Saturday, 24 April 2010

I HEART: My NewbarK comfier than comfy flats!

One of the real joys of my work is writing about labels, designers and people that I truly personally love, admire, want to wear or have dinner with. I had one of those opportunities recently when I wrote a small piece for Vogue (UK) on three fairly new labels designed by women already established as some of the most successful stylists in the industry. These were A.L.C. by Andrea Lieberman, L'Agence by Margaret Maldonado and NewbarK by the Malakpour sisters, Maryam and Marjan. I will post separately about each of them as I have the space here to share more details and show more images and I must start with Newbark if only for the fact that I have been wearing my pair on any given opportunity to change from heels, while travelling, in the house and out. I can sense an addiction of Pokemon proportions brewing - gotta get them all, to paraphrase!

Maryam and Marjan initially designed and had these alternatives to a flat shoe made for themselves and as gifts for close friends. They were, and still are, handmade in a nearly extinct artisan factory in Los Angeles. Advice from good friend Roland Mouret and an encounter at a Parisian party with Net-a-Porter's Natalie Massenet kick-started their label, NewbarK, named after the Southern saying "when the dogs are barking" meaning when your feet are tired, and the collection of butter-soft leather flats in delicious-sounding colourways like Scotch and Rose metallic. My pair are two-toned patent black and cream, very jazz-age! They come with a handy leather pouch to keep them in your bag or use for all the little bits and pieces you take on a plane and for summer, Maryam and Marjan have launched a light canvas version, in white and black, which only leaves one question unanswered and that is how many pairs can I get away with owning?

Images by
Stuart Pettican for NewbarK.

Friday, 23 April 2010

BLOG BLESS AMERICA: Here, there, everywhere!

It's been so long, my friends but what a time's it's been! Aside for a day here and there when 'the lazy' hit and hit hard, I can - this once - say that I haven't been blogging because I've been too busy. Makes for a nice change, no?

It started with an email (don't most things these days do?) from The Lovely Angela at Grazia Daily - that is her full name, trust me! - asking whether I'd fancy flying to San Francisco to spend a few days with the designers Basso & Brooke on a research trip to California's Sonoma Valley, sampling wine, vintage shopping, oh, and writing some stories for them while there. The occasion? Basso & Brooke's recent appointment as Designers in Residence for the wine company Turning Leaf and their upcoming collaboration on a range of products (more infohere). My train of thought went somewhat like this: "YES!!! Hmmm, let me think about this for one sec..sounds great, yes, YEP, I'm in!"

Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Lounge at Heathrow Airport

I got a haircut at the Bumble & Bumble salon with fantastic views of the airport's runway!

And that's how I found myself on a pretty Sunday morning throwing my bag in a chauffeur driven car, making my way to Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class lounge. Or as it's been renamed since by yours truly, Heaven! Because yes, Turning Leaf were kind enough to fly me First Class and the cherry on top of this already irresistible cake? We'd be staying at one of my favourite hotels in the world, Hotel Healdsburg, where some of my best friends, my boyfriend and I spent a wonderful trip a few years ago to celebrate B & S's wedding.

My view from my seat on the upper floor of the plane
Waiting for my salad starter, catching up with Radio 4's Woman's Hour (cute airplane salt & pepper shakers)
My trusty Newbark flats were made for this!

So, 11 hours of intense planning on how to fly first class again, a delicious 3-course meal, dozens of pages of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jane Campion's Bright Star and some oh-so-blissful pockets of sleep on my flat bed we arrived to this: San Francisco, its glorious Golden Gate Bridge and a long drive to Healdsburg. Like I said, Heaven!