) ~ here’s a sneak peek at something i wish i had on this trip!!! While at Oakley HQ ~ i got a quick lesson on military gear ~ and really amazing to hear some of the design/user experience stories. I also had no idea quite how much military gear Oakley made (they’ve been in partnership with the US Armed Forces since the 80s)… also this is where many of their most innovative patents arise! (If you’re curious, apparently Shot Show is the place to go keep up on it all in person ~ and to browse online check out - US Standard Issue - Oakley’s Military & Gov’t Sales site.) Incredibly ergonomic, thoughtful design ~ and some smart fun details/research that luckily creep over into their retail lines as well!
My favorite discovery was the MultiCam pattern LSA (Land Sea Air) Boot ~ ridiculously lightweight, dries nearly instantly (drainage mesh in the soles), super grip soles, and even fits into fins… drop in from the air into the sea, swim up to shore, and you’re already dry and good to go. Well, your feet anyhow. Now adapt that to civilian design, and it becomes a stunning black/grey super water shoe with a design that is oh so oakley, and far more fun than other water shoes on the market! Bring the height up a bit, and i’d give up my dive booties for it! I’m wishing i had these right now for running around in the low tide over all the coral shrapnel! The LSA Boot wont be available for military until later 2010… and this civilian super water shoe is merely a prototype… but let’s keep our fingers crossed that it makes it in to production! See more shots of it all on the next page!
Net-A-Porter “just for you” emails are dangerous in the morning… my mom’s old Burberry crepe trench has been a lightweight travel friendly MUST PACK for nearly every trip, after all you never know what type of weather the world will throw at you these days… And then here comes the Burberry Crepe biker-style trench to my inbox, and it’s so tempting (and sold out in my size!) ~ a lovely combination of sleek classic simple trench dressed up with a few fun silver zips and motorcycle jacket details. Love the collar! And it has black and white lining… See more details on the next page…
On one of my latest shopping wanderings, i stumbled upon MOR Cosmetics out of australia, and am absolutely taken by their packaging (products seem fabulous too, but haven’t had a chance to play with them much). Awesome story of how a talented visual merchandiser and industrial/interior designer team up to create a stunningly beautiful line of soaps, scents, cosmetics, and more. The lip glosses are presented in fun pyramids, making for a beautiful stocking stuffer or gift add on… the lip balm tins are SO pretty in their ornate oval tins… and the gift tins even more so, and they are a great size to reuse around the house. Of them all, the Little Luxuries collection is definitely making my “perfect random gifts” list! See lots of pics of my favorites of their packaging on the next page…
Andrew Bell’s DYZPLASTIC Android toys are finally here, and i’m a little obsessed. They are ADORABLE. And oh so detailed in all the right ways… and that glow in the dark radioactive one… just stunning. And how some have arm tattoos… or cufflinks… or tramp stamps… or awesome logos… and swirls in the eyes… you really must see them all! Also as much as i can’t stand blind box toys conceptually, i do adore that 5 year old feeling of joy when you sit and tear through a case of little boxes and their foil wrapped innards. Take a peek at all their close ups on the next page! Including two of the secret chase characters!
p.s. as i play with these, i can’t help but wonder, why don’t more OS’ have awesome little mascots?
p.p.s. Soooo, it sounds like demand has FAR exceeded expectations ~ which is awesome! Unfortunately that means these little guys are hard to get your hands on. However, Andy wanted me to assure you that there will be more Series 1 available this summer ~ which really is just a blink away… so sit tight, and/or grab some when you see them!
MBeze is a natural + organic cosmetics company with a line of fragrances and deodorants… and Deodorettes! Ok, so the packaging pulled me in first. The graphics… the cheeky naming… and then the concept… i’ve never seen a Deodorette. And while in travel shopping mode, it’s a dangerous thing when every mini/sample/travel-size/etc looks far too tempting to toss in for those “you never know when you may need it” moments. It’s precisely all these that might add up into a heavy suitcase. None the less, these little deodorettes a the size of a shortened roll of quarters. Perfect for gym bags and purses. Take a peek at more pics ~ and the airplanes on the Aim To Be Pleased Collection are totally my favorite… see the close ups on the next page!
Aston Martin’s Rapide touts itself as “The World’s Most Elegant Four-Door Sports Car”… while it is certainly entering a growing market of 4 door luxury sports cars… and you can read quite a bit about it all over the web, what struck me most about it in person were the tiniest details. Some found on quite a few Aston Martins, others quite Rapide specific… if you’re ready, take a peek at the details that grabbed my attention… most notable are definitely the tiny sphere of a trunk opening button and the +/- cut matte metal and leather paddle shifters… and what an aggressive face it has when you look at it straight on! Also while from the exterior it doesn’t actually look all that much bigger than the others, yet once you’re inside its ridiculously spacious ~ and the rear seats fold flat! Anyhow, take a peek at all the best details on the next page from my tour at the Aston Martin Factory!
One of my favorite things about my mom, she’s always cut out comics, pulled magazine articles, cut up newspapers… and now emails me links all the time as well… perhaps she was one of the curators of my world and editors of NOTCOT before it even came to be… one of her recent saves for me, which i couldn’t help sharing, LA Times Magazine has this awesome feature of 50s ~ in this case, 50 Signature Handbags ~ Cachet and carry ~ beautifully illustrated by Jameson Simpson. While i love the way the 50 look on the page (so i had to take a scanner to the mag for you) ~ i love the functionality of the web version ~ it slides along as you hop between numbers… but i’m torn, i do love my visuals more on the ‘overwhelming, all at once, let me choose what i want to see’ side of things… BUT on the web you can see the fun illustrations of our fashion classics up close! Anyhow, browse them all on the next page!
On travel obsessions, someone just reminded me one of the few items that has made my MUST PACK list ~ i’ve been so busy using, i have yet to write about it. humangear’s GoToobs have been indispensable. Sure they are similar to Paul Koh’s Bubble Bottles ~ but they are much better. A more airport security 1 quart ziploc bag friendly shape for packing… the ring allows you to select Soap, Shamp., Cond., Lotion, Sun, … so no sniffing to figure out what’s in there, and no need for labels… wide mouth opening for cleaning/filling… the one thing i never thought i’d use, yet have many a time ~ SUCTION CUP! So far they come in green, blue, clear, pink, and a newly added orange! See more pics on the next page…
Ok. I’m super excited about this one. I got a little obsessed with Flexicords when i ran by and saw their booth as CES 09 was closing then they finally made it into production and sent a few over… and they have been in my bag no matter where i end up ever since. They are bendy! They come in nice short sizes, and super long ones… and they have fun cables for everything: all forms of USB, HDMI, S-Video, RCA, and more. Apparently Flexicords are a big a fan of NOTCOT as i am of them ~ and they’ve given us 5 bundles of their popular cables to give away to you!
Additionally, Craig and Linhchi have been working hard on a new contest platform for us to play with, so we thought this would be the perfect chance to test it out! SO, this becomes one part contest, one part testing out a new experiment we’ve recently been playing with! Ready to enter to win a Cable Makeover? Help us debug and poke around with this new section?
Here’s the deal ~ To win one of the 5 Flexicord Bundles [Each one containing: - 1 6ft HDMI, 1 10ft CAT5e, 1 6ft RCA, 1 6ft S-Video, 1 6ft USB 2.0 A male to mini-B male, 1 6ft USB 2.0 A male to B male, 1 6ft USB 2.0 male to female, 1 6ft USB 2.0 A male to A male, 2 12in USB 2.0 A male to A female, 2 12in USB 2.0 A male to mini-B male, and 2 12in USB 2.0 A male to micro-B male.] SUBMIT A PICTURE (up to 3!) OF YOUR CABLE MESSINESS! Have your friends come vote for your entry! See all the details HERE!!!
Also see more close ups of the fun packaging and goodies to be won on the next page!
Wow just stumbled upon this incredible poster… up close it’s all stars… step back and the skull emerges… oh, and it Glows In The Dark!!! Sweet Dreams by Daniel Bjugård ~ discovered it on the amazing swedish print site Wonderwall. See close ups on the next page!
Going through pictures from the London trip… i have so many i’ve been meaning to share from Aston Martin. Sadly, i wasn’t able to take pictures inside the actual factory other than some super glarey diagrams on the walls… and the lighting for most of the cars was a bit difficult, but lots of details and overviews to share! Unsure of where to start, this saddle jumped out at me when i was going through the pics… it’s like a picnic basket meets a horse saddle… for the hump in the backseat of your Aston Martin DBS… Apparently each saddle is individually handmade by Robin Coleman in Warwickshire. Each saddle takes two craftsmen 28 hours! It has room for everything including your bottle of wine! See more pics on the next page.
Tops! They are universally mesmerizing! Regardless of age, they will definitely amuse… so imagine how my eyes widened when i came upon a huge bowl of these small wooden japanese spinning tops at Tortoise in Venice Beach… i kept going through the whole bowl ~ one by one ~ and slowly ended up buying a dozen. They were all so different! So hard to resist! And many have these floating rings carved into them that float as they spin… and they make the most amazing sounds… when still, the curvatures in your hand are just so beautiful… and then get them spinning, and it’s hard not to just watch them for ages… see the videos and more pics on the next page!
On random design inspiration ~ Playmobil seems to have evolved quite a bit since i was a kid. We had the zoo, rock climbers, fancy dressed victorians with car, the teepee, and farm animals… but definitely no disheveled stubbly striped shirt, sport jacket, sunglass, and beanie wearing safe crackers… these guys even come with graspable money, a canister with hose to freeze the lock(?), silver suitcase, keys, flashlight, and even a weighty metal gold bar… best part of all, the safe is actually lockable! You can set the combination by picking two numbers… and it actually clicks as you rotate the dials.
So for random weekend experiments, had a bit too much fun taking pics of this set on the pool table…
I’m not the kind of girl who peruses bridal magazines, wedding dresses dresses, planning websites… i don’t dream about that moment in my life… but somewhere along the way i fell for Max Wanger’s unique style of photographing love ~ for weddings, for engagements, just because. There’s a way he sees the world and the lovers in it… and a way he shares it with all of us that is just irresistibly nostalgic, romantic, and joyful ~ all while feeling like a work of art… you step into the techni-colored dream where only that couple resides… AND, he’s taken it one step further. Now the portrayals of Max Wanger’s most iconic moments of hipster love are translated into t-shirts! Currently there are coming out in limited his and hers editions monthly (available to anyone!)… but imagine doing your engagement shoot, and using that imagery throughout your invitations, your table settings, and then giving away tshirts to your guests or wedding party?
First came the silhouette of the couple with a balloon… Then hands spelling out LOVE… the WISH tickets blowing in the wind… the lone seagull blowing a heart… and freshly launched for March: Giraffe! He’s found a way to capture the essence of a romantic shoot into versatile tshirt designs… as symbolic or literal as you decide to interpret them! See the collection thus far on the next page…
On fun mysterious packages that just arrived ~ i got a text at around 3am while i was in london from NY, asking what size i was… followed by “black or white?”… i was so asleep, but have a tendency to sleep text back… and as i got back to LA, this glossy black super cozy Moncler Clairy arrived too! After much discussion the last few days, it seems that my friend and i have agreed that i must have somehow tuned out the snowy side of fashion, because i certainly didn’t know much about the brand, yet as i delved deeper into the history it was all too familiar… LOVE their retro skiing pics! I’ve never been into the puffy jacket thing, but this is definitely the warmest sleekest puffy jacket option i’ve run into… maybe i’m ready for some play time in the snow now!
Most important thing however is… how did i never know that these guys have a full on COMIC inside their jackets with a bilingual duck giving you washing instructions? And they also had Bruce Weber do the most adorable photoshoot for their recent ad campaign, including his golden retrievers decked out in custom Moncler jackets and self portraits of himself covered in cameras curled up in bed… Take a peek at the playful details on the next page!
Oh, W+K Studio Goodness ~ you guys are SO sweet, and awesomely inspiring. On fun surprises to come home to after the latest round of travels ~ firstly, how adorable is it that they made the envelope pattern align perfectly? I almost felt bad to pull the envelope off to read the card… but luckily i did, since i couldn’t stop smiling once i saw all the many fun signatures and notes within!!!
SO ~ here we have the unboxing/close up look of the incredible, hand screened (with love!), limited edition of 75 (but only 50 for sale here) 2010 Goodness Calendar… this is lucky number 37! Other than beautiful graphics, i love the note on the back… and that its a calendar that runs from Feb 2010 - Jan 2011… and i totally agree with them, i often forget i need calendars around until well into january, so why not offset it a little? It’s still totally useful!
On fun press kit design and packaging - this one made me pretty giddy. Nike put a jersey in a bottle! And no, as much as i tried, pulling it out of the little hole doesn’t really work. They ingeniously put a pull tab across the label which hid the split in the bottle. Conceptually it really drives the point home that these super light dry-fit jerseys are each upcycled from 8 plastic bottles. I do hope they didn’t waste more making/using the plastic bottles to house these though! These also came with the most adorable teeny tiny USB keys containing the press releases and high res pics of the newly launched collections.
On design details to watch out for as the Nike World Cup team kits get launched (home kits we got a peek at, but official launches are to come…) ~ All of the 2010 World Cup Nike jerseys have a secret message printed on the inside behind the team emblem, next to the hearts of players ~ for the Brazilian one it says “orgulho e amor”, which is Portuguese for “pride and love”! It was the most exciting feature i was looking forward to once i got the shirt out of the bottle… for the others, waiting to see the artwork/calligraphy when Nike has pics ready! Take a peek at the un-bottling and details on the next page!
James Jarvis!!! Ok, that’s my first reaction… or, maybe my second after, “oooh, florescent lights.” But what we have here is a first look at a the jackets in the new Nike Sportswear Six Collaborations… and its 5am, and i should sleep, but i wanted to share it with you… so see the pics on the next page, and SlamXHype has some good info and apparently more will come tomorrow… but for now, check out the close ups of the artistic crests and crazy fonts on the back. For each of these 6 countries, artists from the respective countries were selected to reinterpret the full team kit! The artists are as follows ~ USA - Mister Cartoon, England - James Jarvis, France - So Me, Netherlands - Delta, South Africa - Kronk, Brazil - Nunca. See the fun pics on the next page. I’m madly James Jarvis lusting.
Good morning 3am London ~ it’s been quite the evening with Nike Football/Soccer, running around and ending up on buses with ~400 international press folks ~ ending up at Battersea Power Station in the rain with its huge purple projections, only to delve deeper into what some felt was like a bat cave or villainous lair of lights and steps and shiny new products to tempt us with. But the main attraction announced tonight (with the help of Cristiano Ronaldo) ~ was what all this purple was about! And my favorite part of course is not only the new shoe, the Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II… but the magical glowingly purple glass/cement box that looked like an apple store in a shipping container. The purple dots on the glass became smaller and smaller until you could see the wall of shoes hung upon them… On the next page see pictures of the installation, the new Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II, the new Nike Football+ iphone app (with twitter/facebook integrations), design sketches… and the full press release!