Modesty is fashion illustrator Richard Gray’s middle name. In fact, he’s so reticent that he refuses to have his portrait published anywhere. But who needs to show off when you’ve already bagged some of the most prestigious assignments in your field? Gray has submitted so many gothic-inspired illustrations to the almighty Alexander McQueen that it’s almost fair to label him the designer’s in-house illustrator. But Gray respectfully disagrees: “I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call myself McQueen’s in-house illustrator. But I have been fortunate enough to work with him on many, many projects over the years.” Apart from a close collaboration with designers McQueen and Boudicca, Gray has illustrated the costumes for From Hell, the Hughes brothers’ film starring Johnny Depp; made his name as a recurring contributor to Vogue Italia, immortalizing the couture shows; and drawn the unforgettable Agent Provocateur Sauce ads. A quick glance at Gray’s inimitable Victoriana-style drawings confirms that he has no reason to be shy. We thank him for providing us with this issue’s cover.
Header Photo: Richard Gray for Sleek magazine
Agent Provocateur Sauce ad
To ensure that your gifts aren’t run-of-the-mill, in New York we suggest going directly to the city’s style temples where worthy gifts are only a hand stretch away. We’ve trolled some of our favorite New York stores, both old and new, to help focus your holiday shopping.
The selection of first edition, out-of-print fashion and photography books (some signed) at Atelier New York make a smart choice for fashionistas seeking solid references. Next door at Dame 115, the new spot to find the sumptuously unusual, owner Robin Fonseca’s self-designed gold and silver unisex rings with oversized gemstones â€” a la Louis Vuitton â€” are a moodier, cheaper choice. Loyd Malsh’s structured pony skin totes, in oxblood and military green and lined in purple suede, are the well-constructed bags for a pulled-together executive or downtown stylista. People will be guessing, “Is it Prada? Mulberry?”
Give the gift of a fabulous basic in the form of a muslin-wrapped Schiessec t-shirt from Opening Ceremony. Those in the know will appreciate your acute search. Also at Opening Ceremony, look to Cloak’s chunky wool knits with hoods and fisherman buttons, or Rachel Comey’s alpalca button-up sweater as a gift to a discerning and fashionable man in your life. Men are also buzzing about Unis: check out the label at Odin New York or at the Unis store on Elizabeth Street for a selection of parkas and pullovers.
Across town at the underrated Destination, Lorenza’s melted silver and gold chain earrings will find the lucky recipient showered in compliments. You may have quite a time making a selection at TenThousandThings, one of the latest addictions in the Meatpacking District, where a selection of beautifully colored gems and stones are whipped up into delicate yet hard hitting designs that will excite the bijoux-obsessed.
At Dernier Cri, we’re taken by Robert Cary Williams’ industrial prints on surprisingly sexy t-shirts that are covered in tiny holes. For the male equivalent, M. Carter’s black and blue hand-dyed vintage tees with skulls and other industrial motifs are at Selvedge, or Michael and Hushi’s Middle Eastern themes on tees can be found at Hotel Venus. Also look for John Derian’s selection of the perfect Rogues Gallery t-shirts, sweatshirts, and patchwork scarves with silk-screened anchors and animals.
Smack in the center of Manhattan’s new Style Line, Brush Day Spa is latest spot for in-the-know spa goers. Every scrub and treatment is made fresh every morning â€” think oatmeal, honey and brown sugar scrub or hot milk and rose petal hand soak. This holiday, inquire about their Lotus Touch treatment at an insider’s discount. For New Yorkers who are always just a step away from a beauty process, this treatment features a candlelit bath of rose petals, skin sloughing, massage and shampoo.
For the home, there’s D.L. & Co.‘s thorn apple scented candles, which are our latest scent obsession. If you fail to win one in our contest, buy it at Bergdorf’s â€” it’ll make anyone happy. Less exquisite, but cheeky and useful, are Candela‘s rechargeable lamps available at the MoMA Design Store.
And you can’t lose with a gift for someone’s baby. We suggest stopping in to Trust Fund Baby on Elizabeth Street for a baby cardi, or to Temperley for cashmere with bursts of stars that give new meaning to the term child star.
-Krista Freibaum and Meghan Cleary
Photos: Rare books at Atelier New York
Robin Fonseca rings at Dame115
Schiessec tees at Opening Ceremony
While John Lewis has billed their “Christmas companion” as the perfect present shopping guide, and Fenwicks is inaugurating a new Christmas gift registry, here’s our guide for the slightly more scrupulous loved one. From the perfect party dress to a one-off piece of jewelry, this is the Christmas list for those well acquainted with the less tangible world of bona fide style.
If the gift is a killer party dress, then Roksanda Ilincic is your propagator (after all, there can’t be a Christmas party without the dress). Stop into B store to check out her genius with pattern and proportion; her hand-drawn print dresses marry graphic colors (mauve, red, black, and white) with simple cuts, and come sealed with a pussycat bow. If you’re after intellectual elegance, look to the Didier Ludot’s concession at Dover Street Market, where you will find some very bold reinterpretations of the little black dress (think an avant garde take on Audrey Hepburn).
Where there are dresses, there must be hats, bags, and gloves. For the entire ensemble turn to Christine Bec‘s hauntingly chic cocktail hats, vampy lace gloves, and matching bags. For shoes, a pair of Adele Clark’s custom-made leather pumps from Liberty will do the trick. Having worked with Hussein Chayalan for six years, her intricately detailed renderings on colored leather could easily double as art.
Jewelry? As we’ve touted here, individual style is the way forward (the more outre, the better) and the first stop is Judy Blame. Unconventional, ostentatious, and strangely refined, the contributing I-D Magazine fashion editor’s one-off necklaces and clustered gems combine everything from safety pins and buttons to crucifixes, key rings, and pearls. For a bit softer yet equally unorthodox look, there’s Jean Francois Mimilla selling at Concrete. He uses real teeth and hundreds of tiny, adjoined rectangle photographs, for cuff-style bracelets and necklaces. And for couture craftsmanship, Scott Stephen’s woven glass beads will provide the right amount of boho elegance.
A few more carefully culled tinsel-time treasures: Carola Eureler perfectly reconstructed white T-shirt works for men and women at B Store and JB Classics‘ outlandishly designed trainers are available from Gloria’s in Truman Brewery. There’s Stockman’s uniform theme Vision Fragments 2005 calendar to be had online and Bottega Veneta’s zip-around wallet that many are hailing as the perfect hold everything available at their Sloane St. store. With phones updating at lightning speed, Nokia 7280, a deco-inspired model is the new addiction. No bigger than a piano key, the it-phone comes with a camera, mp3, and navispinner. A few choices to show your keen eye for little treasures.
Photos: Vision Fragments 2005 calendar
Scott Stephen jewelry
Roksanda Ilincic dress
Adele Clark shoes
In Paris, store windows are already dazzling us with heaps of holiday exquisiteness. With an eye out for hot gifts, here’s where to start your search in the city this season.
Last year, we focused our shopping at L’Eclaireur, and…well, this season we couldn’t resist another spin. Their Paul Harnden Shoemakers’ washed wools and linen jackets are guaranteed to become a guy’s trusty blazer. Make it your gift for a man of a certain age with style to spare. Pair it with Taliero Sati cashmere and linen scarves found just across the hall of the Rue Malheur store. Undercover was without question the most sought after clothing line this year, so show your fashion-forward sense (and enhance your lady’s) with a gift of a padded blazer with aimless voodoo stitching. Eau de Iunx now sells at L’Eclaireur, but you may want to take a trip to their Rue de l’Universite store to discover a new concept in unisex fragrances. Their line of 69 scents are sold in huge bottles and described as fluid, subtle, elastic, hypnotic, and are supposed to transmit light in the universe.
At the recently opened Rose Morant boutique on Rue de Crussol, look for a tight group of gray-toned lacquered bracelets (some with chic silver accents), and a selection of slip-on sandals that are just the gift for a holiday resort, but they’ll still be great come summer. Prices are reasonable and the taste is super chic in that French-meets-East way.
We’ve kept your prurient minds on the French Rugby calendar over the last couple years, and we’re thrilled to announce the release of the 2005 version, shot by Carter Smith. What to say? The French rugby team naked, again. It’s hot. Get it! With Nike all over the December issue of French Vogue (with Kate Moss wearing the label on the cover) and the brand buzzing everywhere, the Marc Newson designed Zvezdochka is the hot-to-have gift of the season.
One of the only places to score a coveted Dries Van Noten retrospective book is at Onward Kashiyama. While in the neighborhood, Bureau Politique, Randam Tehouic’s new St Germain de Pres store is hard to find but make the trip there and put one of Resistance’s Palestinian jackets in a box for your man. The print of that “Arafat scarf” was enlarged and rendered in tasty color combos like pink and white, red and black, and lime and cream, for military jackets that would suit any urban hipster.
Two-and-a-half years on a waiting list for a HermÃ¨s Birkin that costs over four grand? More doable at 250 euros is the teeny-weeny HermÃ¨s clutch in the form of a cute little leather holder for a slimline dominos set. Remove the dotted tiles and you have a bag large enough to hold a tube of lipstick.
And who doesn’t have a dog these days? Get your friend’s canine companion a collar and braided leather leash from Tom Ford’s last collection for Yves Saint Laurent. Because, in the immortal words of Absolutely Fabulous’ Bubble, “a dog isn’t just for life, it’s for Christmas.”
-Jason Campbell and Karl Treacy
Photos: French rugby team calendar
Iunx de Parfum
Resistance Palestinian Jacket
The first impression of the fetching Betony Vernon is that her world must consist of many layers of intrigue. The flaming red hair, an hourglass shape, a tentative yet commanding voice; and then there’s the miniscule phone-numberless card printed with the words Paradise Found that she hands you â€” all appear to tell a fascinating tale. We set out to discover more.
Vernon’s world is as titillating as one would suspect and the paradise we found centers around pleasure. Based in Milan and working out of Paris, London, and indeed the world, Vernon’s profile is directly from the pages of a Stanley Kubrick script. Paradise Found sells a selection of erotic jewels and “Jewel Tools,” some available at Coco de Mer in London and Maxfield in Los Angeles. But the company’s mere existence (never mind its complete offering) is only known among an elite group of members and insiders.
As this is our gift buying issue, Paradise Found’s Petting ring tops our list of suggested cadeaux this season. Vernon had it patented in 2001 but it has remained a tightly held secret until the recent sniffing about of fashion players set to blow the lid. The Petting ring (don’t you love how that sounds?) is sized for men and women, connects to the index finger and the thump to form the chi MURDA (you know, that yoga/meditation gesture for a one-pointed, concentrated mind) but is also designed to perform an awesome, ahem, hand job. It comes in 18-carat gold or silver, with pave diamonds optional, and can be worn as a beautiful ring when not stroking.
Further into Paradise Found’s arsenal of unisex pleasure power tools are the Yoyo ring, a sexually stimulating massage ring, and the whip collar (diamond handle optional) that doubles as a sophisticated necklace that mixes fashion and fetish, boldly going where squares don’t dare. Both are formidable gift options this season.
Vernon says “love is a spiritual thing” and she’s found ways to fully immerse some very fortunate clients in a well-rounded Paradise Found experience. Most enticing is her Boudoir box, a treasure trove that comes in croc, ostrich or Beluga, stocked with custom-made sex toys-cum-jewelry that the designer travels with Bond-style across the globe. There’s an appointment-only salon in Paris where all of Paradise Found’s offerings are on display, and Vernon conducts erotic events and private consulting for couples in luxury hotel rooms and private clubs like Soho House in London. Give the gift of pleasure this season.
Photos: Paradise Found whip necklace
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