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An idyllic retreat on the French Riviera
I often find myself in a beautiful place only to find out how much better it was decades ago. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the recently renovated Hotel La Ponche, a 21-room hotel in the historic part of France’s Saint-Tropez. The room was redesigned by Fabrizio Casiraghi, who with his skillful interventions recalls the history of a place: “Before it was jet set, it was only for fishermen and visitors,” explains the designer, who has been visiting the area since childhood. “There are parts of Saint-Tropez that are now bling-bling and parts that are effortlessly chic.” His hope was to infuse the quaint hotel with the latter. When he realized that La Ponche had good bones and an illustrious history – everyone from Picasso to Brigit Bardot to Simone de Beauvoir spent time there – he also admitted that it looked a bit tired. By reusing some of the old furniture alongside vintage and modern furniture, he gave the hotel a much-needed facelift. The St. Germain des Pres restaurant has a large oceanfront terrace and the bar is cozy with oversized armchairs and a fireplace, while the rooms are light and airy with 19th century travertine end tables and desks. Rooms start at $ 700 a night, laponche.com.
Throughout his career, artist Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS and currently the subject of a major survey at the Brooklyn Museum, has been known for working with the world of design and adapting his work for a range of products including fragrance flacons and Album cover. His art is particularly popular in Japan, where he works with the fashion brands A Bathing Ape and Comme des Garçons as well as the musician and designer Hiroshi Fujiwara. This month he’ll add Sacai – the Japanese fashion label founded in 1999 by designer Chitose Abe – to the list with the release of a 60-piece capsule collection that transforms three of the artist’s original works into signature prints. The collection is either in a lively multicolor or a muted scheme of greens and browns reminiscent of combat uniforms and includes the full range of signature Sacai pieces, including a down coat that clicks into place for a relaxed, voluminous silhouette, as well a pleated floor-length skirt and high-necked romantic dress. From $ 70, bergdorfgoodman.com.
Herbal wines inspired by antiquity
For Nana Meriwether, their new herbal wine brand, Cale, is more than just a range of low-alcohol beverages. “As one of the few black women winemakers in the country, I hope to inspire others and at the same time offer everyone a new way to drink healthier,” she says. Made in the Napa Valley and influenced by the ancient winemaking techniques of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, each bottle of Cale is made using traditional grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Merlot with organic botanicals and adaptogenic and functional herbs such as lemon balm, ginseng, and reishi Nettle. The result is a healthier, more conscious drinking experience of light but refined wines that are naturally low in sugar and calories. The brand’s first release is a dry hibiscus pinot noir with notes of wildflowers and dark cherries, with a marigold blend on the horizon – a flower chosen for its fortifying health benefits. From $ 25, drinkcale.com.
Natural face oils for every skin type
Herbalist Hezi Badnany and designer Chris Yoon met at a dinner party in 2018 and bonded over a shared love of skin care. Earlier this year, the duo turned that shared interest into a new business in Skin, Undressed, a line of plant-based face oils that deliver healthy, glowing skin. Each of their three products target specific skin problems: The Calendula Nightly Harmonizing Oil with Borage and Horsetail soothes and hydrates dry skin; the Meadowsweet Rescue Oil with holy basil, which is rich in salicylic acid, is ideal for acne-prone or problematic skin; and the Gotu Kola and Rosehip Perfecting Oil is rich in vitamin C and therefore the perfect everyday product for all skin types. Yoon and Badnany believe that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put on it: “A lot of people care what they eat, but they don’t really look at the contents of their skin care products,” observes Yoon . “We’re not going to use anything on our skin that we can’t put in our mouths.” From $ 48, skinundressed.com.
Given the ongoing New York heat wave, my favorite accessory is a cocktail ring (necklaces and earrings tend to stick to my skin). I love supporting independent designers like Jean Prounis from Prounis Jewelry and Brent Neale, both of whom handcraft everything in their midtown studios. This Prounis ring made of 22 carat recycled gold with a brown star sapphire is delicate and bold at the same time. Neale created a range of candy-colored statement rings, including a citrine cabochon stone surrounded by pink and orange sapphires. Another designer known for her whims is California-based designer Irene Neuwirth, who created this unique green tourmaline surrounded by a halo of smaller pink tourmalines. Something not so precious but just as lavish can be found in Mounser’s collection called Ring Pops, which was inspired by rave culture.
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