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Bon Weekend: 24 July 2020

by habituallychic

07 . 24 . 20

I really can’t believe that it will be August next weekend. Times flies when you can’t go anywhere or do anything. I jest of course. We can do things in New York but I have no desire to eat outside with people not wearing masks even if we are in one of the states that have recovered from the Coronavirus. I’m going to continue to social distance as much as possible. I have a few recommendations for this weekend if you plan to do the same or want to get out and about.

We’ve entered Phase 4 of reopening in New York which means that outdoor venues like the New York Botanical Garden and Central Park Zoo have reopened but just the outside exhibits and grounds. You must also reserve a date specific ticket in advance and wear a mask. I walked by the Central Park Zoo a few times on my quarantine walks and the sea lions looked very sad and lonely without any visitors. I’m sure they and every parent in the city are very happy right now.

I’ve really missed museums and art fairs lately so I have been enjoying Gagosian Artist Spotlight Series. Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight Series “highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only. To conclude the series this week, Artist Spotlight, Jenny Saville features a new self-portrait made by the artist to commemorate her fiftieth birthday earlier this year.” What a great work of art to remember this trying time.

In more scandalous news, Jeffrey Epstein’s townhouse at 9 East 71st Street has just gone on sale for $88 Million. I’m all for the steep price since the proceeds will benefit his victims. The property, on the most desirable block on the Upper East Side, was purchased in 1928 by Herbert N. Straus, heir to Isidor and Ida Straus, co-owners of renowned retailers R. H. Macy & Co., commissioned “Society Architect” Horace Trumbauer, who built one of the largest and most luxurious residences of the times. The Herbert N. Straus Mansion as it’s known has a 50 foot-wide by 102.2 foot-deep lot, stands seven stories, and has in excess of 28,000 square feet. Some of the property’s luxuries include 15-foot-tall oak entry doors, imported French-limestone meticulously decorated with carvings, sculpture figures and ornamental iron works. Mr. Straus even transported antiques and fixtures along with “entire 18th-century rooms” from Europe. The mansion would eventually be acquired in 1944 by the Roman Catholic Archbishopric of New York to become an extension of the St. Claire Hospital and in 1962, the mansion was sold to the Birch Wathen School, a college preparatory day school. In 1989, it was purchased for $13.2 million by the billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner who hired architect Thierry Despont and interior designer John Stefanidis to convert the townhouse back into the ultimate private residence. In 1996, Jeffrey Epstein moved in and Les Wexner later transferred the deed to him. Epstein then hired interior designer Alberto Pinto. Whoever buys it will have to hire every energy healer, shaman, and feng shui expert to rid it of all the bad energy of the last 24 years which is why it might be better suited to a cultural institution, consulate, embassy, or gallery. It’s listed by Modlin Group who disappointingly released only one interior photo.

I was supposed to see Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful at the Tribeca Film Festival before it was cancelled so I’m excited that I can now rent it through the Film Forum Virtual Cinema for five days at a cost of $12. Helmut Newton is considered controversial but he was never boring. “I like photographing women who appear to know something of life,” he once said. The German-Australian photographer was known for his iconic portraits of stars like Catherine Deneuve, Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, among others, as he was for his daring fashion photographs that often lacked actual fashions, if you know what I mean. “This documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life’s work – creating provocative and subversive images of women. The film also features Newton’s own home movies, archival footage (including a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag) and, of course, scores of iconic Newton photographs. The result: a wildly entertaining portrait of a controversial genius.” I can’t wait to watch it tonight.  

Have you watched The Alienist yet? The second season just started on Sunday so if not, you have time to watch season one and get caught up. If you can stomach the gruesome bits, you will be rewarded with one of the most intelligent and interesting shows on television. The show begins with by explaining that, “In the 19th-century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be alienated form their own true natures. Experts who studied them were therefore known as alienists.” Today we would call them psychiatrists. Brilliant German actor Daniel Brühl plays the Alienist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler who tries to solve multiple murders in 1896 New York along with his friend John Schuyler Moore, a society man played by Luke Evans, and Sara Howard, a young society woman who becomes Roosevelt’s secretary and the first woman employed by the NYPD, played by Dakota Fanning. The two seasons are based on books by Caleb Carr and could be described a bit as historical fiction since they include the real life characters of Teddy Roosevelt, JP Morgan, William Randolph Hearst, and others. You have to pay attention when you watch because there are so many small details that play a part in the storylines. It’s also pretty amazing that the some of the themes of the show set in 1896 mirror things that are still happening in our world. I highly suggest that you watch the behind the scenes videos of the amazing sets and costumes of The Alienist, as well as interviews with the lead actors, which help you realize why I love this creepy show so much.

The Norstrom Anniversary Sale has been moved from July to August this year but today you can preview the sale and start filling your cart. When you can shop depends on your status so I will keep you posted on the dates and what I will be buying.

Most of the time, I’m home and not even wearing shoes but I still can’t stop buying them. My favorite tan Roget Vivier sandals broke on one of my outings last week so I bought these comfortable slip on Tabitha Simmons laser-cut leather espadrille slides as a place holder until I can get them repaired. I have a pair of her sandals from her collaboration with Johanna Ortiz last year that so also incredibly comfortable that I decided to also purchase the Hermione snake-effect leather point-toe flats (above) on sale to wear with jeans and grey cashmere sweaters this fall. After seeing that all the sandals that Tilda Swinton’s character wears in A Bigger Splash were made by Francesco Russo, I wanted a pair of his sandals for myself. I splurged on his snake-effect leather sandals that I plan to wear with my tan and black dresses. When events start up again, I’m going to be very well dressed.

My skin has looked and felt very blah during quarantine so I recently started using products from Dr. Barbara Sturm. I’m trying to add in one of her products each week so I can tell if any of them are upsetting my skin. So far, I am loving the Lifting Serum and Glow Drops during the day. I forgot to get the Sun Drops which is an SPF 50 serum perfect for summer so I want to try that next. I was also impressed to learn that Dr. Barbara Sturm has an entire line devoted to Darker Skin Tones. Will keep you posted on the other products I have yet to try too.

I feel bad that Hermès launched those $67 lipsticks right before everyone started wearing masks. I myself had stocked up on five tubes of my favorite discontinued lipgloss before the lockdown which was amusing since I have worn lipstick and lipgloss a handful of times in the last four months. Instead, I have been using Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint in Bisou to stain my lips and then a swipe of By Terry Baume de Rose Crystalline Liquid Lip Balm for shine. I would advise against using any products that require you to apply them to your lips with your fingers during this pandemic in case you forgot to wash your hands.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop wearing Le Labo Santal 33 perfume since so many people know me by it but I do like layering other scents with it. I just received a sample of Le Labo Baie 19 and before I read the that it was “inspired by the scent of rain after a long, hot spell”, I thought it smelled like man wearing light cologne after a shower. All of their scents are unisex and I actually prefer the more masculine leaning ones so I think this will be a great addition to my perfume library.

Bon wee-kend!