On the Rue du Palais, a narrow street off the Place du Forum in Arles, France, where Roman senators once debated and, many years later, Vincent Van Gogh painted his famous “Terrasse du Café le Soir” (1888), is an 18th-century stone building with its own history. Formerly a pharmacist’s laboratory, it’s just reopened as Maison Fragonard’s latest boutique and, upstairs, the heritage French fragrance brand’s first guesthouse. Both spaces were designed in collaboration with the Paris- and New York-based studio be-poles, which made a point of preserving most of the building’s original terra-cotta floors and wood ceilings, as well as the stone spiral staircase leading to the guesthouse’s six bedrooms, which are appointed with their own kitchens and spread across three upper floors. “We wanted to embody that breezy South of France feeling,” says be-poles interior designer Virginie Boulenger, which translated to walnut shelving, white linen curtains, custom wool mattresses and antique marble sinks. The third-floor suite also comes with exclusive access to the rooftop terrace, which overlooks the clock tower that’s been keeping the local time since 1555. fragonard.com/fr-int/maison-fragonard-arles.
When Shanghai native and tea enthusiast Yiyun Mao settled in Milan in 2016, she encountered a caffeine culture clash: “Italy is a relatively slow-living country, but Milan is different,” she explains. “It’s a city for work. People drink espresso to speed things up, to work more efficiently. But tea takes more time. It’s meant to slow you down.” Offering a contemplative counterweight to the fast-paced city, Mao opened Xing Cha, a 430-square-foot Chinese tearoom in Milan’s hip Brera neighborhood, in October 2019; after a pandemic-mandated pause, it reopened in May 2020. The tearoom is divided in two: In the front is a shop with 40 types of tea, a selection of art and poetry books and ceramics and tea ware for sale; in the back is a long communal café table for leisurely yet mindful tea-sipping. Mao also hosts Chinese tea ceremonies, tea tastings, textile and ceramic exhibitions and flower-arranging workshops in the space. xingcha.it.
A Magazine for Modern Mothers
When friends and moms Melissa Goldstein and Natalia Rachlin decided, in the midst of the pandemic, to start a magazine about motherhood, they knew they wanted to detour the well-trod territory of parenting publications. “Motherhood as a topic seeps into so many interesting spaces — from politics and pop culture to art and sex,” says Rachlin. Following that logic, their biannual magazine, Mother Tongue, is less about mothers than about women who have children. The first issue, released last month, includes an interview with the Los Angeles-based artist Leena Similu, whose figurative ceramic vessels show the influence of her Brixton childhood and Cameroonian roots; a conversation with the pioneering feminist pornographer Erika Lust (in a section of the magazine cheekily titled “Day Jobs & Blow Jobs”); and a portfolio of 13 photographers detailing, in words and images, the places they escape to when they need to be alone. The magazine’s design is unfussy and chic. Of its aesthetic, Goldstein says, “We were more attracted to bold and badass than pretty and polished.” $20 per issue, mothertonguemagazine.com.
Keeping the Gray at Bay
Among the intimacies shared between colorist and client, one of the most closely guarded may be the topic of gray hair and how to conceal it. Los Angeles stylist Jay Small and entrepreneur Allison Conrad, co-founders of Arey (a derivation of the French word arrêt, meaning “stop”), approached the issue from another direction, searching for ways not only to cover the gray but slow its growth. Working with MIT engineers, a pharmacologist and a clinical dietitian, they developed a supplement, Not Today, Grey, that targets hair-color loss using vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with antiaging properties. The ingredients — including vitamins B12 and D, folic acid, calcium and black sesame seed extract — help hair-follicle cells maintain melanin, keeping strands not only rich in color but thicker, softer and glossier. $40, areygrey.com.
Its “superfood” status cemented, the sardine is having an extended moment, so there’s no better time to explore the world of tinned fish. To that end, former chef Dan Waber is curating a selection of more than 300 varieties of preserved fish from around the world — from a $2.50 tin of Moroccan sardines to a $105 large-format can of Spanish white tuna belly — available on the online shop based out of his family tomato farm in Montgomery County, Pa. He also provides tasting notes (La Brújula’s razor clams from Spain are “briny, tender, and devoid of sand … [a] luxury”) as well as an omakase service: Tell Waber which fish and flavors interest you, and how much you want to spend, and he’ll put together a personalized box with emailed commentary about each tin and tips for how best to enjoy them. He might throw in a little something extra — Baltic Sea sprat smoked with heather and chamomile, say — to stretch your taste beyond its comfort zone and perhaps prime your next order. rainbowtomatoesgarden.com.
From T’s Instagram