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Brooklyn Gal

All that Glitters – At Deep Discounts

Diamonds and bargains? Yes, please!

In the 1953 classic Gentleman Prefer Blondes Marilyn Monroe’s character Lorelei Lee avows that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, a sentiment Madonna reiterated decades later in her Material Girl video, a flirty, tongue-in-cheek homage to the ’50s bombshell.

If Lorelei Lee were in the picture today, no doubt she’d buy those rocks for herself (instead of waiting for Prince Charming to do the honors) – and she’d be savvy enough to snag them at a deep discount. In other words, she would go a-shopping online. And she would wait till February when, according to a story in yesterday’s WWD, the exciting new flash-sale site Ajaline launches its revolutionary concept.

What’s in store for bling-seekers: fine jewelry and watches from internationally renowned heavyweights like Buccellati, Lagos and Temple St. Clair at an astounding 30 to 70 percent off retail, with prices ranging from $500 to $50,000.

Ajaline will focus strictly on high-end brands (forget trinkets) and the coveted items will be available, in flash-sale fashion, for limited periods of time.

We here at the Brooklyn Gal look forward to the gilt-y pleasures of shopping – or rather, browsing – on Ajaline’s brilliant new site.

After all, dreaming is still free.


If Santa Shopped Local

She's a beauty! Jas MB black quilted convertible bag at Barneys Co-op

If Santa left his gift buying till the eleventh hour, where oh where would he shop? At some of the Brooklyn Gal’s favorite stores and boutiques in (drumroll…) Brooklyn!

We bet that he would have no trouble at all fitting a Jas MB black quilted handbag with handles and a detachable shoulder strap from Barneys Co-op in his own satchel. Bonus: it’s on sale!

A cute Whit polka dot dress from Bird (great for transitioning into spring) or even Rachel Comey’s penpal-heeled booties are also compact enough to snag and add to the bulging bag.

If time allows, maybe he can swoop by Zoë in Dumbo and peruse the comfy T-shirts and sweaters, which we are always short of.

Or if Old Nick happened to win the lottery (we can dream, can’t we?) we bet that anything he might scoop up at Eva Gentry would make his elf very happy indeed.

And of course if Santa just decided to keep it small, the Brooklyn Gal would love to read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Triology (psst: it’s all boxed and ready to go at Barnes & Noble) or just The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to start…




Numbah One News

Spiked hot chocolate on NY1

We here at the Brooklyn Gal must own up to a recent addiction. Lately we have become NY1 junkies, particularly in the AM when our first cup of Stumptown coffee is just starting to circulate.

Gone are the days when we would spend an hour reading the newspaper while the subway chugged to work. For one thing we no longer commute and for another, NY1 does an outstanding job of covering the day’s major headlines in a matter of minutes. And we are also fans of its Wall Street expert, Annika Pergament. True, we know zip about the stock market, but we really admire her classy professional ensembles and super-chic hairdo. And of course that’s what really counts!

Two more reasons to click on our favorite local news station: its stepped-up food coverage. We’ve recently noticed that Chow contributing editor Alex Van Buren is doing quirky, fun segments, like her recent story on spiked hot chocolate from L.A. Burdick in the Flatiron neighborhood.  And Rachel Wharton, deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn is also taking her place in front of the camera, educating foodies about everything from roof-grown micro greens to Brooklyn-brewed beer.

We’ll keep watching and reporting back to you.

That’s all for now.

Over and out.

Brooklyn Gal


Secrets from La Muse

Jean Seberg knew a thing or two about French style!

Why does French style never fail to intrigue the Brooklyn Gal? It’s not the way French femmes tie their Hermès scarves. Even though we do admit to a bit of scarf envy, having no skill in this area whatsoever, we have no burning desire to learn the ins and outs of wrapping la neck.

Like any fashion lover we revere the big guns such as YSL, Dior and Chanel and we heart Isabel Marant, bien sûr, but our attraction is more than label lust. Stating the obvious, there’s just something about the way Gallic girls put it all together.  They have the knack for turning the most basic pieces like, say, the classic striped tee, into knockout outfits. It’s just a fact.

Which is why we are looking forward to the stateside arrival of La Parisienne, the new book from Inès de la Fressange that’s already causing a stir in her homeland, or at least, at Colette, where it appears to be sold out. (According to Barnes & Noble’s site the book can be pre-ordered now for April delivery in the U.S.)

De la Fressange, as most style observers know, is not only the paragon of chic, she’s also a former runway model and creative consultant to Roger Vivier, so she knows a thing or two about living la viva Parisienne. What’s between the covers? Apparently everything we need to know about channeling the spirit of French chic, from the art of  mixing high- and low-fashion finds to the right way of adding a touch of Parisian style to your home to her favorite places to shop, all straight from la source.

C’est magnifique! Now if only we could zip off to the City of Lights toute suite and pick up our very own copy .


Footwear News – TenOverSix – January, 2009


Ahoy, Matey!

Attention Petit Bateau lovers! Get your French nautical stripes on for the next two weeks at the Petit Bateau sample sale taking place at 219 Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, the former home of long-defunct Living on Seventh. Oui, the Brooklyn Gal already revealed that we are no fans of the sample sale – too much choice, too much pressure, too many damned people! – but this one’s right in our hood and a tad bit calmer, at least when we bopped by on Saturday.

While we heart the sailor striped shirts and snappy cardigans, they’re just the jumping off point for this cotton-centric brand. If you’re willing to rummage through packed racks and topsy-turvy boxes and put up with a bare-bones warehouse feel, you may walk out with cadeaus for all of the little ones on your holiday list, and those petite amis, too.


Fairmont Hotels Magazine – Bermuda story – Winter 2011

Afternoon tea in Bermuda perfectly encapsulates the entire vibe of this island. A pot of Earl Grey and a shrimp and watercress-stu!ed mini-croissant, plus a rum scone with Devonshire clotted cream and lime jam: everything is properly British – yet with a distinct island accent.

Though Bermuda’s stormy beginnings are rife with stories of treasure-laden galleons and plundering pirates, civilized serenity reigns here today, as evidenced by its neat lines of colonial cottages in sherbet shades overlooking the crystalline Atlantic. The 54 square-kilometer (21-square-mile) archipelago is the oldest of the British overseas territories. Yet still, like the Bermudian businessmen I see everywhere wearing smart blazers with colorful knee-socks and the country’s namesake shorts, beneath its orderly Anglo-Saxon-isms, the maverick origins of this place are ever present.

After nibbling on sweets and savories, I take in the sights of the capital city, where my teatime oasis, the resplendent Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotel, is situated. The bustling capital is flush with restaurants and boutiques. Mopeds zip by and cruise ships rest in the ferry terminal. The venerable hotel, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is a beloved fixture of this urban environment. The “Pink Palace,” as it’s known locally, was bestowed its offcial moniker in honor of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, who had extolled the glories of Bermuda as a kind of paradise. True to form, The Fairmont Hamilton Princess has its own dishy history. During World War II, it was intelligence HQ for allied secret agents and served as temporary home to a real-life Commander Bond (reportedly the basis for Ian Fleming’s rogue agent 007).

As the lazy afternoon melts into evening, teatime gives way to happy hour. Now I find those Bermuda-clad %nanciers in relaxation-mode, mingling with women in breezy casual-chic attire while children scamper on the lawn. The live band lets loose with Fleetwood Mac and Coldplay covers, and I get into the local sway, ordering a Dark ’n’ Stormy, the island signature made with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Stormy Ginger Beer. Settling into a seat on the terrace, I cap off the evening by dreamily watching boats breeze past Hamilton Harbour.

The feeling of Bermudian intrigue resonates with me again the next day as I explore the sprawling Fairmont Southampton, a few parishes and an entire mindset away from Hamilton. The country resort, set on the island’s highest point, overlooks the pink-sand idyll known as the South Shore. Here, I join 11th-generation Bermudian Peter Frith and his wife, Chrissy, on the outdoor terrace of the Ocean Club, where we hoist signature Ocean-tinis (vodka, rum and vibrant blue Hpnotiq liqueur). My host (who happens to be the resort’s former director of sales) is descended from legendary seafarers: Christopher Carter, one of two Brits who settled in Bermuda after the shipwreck of their vessel, the Sea Venture, off the east coast in 1609 and Hezekiah Frith, a plucky privateer. “That’s like a legal pirate,” winks Frith naughtily. “The King of England gave them permission to raid any ship with which they were at war.”

My own treasure arrives on a plate: harissa-spiked tuna tartare, and rockfish, in a complex kaffir lime leaf sauce, revealing the worldly palate of Sanjay Leeme, senior chef de partie, whose résumé includes a stint working with a French master chef.

Tableside, the Sri Lankan talent confides that he uses local catch whenever possible and “mixes Asian flavors into European cuisine.” Each bite is as transcendent as the view of towering black rocks over azure water.

By day, the seascape is just as mesmerizing. As I splash along Horseshoe Bay Beach, near the Fairmont Beach Club, the ocean, like the Miles Davis classic, is a harmony of blue in green. I saunter along the pinkish, powdery sand of one of the world’s most photographed coastlines, then up the dunes, encountering dramatic coves that create pockets of privacy dotted with sun worshippers and shutterbugs. This beach reminds me of the dreamy interlude I enjoyed at the luxe Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Southampton: the smooth stones used in my hot-stone massage were black like the island rock; the rose- and cedar-scented oil reminiscent of Bermuda’s heady flora. A facial with sea algae and the invigorating salt used in a body scrub are both inspired by this sea and this air. A bikini-clad adventuress ambles atop a striated black boulder, waving her arms. She’s the queen of the world, for a moment in time.

Another sensory encounter awaits in the Town of St. George, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in St. George’s parish. The town crier is off duty as I walk past King’s Square and follow the narrow, cobblestone streets, past storybook houses, to Stewart Hall. Here I find The Bermuda Perfumery, which has been making its own distinctive fragrances under the Lili Bermuda brand since 1928.

Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, the French-Canadian owner and master perfumer, leads me to the maceration room, where essential oils commingle in enormous bottles, then to an atmospheric, cedar-beamed room boasting perfume-making paraphernalia from bygone eras and jars stu!ed with orrisroot, oak moss and musk seeds. As I sniff paper blotters infused with single notes, Ramsay-Brackstone explains how she strives to capture the island’s “lush greeneries and flowers, the ocean, the fruits,the wind, the sand and the sun” in her artisan fragrances. One of her latest is South Water, a coconut milk, sea salt and juicy guava blend. “I call it Liquid Bermuda because to me it smells like the beach. It’s incredibly sultry and flirty.”

I dab it on my wrist; like Bermuda itself – from its blush-hued beaches to its unconventional cuisine – it’s perfection, with just a hint of wild abandon.


On the Dot

Chili Williams, aka The Polka Dot Girl

Given our weakness for all things retro, it’s no wonder that we’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for spring’s perky polka dot trend. We’re over the moon about Moschino’s sweet vintage-inspired blouses and kicky pants and Rebecca Taylor’s downright dotty see-through styles, including a red polka-dot dress and a filmy jacket and long, sweeping skirt. And while we never gave MaxMara more than a passing glance before, we’re almost giddy about the label’s one-piece shorts number. After all, it’s black -and-white and awesome all over.

Minnie Mouse rocks the dots

Polka dots have been turning heads for decades, of course. Minnie Mouse did the dots proud in the 1930s while pin-up girl Chili Williams put the polka-dot bandeau bikini on the map in 1943. Fashion designer Norman Norell cultivated a following with his daywear collection of blouses and shirtwaist dresses, in stripes, checks and yes, darling dots. And, hello, who could forget Marilyn Monroe in all of her dotty glory in the 1955 sensation The Seven Year Itch? (Yes, she really did wear other costumes besides that sexpot white halter dress).

Marilyn Monroe in va-va-voom dots

Let’s face it: trends come and go, but dots endure!