2019-07-26 by W.M.
T Suggests: Taiwanese Pastries, Art Deco-Inspired Block Prints and More
A Swimwear Line Informed by Professional Athletes
Swimwear, according to the designer Maayan Sherris, has to perform simultaneous tasks that your day-to-day clothes do not: it must both support the body and also move with its contours, all while under water. It’s a challenge that the Parsons graduate eagerly tackled in 2015 during a research project with the Columbia University women’s swim team, for which she translated the athletes’ needs into a line of sensible bikinis and functional one-pieces. “I like that my clothing serves a purpose,” Sherris said about the swimsuit label Babes in Bathers, which she launched in 2016 using her findings from that project. Now, after two years of development, the brand is ready to introduce a more expansive men’s offering that, in keeping with Sherris’s objective, addresses the needs and preferences of real swimmers. “I wanted to make sure I had a comfortable swimsuit that fits really well to the male body,” she said.
Inspired by performance sportswear, the men’s line consists of five styles of swim bottoms made from supple nylons and spandex sourced and sewn in New York. There are more agile and drag-resistant brief and jammer styles, with strong yet comfortable compression, designed with competitive swimmers in mind. But the collection also includes a variety of shorts with different lengths and silhouettes to accommodate any body type, including an electric blue running-short style and a Bermuda-short style with exposed pockets that comes in peach, purple and silver. “I’m trying to cater to those normal guys who are just looking for swimsuits that look good on them,” Sherris said.
For Sherris, any ocean or pool is an opportunity to test out her swimsuits. The designer researches her pieces by talking with communities of athletes about their needs — whether on a trip to Hawaii, where the current collection was photographed, to India, where she interviewed two Olympic male swimmers, or even Montauk, N.Y., where a recent conversation with the area’s surfers inspired her to start developing a rash guard. “Sourcing locally and speaking to the local community is my No. 1 thing,” she said. “It’s crucial to me to have the suit be purposeful and not just pretty.” babesinbathers.com — ALEX TUDELA
Block Prints Inspired by an Art Deco Palace
Hopie and Lily Stockman, the co-founders of the textile studio Block Shop, divide their time between Los Angeles and Jaipur, India, where for one month in the fall and one in spring — “the best two months of the year,” according to the sisters — they work with local artisans to create scarves, pillows, quilts, hand-woven dhurries and woodblock prints on paper. It was while traveling in Indore, a city in west-central India, that they learned about the Manik Bagh (Garden of Rubies) Palace, an Art Deco masterpiece built by the Maharajah of Indore in the 1930s. The palace was decommissioned in the 1970s and its contents sold at auction in Monte Carlo in 1980, but it was once filled with Modernist furniture by the likes of Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer. The Stockmans were particularly struck by the palace’s custom-made Art Deco carpets by the French-Brazilian designer Ivan da Silva Bruhns. “His use of interlocking rectangles, rounded stripes and gridded dots continues to feel groundbreaking in 2019,” Lily explains. The duo took inspiration from da Silva Bruhns’s motifs when designing their latest collection of woodblock prints, made with pigmented inks in a dusky palette of ocher, rose, coral, mauve and rust. The open edition of nine prints are produced by hand in Jaipur by the Stockmans’ longtime collaborators, the designer Priti Pugalia and the master printer Sultan Jatav, who make the paper using pulped cotton upcycled from local textile industry scraps and use carved wooden blocks to apply the small-batch inks. “Some of da Silva Bruhn’s carpets for Manik Bagh still pop up on auction sites from time to time,” says Lily. “I remember seeing one the color of melted pistachio ice cream in a picture of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Paris apartment. I don’t need to own it, I just want to admire it and maybe take a nap on it.” For now, her da Silva Bruhns-inpired print collection, which launches today on Block Shop’s website, will do. blockshoptextiles.com — JAMIE SIMS
From a Beloved Taiwanese Restaurant, a Bakery
In May 2016, the chef Trigg Brown and his friend Josh Ku, a former property manager, opened Win Son in an up-and-coming area of East Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Taiwanese-American restaurant quickly won a legion of devoted fans (both local and not), and securing a table for dinner became — and continues to be — a waiting game that can last over an hour.
Not long after the opening, Brown and Ku, along with Win Son’s general manager, Jesse Shapell, began looking for opportunities to expand the restaurant nearby. “We wanted to create a neighborhood spot but also something complimentary to the restaurant that furthered our goals in promoting Taiwanese-American cuisine,” said Ku. After a year or so of searching for the perfect space, they learned that the owner of the storefront across the street from Win Son was retiring; they took over that space earlier this year and will open their new project, Win Son Bakery, this summer, cater-corner to the main restaurant. “Taiwan has such an interesting mixture of traditional Chinese and Fresh-Japanese influence in its baking culture,” said Brown about the decision to focus on baked goods. The team hired Danielle Spencer, Brown’s old roommate with whom he worked at the restaurant Craft in Gramercy, to be the pastry chef and baker. Her first task was to visit Taiwan to immerse herself in the food scene and gain a deeper understanding of the culture, just as Brown and Ku had done three years before.
The bakery will open officially in mid August, but until then it will serve a limited menu of sweets — including black sesame mochi doughnuts and sweet-potato soft serve with blueberry jam topped with caramelized white chocolate — on Sundays from 11 a.m. until they sell out. (Last week they sold out in 45 minutes.) There will be coffee, too, including a special extra milky cortado named xiao guai guai, meaning “good boy,” and once they open, the pastries will be joined by savory options such as a burger served on milk buns and “chicken boxes,” meals of dry or glazed fried chicken, scallion pancake wedges (instead of your traditional biscuit) and five-spice and cayenne jojo potato wedges. 159 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. — ANGELA KOH
Minimalist Tennis Gear Designed by a Fomer Competitive Player
The former Division I college tennis player Gregg Cohenca founded the sportswear label Jacques in 2017, creating a line of elevated, logo-less athletic basics for men who value subtlety over brashness. “No loud colors or obstructive emblems that feel and look synthetic and overly manufactured,” says the 29-year-old, who lives and works in New York’s Chinatown. The brand’s second capsule collection launched this week and consists of just four pieces: a complete tennis set that includes a moisture-wicking jersey polo shirt and matching pair of shorts, and a lightweight nylon warm-up jacket and pants that come in either midnight blue or white. To mark the occasion, Cohenca traveled to Lisbon, where he worked with the Berlin-based photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz to shoot the collection at the red clay, ’70s-era Clube de Ténis do Jamor stadium court, which is surrounded by Romanesque-style arches and towering conifer trees. To model the pieces, they enlisted Lorenzo Viotti, the 29-year-old artistic director and conductor of Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Orchestra and an avid tennis player. “I watched a rehearsal of his and was floored by the way he moved and responded to the orchestra,” says Cohenca. “Both tennis and conducting require an extremely strong mind-set and physical well-being.” jacquesnyc.com — JOHN WOGAN
An Italian Vacation for Your Skin
Connected to Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel located on a particularly serene stretch of Sicily’s southwestern coast, is an expansive orchard filled with lemon and pomegranate trees, prickly pear cactuses and several thousand olive and orange trees, plus a hearty organic vegetable garden. It’s here that Irene Forte came to source ingredients for her eponymous skin-care line, which includes cleansers, masks, scrubs, serums and more — and will launch in the States on Monday. The second of Sir Rocco Forte’s three children, Irene, 30, is the hotel brand’s wellness director, which means overseeing spas from Edinburgh to St. Petersburg, though Italy holds a special place in her heart (she lived in Sicily for several months while developing the line). For Irene, a self-confessed “skin-care nerd,” developing her own products felt like the natural next step. The concept behind them, she says, was to take the region’s tasty and healthful bounty and create a sort of Mediterranean diet for the skin — there’s a lemon toner, an orange blossom face oil, a prickly pear face cream and a pistachio lip balm, products which were all created using an extracting process similar to freeze-drying that allows raw ingredients to retain their active qualities. Forte also collaborated with the renowned Italian dermatologist Francesca Ferri, so along with plant-derived vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll find hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA and other ingredients naturally found in the skin. “Everything is something our bodies will recognize, hence the diet idea,” she says. Not only that, but the products, which smell heavenly without being overpowering, give those who might not be able to travel there a taste of Sicily. ireneforteskincare.com — SYDNEY RENDE