Monday, 14 October 2013




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25hours Hotel in Vienna. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

 Last month, during MQ Vienna Fashion Week, I stayed at the quirky 25hours Hotel located at the border of Vienna's newly trendy 7th district and steps away from the wonderful MuseumQuartier (so you can get your fill of Egon Schiele AND hipster thrift shops). The 25hours Hotel reminds me of a few things: the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam--and a time-traveling Bozo the Clown on acid. But really, it's like no other hotel that I've ever stayed at.

The lively "show" mood of the hotel is right in step with many Vienna institutions: the Prater, the Opera Ball, the Life Ball and the city's many music and theater venues. The building that is now the 25hours Hotel began its life in 1971 as a 6-storey student dorm designed by architect Dr Kurt Schlauss.

25hours--a mini empire with hotels in Austria, Germany and Switzerland--opened their property in Vienna in March 2011 after being refurbished by the Viennese firm BWM Architekten und Parnter. The second phase of the hotel was unveiled in April 2013, with 219 guest rooms spanning 7 storeys--topped by the wildly popular Dachboden bar on the 8th floor.

Above: In the lobby and elevators, bars are used to evoke the animal cages at circuses. Now they're used animals! *rim shot*

Headed by Armin Fischer, the Augsburg-based design team Dreimeta was responsible for the hotel's aesthetics and design. A humorous take on the world of spectacle. Sexy and surreal fantasies inspired by Vienna's circus legacy. In 1808, a permanent circus opened in Vienna's Prater amusement park. Throughout Europe, the circus experienced its heyday in the early 20th century when it was a combination of a freak show, a chance to gawk at people from faraway lands, and vaudeville entertainment.

With this in mind, Dreimeta gathered together and revamped vintage finds from this period, without concealing the age of the pieces. They sought out memorabilia with a story to tell. "Juggling clubs, trapeze wires, chairs and desk lamps--we trawled countless flea markets, hunting and gathering," recalls Fischer. "Everything at the circus is temporary and can be put up and taken down quickly. The troupe uses the venue they find themselves in and make the best they can of it with simple means. We wanted to give the hotel an improvised feel too, while still making it seem cosy and not unfinished."




After soaking up the hotel's "Euro hipster backpackers run off and join the circus" mood, I was prepared for whatever my room was going to throw at me....Luckily, I'm not clown-phobic (unlike so many others) so I was delighted by this whimsically frenetic mural behind the bed of my rather spacious suite. I wondered what kinds of dreams I would have in this bed (nice ones, it turned out)....and would it scare off any male suitors who might find themselves in my suite...(no, thank god.)

The mural behind the bed and all of the other 19th-century circus-themed paintings in the hotel are by Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek, one of Germany's best-known illustrators. They were my favorite element of the hotel.


 I liked how this plush blue rug was used to delineate the "living room" area of the suite....the round rug and others around the hotel are an indirect allusion to a typical circus ring.


 The office area of the suite (and there's a kitchenette, complete with dishwasher to the right, not pictured). This is a bit of a gonzo aside, but I can't hold it in: the mismatched letters and numeral 1 on the wall remind me of an obscure feud between Barneys New York's former creative director Simon Doonan and artist Jack Pierson. Pierson claimed that this style was his intellectual property and that Doonan had stolen it for displays at Barneys Co-Op.



 Even though the hotel is technically 3 stars, one of the many things that imbues an overall luxury feel are the bathrooms. My suite had a cavernous rain shower that was big enough for a circus elephant, and included copious amounts of sustainable bath products. The lighting in the bathrooms is reminiscent of a performer's dressing room (and they were flattering) and the taps have a nostalgic feel.


 The fixtures, like this stool and the waste bucket, feel like they were plucked from a circus trailer.


I don't drink soda but I love the designs of these bottles from the mini bar. What I did partake in was the complimentary tins of high-end aromatic teas that were replenished daily.




 Vintage luggage stacked and repurposed as a display for the flat-screen TV. Clever! And who could not love this turn-of-the-century clothes form.



Each room has its own mascot outside the door....I had the illustrated man snake charmer...


And who doesn't love a good transgendered trapeze artist....


 As a copywriter, I couldn't help thinking that this hotel project was some copywriter's dream job....the design of the hotel is very copy-heavy....for each room, instead of a Do Not Disturb/Please Clean My Room sign, there is a BOOK with red and green pages of 25 sometimes-witty, sometimes-annoying slogans to choose from: "it might not look like it, but it was fun"   "it's the 25h hotel. i need an extra hour."  "police crime scene. move on."   "still naked."   "imagine the rolling stones stayed in the room."   And so on.



 The top floor is the very spacious Dachboden bar and the circus-cum-hipster eclectic decorating theme continues in full force...


 Out on the deck, it's all about the view....on a clear day you can see Maria von Trapp.


 Another view...lovely Vienna....


Normally, hipster vinyl-only DJ booths get on my nerves, but as this is Europe, the taste level is higher and more discerning than in tired America. Case in point: Ennio Morricone's magnificently languid soundtrack for the film VERUSCHKA is displayed totem-like in it should be.



 The spacious and airy restaurant at 25hours, 1500 FOODMAKERS, has a great look, if you love ecleticism (as I often do). The pizza is so good, you'll almost forgive the restaurant's ill-advised official slogan, "Fuck it, eat pizza."


 Mirror mayhem in 1500 FOODMAKERS.


 The hotel at night....I probably took this photo when I was returning from one of my wurst and/or Kaiserbründl runs....


 The 25hours is just spitting distance from Spittelberg, that tiny, charming, cobblestoned Biedermeier festooned pedestrian district that was once--horrors!--a red-light district. Now, for better or worse, you can buy postmodern dirndls by Austrian designer Lena Hoschek and the kind of vintage '70s clothing that Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern first shopped for at a hippie boutique called "Shot Down in Ecuador, Jr." circa 1973.


 Me doing my imitation of Christ routine in Spittelberg...


 The many charms of Spittelberg...this is basically how I feel inside when my appetite is rampaging Godzilla-like through Europe....



Thanks for reading. I had a marvelous stay at 25hours....danke schön.


Glenn Belverio



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Tuesday, 08 October 2013

Magical mystery tour with Diane & visiting other friends in Paris last month. Text & most photos by Glenn Belverio

Above: No trip to Paris is complete without Champagne and Diane Pernet at Cafe de Flore on the Rive Gauche.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Last month I was holidaying in Europe and I spent a glorious week in the City of Light visiting friends. The highlight of my trip was a magical mystery tour with Diane...and then there were all the stolen moments I had with old and new friends, not to mention one or two rencontres érotiques


 On one particulary muggy yet brilliant afternoon, I walked from the Hôtel de NELL where I was staying to Diane's chic address in the 7th arrond. I passed through the Place de la Concorde, as one does during such a walk, and it was as magical as I remembered it from four years ago.


 Diane at ASVOFF HQ with her Casablancas and NASA space view looming behind her.....she is looking even younger than when I last saw her: Barcelona, Summer 2010. We caught up on all the news and laughs as I fanned myself with my Amanda Lear Chinese dance fan.


 Me & Diane's reflection out on her curved street....I brought some Keith Haring old-skool New York City realness back to Diane...


 We went to an absolutely divoon Japanese restaurant near Diane's apartment...the exquisite courses just kept coming and coming...I think it was an 11-course meal...


One of the courses involved succulent clams in broth and they were heaven.


 A couple of days later I met Diane at the wildly popular TUCK SHOP which is co-owned by the divine Puurple Rain....everything is vegetarian, homemade and out of this world....Diane and I both had the stellar zucchini transported me....and this was the start of our magical mystery tour around drug of choice: vegetarian fare (and Champagne).

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Instagram madness at the TUCK SHOP with Diane! Edgar Allen Poe held sway. Funnily, there is an "Edgar Poe" school in of Rebecca Voight's kids attends it....she took me to it....and it's right next to a crusty gay bar! Oh, Paris!


 Rain! She works hard for the money at the TUCK SHOP! Bringing vegetarian delights to the Croque Madame-stifled masses....


 This is what I'm talkin' about....#TuckShop #YUM


 After the Tuck Shop, Diane and I made are way over to to the legendary Cafe de Flore to rendezvous with the legendary Lemon (she is seen her perched on the coupe de OJ) and the one-and-only Mayor of the Marais, Akiko Hamaoka. Akiko told me all about her fabulous new job and Lemon went on and on about the new apartment's Olympic-pool-sized bathtub.


 After I fortified myself with some Moët, Diane, Akiko and I went on a looooong walk, our magical mystery tour up Paris, from Cafe de Flore through Les Halles (where tourist heads were spinning around a la Linda Blair when they spotted Diane) and finally to the Le Marais. Diane said she never walks that far and never walks through Les Halles so it was a rare treat. At one point we passed by the magnificent Tour Saint Jacques, above.


 Later, we stopped by L'Hotel to pay homage to the great Oscar Wilde. There are varying reports on what his last words were when he died here (it was a dump in 1899, now it's this ridiculously chi-chi boutique hotel): "These curtains and I have been fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go."

"Either this wallpaper goes or I go."

And so on.



 Not sure what this mosaic was but it fit right in with our magical mystery tour.


Not on the magical mystery tour route, but here's a graffiti-ed squat in Montmartre near where I was staying after I left the Hôtel de NELL. Apparently Bender from Futurama enjoys the same kind of cult success that Jerry Lewis once had in France.


 Medusa and the angels...


One on sunny day I had brunch in Le Marais with fashion designer Teddy Parra (above) and his partner, the stage actor Jean-Luc Bertin. Teddy took me on a tour of his charming shop and downstairs atelier.


 I need this look for my next lunch date with Jax (Joan Collins) in St. Tropez. Teddy also creates wonderful made-to-measure men's suits.


 Downstairs in Teddy's atelier, I was mad for these crane scissors.


 While I was with the boys we passed by this pin-up plastered Vespa. Sexy!


 On one particularly balmy afternoon, my friend Frédéric invited me over for a cocktail on the large terrace of his glamorous penthouse in the 15th arrond. I died when I saw the view. I offered to make us some of my world-famous Belgronis™ but since Frédéric had limited spirit options, we went into War-time rationing mode. We made do with some gin and red vermouth. Since he didn't have a proper cocktail shaker, I had to mix the cocktails in a wine decanter with a swan-like neck. Not easy to get the ice cubes in there! But we ended on a high note by drinking my Belgronis™ from Fréd's Dior crystal tumblers.


 Frédéric avec Belgroni™ et Tour de Eiffel.


 Moi soaking up the booze and the sun. Holiday! Celebrate! In ev-ery nation....


 For the sunset view, one must tolerate these very un-Parisian towers that look like they belong in one of China's ghost cities...


 And then when you turn your head, you get the most iconic view in the world. I was excited to finally witness the 9pm 5-minute glitter and sparkle light show (cut down from 10 minutes in the interests of energy conservation...)


One of the other magical things about this trip to Paris turned out to be my ultimate public advertising fantasy: Huge images of the gorgeous and talented Amanda Lear on the street, in the Metro, on buses,...everywhere! This was reason enough for me to leave the world of tacky, ironic and idiotic hipster public ads in NYC and move to Paris.....The ads are for her new show which Gaultier did the costumes for. Unfortunately I was no longer in Paris when the show opened.


 The many passages in Paris are a delight and I absolutely adore Passage Jouffroy in the 9th. This cane shop is of special interest: handmade canes with exquisitely designed heads in sterling silver and bone. When I'm old enough to pull off the cane look (maybe on my 40th birthday in 5 years?) I definitely plan on buying one here.


 On my last day in Paris, I had lunch with the delightful Angélique Bosio, director of the terrific documentary on Bruce LaBruce, The Advocate for Fagdom. I (and my alter ego) appear in the film and Angélique interviewed me for it in 2009 when I was staying in an apartment in Pigalle.


 We lunched at Richer à Paris and I started with the watercress soup which was not only a mesmerizing shade of green but delicious. (I followed this with, if my memory serves me, some rare venison.)


Another view from Frédéric's terrace...I love the faerie lights.

Thanks for reading.



Glenn Belverio


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XX_60 copy











Dear Diane

I was recently introduced to the work of Los Angeles based artist Vincent Ruiz-Abogado. The sculptures from his series ROCKS AND BOXES are deceptively simple and darkly alluring. Their size allows you to get quite close. But proximity does not betray the illusion. These resin cardboard casts are supremely detailed down to perforated edges and the echos of stamps. It is only with Vincent's more traditionally sculputral Rock elements (and their chiseled holes that you can't quite see the end of) that the viewer is tipped off to the fact that something subtly poetic is happening. 




Vincent was able to sit down with Glassell Park based artist, collector, and curator Tony Payne on behalf of ASVOF for a brief Q and A... 


I know that when our mutual friend George Stoll saw an older sculpture of yours, he made a point of encouraging you to keep working - what was it that was inspiring about his viewpoint?

"Sculpture was the first type of art that I remember really being drawn to as a kid and the first thing I explored- so when George told me he liked that piece it kind of took me back to the beginning, like it reconnected me and I started making more- he's been a huge inspiration."




You were initially intrigued by mountains and it was that exploration that manifested in this current body of work Rocks and Boxes. What is it about mountains that is of interest to you?

"Mountains are so primal, raw and gargantuan- I think I just wanted to find a way to capture that."


Tom Peters** (important long time LA art world supporter and grass roots collector), a friend, was also very supportive and helpful from the start - was there anything in particular that encouraged or motivated you?

"Tom was harassing me to finish these pieces every time I saw him- literally- and I really appreciate him for it."



Did this project finalize your interest in resin or is that something you will continue to explore?


"I want to make so much more with resin- it's an amazing material that can capture so many types of texture."


Is it pure sculpture that inspires you or are you influenced by other types of media or artists?

"No, not just sculpture inspires me but most of my favorite artists make sculpture- Paul McCarthy , Charles Ray , Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Wall , and Philip Guston among others." 









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The Golden Colonnade by Upperstudio Text Domenico Principato

Dear Diane,  Dear shaded viewers, 

“The Golden Colonnade” by Upperstudio is an art installation that features a reflective golden column created for the Vilnius Street Art Festival 13 in Lithuania.


The piece explores the trans-formative possibilities of applying a reflective material to one out of six of Vilnius town hall columns, by firstly covering it with plastic layer in order to protect the surface of column and then wrapping it in luminous golden paper lining.





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Monday, 07 October 2013

Hôtel de NELL & La Régalade Conservatoire in Paris. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

September is my favorite month to travel in Europe and this year I decided to add Paris to my itinerary so I could visit Diane and other friends. (I hadn't been to Paris in 4 years!) My trip started out on a sweet note when I was invited to stay two nights at the superb Hôtel de NELL, located in the heart of the 9th arrondissement, the center of Paris. And while this is a bustling area, the 5-star luxury hotel is tucked away on the peaceful corner of rue Sainte-Cécile and rue du Conservatoire. A relative newcomer on the Paris hotel scene, the NELL opened back in February.


The hotel, left, and the Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile Church, which was built between 1854 and 1856. Of note: On January 10, 1857, writer Jules Verne married Honorine Viane here. And since 1989, the mass is celebrated in the church both under the Paul VI ritual (that is, in French) and under the St Pius V ritual (in Latin, priest turning his back to the faithful).

I grew up reading Jules Verne novels and would have loved to see the inside of the church--but it was closed for the two days I was staying at the NELL.


Hôtel de NELL was designed  by Jean-Michel Wilmotte whose objective is not limited to "creating for the sake of creation, but reconciling man with his environment and culture." Wilmotte likes clean lines and warm materials. I really loved the spare look of the room. Very serene and chic without feeling clinical or boring.

This is the bed in the Prestige room I stayed in. Sandy tones are dominant in the room and I found the blonde wood and textured beige floor to be very zen and relaxing.

Wilmotte is a big fan of the "recessed joint principle", which is a vacuum soldering of two walls. The recessed joint connects two masses while reducing their volume and highlighting an architectural approach.

"Not a ceiling, not a desk, not a single line is without a recessed joint. Aesthetic rigor means not a single air conditioning or CMV grate will intrude upon those lines, and the recessed joints themselves become vents in all the rooms and bathrooms."


Exclusive Artemide bedside lamps rise out of the panelled headboard. All the lights are 100% LED. I really like the industrial accent the lamps added to the otherwise clean, monochromatic design.


 My room's pièce de résistance: a Japanese bathtub carved out of a single block of raw marble, bathed in natural light. The tray, seat and footstool are made from the lightest Oregon myrtlewood. I thought the seat was a bit strange but then again, I've never taken a bath in Japan! The bath products were superb, especially the body scrub.


 I loved the bath's faucet.


 There was a fabulous rain shower with stone-colored walls...


 ...a very design-y, anti-fog mirror...


 ...and two raw, white-marble basins.


 I really liked the office chair with an articulated back.


 One of the views from my room: the former Comptoir National d'Escompte with its clasically Parisian dome.


 My other view was of this quiet pedestrian street.


 I really loved the weathered 13th-century mockup facade of Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile Church which faces the front of the hotel.


 I loved the bar lobby because they stocked the kinds of not-so-trendy spirits one might find chez Belverio: Byrrh, Dolin vermouth, Lillet, Chartreuse.


 Behind the bar lobby is a lounge with a glass ceiling and Wimotte-designed sofas.


 Family portrait time: My friend, the journalist Rebecca Voight (center), joined me in the lobby for a cocktail with her kids, Joe and Jan.


 If you know me, you know all about my love for Negronis (mine are known as Belgronis™) so of course I had to try the NELL's drier variation on this classic aperitif cocktail (although the bartender didn't seem to appreciate me comparing it to a Negroni.) The Kina is made with Byrrh, Citadelle gin and Dolin Blanc and it was wonderful.

Rebecca opted for the Nell's Vesper: Lillet blanc, Citadelle gin, Cîroc and zeste de citron. (She loved it.)


Above: Dinner began with some rustic chicken terrine (one of the chef's signatures), bread and cornichons

 After cockails, Rebecca's kids left to go out and paint the town rouge, and Rebecca and I relocated to the NELL's formidable restaurant, La Régalade Conservatoire. Unlike a lot of hotel restaurants where breakfast is routine but dinner is ignored in favor of the outside world, La Régalade Conservatoire has become one of Paris's top gastronome destinations. We were seated at 8 and by 8:30 there wasn't an empty seat in the joint. Reservations typically need to be made one week in advance.

The chef, Bruno Doucet, took the reins of the original La Régalade from Yves Camdeborde in 2004 after learning the ropes in the kitchens of Pierre Gagnaire, Charles Barrier and Jean-Pierre Vigato. At La Régalade Conservatoire, Doucet's philosophy is "in-season ingredients that I enjoy waiting for and then rediscovering, and precise, learned, repeated techniques that transform them." In short, haute cuisine at bistro prices.

Regalade Conservatoire Salle

A view of the restaurant a few hours before dinner time--as spare and chic as the hotel's rooms.


 As a starter, I had the royal foie gras and chicken wings in a creamy mushroom broth. Orgasmic!


 Rebecca had the creamy cuttlefish risotto with chili-and-garlic-roasted prawns and "La vache qui rit" cheese emulsion. It was an explosion of flavors and textures and I couldn't stop digging my spoon in "just to try it."


As my main, I chose the scorpion fish fillet cooked in a bouillabaisse with snow peas and shaved fennel. The flesh of the fish was rich and full of favor--not like a mild white fish at all. The sauce was perfection.


 Rebecca with her main: Catfish "stung" with chorizo, cooked beans from Paimpol Xeres and tomatoes. At this point we were past the champagne and well into our red wine--and gossipping up a storm, I'm sure--so I think I forgot to try this one. I'm sorry I didn't because I adore the idea of fish stung with chorizo!


 The dessert....the dessert! It was an absolute triumph! Soufflé Grand-Marnier served piping hot and boozy. Later that night in my comfy bed at the hotel, I had a dream about this soufflé--and when I woke up, my pillow was gone!

Rebecca had Kouign Aman served warm, caramelized apples with cardamom and homemade sorbet. A perfect early-fall dessert.


After dinner we wandered around looking for a nice bar to have a nightcap--we didn't find anything that great (Paris sure is sleepy compared to NYC! Not that there's anything wrong with that) but there are plenty of charming locales near the hotel.


 This was some kind of financial institution at the end of the street from the hotel. Grand!


 The NELL is near a lot of iconic venues, such as the Folies Bergère. I think the scaffolding is up because the gilded tuchas of the theater's famous Deoc dancer was being polished!


 Also nearby is the eternal Parisian favorite, the confectioner A la Mere de Famille (founded in 1761). The NELL serves complimentary bonbons from here at their front desk and of course I stopped by to pick up some (expensive) gifts for my co-workers at Tiffany's in New York!


Another view of the NELL's bar lobby.

Thanks for reading!



Glenn Belverio

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Thursday, 03 October 2013









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Wednesday, 02 October 2013


Iris Van Herpens costumes for Benjamin Millepied’s New York City Ballet Fall Gala.


More about the costumes and the collaberation here.


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Tuesday, 01 October 2013

A grand vegetarian lunch at Tian in Vienna. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio

Above: Our handsome waiter wheeled out what looked like a chemistry set. It turned out to be a Japanese coffee pot.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

A few weeks ago, while attending MQ Vienna Fashion Week, Carole Pope and I were invited to experience an epic, haute-couture vegetarian lunch at a restaurant called Tian ("heaven" in Chinese), located right in the heart of Vienna. I had the pleasure of having lunch there last year, but this time they pulled out all the stops--and presented us with a 5+-course meal that is usually only served during dinner time.

At Tian, their primary aim is "to offer their guests a healthy, fascinating, varied and extremely tasty vegetarian menu. We would like to introduce our customers to a world of exciting meat-free favours, which they never would have thought possible." Mission accomplished!

Tian, which opened in 2010, sources their ingredients from their own growers and from producers they trust: mainly from the region, but also from their own organic market garden in Carinthia, in the south of Austria. All the water they use on the premises has been revitalized using the GRANDER process--an energy-efficient eco-water system developed by Austrian Johann Grander.

Tian's chef, Paul Ivic, posesses an in-depth knowledge of the chemical composition of raw natural ingredients. Tian's owner, Christian Halper, sent a Viennese engineer on an expedition in 2005 to places said to be the homes of some of the oldest people on earth. "When we tried them out, we realized the dishes were wholesome but not exactly the right match for European tastes." Tian's team combined this knowledge with European traditions of cuisine and infused it with an avant-garde outlook. The result is vegetarian food like you've never experienced it before.


 Tian's show-stopping chandeliers are composed of wood, crystal and wire.


 Lunch, or at least my version of the lunch, started out with the best way to begin one's afternoon: Champagne. But instead of following this with a hellish descent into gout-inducing fatty dead animals, we embarked on an enlightened journey into green, greener and greenest pastures.


Carrot-pumpkin spiced milk with a minimalist carrot salad.


 One of our mouth-watering starters: mangoes covered in amarant seeds.



 Chanterelle tartare served in a petri dish over organic earth.



 This was rather spectacular: a salad of yellow and green beans, goat cheese, sorbet and chanterelles served under a bell jar filled with pepper smoke.



A blini topped with "caviar" that is politically correct on so many levels. It's definitely not Russian and the "caviar eggs" are rendered from basil seeds. Take that, Putin!



The lunch took on a performative quality when the waiter wheeled out a Japanese coffee pot and conjured up a tea of tomato and basil....


...which was served as a lovely, mesmerizing soup.


Carole was treated to a different soup. I think it was a squash soup with an artistic array of tiny vegetables.


 Another salad that almost belongs in an art gallery instead of one's stomach!


 Things just kept getting more and more delicious and interesting: Zucchini blossom with various vegetables and mushrooms served in an absolutely divine parsley broth.



 More food performance: a corn pate molded into the shape of a corn cob served on a piece of slate and toasted before my eyes with a creme brulee torch by an exquisite little Japanese woman. Enchanting!



 Carole enjoyed a futuristic "salad" served on a miniature Rock of Gibratlar that might be a repurposed chunk of meteorite from the Crab Nebula.



 Some palate-cleansing beet foam was served between two of the courses.


 The dizzying array of dishes kept soaring higher and higher to new artistic heights. While this salad resembles a Cubist painting, it's meant to mimic a game of Tetris. Bravissimo!



 This dish was perfect for the early-fall weather in Vienna: a hash brown of artichoke and young corn, served with artichokes and young corn in a whisper of a cabernet sauvingon sauce.



 My dessert made me think of a selection of Anna Piaggi's hats that been plopped down on a starchitecture construction site. It's actually meant to recall the Milky Way Galaxy and consisted of delicacies created from lychees and white chocolate. Devastatingly delicious!



We emerged from our futuristic lunch to wander through Vienna's fairy-tale-like past.

Thanks for reading.



Glenn Belverio


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Thursday, 26 September 2013

A visit to Susanne Bisovsky's salon in Vienna. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

Two weeks ago, during MQ Vienna Fashion Week, Carole Pope and I chased down shy couturier Susanne Bisovsky after her exhilarating catwalk show. We were over the moon when she and her gregarious partner, Joseph Gerger, invited us for a visit to their salon in the newly trendy 7th district. Tucked away westwards beyond the cobblestoned pedestrian zone of Spittelberg (the "village in the city"), Susanne's salon (and home, as it turns out) inhabits an old silk-fabric factory.

Joseph greeted us on the first floor and took us up in the elevator where, much to our amusement, he pointed out a bit of graffiti that had been inscribed by interior designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel. "She was playfully mimicking the tags left by gypsies," Joseph explained as he pointed to an example of said markings near Apfel's. "The gypsies have codes for certain things, such as which apartments are safe to rob."

The first thing one notices when entering the high-ceilinged rooms where Susanne and Joseph work and live, is the explosion of floral motifs--on upholstery, curtains, clothing, bags and in outsized bouquets of flowers rendered in bright yarn.


Above: Susanne Bisovsky doesn't like to have her picture taken, but because I am a pushy New Yorker, I talked her into it.

A few things to know about Susanne Bisovsky...

She started out her career in fashion around 1990 when she worked with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. A few years later, she was collaborating with fellow Austrian Helmut Lang. That's when she invented the process of creating lace dresses from latex which featured largely in Lang's collections (1995's "Dress of the Year"). It should be noted that Helmut Lang started out designing clothes that were traditionally Austrian, back in the 1980s--an aesthetic that has always informed Bisovsky's designs.

In the early 2000s, Lang wanted Bisovsky to move to New York and continue to work with him there.  But the two designers were moving in completely different directions at that point. "I wasn't interested in New York," Bisovsky tells us. "Or the whole fashion game." Instead, she invented the concept of the "everlasting collection"--an evergreen line of clothing that is handmade to suit particular clients' taste.

Susanne Bisovsky does not advertise and only stages runway shows according to her moods. But clients, mainy Austrian but also others from around the world, know how to find her. They come in, peruse the couture pieces and the treasure-trove of fabrics and trimmings that Bisovsky has collected from around the world. Measurements are taken, choices are made.

Every Friday, Susanne and Joseph hold a couture salon where clients drop by and a model parades a selection of looks. Very 1950s, very intimate. If a client wants a version of a couture piece, Susanne can reproduce it about 80% to the original, depending on the availability of materials. Her vintage fabrics are culled from flea markets and eBay, or spring from the suitcases of globe-trotting friends. 

While enchantingly old-school, Susanne's process (she calls it "slow fashion") goes beyond a '50s couture mentality--it's a new frame of reference with up-to-date technology and a multi-universal mix of cultures and history. At the end of the day, she's more of a fine artist than a fashion designer.



 Susanne's big book documents her journey through design.


 Each photo--such as this Frida Kahlo doppelganger in a Mexican-flavored ensemble--is lovingly bordered with intricate trim.



Susanne and Joseph are obsessive collectors. I love these grained-wood candy & nut dishes.


Carole models one of Susanne's hats.


Buttons and badges and brooches and bricolage.


Susanne shows off one of her pleated dresses.



This fabric from China was dyed with pig's blood.




Joseph is a shoe designer and he showed us some of the designs he worked on for Susanne's collections.



 On the chair is a rather magnificent mantilla that one of Susanne and Joseph's friends brought back from Spain. Susanee thought it too special to cut up and turn into a dress so she is archiving it. Here she is holding up a shawl. I think it's from Poland? Suzy Menkes wrote about the mantilla in her wonderful piece about Susanne and Vienna fashion which appeared in the New York Times a few months ago.




 And now, let's take a tour of the kitchen...


Have you ever seen so many cookie tins?




Of course many interior magazines have done stories on Susanne and Josph's home but wouldn't this have been a perfect feature for the now-defunct NEST?




Oh, so lovely. The one on the upper right features the Karlskirche in Vienna (I visited it on my first trip to Vienna back in 2002). Constructed between 1715 and 1737, it was erected in honor of Karl Borromeo who was the patron saint that led the fight against the plague epidemic in 1713.





Even the bathroom is resplendent in floral- and religous-motif tins.

I hope you enjoyed this visit.


Glenn Belverio


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