Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In person review of Saint Laurent Paris


Well, I had a chance to try on few pieces of the new Saint Laurent Paris collection today.  Let's just say it runs super small!!!!  Like even if you are skinny, be prepared to size up!!!  I tried on the sweatshirt.  I generally like my sweatshirt big and comfy.  I typically wear a M and sometimes a L.  I tried on the L, it's tight on my body and it's cropped.  Like you need to wear high waist pants for it not to look odd.  I ended up trying the XXXL and XXL (they didn't have XL).  It's much more manageable; the pic above depicting me wearing a XXL.  The sweatshirt is no longer cropped and definitely roomy on the side.  While I know Slimane likes to cut things really tight but my god, this is just ridiculous.  My sales person told me that she has a client who wears a 31 Dior jeans from Slimane era.  Well, he had to go up to 33 for Saint Laurent Paris.  So be aware, things are tight and cropped.  You will need to size up quite a bit if you have any muscle bulk.  The black leather-paneled zippered sleeveless muscle shirt is true to size so if you are looking to buy that, take your typical size.  I also tried on shoes.  Low top sneakers are fine if not boring looking.  The black and silver nail-perforated brogues are definitely interesting... the leather is definitely harder than the low top sneakers; you may want to take a half size up.   

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lens table from Holly Hunt

One of my favorite side table right now is lens table from Holly Hunt designed by McCollin Bryan.  The table comes in 7 different colors and has a great depth to them.  Depending at what angle light hits the table, it gets diffused differently hence generates variety of tones of one single color.  The table just seems to glow from within.  Just brilliant.  Comes in side table size or three different coffee table size.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dedon Swingrest

One of my current project includes a large outdoor deck so I've been looking everywhere for something fun and comfortable for my client.  And then I came across this: Dedon's Swingrest.  OMG.  If I have a redwood tree in the backyard, I would totally get this swingrest in a heart beat.  It looks like soooo much fun to lay in one of those.  Can you imagine lounging in one of those while taking a nap or reading your ipad?  Heavenly!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ultimate luxury for your bed: Pratesi sheets

Ever wonder which brand of sheets that Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, and Andy Warhol used for their beds?  It's Pratesi.  Enough said.  These people demand the best and Pratesi delivers.

The company was founded in 1906 in Tuscany, Italy.  This 107 year old family owned firm is now run by its fourth generation (head by Federico Pratesi) which has rebooted its retail presence (ie online and different price points).  As everyone knows, your food is only as good as its ingredients.  Same with bedding.  Pratesi's cotton is purchased from southern Egypt and they get the first pick because they hold the oldest contracts in the area.  That's why Pratesi sheets are angel soft and crisp!

BTW, many people believe higher the thread count, better and more luxurious the sheets are.  It's actually NOT true.  Sheets from luxury brand such as Pratesi or Frette will feel much softer and more luxurious than the 1000 thread counts sheets you get from some no name brands.  It all comes down to the quality of the cotton (length and thickness of each fiber), how the sheet was woven, and finishing techniques of each sheet.

Apparently the new sheets that Federico developed does not require any ironing.  You can go from washer to dryer to bed.  Traditionally to get a crisp sheen, one would need to iron one's sheets or send them out to one's dry cleaner.  But apparently Federico has fixed that.  Sheets can be purchased at their store on Melrose Place in Los Angeles or in New York on Madison Avenue. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Saint Laurent Paris Tie Knot


I came across this today.  I just thought it was kinda odd and brilliant at the same time.  It's a new take on tying ties I guess.  No need to make a knot anymore.  Just slip your tie in and we're done.  This reminds me of those western movies where a cowboy would wear a bolo.  This particular 'bolo' is available at Ssense.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tout Sweet Patisserie

One of the reason why San Francisco is truly one of the best city to live in the world is we have Yigit Pura, the winner of Top Chef Just Desserts from the first season!  He opened up his first store last year called Tout Sweet in Union Square.  Or more precisely on the second floor of women's Macy's building.  The space is quite nice.  Very clean with gorgeous pop of colors.  The best part is, naturally, the food.  You can have sandwiches, dessert, and coffee.  I actually never had their sandwiches before so I don't know if they are any good.  But I definitely have their desserts before and I can assure you, they are Fabulous with capital F!  They have the best macaroons in town.  Not as good as Laduree in NYC but definitely better than any I had in SF in a patisserie setting.  The flavors are always changing and adventurous.  I highly recommend them.  They also have the best butter croissants in town as well.  Thorough Bread comes quite close but they loose points for being inconsistent!  Tout Sweet, on the other hand, is always spot on.  If you are ever near Union Square, stop by Yigit's first patisserie.  Your taste buds will thank you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Alpha, fireplace tools from Inox

With freezing temperature outside, I'm sure many of you have your fireplace lit up.  While a good looking fireplace is extremely important to a room, it is essential to have a set of pretty fireplace tool as well.  It's kinda like a woman resplendent with items from her glittering parure wearing a pretty dress.  Last thing you want is everyone talking behind your back saying what a beautiful dress you have on but that jewelry you are wearing is just ghastly!

Designed by John Lyle, this beautiful fireplace tool is called Alpha and comes with a poker, tongs, and shovel that fit into a base.  There are many finishes available.  My favorite is the mirror polished steel.  This set of fireplace tool will enhance the attractiveness of your fireplace surrounding for sure!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Exemplaire Cashmere

Well, it's been quite cold outside lately here in San Francisco so I'm always looking for clothes to keep me warm.  The fabric of choice for me is always cashmere because the material is so soft and cuddly.   I know I wrote about the king of cashmere Lucien Pellat-Finet not that long ago, but there's a new French upstart that may soon join my short list of must haves cashmere brand: Exemplaire.

The brand is started by two guys, Jean-Victor Meyers and Louis Leboiteux.  Both are only 26 years old and their company's niche is luxurious cashmere with modern silhouettes (think Slimane's Dior Homme) for young guys.  The word Exemplaire means exemplary in English, but in French it is also a play on word "edition" (ie. When you buy an Andy Warhol limited edition prints, you get one out of ten edition, or two out of ten edition).  In this case, only 50 pieces are made for each of 12 styles of slim-cut sweaters.  This ensures that when you walk down a street anywhere in the world, you are not likely to ever see anyone wearing the exact same sweater as you.  These subtle sweaters (in gray, black, and navy) are made from one to five ply cashmere and are made with highest quality; the cashmere is so densely knit that it prevents pilling (I will have to report back on that!).    Currently their hand assembled and sewn cashmere sweaters are made in factories in Tuscany and Mayenne, France and can be found at Montaigne Market and Duchatel in Paris, Dover Street Market in London, Barney's New York in New York and Beverly Hills, or The Corner Berlin in Berlin.      

For their second collection for this coming spring/summer, they plan to double the number of styles and make their sweaters with thin, lightweight blends that will include silk and vicuña!!!!  OMG I can't wait to touch that none boxy (cough cough Loro Piana) vicuña sweater!

With such a young company, who knows how much longer will it be around?  Luckily Jean-Victor Meyers is heir to the L'Oreal fortune so with that kind of backing, I'm sure we will see this brand blossom.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Marc by Marc Jacobs Tote Raffle Winner!


Thank you all for playing.  The winner is Sarah Bricker.  You won by following me on my twitter account!  Congrats!  More raffle to come next month.  In the mean time, have a great rest of the 2013!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year Raffle: A Marc by Marc Jacobs Tote!

Happy New Year everyone!  So I decide to start the year with a giveaway!  The prize is a Marc by Marc Jacobs tote (to perhaps go with your Neiman Marcus + Target Marc Jacob scarf?).  This beautiful tote, with an interior pocket, is one of the most versatile tote around.  The black and white pattern can easily go with your chic outfits! 

I decide to use Rafflecopter (see right margin) for the first time so we shall see how smoothly this raffle goes.  So bear with me as I try out this new raffle format.  The condition is such: you get a point for tweeting about my blog (up to one tweet per day), you get a point for liking my facebook page: Kevin Hsu Studios Inc, You get two points for following me on twitter, and lastly you get three points for signing up as a member.  Please note: apologies to my international friends - I wish I could extend these giveaways to you but legal restrictions prevent it. Thanks for understanding.

The raffle ends on 1/13/13 at 12 AM.  Good luck everyone!  In the mean time, I'm taking a break from blogging and will be back after 1/13/13!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Mahogany Table designed by Jacques-Louis David

We all know Jacques-Louis David as one of the greatest French Empire painter but who knew he's a furniture designer as well!!!  This gorgeous mahogany table in the style of antique is made by one of the best furniture maker, Georges Jacob, during Louis XVI time in 1785-89.  It was kept by Jean-Louis David's family until middle of 1950s.  Apparently David used to design various furniture for usage in his paintings.  Naturally this table is of no exception; it made its appearance in the painting "Les Licteurs rapportent a Brutus les corps de ses fils", which now hangs in the Louvre Museum.  In the painting, the table in the middle is covered with a table cloth but the feet and gilt bronze decoration is identifiable to this mahogany table.  I just find it fascinating that this prop, for a very famous painting, can actually be identified over 200 years later!  Interestingly this table is in Empire style but made during the reign of Louis XVI.  It's probably the earliest Empire style (1800-1830) furniture ever made.  One can almost say David was a psychic!    


Friday, January 4, 2013

Puiforcat Chess Set

Some of the most beautiful stuff are made by Puiforcat and this chess set is no exception.  I just love the way it looks.  It was designed in 1927 by the master himself Jean Puiforcat and showcased at the Salon des Artiste Decorateurs in Paris the same year.  It's made of sterling silver, ivory, and Makassar ebony.  Because the amount of time (200 hours) it takes to make one set and number of people ordering it, on average only 2 of them are made each year.

Mains & Merveilles from Puiforcat on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Acquerello Restaurant in San Francisco

  A restaurant does not stay in business for 22 years unless it's great.  Well, Acquerello, Italian word for watercolor, is one of those great restaurants.   Nestled in the Nob hills of San Francisco, this little gem had been awarded one Michelin star every year since 2007 (the first year Michelin review SF restaurants).

I've been here a few times and I have never been disappointed with the food or service.  The way they construct their menu is actually quite clever.  You have the option of their classic tasting menu or seasonal tasting menu.  You can also choose three course (appetizer, entree, and dessert), four course, or five course dinner.  If you don't feel like to eat a lot and/or spend a lot, this is a good way to economize your tummy/pocket.  

One of my favorite dish is Ridged pasta with “foie gras” scented with black truffles and Marsala.  Obviously they can't do foie gras anymore because California had banned foie gras so they use pate instead.  So the dish isn't as good as it used to be....  but it still is a fantastic dish.  If you go, you must order it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interior Design Legend: Billy Haines

There are so many legendary interior designers that I admire and today I'll write about one of them: Billy Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973).  His design, epitome of Hollywood Regency style, is very influential in today's interior design world and his furniture are still being reproduced and used by all top interior designers.

He was born in Virginia and moved to New York city by the time he turned 19.  He was discovered as part of MGM's "New Faces of 1922" contest and moved to Hollywood.  In 1926, he scored his first personal success with Brown of Harvard opposite Jack Pickford.  In the same year, he also met his partner for life James "Jimmie" Shields.  MGM made Haines to choose between a sham marriage or his relationship with Shields.  He chose the later and they remained together for close to 50 years. 

Out of regular paycheck, Haines and Shields turn themselves into interior designers and antique dealers.  Their early clients were who's who of Hollywood stars: Carole Lombard, Marion Davies, Gloria Swanson, and Joan Crawford.  They had a very long successful business and some of their later clients reads like who's who of America: Betsy Bloomingdale, Reagans, and Walter Annenberg with their Sunnylands estate which is now act as a west coast "Camp David" and open to public tours.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tom Dixon Pipe Light

When I first saw this table light, my first thought was the movie Austin Powers!  This light soooo belong to that era!  It could be from that era but it is actually designed in 2007!  Talk about head trip.  I like the atomic shape of the lamp and I especially love the pink anodised inner finish.  Pink light actually gives a fantastic hue to people's complexion.  So to me, this is a perfect mood lighting vehicle.     

For those of you who are not familiar with Tom Dixon, he's originally from Tunisia.  In 1963, he moved to London.  After dropping out of Chelsea School of Art, he played bass in the band Funkapolitan for awhile before turning into a self-taught industrial designer.  In late 1980s, he was approached by famed company Cappellini, for whom he designed the famous "S" chair.  In 1988, he became the head of furniture design studio for retailer Habitat where he successfully revamped the company.  His work is now included in MOMA, Victoria & Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou, etc.

This lamp can be purchased at YLighting, and ABC Carpet & Home.  This light also came in black exterior with gold inner finish.