Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Organic / Erotic (In the Most Refined Way)

As long as I can remember, I've dreamed of designing clothes. Oh, the sketching and plotting that went on! But there was never any sewing. Many, many failed attempts and the destruction of mom's sewing machine (could they make it any easier to forget to put down that presser foot?), but not even a pillowcase emerged. It was a curse of couture visions and Cro-Magnon handiwork.

So, it is with miracles and so much joy that the wonderful ladies at kumi kookoon offered Porter and me the chance to design (not sew) a capsule collection of lounge wear and bedding using their incredible, fine silks. 

The moment we got word that the project was a go, I set out to Sprout Home to pick up exotic flowers to inspire a print and came out with two: Papaver somniferum (poppy pods), the key note in lemony cakes, opium, heroin and an allegorical poem about the fallen boys of WWI, and Tulipa gesneriana dracontia (super parrot tulip), the mutated, jolie laide cousin of the classic White Dream. Then, I grabbed my watercolors and went to work. When the paintings were done I started manipulating the pods and tulips into patterns until I found one that simultaneously evoked an art deco Chinoiserie trellis - and accented and traced all the best zones on a woman's body. What were the chances? We designed the line around the print - and added in a few clean, classic crisp whites for purists. kumi kookoon then took the print and also made it into bedding - luxurious duvets, shams and throws. 

The entire Hovey Design + kumi kookoon capsule collection will be available exclusively through ABC Carpet & Home in New York in the coming weeks - and online at www.kumikookoon.com

Here's a first look at all the clothing.


Many thanks to the stunningly beautiful Natasha David for slipping into the silks...and to Porter for capturing the essence of the capsule collection so perfectly in these photos. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

HHH Holiday Shopping Guide 2013

Here's a little ditty to help you stuff the stockings of those you love with bits and bobs from around the globe. 


And here are the links that allow you to buy them without jumping on a plane (though that would be much, much more fun!):





GHURKA CAVALIER II No. 97 - $1,195














When Porter and I travel to foreign lands, we load up on comics and children's books in the native languages - and always get a few for our dad (who has all the Tintins in English and French...and now in Danish, Turkish, German, Spanish and Japanese). So, when I discovered the International Children's Digital Library, I almost screamed with joy. AND - they have a free app - StoryKit - that lets little kids write their own stories for old picture books - or create newfangled tales of their own.

Two of my favorites from the site are Dear Children, the 1954 collection of Dušan Radović's Serbian poems with illustrations from Đorđe Milanović and Selected Fables for Children by Jean de La Fontaine, which includes the original run of the tortoise and hare. The gorgeous book from 1888 was illustrated by M.B. de Monvel. 

(Audio accompaniment by Sufjan Stevens)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Masquerading Menagerie | The Headgear Pt. 2 - The Portupine

For Porter, I became obsessed with her being some kind of bird, and given her lankiness, a flamingo seemed perfect. But the fabric I found cost roughly $1 billion a yard so that would not do. Demoralized, I made a list of the animals whose skins, heads and bits have decorated our apartment and remembered my own obsession with Anglo Indian porcupine quill boxes. Boom! The Portupine was born (speaking of that process, just look up how porcupines mate!).

So, I popped downstairs to Food Town and picked up a few packages of large bamboo shish kabob skewers. We used our leftover wall paint to cover them in white.

Then the fun part started: the stripes! This part is best done with a partner. It's a horrible burden to think of painting three rings around 100 skewers, so, it's best to opt for messy efficiency. Porter's job was to cover her thumb and forefinger in black glittery gunmetal paint, while I twirled the stick.

Each one was done in a matter of seconds - and the intentional imprecision of the lines made them look almost real.

Then came the messier part. I needed a good sturdy base to attach the quills, so again, the plaster of Paris came out. I swaddled her eyes and head in plastic wrap and then applied bandages as neatly as possible. You have to work really fast because it sets up in about 10 minutes.

I dried it over night and then painted the whole thing with the black gunmetal paint.

And then I hot glued on the quills, building out from a center row. After a touch up with the paint to cover the glue bits, she was done! It helps that Porter's 6-feet tall - or eyes could've been lost. But as it was, I was a little jealous (and completely excited!) of how truly simple yet spectacular it turned out - and it took roughly 98% less time than my hive.

Masquerading Menagerie | The Headgear Pt. 1 - The Queen Bee

I've always had a thing for turbans. Yet I never wear turbans. Now was my chance! When would there be a better opportunity for turban wearing than a masquerade ball where we're begging the guests to wear elaborate head gear!?

Too bad animals wear turbans about as often as I do. Yet I couldn't let it go. The turban idea had infested its way into my brain and was digging in. So, looking past all of the extreme beauty and inspiration that nature has to offer, I could only be one thing: a bee. Well, a hive of them - and maybe even the queen. 

So, I ordered up lots of 1-inch upholstery cord and started coiling and sewing. It took almost a week to achieve proper hive form, albeit a bit lumpy (ah, it's more natural-looking that way)...

Amazingly, my head bust guy and I have the same sized noggins, so he was a very good model...

...which was vital when I applied the plaster of Paris shell.

Not too bad.

But these were. The cute realistic bees were sold out everywhere (even the fake ones are risking extinction!), so I had to deal with these little creatures.

...Thankfully, they gussied up fairly well with a new coat of paint and a bend to the wings. After painting the plaster shell with a coppery gold, the hot glue came out. I started placing them in an exploding circle in the center of my forehead, then glued on a rhinestone necklace from Zara to hold them in place - just before scattering a few dozen walkers around the rest of the thing. Miraculously, it came out just like I'd imagined and almost looked like a turban...meant for some kind of queen.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Masquerading Menagerie: The Venue

Porter ventured out to scope a venue space in South Williamsburg and left disappointed and forlorn over the track light-laden white box. "Damn, how great would it be if we could find an old gym, like something from a Wes Anderson movie. Yeah, that would be perfect," she thought.

Then she passed an old church...heard the sound of basketballs. So, she broke in.

And this is what she saw.  

It's Saints Peter and Paul Parish - a working church that also does after school programs (including basketball) and loads of other wonderful work in the community - and a late 19th century architectural treasure.

To us, it was the ultimate find. To the party planners, a catastrophic concept. No power! A horrifically large white wall! 1,345 foot ceilings! But, in the end, they helped us make it work - and it was magical...

Foreshadowing After the Fact: Inspiration for the Masquerading Menagerie

A couple months back, the wonderful folks at Hendrick's Gin contacted me with the most incredible of proposals: plan a party with your sister and we'll cover the costs and soak your friends with gin cocktails. After fair warning that our friends are veritable gin sponges, they somehow allowed us to move forward...and our minds went wild.

Port and I try to throw an elaborate holiday party every two years (see Frontier (2009) and Bavaria (2011)). We have a terrible time doing something within the bounds of typical holiday fare, we have a more terrible time asking (or even considering paying for) help and we need a substantial time to recover (with the last one, had to repaint the whole apartment). So, the concept of caterers, party planners and an abundance of our favorite clear booze was almost overwhelming. We needed a theme of legendary proportions.

I googled and googled and googled. And then hit gold. Louis XIV was the first European monarch to establish menageries. He had two. Early on, he entertained sultans and other heads of state in Vincennes, where leopards viciously fought elephants in a spectacle of violence and death. Then there was the pavilion at Versailles. There, the delicate exotic creatures wandered as living decor, light and lovely as a Ladurée macaron. Bingo. We had our theme:

A night that could've been at the turn of the 18th century...
When the animals inside King Louis XIV's menagerie at Versailles escaped...
and ran wild into the night

In a fit of unnecessary work, I made this little video to tease out the concept. It only premiered as a mysterious Instagram, but here it is in full. A now past foreshadowing of things to come...

Monday, May 13, 2013

We're Having a Tag Sale (a Fancy One) - May 23

After a lot of pacing and internal monologue regarding how many Victorian pith helmets one gal really needs (6, it turns out - not 7 or 8), we gals have had a mini catharsis and are planning a purge. A major, fancy purge. On May 23, the wonderful ladies at One Kings Lane are letting us sell off over 100 of our favorite objects in one of their Tastemaker Tag Sales. There's a Gieves & Hawkes pith helmet (one of the 8), roe antlers, water buffalo horns, loads of art, an Argentine saddle and so many more surprises. It'll be so bittersweet to let these things go - but great to know that so many of the things we've loved have new adventures and lives in store. Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, April 29, 2013

New York Book Signing No. 2 at the ASH NYC Pop Up on Tuesday!

If you couldn't make it to our signing at Anthropologie, we'd LOVE to see you tomorrow night at the ASH NYC pop up on 8th Ave. between West 12th and Jane Streets. ASH is - by far - our favorite interiors shop in Williamsburg and the pop up is glorious. There's even a wicker motorcycle and a crystal ship chandelier. We'll be there from 7 to 9! Cannot wait!

Monday, April 22, 2013

LA Book Signing - May 9!

Port and I will be heading west for our LA book signing on May 9! Art in the Age Craft Spirits will be providing the (wonderful) booze.

Cannot wait to see our favorite West Coasters!

211 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, Calif.

If you can make it, drop me a line at hollister.hovey@gmail.com and I'll be sure you're on the list!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Get Smart

Way back at the turn of the century (1999) at Washington & Lee University, mastering art history meant squinting at row after row of backlit slides. For hours. We got flashes of the masterpieces during class, but from then on out, thumbnails. It seemed insane to look at paintings on that scale (and to schlep to the opposite side of campus just to study), so I just drew quick sketches during class and poured over those (also insane, lazy - and absolutely not the point). Why can't someone just scan these damned things, I thought. 

Similarly, my more academically-minded friends who actually committed to writing theses filled their library coves with books...from other libraries. I didn't like the architecture of our library, so not only did I not have a cove, I avoided the whole place at all costs under the guise that it was impossible to learn while surrounded by cigarette-scented mid-century modern furniture. Looking back, I can't remember checking out a single volume - let alone doing the paperwork required to get a book mailed to me from a college down the road. (I was also majoring in the practical trade-ish field of broadcast journalism where the bar for such things was very very low).

That said, kids these days can almost be as pathetic as I was back then and still soak themselves with more incredible information, original documentation and visuals that would've been possible if I'd poured through all the stacks and slides. And it's just gettin' better.

On April 18, we'll all be able to sit in our beds and access content that covers "the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America's heritage, to the efforts of data of science" when the Digital Public Library of America goes online. How incredible.

While it's still in a growth phase (and might be totally trumped by the DPLA), the Google Art Project gives us high-resolution views of the world's great masterworks...

...and the Darwin Correspondence Project lets us read 5,000 pieces of Charles Darwin's mail...

...and the Association of Cultural Equity lets us listen to all of Alan Lomax's recordings of the tunes folks sang all over the world...

...and the Livestock Marketing Association gives us front row access to the world's greatest cattle auction callers in action (that's for that one, Andy Neiman!).

We're damned lucky. All this is so, so cool (especially now that one of us is sort of acting like a grown up).  You don't even need a library card (though, those are pretty great to have, too).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hope You All Can Come!

Heirloom Modern hit shelves today - and we're celebrating the birth next Thursday. If you're around NYC, please come by Anthropologie in Chelsea Market to say hello - and swig down a few Sage gimlets and Rhuby-champers cocktails from Art in the Age Craft Spirits!

Thursday, April 11
Anthropologie, Chelsea Market (15th Street and Ninth Ave.)
7-9 p.m.

(But shoot me an email at hollister.hovey@gmail.com so we have a good idea of numbers)

 Cannot wait!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Heirloom Modern | The (Partial) Cast of Characters

The first half of Heirloom Modern lays out the family influences, experiences and stories behind the homes of our own immediate and extended family, which, given the number of marriages, might read a bit like a Russian novel (incidentally, a few chapters in, we feature the London flat of our friend Alexa Romanoff - whose family's story actually has filled Russian novels and history books).

We're still lucky enough to have our grandmother around - and to spend time in her ridiculously beautiful classic six on the Upper East Side. Her second husband, Averill Clark, Jr., grew up in Old Westbury on Long Island with a family who loved horses and some of the most stunning objects and paintings you can imagine. So, it's pretty wonderful to see those things dispersed in wildly different settings: his son's home in the English countryside, his daughter's industrial loft in the South Bronx and grandma's place uptown.
As we invaded all these homes, we were lucky enough to trawl through the family photo albums, too, and wow, what treasures. Christopher Clark, Avy's son, had his mother's albums from the 1920s, stacks upon stacks of visual feasts of parties and drinking through England and Scotland's manor houses (even Highclere!).

Here's a little taste - and we've added more on a fun little tumblr site/book companion. It's a lot of Hovey, Lamson, Clark, Hitchcock, Halverson and Jacobs to take in, but the old ones are so great, we thought it was sinful to keep them hidden in albums. 

Above: Carey Clark, Mimi (our grandmother), Lee Hovey King and Peter Hovey in Old Westbury (dad was off at school).

Grandpa Bill (Hovey) with his tan in the South Pacific.

Mimi with her tan and incredible gams and excellent head protection.

Avy's mom, Helen Hitchcock Clark, and a very big fish.

Avy, getting awarded (at St. Paul's School, I believe).

Christopher Clark misbehaving at age 2.

A typical shot from Christopher's mother's albums.

Avy dining to the right of Ike (well, on the left of him in the photo, but near his right arm).

Mom and dad, looking adorable.

Amazon started shipping the book today. You'll be able to pick it up at Anthropologie - and book stores around the country - in about a week! (So excited to see our baby in the wild!)