Let There Be Light: Have a Neon Holiday
Bright lights aren’t only for the Christmas tree. Whether you’re seeing it in a museum or putting a bow around it, there’s plenty of neon to go around this season. A new show, Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space, opens this weekend at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles. It features bright, large-scale installations from Latin American artists such as Carlos Cruz-Diez and Lucio Fontana. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, bring a bathing suit and go for a dip in Hélio Oiticica and Neville Almeida’s Cosmococa—Programa in Progress, CC4 Nocagions (1973)—an illuminated 90-centimeter deep (and, thankfully, heated) pool in the museum. If taking the plunge isn’t really your thing, try serving up a steak on Bodum’s Portable Charcoal PicnicGrill ( Amazon.com, $49.95), which comes in bright orange and green. Or skip the steak and take the bright lights out with you—in the form of Jimmy Choo’s Daphne leopard-print and neon clutch ($448.50, Net-a-Porter.com). For a hint of bright of the stocking-stuffer variety, try Chanel’s Le Nernis Riva—the line’s buzzed-about new nail polish that comes in bright holiday blue. ( Chanel.com, $27.00) Who said anything about red and green?
(Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space runs from 12/12/10-2/27/11 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles.)
Stylish Books: The Best Fashion Photography to Gift
You may not be able to afford a print, but a coffee table book is really just as good. The Golden Hour, a new book about the legendary photographer Herb Ritts, consists of many photographs—of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and more—accompanied by personal essays from his friends. Writes Richard Gere in his introduction: “He was one of the very best photographers of his time. Uniquely and recognizably Herb, the images are tactile, inviting, and deceptively simple. They remain classic, popular, and exciting.” (Left: Woman in the Sea, Hawaii, 1988). For your mother who laments the rise of Britneys and Lindsays, try Women Then: 1954-1969 (Rizzoli, $60), a book of romantic photographs of Jackies and Audreys.
Bookworm Chic: Wearable Literature
You can’t judge a book by its cover—but you can wear a book for its cover. Skip actually having to read Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet, and bring it to your holiday party instead. French designer Olympia Le-Tan has caused a sensation over first-edition book covers which she has repurposed as fabric clutches. Natalie Portman wore the Lolita Book Clutch (€1,097 [$1,450], OlympiaLeTan.com) to the recent premiere of Black Swan, and Clemence Poesy carried La Belle et la Bête to the London premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last month. For bookworm chic that won’t break the bank, Out of Print clothing offers a selection of T-shirts and sweatshirts that will rival your 8th grade reading list: from Farenheit 451 to Animal Farm. (Our personal favorite is the distressed Moby Dick sweatshirt, $38.00.) If wearing titles on your sleeve isn’t really your thing, then deck the walls instead: a floating bookshelf that is, in itself, a stack of books, will make you look well-read—without attracting dust mites (Conceal Bookshelves $11-14, SeltzerStudios.com).
Out of Africa: Jewelry With Meaning
Plenty of jewelers will tempt you with shiny caseloads of bracelets and rings this season—but few have a social consciousness to boot. One exception is Ashley Pittman jewelry, a new line of statement pieces handcrafted by local artisans in Kenya. The collection features thick cuffs and chain necklaces made out of indigenous materials like horn and gemstones. (For a hostess, there are horn napkin rings, too.) Pittman’s Foundation employs local artisans and donates 10 percent of all profits from the collection back to the Kenyan town of Kamboo, where it goes to support the Kathiani Primary School and the Kamboo Dispensary, a community health center. (African Horn Bangle, $190; Studded African Horn Bangles, $395. Available at Neiman Marcus stores nationwide or www.neimanmarcus.com)