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An Idyllic Retreat on the French Riviera
I often find myself in a beautiful place only to be told how much better it was decades ago. Fortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to the recently refreshed Hotel La Ponche, a 21-room property in the historic part of France’s Saint-Tropez. The space was redesigned by Fabrizio Casiraghi, whose deft interventions evoke a location’s history: “Before it was jet-set, it was just for fishermen and visitors,” explains the designer, who’s been visiting the area since he was a boy. “There are parts of Saint-Tropez that are now bling-bling and parts that are effortlessly chic.” His hope was to imbue the quaint hotel with the latter. Recognizing that La Ponche had good bones and an illustrious history — everyone from Picasso to Brigitte Bardot to Simone de Beauvoir spent time there — he also conceded that it was looking a little tired. By reusing some of the old pieces of furniture alongside vintage and modern pieces, he gave the hotel a much needed face-lift. Its restaurant, called St. Germain des Pres, has a large terrace on the sea, and the bar is cozy, with oversize armchairs and a fireplace, while the rooms are light and airy, with travertine side tables and 19th-century desks. Rooms start at $700 per night, laponche.com.
Throughout his career, the artist Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS and currently the subject of a major survey at the Brooklyn Museum, has been known to collaborate with the world of design, adapting his work for a range of products, including fragrance bottles and album covers. His art is especially popular in Japan, where he’s teamed up with fashion brands A Bathing Ape and Comme des Garçons, as well as the musician and designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, among others. This month, he’ll add Sacai — the Japanese fashion label founded in 1999 by designer Chitose Abe — to the list, with the brand’s release of a 60-piece capsule collection that transformed three original works by the artist into signature prints. Rendered in either a vibrant multicolor or a muted scheme of greens and browns reminiscent of combat uniforms, the collection runs the gamut of signature Sacai pieces, including a puffer coat that snaps at the side for a relaxed, voluminous silhouette, as well as a pleated floor-grazing skirt and high-neck romantic dress. From $70, bergdorfgoodman.com.
Herbal Wines Inspired by the Ancient World
For Nana Meriwether, her new brand of herbal wines, called Cale, is more than a line of low-alcoholic beverages. “As one of very few Black female winemakers in the country, it’s my hope to inspire others while also offering a new way for everyone to imbibe more healthily,” she says. Made in the Napa Valley and influenced by the ancient winemaking techniques of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, each bottle of Cale is produced by infusing traditional grape varietals like chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling and merlot with organic botanicals and adaptogenic and functional herbs such as lemon balm, ginseng, reishi and stinging nettle. The result is a healthier, more intentional drinking experience of light yet sophisticated wines that are naturally low in sugar and calories. The brand’s first release is a dry hibiscus pinot noir with notes of wildflower and dark cherries, with a marigold blend on the horizon — a flower selected for its fortifying health benefits. From $25, drinkcale.com.
All-Natural Face Oils for Every Skin Type
Herbalist Hezi Badnany and designer Chris Yoon met at a dinner party in 2018 and bonded over a mutual love of skin care. Earlier this year, the duo transformed that common interest into a new business venture with Skin, Undressed, a line of herbal facial oils that deliver healthy, glowing skin. Each of their three products targets specific skin concerns: The Calendula Nightly Harmonizing Oil, with borage and horsetail, works to soothe and hydrate dry skin; the Meadowsweet Rescue Oil, with holy basil, which is high in salicylic acid, is ideal for acne-prone or problem skin; and the Gotu Kola and Rosehip Perfecting Oil is rich in vitamin C, making it the perfect everyday product for all skin types. Yoon and Badnany believe that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it: “A lot of people care about what they eat but don’t really look at what’s in their skin-care products,” Yoon observes. “We’re not going to use anything on our skin that we couldn’t put in our mouths.” From $48, skinundressed.com.
With New York’s ongoing heat wave, my go-to accessory is a cocktail ring (necklaces and earrings tend to stick to my skin). I love supporting independent female designers like Jean Prounis of Prounis Jewelry and Brent Neale, who both hand make everything in their Midtown studios. This Prounis ring, made with 22-karat recycled gold donned with a brown star sapphire, is both delicate and bold. Neale created an array of candy-colored statement rings, including a citrine cabochon stone surrounded by pink and orange sapphires. Another designer known for her whimsy is California-based designer Irene Neuwirth, who designed this one-of-a-kind green tourmaline surrounded by a halo of smaller pink tourmalines. For something not so precious but just as exuberant, check out Mounser’s collection called ring pops, which were inspired by rave culture.
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