Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Promise Land, Really?

AT 429 Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett, New York there is the Fish Farm, officially it's called Multi Aquaculture Systems. This place is the site of what was once known as the "promise land." We went there to poke around the farm, look at fish and peek into The Hamptons past.

According to Marie Valenti pictured above, the area was called the promise land because of the "promise" of employment after WWII. This part of
Long Island hosted a number of
government work projects providing employment as well as several fish factories. One still stands on the site. Extinct railroad tracks lead directly to it.

Apparently the Manhaden fish, the factory's harvest, which was so plentiful in the 40's was just about fished to extension. The Factory closed in 1955, but its rusty carcass still stands, giving visitors a picture of industry in the folds of seaside environs.

What's interesting about this fish factory is both the setting, a locations scout's cannery row, and its store
which has wares from Provence! I know, what does Provence pottery and pickles have to do with a fish farm? Why ask why? But I did, and the story is that a woman from Paris has gone into partnership with the purveyor's of the fish farm and they've opened this totally cool little French fish shop. The farm also has an extensive takeout menu including every manner of seafood (ever heard of clam bellies?), key lime tarts and chocolate souffle. You can eat there at outdoor tables overlooking the bay or to take it with you. Lobster rolls oceanside–a truly perfect (and stylish) combination.

As for the fish tanks, well they seemed really dark, dank, dingy and algae ridden. The fish probably are happy, or at least they don't know any better. I've no experience with fish farm culture, so I really can't comment. It was just really curious to me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Isabel Toledo, not just for an Inauguration

A test: Did you know of designer Isabel Toledo before Mrs. O wore "her" at the inauguration? It's both remarkable and disconcerting the way one outfit worn by a single woman can catapult name recognition of a designer to astounding heights. Isabel has been designing beautiful clothes for the last two decades. I saw a dreamy collection of her life's work at FIT in Manhattan recently. The show was called Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out. It's worth noting that Mrs. Obama's inaugural sheath and overcoat was the least interesting piece in the exhibition, however tasteful and beautifully tailored.

Besides the clothes, what was truly romantic about the show was the way Isabel's genius illustrator husband, Rubin Toledo, augmented the exhibition with oversized fashion illustrations of Isabel's designs. These hung from the ceiling on very large format paper, essentially wallpapering the upper fifth of the wall, all the way around the exhibition space. Most of you will probably recognize his illustrations from Nordstom's stylistic identity.

Even if you're not into fashion, you can appreciate this show. Toledo's designs are such works of art, calling them fashion, just isn't lofty enough. Displayed with some of her creations is a little diagram of the dress's pattern; both simple and complex the patterns help you figure out the idea behind the garment's structure. And she does love structure. Some of the gowns are 3D.

The show is free. With just one gallery, it's manageable. It breaths creative ingenuity and gives you license to dream about wearing fancy dresses.

Photo: The Museum at FIT, Irving Solero. Illustration: Rubin Toledo, Google Images

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vegas, Again, Encore

Steve Wynn's Encore opened in January coinciding with his 67th birthday. In June my husband was on assignment photographing the resort. While I was piloting the kids, Tom was rubbing elbows and working his elbows shooting the resort and the NetJets poker tournament event taking place there. Anyway, Tom was "living the dream," as they say in Vegas–pretty girls, fancy parties, swank bars, stylish pools, luxurious rooms–all that glitters...

Guys, when in Vegas (especially the Encore), wear a collared shirt, always and everywhere. Teri Agins of the Wall Street Journal gives sage advice about What to Wear for a Trip to Vegas and resort areas like it.