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When parking is tight


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Smart

For years, it has been a little pleasure of mine to reserve a Mercedes “Smart” car when in my “second-home” of Como. (Here’s a picture of mine outside the Cruise Hotel during my recent stay.)

It’s a tiny thing, almost like two seats with a little plastic or something around them. *Note- there are two versions of Smart car- the “fortwo” and the “forfour”.  The “forfour” is larger, and in my opinion misses the point. So don’t get that one.

Try to get the fortwo Cabrio- the soft roof retracts, so it’s the perfect little vehicle for cruising around the lake on balmy summer evenings... One thing though- it’s so tiny you can’t have much luggage with you.  There’s only enough room to squoosh in a couple of carry-ons behind the seats.  It’s so little that if parking is hard to find, you can park nose-in, perpendicular to the other cars...

Well, as you may have noticed, the Smart car has finally arrived for sale in the States, and although it has been modified a little, it looks pretty much the same as its European predecessors.

If you want to know more, check out the website: www.smartusa.com


Fab Finding Follow Up: A Foolproof Everyday Outfit


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Article from FabSugar: Posted on August 1, 2008

FabSugar - Beefeater Ruche

We all get outfit block every once and a while, losing the inspiration for what to wear. That's when a good, foolproof classic outfit (or two!) comes in really handy. It's your fallback that you can always depend on to make you look Fab in a bind.

I asked you to show me what your foolproof outfit looks like and started you off with this Louis Vuitton Mahina XXL Bag ($3,750) because it's timelessly chic. Be sure to check out all the foolproof outfit Fab Finds.

Let's see what you all came up with!

Oh! Now, you can build outfits by creating a list of clothing items. We have everything you need to build outfits with, and you can use your Fab Find bookmarks, too. This is an even better way to put together an entire outfit when you are completing your Fab Finding missions.

Look #1, created by emalove, is so versatile — it could easily be worn to a party, running errands, or to work, and you'd look Fab at all three!

Look #2, created by maria212134, is one to wear for years to come: the Craig Taylor button-down shirt, Gucci loafers, and Burberry trench will never go out of style.

Look #3, created by leeluvfashion, is simply chic. It's a more contemporary option that pushes the envelope a bit, but is still very sophisticated.

http://www.fabsugar.com/Fab-Finding-Follow-Up-Foolproof-Everyday-Outfit-930182


A Restaurant to Remember


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A View to Remember

Whenever I travel to Lake Como, it is not only a treat for the eyes, but also for the taste buds. Each time I ask for restaurant recommendations, I am instantly referred to the same one- the stunning Il Gatto Nero (The Black Cat).

I had heard it was the favorite of the who’s who from Clooney to Damon and Douglas, so during my last trip we got in the car and headed up the hill above Lake Como.  It may be a good idea to have a designated driver, it’s one of those steep, serpentine mountain roads without guardrails and 100 foot drops!

Leaving the lights of Como below, you pull up to the restaurant. It’s a charming little villa which seems to be holding onto the edge of the cliff for dear life.  There’s nowhere to pull over on the one-lane road, so the hostess comes out and tells you to follow her car further up the hill to park.

Once in the restaurant, you fall immediately in love with this romantic, cozy spot.  The living room has a stunning view, perched high above the beautiful lake.

The dining rooms, upstairs or down are just as wonderful. The lighting is warm, the décor is charming and eclectic, and the food is excellent. Never refuse an espresso and a biscotti from the family-style jar at the end.

On our way out, there was an older gentleman watching soccer on TV. It’s Heinz the owner and he decorated the place himself. You can tell he is comfortable and happy to be in his little slice of heaven. 

Il Gatto Nero
Via Monte Santo 69
Rovenna (CO)
39-031-512-042


Locals and Royalty


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The Fountain in Como

Whenever I arrive into Como, it’s my habit to take the breathtaking drive 10 minutes up the west shore of the lake to Harry’s Bar in Cernobbio (just beyond the fountain).  I think of it as the meeting spot for the chic-and-discreet of the area, and I’d hate to miss out on a little people watching!  Everyone here seems to be best friends with the maitre d’; they know this is the best way to ensure a table up front…

Cernobbio is home to the magnificent old-world resort “Villa D’Este”, and it seems like it’s one of the last spots left on Earth where celebrities and royalty can go un-harassed as they mingle with locals.  Could it be because the locals are celebrities and royalty too?

This is the ultimate spot to grab a glass of prosecco as the sun is setting on the lake.  Oh yes.  After Yul and I snapped these pictures, we ran into our loud and hilarious friend Paolo having dinner with his stunning wife Monica and his equally-funny friend Simon from Australia.  Oh well, so much for discreet!

Harry's Bar
Piazza Risorgimento, 1
Cernobbio
Tel: +031.3347057


Pizza with a View


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Craig in Lake Como

Well, I just returned from another inspiring fabric-design trip to Lake Como! The weather was particularly beautiful this September, and there were people out and about everywhere.

Lake Como Views

There is so much beauty that surrounds you in this part of Italy- but, I have to admit- the food is definitely a big part of my inspiration! Over the next week, I am going to take the opportunity to tell you about a few of my favorite Como restaurants…

If the weather is nice, one of my favorites for lunch is the “Funicolare”. I’m not a huge fan of pizza unless it tastes like theirs- super-thin crust, baked in a wood-fire oven, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil- Wow! It’s right by the lake and it’s a great spot to watch the old mahogany water-taxis come in. I hope to see you there!

Funicolare Ristorante & Pizzeria
Via Lungo Lario Trieste, 62
Como
Tel: +031.303470


A Little About Our Fabrics


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Lake Como Fabric Mill

Alright, I’d like to brag a little about our fabrics!  

Almost all of them come from this beautiful place- Lake Como in northern Italy.  Como has been home to many of Europe’s top celebrities and royalty and it is a magnificent and special place.  For me, it is the land that time forgot, with a charm and elegance that is pretty much lost these days.

The world’s most beautiful silk fabrics and scarves are from Como and for the last ten years I have been coming here to develop our new designs.  I start off each season in print archives where I look through thousands of original designs.  Many of these are “retired” prints from the world’s greatest: Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Gucci, Chanel and Chloe to name a few.  With the creator’s permission, I resurrect these prints – many of them from the 60’s – and after some modifications they get a new lease on life

Lake Como, ItalyCraig Taylor Fabric

Our exclusive stripes and textured solids are designed the same way- I look through books and books of vintage swatches and then recolor them to the season’s palette.  All of our designs are then executed on the finest cottons and silks – but more about fabric construction in an upcoming entry.

I’ll be in Como again this month and will be sure to give a restaurant recommendation or two then!


A crisp classic


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Article from Journal Sentinel: Posted on Oct 13, 2007.

Pulp Fiction Ruche

Sure, rich colors are in this season, but a white blouse is still a must-have that can be jazzed up a variety of ways.

A white blouse is far from the most attractive option on this season's clothing racks, which are also teeming with rich hues such as purple, red, gray and blue.

White's paper-like simplicity seems stark compared with the deep, complex colors suggested for fall. Its crisp character too squeaky-clean, its strait-laced appeal is too risk averse, conjuring images of boys and girls in school uniforms.

But fashionistas, take note: Do not shun the white blouse.

Praised for its classic nature, it continues to turn up as a must-have item for anyone's closet.

During an appearance on "Oprah," Vera Wang, the high-end designer behind Kohl's recently debuted Simply Vera line, listed a white blouse as an essential clothing piece. Two white blouses made the cut in the Gap's "Classics

Redefined" line, a collection of 12 essential separates for all wardrobes. Greatestlook.com, a fashion and beauty advice site, calls the white blouse "the greatest basic you can think of."

So, then, how do you marry this staple to current trends? Folks from some local boutiques created some looks that add pizzazz to the pallid piece.

Ruched blouse by Craig Taylor,$145; charcoal gray pencil skirtby Gunex, $285; and oval linkbelt by Suzi R. Oher, $190, allfrom Molloy's. Photo - Kevin Eisenhut

HOW TO WEAR A WHITE BLOUSE

  • With a menswear-inspired city suit. "It's a professional look that's cosmopolitan," said Heidi Calaway, owner of Vieux et Nouveau, 1688 N. Franklin Place. "It fits into the workplace without being dull and conservative."
    The trick: Add fall's trendiest accessories, such as a plaid fedora and boldly colored, briefcase-shaped bag. "Don't just grab any old briefcase that people have seen a million times," Calaway said. "Go for something unexpected."
  • Belted withwide-leg jeans. "The look is crisp, clean and flattering," said Andrea Kengis, manager of Next Door boutique in Brookfield's Harvard Square, 18000 W. Blue Mound Road. "Put a big necklace with it, and you're ready to go out."
    The trick: Choose a blouse that's a tunic. "It's longer, and it's multifunctional," Kengis said. "It's not a normal white blouse." Other options to consider with a long white blouse: leave it open, similar to a jacket, and layer it over a T-shirt for a casual look. Wear a camisole under it and leave a couple of buttons open at the top for a sexy look.
  • With a gray pencil skirt and a narrow link belt. "This look can go for daytime or to the office, but change your earrings and you can go out after," said Cindy H. Molloy, owner of Molloy's boutique, 333 W. Brown Deer Road. "Wear it with a classic pump or a more dramatic shoe."
    The trick: Choose a blouse that is fitted or tailored to the waist, so the accent of the belt has more punch.
  • Layered under a knit vest with a long, textured A-line skirt and boots. "The two textures work well together but still give a very clean look," said Pam Flasch, owner of Miss Groove boutique, 1225 E. Brady St.
    The trick: Go with a blouse that's completely non-traditional with subtle adornments - something collarless, frilly, textured and flowing.
  • Leave it alone. "A white blouse on its own suggests understated elegance," said Fran Hill, owner of a boutique of the same name at 2615 N. Downer Ave. "It takes a confident woman to wear a white blouse with style."
    The trick: Pair it with basic black pants and let your accessories - handbag, shoes, earrings and so on - do all the work. "That's where you add power to the look," Hill said.

http://www.jsonline.com/features/fashion/29316499.html


No Gas Required


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Tesla Motors

What’s driving me this week is an exciting, innovative new sports car.

Many of you know that in a former life I was a car designer. I’m very interested in protecting our environment and am excited to see what people are doing to protect our planet.  

While working in the automobile industry I worked on low-emission vehicle projects and was crushed when the development of electric cars was abandoned; if interested you can watch “Who Killed the Electric Car”. Basically, electric cars lost public interest due to their slow speeds and short range between recharges.

Leaping forward a few years you now find vehicles like the Toyota Prius, seen on highways everywhere, especially among the environmentally conscious Hollywood set.  The Prius and various other new cars like the new Lexus and Honda vehicles are called Hybrids. Hybrid cars are powered by a combination of traditional gasoline engines coupled with an electric motor. 

And now here comes the “Belle of the Ball” the Tesla.   Tesla is a true electric car that is not only sexy and exciting but it’s also a little rocket!  Using cutting-edge technology, you’ll be launched from 0 – 60 in four seconds (like a Ferrari) and hit a top speed of 135 mph - silently and with no emissions!  You’ll be able to go over 200 miles between charges and you car can be recharged in your garage while you sleep!  The Tesla will initially be marketed to affluent buyers willing to drop around $90K.

You can read more about the Tesla at www.teslamotors.com.  

For those of you who don’t share my passion for cars you don’t have to worry, my next blog will be all about shirts!


My New Blog


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Paolo and I in Lake Como

Welcome to my new blog! (For those of you who don’t know, “blog” is short for “web-log”, a log [journal] that is posted on the web).  

 
I’ll be updating my blog regularly so you can see what I’ve been up to-
I’ll share pictures and stories from places I visit, as well as things I think you’ll find interesting like great restaurants, stores and “insider tips”...
 
Please check back in a week or so for my next entry.  I hope you enjoy this new way for us to stay in touch!
 
This is me (on the right) with my good friend Paolo in Lake Como, Italy.

Craig Taylor for Women


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Article from O’Connell’s. Posted Spring 2007.

O'Connell's

Craig Taylor offers a wide variety of ladies shirts, from slimming vertical stripes to fresh florals to a flawlessly fitted clean white tailored top. Far beyond the basic oxford, these figure flattering shirts will quickly become your favorites. See a full collection at O’Connell’s.

Pulp Fiction
A crisp classic, perfectly tailored with front and back seaming and styled with an open V-neck (Cotton with a hint of Nylon and Spandex).

Secret Hideaway
Show off in this lavish floral print. Shapely feminine fit. Finely spun breathable Egyptian cotton.

Hi, It’s Me!
Say it with stripes! Soft pinks in awning stripe pattern. Cotton with Lycra and a trace of spandex.

http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/ftp_only/Listserv%20and%20Newsletter/newsletter_spring_2007_web.pdf