Saturday, December 1, 2007

My summer vacation and Paean to Jared Gold

Here is another one of those stolen L report articles.
Here’s a story: I recently returned from a trip to Italy where I attended my sister’s wedding. I flew Virgin Atlantic into London and Alitalia to Rome and finally on to Ancona. The wedding was at the groom’s native city of Recanati in the Marche region of Italy. Guests traveled from all over the world and I was absolutely delighted by the hotel we stayed at: The Gallery Hotel in Recanati. Needless to say, you need to get over there; fast!

The Gallery Hotel Recanati was built after the faithful restoration of a sixteenth century building that housed the Counts Percivalli -Broglio d’Ajano, and has undergone many re-inventions (just like Madonna) throughout the centuries. It served as a seminary in the 1700’s, and then as a secondary school in the last few years. The hotel was close to the town’s cathedral and not far from the town museum, Villa Colloredo Mels, which permanently hosts the famous “Annunciation” by Lorenzo Lotto. Under the protective shade of the cathedral and its bell-tower, the palace of Counts Percivalli –Broglio d’Ajano is host to the chapel in which the popular tenor Beniamino Gigli from Recanati started his singing career.

The lounge bar at the hotel, the Café Opera, is named in his honour. The food, particularly the regional specialties at both the lounge bar and the restaurant , The Incanto, is outstanding. We had several special regional tasting menus prepared for our very large and very international party, including an exquisite pre-wedding cocktail reception on their deck across the street from the hotel, at the feet of the stunning Cathedral tower. The service was delightful. Recanati, like many smaller cities in Italy, has cobble-stone streets.

I was running to the wedding already late, in a pair of incredible Mod white and lucite 5-inch platform shoes, and the ‘Elizabeth’ dress by Monsoon which is named after Elizabeth Hurley, who wore it for her Indian wedding. The look was completed by gorgeous lucite and gold jewelr. Well, the inevitable happened, and I , in true Naomi Campbell form, took a giant fall in the middle of the narrow street, dislocating my left knee and tearing up my medial lateral ligament (once a medical writer, always a medical writer).

I was hurried via ambulance to the emergency room, and later on I made a very fashionable entrance to thunderous applause at the reception which took place at a restaurant on the beach at Porto Recanati. The staff at the hotel treated me like a queen and could not have been kinder or more solicitous. The hotel manager had her father buy me a pair of very high-design Italian crutches in a neighboring city, and the concierge brought them back to me presto, so I could make it to the reception in time. I highly recommend this hotel. The food, the staff, and the absolutely stunning view will make your next trip to the Marche region one that you will look back on fondly.

The accident put a huge damper on the trip, but I still managed to tear up the shops in London on my way back, catching the sales at the big stores on Knightsbridge and Bond Street, and paying a visit to High Street favourite TopShop, where I went to pick up some pieces by indie designer label N2, by French jewelry design house Les Nereides.

I have been getting tons of compliments on my lawn gnome earrings and my Caprese salad necklace which features tiny tomatoes, basil leaves and a piece of mozzarella. Their jewelry is truly delicious. I have been nursing my injury, which would put even the fashionista with the sunniest disposition in a dark mood, and that is perfect since my favourite holiday All Hallow’s Eve, is right around the corner.

It is hard to get in a Halloween kind- of -mood here in Southern California, because there is no sudden chill in the air or leaves changing colours.

But I figured finding a great costume might help. I visited the amazing Flashbacks on 5th avenue in San Diego, which houses the best selection in vintage and vintage designer couture from the 20’s to 80’s. I love this store. It is a veritable treasure trove of fantastic finds. I have on past visits scored everything from a Missoni sweater dress to an Hermes scarf. For less than fifty dollars each. Every year, the people at Flashbacks outdo themselves with eye-catching Halloween window displays so it is well-worth visiting. You will have to stay tuned to my posts closer to the date to find out what a die-hard fashion fiend like me will dress up as. One hint: quilted bag and a ponytail. And it’s a he

Another reason to visit San Diego is a the gastronomic institution that is Bertrand’s at Mister A’s. I was there for a romantic tete-a-tete with a gentleman caller and the food was more romantic, sensuous and interesting than the man I was on the date with. And certainly more memorable.

The menu at Bertrand’s is Modern American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair and a decidedly Gallic influence.

The award winning ( and terribly sexy) chef de cuisine Stephane Voitzwinkler, takes great pride in offering a fresh and tantalizing menu that complements the stunning panoramic views outside of the dining room. On my last visit I had extraodinary entree featuring filet mignon with a sumptuous morel sauce and one of my favorite comfort foods ever, spaetzle, the whole meal crowned by the swoon-inducing chocolate mousse bars. That is a what I call a treat. No tricks at all.

And I could not think of a better new designer to talk about this time of the year than Jared Gold.

I was introduced to the work of Jared Gold through mutual friend and LA style icon Clint Catalyst, author of the celebrated “Cottonmouth Kisses”, and indie jewelry designer par excellence, her sparkling Highness, Tarina Tarantino. Jared Gold was featured a few season’s ago in America’s Next Top Model and has risen to fame because one of his creations, the Swarovski crystal-encrusted Madagascar hissing cockroach brooch, has caused quite a stir, many a raised eyebrow and several potential top model’s distress.

Jared Gold’s clothes and collections are as much a fashion proposition as an intellectual exercise. Part tribal art, part Lewis Caroll and Roald Dahl stories, and part film noir, his inspirations are abstract, rich, complex and multi-tonal like a cup of thick Mexican hot chocolate or the version of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” as sung by the Cowboy Junkies. Gold’s muses include the extraordinary Clint Catalyst, musician/internet celebrity Jeffree Star and America’s Next Top Model’s most infamous alumna, the beautiful Miss Lisa D’Amato.His Spring 2006 collection entitled “Glinka”, was inspired by Russian opera composer Mikhail Glinka, often considered the father of Russian classical music. The collection, in the designer’s own words, is “fueled by the dark obscured visions of endlessly complex gypsy operas, crossed with psychedelic cattle ranchers, deep country sorcery and glitter rock refugees”. The clothes are truly poetic and insanely beautiful and the Russian influence in the richness of the fabrics and the opulence of the cuts can be seen in all of the collection’s pieces.

Jared Gold can be found at The Black Chandelier, his flagship store in Salt Lake City, at Sirens and Sailors in LA and online at.