Christie’s Auction, South Kensington, London

Kinross House, Scotland and Property from the London Residence of Mrs. Winston Spencer Churchill

Furniture, paintings, portrait miniatures, silver, dishes and other household treasures from two historical properties – Kinross House in Scotland and the London residence of Mrs. Winston Spencer Churchill, goes ‘under the hammer’ in  London on 30th March.  Sir William Bruce, the great classical architect built Kinross House, and the London townhouse where the Churchill’s lived was designed by George Basevi, John Soane’s famous pupil. Mrs. Churchill’s husband was Randolph Churchill, the only son of Sir Winston Churchill, and Randolph’s wife was the glamorous Pamela Harriman. There are hundreds of beautiful, useful objects to enhance one’s home, each with the authenticity of a magnificent heritage.

This auction is an opportunity to capture an historical item, so save the date for this special sale – you could place a winning bid! Wednesday 30 March 2011 at 10.30 am. Christie’s South Kensington 85, Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LD www.christies.com JG

Photos: Christie’s Images 2011. Top: Portrait Miniature Lot. 91 from Kinross House; above, Lot. 190, pair of Louis XV Style Beech Bergeres From the London Residence of Mrs. Winston Spencer Churchill.

Madame Grès

Paris Retrospective

The eternally elegant, always turbaned Madame Grès, is truly one of the great masters of Couture.  Her designs are carved like sculpture.  In fact, she wanted to  be a sculptor, and she constantly said, throughout her long and productive life (1903-1993) that “working with fabric or stone is the same thing.” She was born Germaine Krebs, and fashioned herself Madame Grès, a woman whose sense of purity, simplicity and  timelessness, is still an inspiration for couturiers and designers today. Madame Grès, Couture at Work, is the first Paris retrospective of this grande dame of style.  More than eighty of her luxurious designs, along with original photos and drawings are on display at the Musée Bourdelle www.bourdelle.paris.fr. Her creativity and  figure-moulding drapery, plus her choice of superb fabrics are uncompromising.  For fashion and social history enthusiasts, this exhibition is a must. 25 March-24 July 2011.  The Museum is closed on Mondays.

Galliera hors les murs au musée Bourdelle Madame Grès, la couture à l’œuvre, 25 mars – 24 juillet 2011. Photo: Grès, Robe du soir, vers 1947. Fourreau à dos nu triangulaire. Jersey de soie noir. © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet.

Daniel Barenboim at La Scala, Milan

Legendary Pianist Performs Schubert

Daniel Barenboim is not only an amazing musician, pianist and conductor, he is an amazing person.  At the age of ten, he gave his first international solo concerts in Vienna and Rome. His conducting debut was in 1967 in London, with the Philharmonia Orchestra.  For eighteen years, he conducted at Bayreuth, the prestigious summer festival devoted to Richard Wagner. Oxford University bestowed an honorary doctorate in 2007, and he is renowned for the creation of the Western-Eastern Orchestra, with the Palestinian literary scholar, Edward Said. Young musicians in this ensemble perform internationally every summer.  Barenboim’s book Everything is Connected reveals his “raison d’être” and belief that music brings people together. Run, don’t walk, to get a ticket for this evening of piano music by the acclaimed maestro.  His fluid style and skillful interpretations are memorable.  Sunday 13 March JG www.teatroallascala.org

March issue: reporting from London, Paris…and Milan

 

Welcome to our third  edition where we take a style journey to Milan, as we are visiting MIDO,  the largest exhibition of all optical fairs which takes place in March each year. So a selection of our stories this month focus on Italy.

Meanwhile, due to enthusiastic feedback from our new readers, we will be posting regularly throughout March..we will be picking out some of the exciting pieces we preview in Milan, as well as reporting on what we believe are some of the treats in store for Spring/Summer 2011.

Spring has arrived, long may it last

‘Trees’ Series – Theo by Tim Van Steenbergen

24th March, 2011 Here is one my favourite new sunglass collections for Spring/Summer…the ‘Trees’ Series from Theo by Tim Van Steenbergen. The radiant colours are inspired by nature and the metal temple refers to the structure and textured patterns of a tree trunk. This concept is reflected in the names of the sunglasses…Oak, Beech, Pine, Maple Spruce and Ash.

Belgian fashion designer Tim Van Steenbergen (www.timvansteenbergen.com) has created a clothing collection which tells the story of “the lady gardener,” who loves nature and likes to be a part of it. The designer is inspired by the way flowers and plants move and grow.  The same ideas are developed in the ‘Trees’ Series. Just as in the fabrics, various natural colours reappear in the glasses – for example, green and brown. He also refers to natural materials such as horn, wood and marble. Sparkling floral colours such as red, purple and coral complete the range of colours.

To complement the luxurious design of the series, Theo has chosen Zeiss sun lenses for quality UV protection. The lenses feature a “rock-hard” 5-layer antireflection coating. A very special addition to a very creative and beautiful collection. CN

www.theo.be

Anne et Valentin

Trend Watch: Round is here to stay

22nd March 2011 After viewing the new collections in Milan this month, I realised that the round styles that are having a revival just now are likely to be here for some time. We have reviewed a number of special interpretations of this shape earlier this month, and since then I’ve been looking out for more ideas on how to wear this look today…one of the brands that has incredible images of French women in designs on this theme is the very chic French label Anne et Valentin.

This memorable photograph (above) shows beautifully the way in which this French company has captured a design of the past with a strong retro flavour and brought it into the present. The frame featured here is called Buren; it is a totally brilliant statement design, that converts the intellectual overtones of this shape into glamour and style. To see more inspirational imagery from the look book by Anne et Valentin, including many soft, feminine oval and round shapes for 2011/12, visit the website www.anneetvalentin.com CN

Persol Roadster

A Limited Edition from the legendary sunglass brand

19th March 2011 Inspired by the Roadster sports car and its details, such as the rounded shapes of the car’s air vents, the Persol Roadster is a new release available in two models (GT and TF) and five colours. It is an aviator in acetate with a special riveted metal feature on the top of the front piece which ties in with the classic metal hinge. A sturdy design with the traits you’d expect from a Persol classic, each of these is said to take around 30 days to produce and undergoes “between thirty-five and thirty-seven manual steps” before completion. I have popped in to David Clulow today to take a look at the style – the combination of classic Persol features with new contemporary design details plus the Photo-Polar (polarized/photochromic) lenses works well. To get a feel for this frame, and to view it from all angles visit the link www.persol.com/uk/collections/roadster/ft. Retailing at £234.00 in David Clulow. CN

TD Tom Davies

Couture Horn Collection

17th March, 2011 TD Tom Davies has launched a couture eyewear collection in one of nature’s most beautiful and luxurious materials – natural buffalo horn.   This is an exclusive service for made-to-order glasses. A unique aspect is that customers can select their own pieces of horn from which the glasses will be created. Taking approximately eight weeks to handcraft, the finished product is the epitome of original customization.  Angelina Jolie and Kevin Spacey are among Davies’ fans.  It’s easy to understand why! In the UK, the frames are available exclusively at Gregory & Seeley, 63 Fleet Street in London (www.gregoryseeley.co.uk), or fittings are available by private appointment at TD Tom Davies  +44 (0)208 392 0555. Launching this week at New York’s fashion and medical eyecare event, Vision Expo East (www.visionexpoeast.com).  www.tdtomdavies.com JG

TheOphabet

The name says it all

15th March, 2011 The eyewear company Theo has given a whole new meaning to the word round….with these adventurous collectible spectacles…known as theOphabet, featuring capital letters….it’s an irrestistible design which we love for its eccentricity combined with technical prowess. For more awesome, eccentric styles from Belgium and lots of wearable styles too, go to www.theo.be

Colour trend: Spring greens

Cutler & Gross

13th March, 2011 Green is an up and coming colour, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more and more of it next season (A/W 2011/12)….but for now, I have picked out this refreshing Spring green in high-quality acetate from the UK’s Cutler & Gross. Their ‘Mermaid and the Officer’ collection for S/S 2011, which is inspired by “a beautiful seductive sea siren” includes this classic shape (model 1009) which gets a makeover in translucent seaweed green. It’s a fresh alternative to more traditional tones, and a perfect transitional style to take you from Spring into Summer. For more information (and for the relaxing sound of seagulls on the beach when you click onto the site, part and parcel of the ‘Mermaid and the Officer’ story), visit www.cutlerandgross.com CN

J.F. Rey in New York

French brand opens own store 

6th March, 2011 The French spectacle brand J.F. Rey has opened an optical boutique in Manhattan this Spring…run by a well-known optician called Joel Name who has been working in the business for many years. The shop can be found at 448 West Broadway, New York NY 10012.

Created by designer Jean-Francois Rey, J.F. Rey frames have a unique look about them – the designs are very trendy, often quite futuristic in shape and concept and feature very accomplished detailing. All J.F. Rey frames are produced in France. The company also produces a label called BOZ, which is very feminine and decorative, again with a unique touch typical of the J.F.Rey design studio. CN

www.jfrey.fr

Mido 2011, Milan

An Oasis of Fabulous Frames

Innovation, creativity, superb  shapes and a cornucopia of colour were all part of the MIDO scene, the Italian eyewear exhibition.  Clodagh and I scurried from designer to designer, delighting in why eyewear is such a sought after accessory.  Cat eye shapes dominate, from flirty models like Salt’s Annabel (www.saltoptics.com), to Tom Ford’s glamorously dramatic sunglass interpretation, see above (www.tomford.com).

Annabel by Salt

As spring moves into summer, perfectly round little shapes will be apparent in ophthalmic frames, while bold and striking designs continue to feature in sunglasses.  The aviator is revamped in flattering variations for men and women, particularly at Tod’s Eyewear.  White frames are a big style statement, perfect for sunny, summery beaches and holiday playgrounds. Crystal frames are also prominent, while vivid colours provide the wow factor. The fabulous desert colours of Palm Springs, California inspire Robert Marc.  So watch this space as we bring you continuous updates from this international salon, with news when these exciting collections will be in the shops. JG

Hall of Frames ’11

Eyewear designers exhibit in stunning Lucerne venue

9th March, 2011 – Thirty-one prestigious eyewear designers will present their newest collections this weekend – 13 and 14th March – in the elegant Théatre La Fourmi in Lucerne, Switzerland. The international line up includes TD Tom Davies from England, Götti Switzerland, Blue Magic Eye from Italy, Americans Paul Frank and Barton Perreira, Face à Face Paris, Rolf Spectacles from Austria and Lindberg from Denmark, among others.  The show is open to eyewear professionals, and organiser Nathanaël Wenger says, “We love independent designer glasses, and this passion is the reason that we organise this show.” JG  www.hallofframes.ch

HOF – Hall of Frames, Théatre La Fourmi, Tribschenstrasse 61, 6005 Lucerne

Lovely Streams

One to watch: Reiz

London 7th March, 2011 The German brand REIZ, which specialises in handmade acetate frames, has launched a new line, Lovely Streams, a selection of very refined, very light designs in transparent smoky hues. These are at the top of the league if you want a comfortable, timeless yet contemporary acetate style that feels soft and luxurious making it pleasurable and easy to wear. The colours of this line are indicative of the key colours for Autumn 2011/12. Model Neckar (named after the German river in Baden-Wurttemberg) in the stunning light amber shade pictured has a very 1970s feel about it in keeping with clothing trends and the tan/mustard colour palette. If you want to find REIZ in the UK, try Auerbach & Steele (King’s Road) www.auerbach-steele.com and Spex in the City (Covent Garden) www.spexinthecity.com. www.reiz.net CN 

Claire Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses / Claire Goldsmith Legacy

Claire is her usual bubbly self when I speak to her for this feature before the optical fair Mido. She is about 7 months pregnant with her second child, but despite having to delay a few long-haul travel arrangements, she is as busy and excited as ever about business and new projects, as well as looking forward to being a mum of 2! “I feel like I’m having my third baby! The business is so important to me, and I am very protective about it and every new step we take,” she explains. Claire Goldsmith is the great granddaughter of Oliver Goldsmith, one of the most influential designers of spectacles and sunglasses, who designed for a mass of celebrities, from 1926 through to the 70s and 80s…Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn (the Audrey style “Manhattan” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s has just been re-released) and Michael Caine…and the list goes on and on. Claire opened Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses in 2005 and now has her own flagship store in the hub of London’s Notting Hill. The newly renovated shop offers the full offering of OG styles, plus the latest additions, including Claire’s first brand in her own name, Claire Goldsmith Legacy. It also houses the archives of Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses, including a huge, unique collection of frame styles which span decades of eyewear history and fashion.

Claire Goldsmith Legacy – classic with a twist

Launched in 2010, CG Legacy is a collection of spectacles designed by the new team Claire has put together; it’s the expression of their enthusiasm for eyewear, born out of working with the OG archive, but embodying their own new design ideas in the present day. “We launched Legacy in 2010. I felt it was time I had my own line after many years dedicated to perfecting the reissue of OG vintage classics. I have the same DNA as my great grandfather but we are not the same person, so it was time to put my own mark on eyewear with my own line. We will have a total of 20 styles in the range from this March, 6 of these will be launched in Milan at Mido. We are growing Legacy at a calm, steady rate. It suits a slightly younger customer than the pure vintage OG concept, with its colours which are fun, and the designs which are really out there! I am working on new materials for Legacy, I am exploring different metals and titanium for the first time, it’s really a new departure for us and an evolving one. Continue reading “Claire Goldsmith”

Aviator (817)

Chopard

The exquisite world of Chopard includes dazzling jewels, luxurious watches, beautiful pens and sublime eyewear. The independent, Swiss family owned firm has been creating magnificent collectibles since 1860. In recent years, frames were added, and the result are designs that inextricably link eyewear with aspects of couture jewellery. This particularly sporty-chic frame for men features a dashing aviator shape in gold-plated metal, with a tyre-tread motif on both the bridge and the temple. The crafted precision utilised in Chopard jewellery and watches is applied to the frames. The results are stunning. If your aspirations to be a Formula One victor remain only in your dreams, with these glasses, you can still look the part! JG www.chopard.com

Brighton

Leisure Society

Timelessness, durability, craftsmanship and luxury all come together in Shane Baum’s Leisure Society eyewear collection. The designs are a tribute to Shane’s attention to detail and desire for perfection. Each frame is created as an heirloom piece, individually numbered and handmade.  Brighton is a particularly debonair men’s frame, a dashing aviator, in pure titanium that is then plated in 12k, 18k, or 24k gold.  Enamel touches are finely etched on the nosepiece and temples. Shane is a Southern California based designer with a very international outlook on style and design.  Find out more at www.leisure-society.com Or view these frames which are new arrivals in the UK – exclusively at the Kirk Originals store, 6 Conduit Street, London, W1. JG

Attic Safari

Lumete Eyewear

New York based Lumete Eyewear is a newcomer to the eyewear scene. Clara Herrera has had a life-long passion for eyewear, and Barbara Warren harboured entrepreneurial dreams.  So last summer, they joined forces to create Lumete Eyewear, a luxury, handmade brand for women, by women. The collection is crafted in beautiful materials, and colours with mystery and allure.  My favourite is Attic Safari in Turquoise Coast, a curvaceous acetate frame in gracious tones of turquoise and bronze.  Lumete’s signature symbol, a silver lily icon, is embedded into the temple. These frames are a welcome addition to  eyewear and we eagerly await future designs.  They are not yet available in Europe, but we hope they will be – soon! Styles can be ordered  online at www.lumete.com JG

Bone Polisher

Chrome Hearts

Aviator shaped sunglasses are experiencing a renaissance this season in exciting materials with luxurious embellishments.  A perfect example is Bone Polisher from Chrome Hearts. A 3D titanium punch-out rim front highlights the fluid aviator shape. The glossy black acetate front and tortoiseshell sides are accented with sterling silver, including a wrapped cross silver motif on the temple tips.  This frame is extremely chic with its understated, intrinsic beauty. Chrome Hearts is an American brand with a strong European following, and  their frames can be found in Paris at Les Plus Belles Lunettes du Monde www.lesplusbelleslunettesdumonde.com and in Rome at Monocle Vergerio, Via de Campo Marzio N. 13. www.opticalshopinternational/com JG

Katya

Götti Switzerland

Separating me from acetate requires a really amazing frame.  Sven Götti did it! The moment I tried on the Katya sunglasses, I realised the enjoyment to be found in wearing titanium. This is a feel-good frame – the high square shape is extremely graceful, and the lenses are a delicate shade of violet. An additional asset is the magical “Spin & Stow” temple, with its fully integrated hinge that can spin. A simple movement to revolve the temples, and the sunglasses become extremely flat and readily slide into a case or your pocket (see our January reviews, where we feature model Larry, we are both fans!). These frames are so enjoyable to wear, that getting accustomed to a new lens prescription was achieved without problem. Götti frames are available at the sleek, chic Lucerne boutique Götti & Niederer www.gotti-niederer.ch and in Barcelona at Soler Centre Visual www.solercentrevisual.com JG

Götti Switzerland www.gotti.ch

Factory One

Anne et Valentin

Specs with round eye shapes have been enjoying a revival and continue to do so this Spring, and this pretty shape from the French label Anne et Valentin shows how fun and contemporary they can be. All my choices this month are based on the classic round vintage shape (also known as a P3!)  that has an intellectual yet playful design and works just as well for women as for men.

The Factory models from Anne et Valentin are inspired by Andy Warhol and his New York Factory studio. This particular acetate design has a round shape that is slightly flattened at the top; the design has a nice handmade quality, adding to the vintage note. Colour choices include black, a rich red and a lovely classic tortoise. CN

www.anneetvalentin.com

1224

Lindberg

Danish spectacles company, Lindberg have an Acetanium collection, from which this lovely shape has been released. Acetanium, as the name suggests, was designed by Lindberg to refer to their collection which combines acetate and titanium, to create very light, modern looking frames which are flexible and hard-wearing. It’s a versatile collection which has become increasingly influenced by the lure of vintage, and it is an excellent place to look for very wearable, round spectacle shapes. As far as Lindberg’s model 1224 goes, a lovely old-fashioned round front is combined stylishly with a contemporary temple which puts the modern titanium on show. There are almost invisible, perfectly formed, small medical silicone nose pads for a good, comfortable fit; these also prevent the nasty red pressure marks around the nose that some poorly designed or ill-fitting specs can leave. CN

www.lindberg.com

Cinquante+1

Theo

A round model that is, as they say themselves, totally in keeping with Theo tradition. It has a keyhole nose and decorative rivets in the shape of three little balls, filled with epoxy resin. This model comes from a line called VinGtage by this exciting Belgian eyewear design company, which is inspired by the past but created in a modern way, using high quality titanium in stunning flashy colours such as fuchsia, turquoise and bright green. The titanium is very light to wear, although the design looks quite heavy or chunky – it’s a clever trick! Comfort is also at the top of the list here, and so the sidepieces are flexible and easy to adjust for that all-important perfect fit. CN

www.theo.be

Special Edition TF5174

Tom Ford

Tom Ford has released a Limited Edition of four frames for men, which are based on vintage designs with a minimal yet highly functional  execution. The TF5174 comes in black acetate (or havana), features metal details which perfectly enhance the overall design. A high-set nose is curved slightly to echo the frame’s 30s inspiration. A ‘T’ symbol on the temple is a discreet reminder that this is a Tom Ford design. This a sophisticated frame for the smart male eyewear connoisseur, anyone who’s wearing it I’d love to see how it looks?….Available in the UK at Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. CN

www.tomford.com

Reverse 1

Kata

The US label Kata has created a group of frames called Reverse…which is based on the idea of turning the hinge of a frame inside out. By exposing the connection between the titanium and acetate on an inverted hinge, an ordinary design element has been turned into something extraordinary. The Reverse concept appears for two groups of frames; a vintage inspired one, from where we highlight model Reverse 1, this minimal metal style. And a more contemporary series of frames featuring modern rectangles and a semi-rimless design with top bar. Kata Eyewear is a luxury sunglass and spectacle brand from the US, produced by a company called Legacie in the US. In Europe, Kata can be found at the following opticians: in Germany, Private Eye, e.K., Wiesbaden; in Austria, Optik Hopffer, Innsbruck (www.optik-hopffer.at) and in Herisau, Switzerland, try Wuersch Optik. …….CN

www.kataeyewear.com

In A White Box, Strà, Veneto, Italy

Avant-garde store conjurs up some exciting surprises

There are multifarious reasons to visit Venice – the beauty of the Grand Canal, immortalised by Caneletto, Guardi and other notable painters: the illustrious La Fenice, the opera house intricately woven with Venice’s past, and the splendour of Basilica San Marco, a noble reminder of the city’s Byzantine connection. The amazing history of this region moves inland as well.  Creating its own modern day legend is In A White Box, an electric, avant-garde optical boutique in Strà, 30km from Venice. Situated on the gracious Brenta Canal, and fabled for the luxurious Villa Pisani, with its Tiepolo-frescoed ceiling, the town was selected by In A White Box founder, Nico Vettore so as “to enter into a new way of conceiving optics.” This Vettore has accomplished – with a highly original boutique all in white that serves as a backdrop and art form for the 110 square metre shop.  The interior is a blank canvas, where frames become precious objects for customers to admire and try on.  You may find frames decorously strewn atop a hard-back chair that is swathed in a white sheet. The concept of “surprise” is evident in the surroundings as well as the crème de la crème of eyewear designers – including Oliver Goldsmith, Blue Magic Eye, Dita, Ic! Berlin, Orgreen, Mykita, and Belgian designer Martin Margiela.

If you are in the Venice area, take a side trip to visit this fresh and imaginative optical boutique.  The magic of Venice continues inland! JG

www.inawhitebox.it

Milan

My favourite haunts in the fashion capital

With this edition of Eyestylist, we launch our City Guides section – highlights taking place in various European cities each month that include art, music, and auctions, as well as restaurant and hotel recommendations and other news. This month, we journey to Milan.  Often labelled as a bustling industrial metropolis, this doesn’t really do justice to this city and its fascinating history. Throughout the centuries, Milan has experienced great heights, and sunk to ruins, always rising again.

Milan has certainly risen to a major fashion capital, and Italian names are equated with state-of-the art designs in clothing and accessories. Explore the style and shopping delights of Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11, and Corso Como (noted in Design & Inspiration). For a relaxing break, enjoy a drink or lunch in the charming Corso Como Café, with a menu that offers delicious choices.

Milan Attractions

Three splendid structures are intricately linked with Milan: The Duomo, Teatro alla Scala and Villa Reale. Milan and The Duomo are inseparable – their histories entwined since 1386, the date when construction began. However, it took until the early 19th century to finish this Gothic splendour, when under Napoléon’s dictate, they completed what is now the world’s third largest cathedral. Another exquisite church to visit is Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo de Vinci’s masterpiece Last Supper is on display.

La Scala

Music and Milan are also synonymous. Teatro alla Scala rose from the site of Santa Maria della Scala, a church built in 1381, and how La Scala was named. The opera house opened in 1778, and for over two hundred years, has attracted the grandest names in operatic voices and conductors, including Arturo Toscanini, to the present Principal Conductor, Daniel Barenboim. This month, the operas performed include Puccini’s Tosca, with Welshman Bryn Terfel singing Scarpia on 6 March. Nab a ticket if you can!  Other Tosca dates are 2, 4, 23 and 25 March. Death in Venice, by English composer Benjamin Britten is performed on 27, 29 and 31 March. The Theatre Museum, part of the La Scala building, has a wonderful array of paintings and costumes connected to La Scala’s history, a grand source of information for fashion historians, as well as music lovers. www.teatroallascala.org

La Scala, Milan

 

Villa Reale,

Art aficionados will revel in the Neo-Classical beauty of Villa Reale, built in 1790, and where Napoleon lived in 1802.  Nowadays, this magnificent villa, houses Milan’s Modern Art Gallery. The stunning collection includes superb paintings and sculptures from Canova, Cremona, Ranzoni and others, on display in this beautifully preserved building. The Grassi Art Collection can also be seen here, with paintings by 19th and 20th century artists, including Gauguin, Corot, Van Gogh and Cézanne. The gardens are delightful and well worth a stroll. www.gam-milano.com

Villa Reale - Comune di Milano, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan

 

Osteria Stendhal, Via Ancona, 1

Clodagh introduced me to this restaurant, and it was an immediate favourite. Now each time that we are in Milan, we have dinner there, joyously throwing caution and calories to the wind, and indulging in tempting Italian specialities. The name is a tribute to Marie-Henri Beyle, better known for his pen name, Stendhal, the writer. Although French born, Stendhal lived in the city and was Milanese at heart. So in a spirited, convivial environment, you can feast on Italian specialities, often with a twist, like pasta with prawns, blue cheese and black truffle. Meat and seafood dishes are lovingly prepared; one of the best is Sicilian swordfish with taggiashe olives. The wine selection offers Italian delights, including the smooth Tuscan wine Col di Sasso.

Osteria Stendhal

 

The garden is the place to lunch or dine during spring and summer. Be sure to book!  www.osteriastendhal.it

Hotel Diana Majestic, Viale Piave, 42

The Diana Majestic (pictured at top under title) is my Italian home-away-from-home.  I first stayed in the hotel more than twenty years ago, and first impressions are lasting. Sipping a smooth café macchiato in the wisteria-scented garden certainly had much to do with that favourable assessment.  However, so did the pleasant rooms, (some overlooking the garden) the very friendly and helpful staff, and the superb service. In 1998, the Diana Majestic was totally renovated, and the good news is that everything that was already great, just got better – rooms with high-speed internet service, a CD player and other gracious amenities. The h club>diana bar is where style setters gather every evening, and the restaurant has, for me, the best, melt-in-the-mouth risotto in Milan. The beds and pillows are sumptuous, so sweet dreams are assured. JG www.sheraton.com/dianamajestic

Canadian Crafts

Spectacle Eyeworks, Vancouver, British Columbia

Milan, 6th March, 2011 When I lived in Canada, memorable artistic moments included the discovery of the country’s Native design. The extraordinary totem poles, particularly outstanding in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, are the inspiration for wood frames by Spectacle Eyeworks. Each frame is crafted from sustainable, certified Canadian maple wood. The frames are amazingly lightweight, as they are placed on a rimless wire mount behind the wooden front piece. Expertly carved fish, miniature Indians and other motifs from authentic totem poles are replicated on the temples, sculpted, and then the wood is polished. The frames truly are a work of art! JG www.spec-eyeworks.com