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December 2008

Sweet Design


Indulgence comes with the holiday territory.  And, in the spirit of the season, the frothy and the sticky sweet seem to be allowed if just this once. Eggnog and bread pudding. Holiday-themed movies of dubious merit.  The more, the merrier. 

Take The Nutcracker ballet, for instance. Same story year after year. But for those of us in Phoenix, we have reason to indulge and go back each December.  Ib Andersen’s recent re-production of the quintessential holiday ballet tossed out the old instead importing fashion-forward designer Fabio Toblini.  Though trained in Milan and at Parson’s The New School for Design in New York City, Toblini wasn’t constrained by the shackles of ballet tradition in this, his first, ballet project.  Applying his unique perspective, he heightened the level of whimsy and risk of each design to create an entirely new experience for the audience.

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Lux for Less

Gilt Group

Lately, I’ve received a steady stream of “invitation only” online sales events which promise short-term sales on select high-end items. Usually discounted from 40-60% for a limited time (1-3 days), these events are reminiscent of showroom sample sales offered by design houses for industry insiders in cities like New York, Paris, and Milan. However, thanks to the Internet and the economy, these sales are now available to the rest of us.

Popular invitation-only sites include Gilt Groupe, RouLaLa (by Loehmann's), HauteLook, The Top Secret, and my personal favorite, JackThreads. With these sites, everybody wins. I can find designer labels at steep discounts plus earn credits by referring friends; retailers can clear their shelves of excess inventory without the stigma of having to sit in a bargain bin at a department store or worse—an outlet mall. Plus, like most guys, I know what I do and don't like.  It takes me mere seconds to decide on a purchase so the accessibility of the Internet is perfect. I can shop for everything from Converse and sweats, to Guccis and suits without being seen at the sales rack which suits me just fine.

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High Glass

Chihuly Glass

Chihuly's “The Nature of Glass” exhibit at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens is packing in the crowds.  Coupled with the Noche de las Luminarias event, opening night was a mad house. While Chihuly’s crowd pleasing abilities are certainly indisputable, I can't decide which side of the fence I’m on about Chihuly and his manufactured art. 

His exhibits are so far flung across the world that I wonder about the artistic integrity of the work. He doesn't blow the glass.  He doesn't install it.  The staff that installs the glass often needs to improvise to get the pieces to fit the landscape or current conditions - as we were told by one of the Garden's staff who witnessed the 4 week long installation period.

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