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Talking points

in the Glow

in the Glow

As the mother of both a son and a daughter —and as a graduate of an all-boy’s high school  as well as a women’s college (long story, but suffice it to say I was in the first class of girls, we had to change for swim in the nurse’s office, and the college has welcomed men, though few straight ones were keen to attend a school called Sarah Lawrence)– I feel rather uniquely qualified to discuss gender. Particularly the gender gap in how we talk. Continue reading…

Fabulous Flora

I really must recommend the strange and beautiful design sensibility of NY’s Ariel Dearie Flowers.

Like a still life from a Dutch painting

Like a still life from a Dutch painting

And this lush, sensual, other-worldly arrangement of bat orchids:

Beautifully Batty

Beautifully Batty

Talking Turkey

In Istanbul, we indulged in historic mosques, mosaic and minarets.

Aga Sophia in ochre and black

Aga Sophia in ochre and black

A stone door posing as a wooden one

A stone door posing as a wooden one

 

Into the blue at the Topkapi palace harem

Into the blue at the Topkapi palace harem

lead roof

Domes of lead topped with crescents

Tile interplay at the Ruhem Pasa

Tile interplay at the Ruhem Pasa

On the breezy grounds of the Topkapi palace that once housed the Ottoman sultans, we were fortunate to catch a live version of the call to prayer.

Call to prayer

Call to prayer

Check out the sneakers

Check out the sneakers

We did a little shopping at the Grand Bazaar. Fell in love with a stall called Dervis.

Turkish towels

Turkish towels

On a Saturday night, we learned first hand that tear gas travels.  The young, urban, educated “White Turks” we talked to were appalled by the government’s shift toward Islamicism. Indeed, the Turkish flag (and icons of Ataturk) were everywhere–a vibrant reminder of the young republic’s secular history. And then we went to Bodrum on the turquoise Aegean coast to kick back at the seriously chic Amanruya, where we flopped by the sea on a big papyrus daybed.

Raft by the sea

Raft by the sea

Went to Ephesus on a day trip.

 

Greek sandals

Greek sandals

And ate a lot of things topped with fresh parsley.

Turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast

Here I am, flying the flag on the Amanruya’s boat at cocktail hour.

 

Flying high on the Aegean

Flying high on the Aegean

It was significantly more than alright.

oki doki

 

Splinter for your thoughts

A toothpick for connoisseurs

A toothpick for connoisseurs

This blog is about toothpicks. Before you move on to something grabbier, consider this: these aren’t just any toothpicks. These are fine — gourmet, if you will — toothpicks made in Georgian Bay from northern white birch, infused with essential oils and (but for the scotch imported from Islay) North American-derived natural flavours such as cinnamon, smoke, salted birch and single malt. Continue reading…

I Dream of Disney

The world's scariest ride

The world’s scariest ride

In this report, from the San Francisco Chronicle, my worst nightmare has come to life. Continue reading…

Civic shame

Rahm, meet Rob

I am trying to imagine the conversation. Continue reading…

The New Humility

What could be more humble than the fashion for food trucks?

If fashion as an art form is about expressing the spirit of the moment — and arguably more so when it’s a style that’s trickled up from the street rather than one dictated from the fashion runway — what I’m reading of late from shop windows and street corners is a movement I call the New Humility. Continue reading…

What’s Happening in the Hamptons

Local Knit tees memorialise Montauk before it was fabulous

One of style’s credibility problems is that it has this unshakeable relationship with money.

Even though you don’t have to have a lot of money to have style (and money alone is certainly no guarantee of having it), it helps when you happen to have a lot of both. Which is why, when you are looking for what’s happening in the world of style, your best bet is to follow the money. Continue reading…

Is Modernism Old?

Is Eames’ chair still modern?

Back in its day, modernism was, well, modern. Now, more than half a century later, it is amazing to me that its characteristic tics — dark wood panelling, cubic seating, curtain walls of glass and sober palette — are still being cranked out as the last word in cool. Judging from the stylized lobby lounges of the latest hotels and the sales billboards for the newest condo buildings, it’s as if designers haven’t noticed that Mad Men is set in another era or that nothing else has happened to capture our imagination since Mies van der Rohe designed the Seagram building in 1958. Continue reading…

Varsity prep goes back to school

When it comes to deciding where to open a new store, one would assume a fashion brand would simply adopt the realtor’s mantra: “location, location, location.” Except that sometimes a location isn’t chosen just because it’s smack dab in the middle of the highest-performing mall or gets the most foot traffic.

In the case of Brooks Brothers’ new “Flatiron Shop” at the corner of Bloor and St George Sts.., for instance, the decision was all about expressing a certain kind of style. Continue reading…

Marleys and Me

The lovely Donisha Prendergast and me

Here I am with the lovely Donisha Prendergast , who just happens to be the eldest grandchild of Bob Marley, a responsibility she takes very seriously. “What it means to be a Marley is that you must push on,” says Prendergast. “you have to continue that legacy.”

Prendergast’s contribution won’t be another reggae album, but a documentary film called Rasta: A Soul’s Journey she has just spent the last eight years traveling the world (India, South Africa, Ethiopia, Israel) shooting with Jamaican Canadian filmmaker Patrica  Scarlett that will have its premiere at the Royal Ontario Museum here in Toronto in February 2012. The film is intended to spread the word of  Marley’s faith of Rastafarianism, to continue, what Prendergast describes as her grandfather’s “legacy, not as a muisical artist, but a man.”

“I’m a child of reggae,” says Prendergast. “I’m doing good with ‘One Love’ as my mission.”

To that I say, Irie.

Views of Amalfi

Stone and sea

Just back from a magical, if lightning-quick trip to the Amalfi coast, which was blissfully sunny and warm for October. Our white-coated waiter told us we were enjoying the warmest October they’d seen in 150 years. Off season, it felt like we were travellers in another, quieter, more elegant era–a feeling made more acute in the wonderfully ’50s Italian vibe of Amalfi.

Continue reading…

Layering’s Newest Wrinkle

Jewelry designer Jane Apor lives to layer

Fall is greeted with enthusiasm by fashion types not only because the stores and magazines are thick with fabulous new clothes, but because the arrival of cooler weather means that you get to pile them on in layers. Judging from store mannequins the logic seems to be, why wear just one blouse, when you can layer a t-shirt, tissue weight sweater, cropped jacket, a tangle of chains and a wound-up scarf underneath and over it? Continue reading…

How eco-spin ruined my park

Sir Winston Churchill park, despoiled

In Beijing, people start their day with aerobics, tai chi or ballroom dancing in the public gardens of the Temple of Heaven. In London, they enjoy an invigorating morning stroll under the green elms of Hyde Park. In the public parks of Paris, or New York, school children sail pretty little wooden boats on ponds, artists stage inventive, caravan-style puppet shows and everyone takes in the scene from elegant, wrought-iron benches and chairs. These are the benefits of green spaces in the world’s great cities: the grandeur of well-planned and maintained urban landscape design on a monumental scale for all to enjoy. In my neighbourhood public space, Sir Winston Churchill park in Toronto, however, the whole grand idealistic enterprise has gone to the dogs.

Continue reading…

McQueen and Melancholy

The beauty of sadness

As of last Wednesday, more than half a million people–many of whom waited in lines of up to two hours, and some who returned for a second visit—will have taken in the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum’s blockbuster “Savage Beauty” show of the work of the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. So popular has the show proved with museum visitors that it’s run has been extended twice– an amazing turn of events considering the show is essentially a presentation of clothes on mannequins not entirely unlike what one might see in the windows of a store. As the show wraps up this weekend with extended hours until midnight, it is worth asking: what exactly did people see in it that proved so compelling?

Continue reading…



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