skyfall date night

Mr. A and I enjoyed a fun date night to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. It was a date of the classic dinner-and-a-movie variety. Dinner: Lovely atmosphere, killer glass of big red, but the pizza? Meh. I believe Queen Margherita pizza to be a victim of too much hype. Didn't live up. Mr. A agrees.

Then it was onto the next item on the night's agenda: Bond, James Bond. Skyfall, I assure you, lives up to the hype. It's fantastic fun. Here is my small tribute to some of the details that made it for me.

First, the star of the movie...Mr. Craig? No. That suit. Yes! God bless Tom Ford for that dinner suit. First of all it's midnight blue rather than black -- a stroke of genius on the blue-eyed Mr. Craig. Skinny fit, silk shawl lapel, piqué shirt (the texture of the shirt cloth reads beautifully on the closeups on the big screen). Some people appreciate the big screen for the sound, the special effects yada yada. Me, I relish how it reveals the fabric of a tuxedo shirt.

This is the real moment of glory for that tux. Choreographed like a fashion runway presentation. Methinks the Tom Ford team might have had a hand in remember how we first saw Mr. C in the suit in this vid (ah, bless):

Generally Bond women are clad in all sorts of trampy nonsense. So this was a refreshing sight. Silk blouse, camel belt, pencil skirt, and done. Beautiful and sexy and tasteful. This is Naomie Harris. 

If you ask me the J. Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Dark Poppy is a dead ringer. 

The carpets in the market in Turkey: to die for! It's so hard to browse the merch when there's a motorcycle chase scene in he way. Oh well. Still, keep your eyes peeled. 

And please join me to appreciate Judi Dench as M. The character is as icy and powerful as they come. It's so brilliant to have an older woman in this part. I just love Judi Dench - weirdly, she kind of reminds me of my Mom (who I assure you is not the least icy). It's the stature, short white hair, kind eyes (even when she's playing a cool character, Dame Judi cannot erase the softness and kindness of her eyes). Also, the role I most associate her with is Iris Murdoch, in the biopic Iris. It was a heart-wrenching movie about a brilliant mind destroyed by the ravages of dementia. In real life, Dame Judi is losing her sight to macular degeneration, my Mom is too. My Mom is also an M - Margaret Bernadette. This Bond pic is a great one for Judi Dench and for M. 

Can you spot that little dude on M's desk?

You also might know I have a thing for bulldogs. Sure, my main occupation is with the French variety, but I pretty much love all the smooshy faced K9s. And I've been known to display a bulldog figurine or two...This dude is named Jack and he's made by the good people at Royal Doulton. I'll include the link, but don't bother, they are sold out, of course.

This is the new blood. He's all Jimmy-from-Quadrophenia-meets-Matthew Broderick-from-War Games and I think he's a doll. He also happens to drink Earl Grey tea and play Scrabble...This is Ben Whishaw.

A Black Watch tartan blanket plays a supporting role alongside, or on the lap of, M. Love it. Already own it.

...And then there's this. Aanother killer stone house, Duntrune Castle (known as Skyfall in the movie), dropped in front of my eyes - and this one nestled in the misty rolling hills of Scotland. Gorgeous.

I'm pretty sure there's a law in Britain that everyone must own a Barbour coat. Bond's Barbour fits just as snuggly as his dinner suit jacket. Perfect.




stalking ben pentreath

photo: financial times how to spend it

A little while back I was asked to speak to a group of design students at Humber College here in Toronto. Part of my presentation was about the importance of mentors. I told the students, don't worry if you don't know any personally yet -- they'll be revealed in time. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to stalk a mentor. Choose one of the best of the best. Study and learn. Lately I've been stalking Ben Pentreath. Ben is an architect and shop keeper based in London's  Bloomsbury district. I first met him last spring on the pages of House & Garden magazine and in the book Perfect English. I love his design style -- handsome and classic but relaxed, even a tad disheveled. His outfit in the shot above (with shop manager Bridie Hall) says it all -- jacket, striped sweater, narrow jeans and Adidas - perfect.

Ben riding his bike along Ruby St. in Bloomsbury from House & Garden mag. I'm a fan of a well-dressed man on an old school bicycle. And the architecture of the street scene - love.

Another page of the House & Garden story. I spy some Josef Frank fabric above the bed.

Ben's shop. You may know I have a weakness for a man with a lovely shop.

Inside the shop.

Ben's sitting room, from The Independent.

More of Ben's sitting room. I spy another Josef Frank fabric. 

A hotel design by Ben's architecture firm, Working Group.

A column drawing by Ben that I would die to own, from an exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Ben (centre), along with George Saumarez Smith and Francis Terry, who form the collective The Three Classicists,  drew this amazing work of art during the course of one day for an exhibit of their work. The time lapse film of the day made by Ben's cousin Ben Moore is amazing to watch.

If that wasn't enough to convince me of Ben Pentreath's true kindred spiritedness, then I discover his blog -- two of the posts have sealed it for me:

1. He blogged about Prince Philip as a style icon. Wicked great post.

2. Just for kicks recently he painted his sitting room Farrow & Ball Pink Ground, a colour I have been obsessing over since I did my Valentine post (which incidentally included a lustreware piece from his site). 

Are you like me and loving that armchair on the left with yet more Josef Frank fabric? It's the Bloomsbury Library Chair , available at the shop, natch. 

And lastly, I even love his web site design. Simple. Perfect. Love the icons. And delicious stuff for sale. The shop is on my must-visit list for the next trip to London. But don't worry Ben, I'm not really stalking you, just fan-girling, as we in the blog world are wont to do.


pretty packaging

I'm the kind of person who likes to visit grocery stores and drug stores when I travel just to see package designs. Love this. If the packaging is particularly good then I might buy something -- no matter what the product is. Some of my fave pretty packaging destinations are Marks & Spencer (especially the boxes of Scottish porridge), Harvey Nichols Food Hall, Ladurée (natch! especially the Boîte Bouledogue), Muji (London, Paris, New York), Côté Bastide Paris, Mario Badescu. Of course liquor stores are another great source. I have the most gorgeous bottle of Absinthe that I bought as a prop for a shoot. And last week I found the prettiest bottle EVER -- Sayuri Sake. And last but not least -- love the cans of pear and apple soda I spotted at IKEA recently. The design reminds me of Enzo Mari's La Mela and La Pera.


favourite places: flower markets

Don't get me wrong, I love a crisp grey autumn day -- they are my faves and all about sweaters and scarves, merino wool and corduroy and denim. But sometimes on a grey day some cheerful blooms are warranted. Well, really cheerful blooms are warranted every day. So today I've been looking over pics I've taken at flower markets I've seen on my travels. In Toronto, I go to the flower markets at Avenue Rd and Davenport when I need blooms for styling, but I like in some cities how flower markets seem to just pop up on the street corner. Feast your eyes on these lovelies.