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Roadside Chic in Santa Barbaraâ€™s Desert Country
The salt flats and wildflower fields of Carrizo Plain National Monument in Santa Barbara Countyâ€™s remote high desert are part of the spectacular scenery accessible from Cuyama Buckhorn, a roadside motel-cum-wilderness resort thatâ€™s become a favorite base camp for explorers of the areaâ€™s natural beauty. Located nearly three hours northeast of Los Angeles in the historic town of New Cuyama, it first opened in 1952 and was purchased three years ago by Ferial Sadeghian and Jeff Vance of the design firm iDGroup, who reimagined the property with 21 guestrooms decorated with midcentury-modern furnishings. The latest additions include an outdoor theater and screening area, an open-air cooking school and cocktail bar, an alfresco dining space in an intimate greenhouse and a trifecta of exterior spa facilities: heated pool, Jacuzzi and barrel sauna. Chef Daniel Horn, formerly of Aman Resorts, serves hearty farm-to-table dishes like smoked pulled pork tacos on handmade tortillas with sides of Santa Maria pinquito beans and housemade spicy pickles at the Buckhorn Restaurant & Bar. cuyamabuckhorn.com.
Last year, the Myanmar-born, London-based designer Kerhao Yin was tapped to spearhead the relaunch of Vaara, a line of layering pieces that was founded by Tatiana Korsakova and began with a single style: finely made color-block leggings. Having done stints under Consuelo Castiglioni at Marni and Phoebe Philo at CÃ©line, Yin was well suited to lead the minimalistic line into its next chapter, with a new wave of pieces that sit at the nexus of sporty daywear and modern luxury. The contents of Vaaraâ€™s winter 2021 collection, his second with the brand, are divided into â€œBodyâ€ and â€œDayâ€ and hew to a â€™70s-inflected palette of earthy browns and oranges. The former includes bra tops and bike shorts made of recycled technical fabric and eco-friendly yarn; the latter, a long merino knit tank dress and an ivory-colored Japanese poplin down jacket. All of it is made in Italy. â€œI want comfort in a more elegant way,â€ says Yin. For more proof, see the capsule collection of intarsia blankets featuring silhouetted figures, a collaboration with the artist Rosie McGuinness crafted by Norwegian wool masters RÃ¸ros Tweed, that Vaara launched earlier this year. vaara.com.
An Artistic Free Spirit Gets Her Due
The pioneering Lebanese artist Huguette Caland died in 2019, at the age of 88, after a fertile five-decade career producing paintings, drawings, sculpture and fashion. Now the Drawing Center has mounted the first-ever museum exhibition of her oeuvre in the U.S., bringing together over 100 works on paper and canvas as well as caftans, sculptures and notebooks. The daughter of Bechara El-Khoury, postcolonial Lebanonâ€™s first president, Caland moved to Paris in 1970, at age 39, to pursue her art, leaving behind a husband and three children. There she made erotic line drawings of lovers, lips and vulvas; a series of stunning semi-abstract paintings suggestive of corporeal close-ups titled â€œBribes de Corpsâ€ (â€œBody Partsâ€); and pictorially embroidered caftans. These caught the eye of Pierre Cardin, who in 1978 invited her to design a line of the traditional garments with him. Caland responded by transposing her painterly themes onto them, cheekily illustrating the caftans with breasts, pubic hair and buttocks. â€œHuguette Caland: TÃªte-Ã -TÃªteâ€ is on view through Sept. 19 at the Drawing Center, drawingcenter.org.
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One Musicianâ€™s MÃ©lange
After finishing his debut album, â€œDue North,â€ earlier this year, and being unable to tour to support it, the Kansas City-based musician Liam Kazar took a different act on the road: Isfahan, a pop-up restaurant inspired by his familyâ€™s Armenian heritage and the regional flavors encountered during their diasporic journey through Syria, Lebanon and France. A self-taught cook, Kazar reconnected with the craft during the pandemic. â€œIt became my favorite way to interact with people, to have them over for dinner and cook for them,â€ he says. Before long, he was doing summer events in the Catskills and Berkshires, creating herb-stuffed Armenian hand pies; pomegranate-walnut stew with beef; and fereni, rosewater pudding with fig preserve and a pistachio-and-graham-cracker crust. Now Isfahanâ€™s evolved into a local meal-delivery and catering service in the Midwest. Meanwhile, â€œDue Northâ€ was released by Mare Records just last week, a winning midtempo confection of country, funk and New Wave featuring chunky guitars, celestial synths and sinuous pedal steel and anchored by Kazarâ€™s sincere but laid-back vocals. (No tour dates yet, alas.) â€œDue Northâ€ is available for download at woodsist.com/product/liam-kazar; eatisfahan.com.
I didnâ€™t know I was still searching for the perfect handbag â€” understated but eye-catching, tasteful but luxurious â€” until I discovered MAS, a new line of leather goods by the Canadian fashion designer Marie-Philippe Thibault. The designer, who has worked for brands such as the Row and Louis Vuitton, and hails from a family of seamstresses, set out to create a brand that would feel both timeless and fresh. Take MASâ€™s stunning Quinta bag, with its circular, hand-carved walnut wood handle poised atop a dainty blue suede (or black leather) tote. â€œI wanted the handle to resemble a piece of art,â€ she explains. â€œI approach shape and form as an architect would define the volume of a house.â€ Having partnered with both Canadian woodworkers and Italian leather manufacturers, Thibault launched MAS late last year with five different styles, each varying in color and function. Along with the Quinta, thereâ€™s the Cooperâ€™s Duffle; the oversize Garden Tote; the slender Jane St. Crossbody; and the Nine to Nine shoulder bag. Says Thibault: â€œMAS is for a person who wants to shine while being discreet, who is soulful, passionate and ambitious.â€ From $675; themasfamily.com.
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