AVENUE March | April 2023

Page 1

BRIAN COX:

“Logan has taken over.”
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CONTENTS MAR.–APR. 2023 VOL.47 NO.2

FEATURES

44 SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESSION

After a 50-year career which began in Dundee, Scotland’s repertory theater, Brian Cox was arguably the best character actor of his generation. But then along came Logan Roy and global stardom.

52 SUITS HER

Since launching her tailoring label The Deck, Daisy Knatchbull has redefined power dressing for women, shaking up London’s Savile Row along the way. Now the sartorial disrupter, who has rebellion in her genes, is bringing her vision to America.

ON WITH THE SHOW Brian Cox gears up for the final season of HBO’s blockbuster series, Succession. PHOTO BY BEN COPE

14 VERNISSAGE

Avenue’s insider preview of all that’s new and noteworthy: The Great British Sunday Roast takes NYC, why we’re so obsessed with Karl Lagerfeld, and giving oneself the gift of diamonds.

18

BUY CURIOUS

24

28

CULTURE

MAN OF THE MOMENT

Whitfield Lovell makes a powerful statement in his landmark exhibition debut in Florida.

32

36 IT’S ABOUT TIME

Sarah Sze’s Guggenheim takeover considers time in all its dimensions.

38 WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WOODY

70 AROUND THE WORLD IN DEMI-GLACE

Pop-ups in Mexico, residencies in Anguilla, culinary events in California: how celebrity chefs are cooking their way around the world.

Prepare for adventure—and look great.

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE

What happens when well-known chefs reinvent themselves? Restaurants like Lore, Jupiter, and Chef Guo give us an answer.

35

FAIREST

OF THEM ALL

The European Fine Art Fair returns to Maastricht with a veritable feast for the eyes.

EAST SIDE STORY

Asia Week New York brings the exotics of the East to Madison Avenue.

What do we do with the great art of flawed men? Avenue’s new literary critic finds versions of this dilemma in four thrilling new titles.

42

FAMIGLIA AFFAIR

With Luigi Russo at the helm, Il Postino has become a favorite haunt of uptown movers and shakers. He discusses bringing la dolce vita to the Upper East Side.

JOURNEYS

78 BOSTON UNCOMMON

The ’Quin House and the Newbury Boston are putting the bling into Brahmin.

82 NOTORIOUS NEW YORKERS

Frederick Cook was the first explorer to reach the North Pole and summit Denali—or was he? Avenue considers the adventurer’s claims and his stunning fall from grace.

62

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Costa Rica’s pristine rainforest is home to some of the world’s rarest creatures. Voyage to a tented camp deep in the jungle to bug out with the wildlife. BY PETER

84 ON THE AVE.

Returning galas and art functions make for good gown watching.

88

Q&AVE

Candace Bushnell, back in town with her onewoman show, dishes the dirt on dating.

GUTTER CREDITS TKTKTKTKTKTKTKTK; 8 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023
COVER: Illustration by Cecilia Carlstedt avenuemagazine.com
DAISY KNATCHBULL: HOLLIE ADAMS/STRINGER/GETTY IMAGES; POOL: COURTESY AUBERGE RESORTS COLLECTION
DEEP DIVES Right: Malliouhana’s freshwater infinity pool in Anguilla. Below: The Deck founder Daisy Knatchbull.
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Journeys

The world has (finally) opened up and everyone we speak to has the travel bug. What better time than now to launch our exotic and extensive travel section, “Journeys”? Our blockbuster March/April issue will transport you from New York to London and the far corners of the globe, where writer Joshua David Stein uncovered the international chefs who are changing the high-end hotel game and inspiring travelers to take a trip just for the food.

On that wanderlust front, we jet off to Costa Rica and the luxe, sleekly designed Nayara Tented Camp rainforest resort, at the foot of the Arenal volcano (beware of creepy crawlers!) as well as a short jaunt to Boston where we venture deep inside the exclusive ’Quin House, Beantown’s hottest private members club.

Speaking of incredible journeys, we met with Succession star Brian Cox and follow his fascinating trek from respected theater actor to the global superstar of the HBO smash series, which premieres its highly anticipated final season this month. We caught up with Cox in Brooklyn, New York, where he lives with his wife and children. Cox tells writer Michael Musto how his instant celebrity from Succession has changed both his private and public life. He recounts being bombarded by rabid fans and paparazzi at the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. “I ended up signing about 100 autographs. I don’t want to be churlish because it’s wonderful and very touching and the public is always graceful and nice, but you’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt because it could all go away,” Cox tells Avenue.

On the fashion front, we travel to London and present you with the style monde’s darling Daisy Knatchbull, whose line of bespoke suits for women has taken Savile Row by storm and is now landing on our shores. “In five years, I see The Deck as the destination for women’s tailoring,” Knatchbull declares. Her goal? “Global domination.”

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Natalie D. Kaczinski, a Philadelphiabased graphic designer, is Avenue’s new creative director. Over the past 20 years, she has covered everything from branding to advertising to consulting for luxury brands, and was the cofounder of Global Traveler magazine. “It’s been a very big dream of mine to art direct another magazine,” she says. “Publishing magazines is my forte. I am in love with all the different parts: from choosing photography, to the content, the typefaces. It’s very rewarding.”

Michael Musto (Sweet Smell of Succession, page 44) made a name for himself with his legendary Village Voice column “La Dolce Musto.” Over the course of his career, he has also penned a novel, Manhattan on the Rocks, a nonfiction guide, Downtown, and has appeared as a pop-culture expert on television. For this issue he interviewed Brian Cox, an actor whom Musto has been following for years. “I loved talking to Brian, who was articulate, honest, and delightful—nothing like Logan on Succession,” he says. “I could have talked to him forever, but ultimately had to let him go.”

Ben Cope (Sweet Smell of Succession, page 44), is a Los Angeles-based director, photographer, and artist. His work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, and W, while his clients have included Puma and Ralph Lauren, among others. Of photographing Brian Cox for this issue, he says, “He is someone who I have always admired as a character actor and seems to show up in all of my favorite movies. It’s always nice to work with someone that carries such weight on screen but has a pleasant and jovial personality outside of the characters they embody.”

Tom Shone (We Need to Talk About Woody, page 38) is a longtime contributor to the magazine and Avenue’s new literary critic. “What I loved about [writing this] column, and going forward, is the opportunity to follow my enthusiasms, and see if there are any connections to be drawn or broader cultural shifts glimpsed,” he says. The Englishman, who lives in New York, can also be found in the pages of London’s Sunday Times, while his next book, The Greengrass Papers (about filmmaker Paul Greengrass), will be published by Faber next year.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Peter Davis

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Heather Hodson

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Natalie D. Kaczinski

DEPUTY & MANAGING EDITOR

Angela M.H. Schuster

FASHION AND FEATURES WRITER

Aria Darcella

DEPUTY PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR

Daniela G. Maldonado

EDITOR-AT-LARGE

Celia McGee

FASHION EDITOR

Nolan Meader

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

Jessica Lee

COPY CHIEF

Danielle Whalen

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Joshua David Stein, Constance C.R. White, Judd Tully, Todd Kingston Plummer, Mike Albo, Carson Griffith, Martin Marks, Tom Shone

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Jai Lennard, Nick Mele, Sophie Elgort, Richard Kern, Landon Nordeman, Johnny Miller, Martin Vallin

© 2023 by Cohen Media Publications LLC

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CHAIRMAN

Charles S. Cohen

12 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023 NATALIE KACZINSKI COURTESY OF NATALIE KACZINSKI; MICHAEL MUSTO BY ANDREW WERNER; BEN COPE COURTESY OF BEN COPE; TOM SHONE BY KATE SHONE

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A

VERNISSAGE

Why Can’t We Quit Karl? I

f there’s one thing the fashion industry is good at, it is lionizing itself. Be it models, editors, photographers, or designers, it’s a well-oiled promotion machine. Even so, there are some figures that rise above breathless declarations of “iconic” or “legendary.” They loom so large that their image spills out into the real world—for better or worse.

You don’t have to follow fashion to know who Karl Lagerfeld is. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, his caricature-like image (a shock of white hair tied back into a ponytail, oversized sunglasses, and a stiff, high collar) is instantly recognizable. Since his death in 2019, numerous biographies have been published, including William Middleton’s Paradise Now, which was published by HarperCollins in February. And, in May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute will present “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” exploring his career. The show will feature 150 pieces of his work from as far back as 1950, as well as numerous sketches that detail his process. (Its corresponding

gala, hosted by Penélope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer, and Dua Lipa, will no doubt further showcase his wares.)

Ironically, Lagerfeld himself would have been against all this hullabaloo. “I'm not sure that Karl would approve of the exhibition,” Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, said at a press conference announcing “A Line of Beauty.” “He never tired of telling me that fashion wasn't art, and that fashion didn't belong in a museum. And when we did our “Chanel” show in 2005, which was a conversation between Coco and Karl, he refused to visit, saying that he’d rather look forward than backward.”

If Lagerfeld himself wanted to move on, why can’t we?

Hype aside, his career was singularly influential, and objectively impressive. Over his 65-year tenure in fashion, he apprenticed under Pierre Balmain; he was the head honcho at Chloé, Fendi, and Chanel (the latter of which he is credited with saving from the brink of irrelevance); he launched his own eponymous label; and he had a flourishing side hustle as a fashion photographer. He never retired, juggling his Fendi, Chanel, and Lagerfeld gigs right up until his death.

At times, his work represented the worst of the fashion industry, flippantly appropriating from any number of cultures or religions. Among the general public, he may be better remembered for his cat, Choupette, allegedly inheriting part of his $200 million fortune, or for his penchant for speaking off the cuff. Lagerfeld was catnip for journalists: almost guaranteed to give a declarative opinion that ranged from wildly bitchy to downright offensive. In the wake of his death, a backlash grew against the tributes, calling out his decades of fatphobia, Islamophobia, and disdain for the #MeToo movement.

Whether one focuses on his accomplishments or his transgressions, he remains a cultural flashpoint. The conversation may swing between lauding and condemning, but it will go on. As the man himself once declared, “A sense of humor and a little lack of respect: that’s what you need to make a legend survive.” —ARIA

MARCH—APRIL 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 15
Illustrations by Sandra K. Peña
“[KARL] NEVER TIRED OF TELLING ME THAT FASHION WASN’T ART.”
ANDREW BOLTON

Throw Off the Yolk of Brunch

Anthony Bourdain, the Virgil of the culinary world, once called brunch a collection of “old, nasty odds and ends, and 12 dollars for two eggs with a free Bloody Mary.” He was not being generous, nor was he wrong. For decades now, Sunday brunch—especially in New York City—has been an institution marked by a few outrageously priced options (eggs benny, French toast, goddamn avocado toast), prodigal consumption of alcohol (as if hangovers don’t carry over to the next week), and long, frustrating waits. Blame Sex and the City. Blame our godless metropole. Blame our lemming-like tendencies. Doesn’t matter much who’s at fault, brunch—like death, taxes, and rats—was an immovable feature of New York life.

Then came the Sunday Roast. Recently Hawksmoor, a British-based steak house which opened its New York iteration in 2021 in Gramercy Park, unveiled their Sunday Roast as a sort of competing hebdomadal gastronomic tradition. The broken bacterial hollandaise of yore has been replaced by a juicy joint of rump roast, a puffy Yorkshire pudding, a few crispy potatoes, a roast carrot or two, and brussels sprouts in shimmering butter. The whole thing is glistening with bone marrow and onion gravy. Innovative? Hardly. Delicious? Yes. Sunday roast, as an institution, has existed for hundreds of years in the family dining rooms and kitchens and pubs of the United Kingdom. Hawksmoor’s chef, Paddy Coker, grew up on Sunday roast in his native London. “I was always in and around Sunday roasts,” he says. “My dad was a chef and my mom ran the front of house in pubs.”

When compared to the Roast, the banal brunch bacchanal suffers. Whereas a brunch menu occupies the unhappy valley of modest choice, there are no options of a Sunday roast: the meat, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, some gravy, sticky toffee pudding. These are necessary immutable prerequisites. At Hawksmoor, though steaks and other offerings are available, on a recent visit none were ordered. It was Roasts

THE ROAST ENGENDERS UNITY; BRUNCH, DISCORD.

all around in the vaulted-ceiling room. And this, though I was not a member of a large party, temporarily bonded me and all the other diners. (The restaurant lived up to its former use as a social assembly hall.) The Roast engenders unity; brunch, discord.

Part of the rise of the Sunday Roast can be attributed to the rise of steak houses in general. (Like the cost of living, a rise does not imply a previous decline.) Across the river in Brooklyn, another stellar steak house, Gus’s Chop House (reviewed in these pages) offers a Sunday Roast featuring a succulent beef tri-tip with brown butter jus, fries, brussels sprouts, and a popover. I wish Bourdain had been around to weigh in on the rise of the roast, and its potential replacement of brunch. I wonder what he’d say, or if he’d be too busy gleefully stuffing rump roast down his throat to do anything but nod enthusiastically.

16 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023 VERNISSAGE

She Shines

It’s been 70 years since Marilyn Monroe portrayed a jewel-hungry showgirl in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes , famously explaining her need for the financial stability that precious gems ensured, singing “Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.” Diamonds are still a good pal. But a gentleman is no longer necessary to acquire them.

“It’s a really interesting shift,” says Fatima Ali, vice president, assistant general counsel, at Sotheby’s Financial Services. “A lot of older clients or clients from decades past were acquiring jewelry as gifts from, usually, men. Also, they were inheriting jewelry from their family’s estates and things like that.” But she notices that now, women—herself included—are buying jewelry for themselves.

None of this happened in the blink of a solitaire. It took until the ’60s for women to be able to have their own bank accounts, and until 1974

to no longer require a father’s or husband’s permission to open a credit card. In 2019, NBC News reported that 20 percent of all home purchases were by single women. This year, the New York Times noted that single women outstrip their male counterparts in owning homes.

That hard-won independence has shifted how women think about their most significant—and most personal—fashion pieces. Fine jewelry is no longer a visual representation of love. It is now a trophy one bestows upon oneself for a job well done.

“When I make these types of purchases, they're usually marked by important inflection points in my life,” says Ali. She made her first major purchase, a Cartier necklace, to celebrate her graduation from law school. She’s since expanded her collection to include vintage Van Cleef & Arpels, a turquoise and diamond piece from Dior, and a sapphire cocktail ring she consistently gets compliments on. “Because the pieces are being used to mark what I call ‘high notes,’ or key memories, in your life, instead of a memory in a relationship from somebody else, they're that much more meaningful.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Barbara Wilding, a successful real estate agent at Compass. “I tend to look at them as little rewards,” she says of her buys. Over the years, she’s treated herself to diamond tennis bracelets, diamond earrings, and a number of pieces by a friend who designs jewelry. “Usually, I will buy myself something when I close a big deal.” Wilding says. “[I’ll tell myself,] ‘Okay, if I sell this house, I'm going to buy that bracelet.’”

The jewelry industry has been keen to embrace the cultural shift. Instead of ads urging men to “treat her this Valentine’s/Mother’s/ President’s/Arbor Day,” contemporary labels like Mejuri and Messika, as well as heavy hitters like Tiffany’s, target women directly on Instagram.

“You don't really see those De Beers ads anymore where everything's about an engagement ring,” Wilding notes.

Not that men are no longer buying women jewelry, or that women don’t appreciate it. But women are done waiting for what they want. “If I see something that I like, that I think is quality, and I'm going to wear it, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it,” says Wilding. “To wait for my husband to buy it? No. That wouldn’t even enter my mind.” —AD

MARCH—APRIL 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 17

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Hungry for Change

What happens when well-known chefs reinvent themselves?

The answer lies at Lore, Jupiter, and Chef Guo

There comes a time in a man’s life when, by choice or necessity, he must remake himself. Gosh, maybe that’s not true. Maybe there are people whose lives are as coherent as a school desk: unified in form, consistent in principle, and easily grasped. But I am not one of those people. If they do exist, they can count themselves among the blessed. For the rest of us, how we exist in the world can feel provisional and transitory. We are, in the cynical parlance of the office, hot-desking ourselves.

As I said, the reasons why one might need to reestablish oneself vary. Some are deracinated by place; others by time. Some wish to; others are forced. The results vary as well, not only in terms of one’s recontextualization of self but

how the newer, shinier version is received. What is the con man congressman George Santos but a brilliant reinventor of self? Nothing could be more American than that. As for me, less criminally but more common, it was age that did me in; the accumulation of years and deeds stuck to my oars like seaweed, until no forward progress was possible, and I had to jump ship.

I was once, I think, a big deal, a promising young writer. Now, I am not. Young, for sure no longer, and promising? I have promised myself to stop promising anything. As for whether I’m a big deal, how many times do you have to explain to a new acquaintance why you are one before you realize you’re not?

This review concerns three restaurants and four restaurateurs of certain renown who have either been forced or have chosen to reintroduce themselves to a new population with little or no

24 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023 VERNISSAGE DANIEL CHEN/COURTESY LORE

context of exactly how big a deal they were. It is therefore a piece about insecurity and effort, primarily; lunch and dinner only second.

When I was a version of myself that was married, at the peak of my earnings, and pregnant with potential, my family and I lived on 15th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The north side of the street is occupied by a large Gothic brick building that was once an armory and is now both a YMCA and a homeless shelter. (They are contiguous, not coincidental.) The south side of the street is taken up with apartment buildings— one of which we lived in—and a single restaurant that sits on the corner of 15th and 7th Avenue. For many years, the restaurant was Thistle Hill Tavern, a faux-English pub with overpriced but above-average food run by the celebrity chef Dale Talde. When that closed in 2016, it became Camperdown Elm, named after the stooping, majestic 150-year-old tree in nearby Prospect Park. The double cheeseburger, available only at the bar, and a stiff Manhattan, got me through many nights of marital strife. By the time the Elm closed, I was divorced (one too many strife-filled nights) and had been pushed out Coney Island way like dough under the rolling pin of rising rent. Now it’s a trek to make it to Lore, the newest occupant of the corner space.

A fitting name, Lore is, for a restaurant run by a man attached to his own origin story. The man in question is Jay Kumar, a Mangalore-born chef who grew up in Oman but who, for over 20 years, ran Jay’s, a well-regarded Indian restaurant in Basel, popular with both watch and art people—of which Basel has many. I gather it was similar to Indochine, except with better food. With a well-groomed beard as thick and gray as Chronos’s and more charms than a Tiffany bangle, Kumar certainly seems at home in the rather more swinging European capital than in sleepy South Slope. But three years ago, having fallen in love with an American woman, Kumar relocated to New York with a dream to open a restaurant. And last year, he did.

It’s a strange feeling to reenter a room known for so long in so many iterations, but Lore might be my favorite yet. Kumar’s menu is tight but wide-ranging with chaotic inputs. It is in counterpoise to the prevalent trend in Indian cuisine, as embodied by the group Unapologetic Foods’s Dhamaka and Semma, of culinary cultural insularity. Kumar is a man of the world, and his menu is the same. It’s not apologetic but welcoming. Where else in New York does one menu contain fish-and-chips, sea bream ssam, a fermented dosa, and a ribeye steak with masala butter? Where else in the world would it be as good?

Key to Kumar’s menu is milagai podi, a southern Indian spice mix made with red chili, mustard seed, asafoetida, and many other spices. (It is called here gunpowder spice, because what don’t we weaponize?) The spice, similar to duqqa, is found dusting the corners of the concise menu. It appears in the aforementioned fermented dosa, a lentil crepe filled with delicately spiced potatoes and red lentil daal. It is also present in lamb chapli kebabs, a Pashtun ground meat patty, resting on a sworl of smoky baba

MARCH—APRIL 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 25
HEATHER WILLENSKY/COURTESY LORE
It’s a strange feeling to reenter a room known for so long in so many iterations, but Lore might be my favorite yet.
CHANGING TASTES Right: Lore’s chef, Jay Kumar, who ran a well-regarded restaurant in Basel, Switzerland, before moving to New York. Below: the sea bream ssam at Lore. Opposite page: Lore on its South Slope corner in Brooklyn.

ghanoush with Castelvetrano olives and tomato. The fish is as tender as the chips are crisp, arriving in a golden coat like it were the Met Ball. And the Afghani chicken, long marinated, zinging with whole tempered spices atop the stir-fried cabbage and creamy squash, rivals the poulet of any of New York’s best brasseries. These are all served in person by Kumar, who smells of cologne and whose fingers are covered in silver rings and flesh by tattoos and whose hair is perfectly coiffed and who will talk to you for hours about Brooklyn or Basel, take your pick. He’s a bit of a showman, true, but one who, rather than resting on his laurels, is cultivating his new crop in his new land. I didn’t know Kumar before. Now I

do and I too believe the lore.

Across the river and north a ways, another reinvention is going on at Jupiter. Here British chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer, who found renown at their French-ish restaurant King in SoHo, have opened a pasta-driven restaurant in the basement of Rockefeller Center named after the Roman king of the gods (get it?). The center itself is in the midst of its own radical renaissance. Where anodyne lunch troughs served the thousands of Midtown office workers, now buzzy restaurants imported from points cooler are tasked with luring tourists

year-round. On the street level, Le Rock, previously reviewed, and Lodi, lavishly praised. On the lower level, flush with the rink, are three additions: Naro, from double Michelin-starred Atomix’s husband-and-wife Junghyun and Ellia Park; Five Acres, from Brooklyn whiz kid Greg Baxtrom; and Jupiter, by Shadbolt and de Boer, joined by beverage director, Annie Shi.

Though King is, was, and will be the hottest restaurant in the city, I’d wager that most of the diners passing through the subterranean doors

26 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023
KITCHEN: CLAY WILLIAMS; PASTA: MARCUS NILSSON/COURTESY JUPITER VERNISSAGE
I’d wager that most of the diners passing through the subterranean doors of Jupiter have no clue as to the pedigree of the restaurateurs.
JUPITER IN RETROGRADE Above: the kitchen at Jupiter, the new restaurant of chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer; left: Jupiter’s paccheri verdi con sugo di maiale e limone dish.

of Jupiter have no clue as to the pedigree of the restaurateurs. On a recent visit, the room read as a tourist brochure for “I Love NY.” Due in part out of pride and in part out of business savvy, de Boer, Shadbolt, and Shi have made sure there is no competition with their downtown King. Here they are striking out for something new in their hometown, but not for a hometown crowd. Jupiter is a celebration of pasta. The bulk of the menu is devoted to it, with nine primi and only three secondi. Since two of the secondi in question are a steak and a whole grilled dorade, neither of which are looking for innovation or self-expression, that leaves only pasta as a medium for the chefs to express themselves.

And what do they say? It’s hard to hear actually. Perhaps it’s because the room is loud, all hard surfaces and soft light. But, I fear, it could also be that their message is too muted. Whereas King abounded with surprising flavor, Jupiter seems abashed. Nearly everything I tried lacked something; not a chromosome exactly, more like an enzyme. A bruschetta laden with crab and aioli would have greatly benefited from a touch of chili spice. The eight pansotti di zucca one receives for $26 swim in a perfectly pleasant butter and parmesan sauce. But eating them felt somehow like talking to a bored and boring conversant at a dinner party. The effort it takes to drum up any interest isn’t worth the pay off. Pansotti are a

Ligurian shape, meant to be stuffed so full their bellies protrude. (“Pansa” is dialect for belly.) At Jupiter, however, the silhouettes are slim, sleek, put together perhaps, but no fun. Another primi, the paccheri verdi con sugo di maiale e limone, showed more promise. The bright green paccheri were indeed dotted with succulent pork but the lemon peel, promised in the ragu and which would have elevated the dish by off-setting the fat with bright citrus, was either missing or too polite to assert itself. I can’t tell if it’s better or worse that those at Jupiter have little inkling about the brilliance these women have created downtown. But I do. And I have to say, Jupiter, I ate at King. I knew King. King was a friend of mine. Jupiter, you’re no King.

What I have zero context for is whatever the hell is happening behind the frosted windows on East 50th Street that is the home of Chef Guo. Chef Guo is Guo Wenjun, a master chef from China who opened his tasting menu restaurant in August 2022. On offer is a 19-course dinner for $518. As for the cuisine, perhaps the best way I can describe it is as Guo himself does, emblazoned on every single plate and napkin and chopstick: “The Finest Personalized Gourmet Chinese Cuisine in America.” The establishment of bona fides is unrelenting and unremitting. From the moment the door is opened and Guo’s name uttered by one of two servers—both in silken brocade Chinese

dress and wearing white gloves—it is uttered with reverence. A television screen plays an endless loop of media clips. The menu features an image of Chef Guo, his neck weighed down in golden medals and sashes, a trophy in his hand. “Chef Guo,” it is noted, “has been formally recognized by China as an Elite Master of the Chinese culinary arts.” At the bottom of the menu are two scenes from different state banquets where, presumably, Chef Guo cooked. In the right image is Barack Obama. In the left is Kim Jong-un.

Of the 19 courses, served on custom-made imperial yellow porcelain, perhaps the most striking was an early dish called Butterfly Falls in Love with the Flower. I mean, that name alone is far out. But the plating, treated as a painting, was truly striking. Small edible paper butterflies flutter around a pastoral scene, wrought of shrimp and sausage and “dozens of natural ingredients,” so says the starstruck server. But by the time we had feasted on the Hundred Happinesses and Eight Treasures in a Pouch Bag and Chef Guo Signature Pork Chops and Signature Noodles with Black Bean Sauce, the meal had begun to feel like one of those interminable state banquets. The food was good but the agenda so strong—worship at the altar of the finest personalized Chinese cuisine in America—that one couldn’t help but yearn for the freedom to make up one’s own mind about who Chef Guo was and who he is now.

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DEB LINDSEY PHOTOGRAPHY
FLOWER POWER Left: Butterfly Falls in Love with the Flower, one of 19 dishes on the tasting menu at Chef Guo; and above, Chef Guo (Guo Wenjun), in his Midtown restaurant.

Man of the Moment

With a powerful new traveling exhibition now on view in Boca Raton, Whitfield Lovell talks to Angela M.H. Schuster about his work, which has never been more relevant

“It is not often that the opening of a traveling museum exhibition—years, if not decades, in the making—is so well-timed that the curators and artists behind it might evince clairvoyancy. Yet that is clearly the case with “ Whitfield Lovell: Passages,” a landmark show debuting at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, which brings together a suite of monumental installations by the artist that beckon viewers to contemplate the larger human quest for equality and the pursuit of a better life—aspirations that transcend time and geography. And while the work in the exhibition was created over the course of three decades, it has immediacy and resonance in the politically charged environment in which we find ourselves in this moment.

“ Quite honestly, there are places I would like to boycott when it comes to exhibiting my work,” Lovell tells Avenue, “yet, in many ways, it is all the more important that my work is seen in such places as it creates ample space for dialogue around issues that are weighing so heavily on so many of us, a place where people can express their emotions, their fears, and their anxieties about what’s going on today.” In 2007, the New York-based artist was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, aka a “Genius Grant,” in recognition of his thought-provoking oeuvre. He notes with amusement a bit of irony in the exhibition: the six venues on its current two-year itinerary all happen to be located in “red states.”

The immersive mixed-media sensory tableaux—drawings and found objects, accompanied by ambient soundscapes and the rich, earthy aroma of soil, pipe tobacco, and brandy wafting in the air—invite the viewer to look, think, feel, and

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IMMERSION COURSE Deep River, a 2013 installation that pays homage to slaves who made a perilous journey across the Tennessee River in search for asylum during the Civil War, is among the poignant tableaux on view. COURTESY AMERICAN FEDERATION OF ARTS, THE ARTIST, AND DC MOORE GALLERY, NEW YORK

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question our notions of memory in the context of the present. The installation Deep River, named after the famed Negro spiritual, says Lovell, “is an homage to the enslaved people who, during the Civil War years, embarked on a perilous journey across the Tennessee River in search of asylum at ‘Camp Contraband,’ a Union Army encampment in Chattanooga, where runaway slaves were given sanctuary.” The 2013 multimedia presentation is composed of 56 wooden discs bearing portraits in charcoal and Conté crayon, along with found objects—a curated selection of potent mnemonic devices that tap deep into our collective psyche. The whole of the installation is enveloped in a video projection of a flowing river at night and is accompanied by a soundscape of lapping water. Notable in the work is Flight, an installation within the installation, that features a stack of 33 leather suitcases, which emit the sound of chirping birds—emblematic of freedom and the gift of flight.

Other works include eight meticulously rendered portraits from Lovell’s “Kin” series. Executed between 2008 and 2011, the portraits are drawn from the artist’s collection of more than 3,000 government identification card photographs and photo-booth pictures taken between 1860 and 1950. Each is accompanied by a found object highly charged in meaning, which Lovell refers to as a “poetic attachment”—a model of a slave ship, a toy train, or a piece of driftwood.

“My work is very labor-intensive, but I’ve been making art since I was toddler, and I started studying seriously when I was 13, and I have not looked back since,” says the Bronx-born Lovell, now 63. To create his art, he explains, he must enter “a trance state” of sorts, in which he is fully

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“I hope to reach people in such a way that they carry some of what they experienced away, that my work has a lasting effect beyond merely looking at something for three seconds and moving on.”
—Whitfield Lovell
THRILL SEEKER Right: You’re My Thrill (2004), an assemblage of charcoal on wood and bombshell casings. Below: a portrait of the artist in his New York studio.
COURTESY
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF ARTS, THE ARTIST, AND DC MOORE GALLERY, NEW YORK

engaged in the moment as he listens to music—be it opera, blues, or jazz, most notably the ballads of Nina Simone, about whom the artist waxes eloquently. “When I was in college, Nina Simone actually helped me get through a very difficult year as a freshman—her music, that is. Some years later we became friends, and every time she came to perform in New York, she would invite me backstage. I felt that what she was doing with her music was what I wanted to do with my art. She has always been a sort of earth mother to me and has inspired my work.” A case in point, Lovell says, is his handsomely scaled mixed-media piece, Because I Wanna Fly (2021), which was inspired by “Blackbird,” a song she recorded in the 1960s, in which she sings, “So, why you wanna fly Blackbird? / You ain’t ever gonna fly / You ain’t got no one to hold you / You ain’t got no one to care.”

When asked what he hopes viewers take away from the exhibition, he muses: “Have you ever gone to the theater only to find yourself humming one of the tunes on the way home? That’s what I want. I hope to reach people in such a way that they carry some of what they experienced away, that my work has a lasting effect beyond merely looking at something for three seconds and moving on.” In that, Lovell has triumphed brilliantly.

“Whitfield Lovell: Passages” runs through May 21, after which it travels to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (June 17–September 10), the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (October 23–January 14, 2024), the Cincinnati Art Museum (March 1–May 26, 2024), the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC (June 29–September 22, 2024), and the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio (October 26–January 19, 2025). An accompanying volume, Whitfield Lovell: Passages, is published by Rizzoli Electa.

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VISITING RITES From top: “Our Best,” a vignette from Whitfield Lovell’s installation, Visitation: The Richmond Project (2001); The Red I (2021), a Conté crayon on paper with a “poetic attachment.” COURTESY AMERICAN FEDERATION OF ARTS, THE ARTIST, AND DC MOORE GALLERY, NEW YORK

Fairest of Them All

The European Fine Art Fair returns to Maastricht with a veritable feast for the eyes, reports Angela M.H. Schuster

For me, this year’s TEFAF is particularly exciting,” Hidde van Seggelen , president of the highly vetted European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), tells Avenue. “With more than 7,000 years of art on offer, TEFAF brings the past and present together, creating an unparalleled experience for collectors.” This year’s 36th edition has a roster of 268 dealers, including 13 who will be showing at the fair for the first time. Among the notable newcomers: Belgian gallerists Patrick and Ondine Mestdagh, who offer a hyper-curated collection of sculptural tribal pieces from around the globe, and Park Kyung-mee of PKM Gallery in Seoul, who represents prominent Korean artists, such as Dansaekhwa master Yun Hyong-keun.

“We have expanded our Showcase section, a dedicated—and, if I might say, highly competitive—zone of the fair that offers jewel-box-sized stands to younger, emerging galleries,” effuses van Seggelen, a Utrecht-born, Hamburg-based dealer in postwar and contemporary art who got his own start in the section in 2010. “For this edition, we have ten gallerists, four more than in

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FULL EXPOSURE Above: Jules Pierre van Biesbroeck's Launch of the Argo (1889).
TAKING THE RED EYE An 18th-century Maori Hei tiki pendant in nephrite jade with eyes inlaid with red wax is among the highly sculptural tribal pieces being presented by Belgian dealers Patrick and Ondine Mestdagh.

previous years, since Showcase was launched in 2008.” Among them: Parisian rare book dealer Alexandre Pingel, who is presenting an “exceptional example of the first state of Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,” considered to be the first true, modern atlas when it was published in Antwerp in 1570.

“It has been in the Showcase section that some of the world's leading dealers have begun their art fair journey,” says TEFAF head of fairs, Will Korner. The 21 Showcase alumni participating this year include Didier Claes, whose eponymous Brussels gallery is among the best in the world for African tribal art, and London dealers Andrea Lullo and Andreas Pampoulides, who teamed up in 2016 to offer old master paintings and sculpture.

“Since making our 2017 TEFAF Showcase debut, things have grown pretty exponentially,” says Pampoulides, who is bringing two special works that are “quite different—in period, medium, and subject—but linked by their rarity, outstanding quality, and great narrative.” The first, he says, is a newly rediscovered late 17th-century polychromed terracotta depicting the Virgin and Child by the famed Spanish female Baroque sculptor Luisa Roldán, known as “La Roldana.” The second is the Launch of the Argo (1889), a handsomely scaled canvas by the Belgian child prodigy Jules Pierre van Biesbroeck. “The painting absolutely scandalized the establishment with its nudity when it was

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FLIGHTS OF FANCY From top: Alexander Calder's 1967 kinetic sculpture, Curly Blue Tail, is on offer from Zurich-based gallerist Laszlo von Vertes. Fernand Léger's 1952 canvas, La Femme au Perroquet, is available from New York dealer Christophe Van de Weghe.
“Jules Pierre van Biesbroeck’s Launch of the Argo absolutely scandalized the establishment with its nudity when it was presented at the Paris Salon in 1890.”
ANDREAS PAMPOULIDES

SITTING PRETTY Portrait of a Young Noblewoman Wearing Fine Jewels and a Black Dress with Gold Embroidery in the Form of Wheat Sheaves and a High White Ruff Collar (ca. 1565), an oil on panel by Alonso Sánchez Coello, is on offer from Colnaghi.

presented at the Paris Salon in 1890,” Pampoulides tells Avenue, adding that the artist was immediately summoned to Paris to paint over the Argonauts’ nude bodies. “When the 16-year-old boy came before the committee, which included the great William-Adolphe Bouguereau, they instantly recognized his prodigious talent and awarded him an Honorable Mention for the painting, based on its outstanding quality.”

As for the fantastic floral displays for which TEFAF is known: “They will be in softer, paler tones,” says Dani Mileo of Tom Postma Design, “an abundant and fresh, yet calming, counterpoint to the exquisite art on display.”

TEFAF runs March 11–19 at the Maastricht Exhibition & Conference Centre (MECC), with a two-day VIP vernissage March 9–10. tefaf.com.

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As for the fantastic floral displays for which the fair is known: “They will be in softer, paler tones, an abundant and fresh, yet calming, counterpoint to the exquisite art on display.”
—Dani Mileo, Tom Postma Design
WORLDLY GOODS An early edition of Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia, printed at Strasbourg in 1513, is among the rare atlases tendered by Parisian dealer Alexandre Pingel.

East Side Story

Asia Week New York brings the exotics of the East to Madison Avenue

The 14th edition of Asia Week New York (AWNY) will be welcoming 26 international galleries, many of whom will be exhibiting alongside their Manhattan counterparts, when the Madison Avenue fair steps off on March 16. First-time participants include Kyoto-based gallery Shibunkaku, which is presenting a joint exhibition with Joan B. Mirviss.

Highlighted works include a 16th-century Tibetan bronze of the disciple Milarepa, tendered by Berlin-based Buddhist Art, which is exhibiting at Arader Galleries, and an 11th-century sandstone statue of Shiva as Nataraja from Rajasthan, on offer from Kapoor Galleries.

“Collectively,” says AWNY chairman Dessa Goddard, “our participating galleries and auction houses are presenting spectacular array of treasures dating from the second millennium BCE to the present.” —AMHS

Asia Week New York runs March 16–24. asiaweekny.com.

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MANO A MANO From top: Yoshitsune and Benkei Fight on Gojo Bridge (ca. 1839-1840), a woodblock diptych by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, is being offered by Egenolf Gallery Japanese Prints. A 16th-century Tibetan bronze depicting the Buddhist disciple Milarepa is among the works available from the Berlin-based gallery Buddhist Art.

It’s About Time

For me, art is the greatest of all time travelers,” says New York-based installation artist Sarah Sze, whose whole-of-museum solo exhibition “Timelapse” opens at the Guggenheim on March 31. Whether one is looking at an ancient work of art or one created just yesterday, the artist explains, you are in a dialogue with another person, another intellect, the time distance between you becoming ever more irrelevant. Sze, 54, is a 2003 MacArthur Fellow and one half of New York’s most glamorous couple: her husband is Siddhartha Mukherjee, the oncologist, scientist, and author of The Emperor of All Maladies and, most recently, The Song of the Cell

It is the notion of time in all of its dimensions that Sze explores in her highly anticipated exhibition. The opening salvo of Sze’s show is a mon-

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WORK IN PROGRESS A mixed-media
COURTESY SARAH SZE STUDIO “
Sarah Sze’s Guggenheim takeover considers time in all its dimensions installation takes shape in Sarah Sze’s studio ahead of her solo show opening at the Guggenheim March 31.

tage of images projected on the exterior of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic building that will mirror in real time the cycle of the Moon over the course of the exhibition. “Like the collective efforts used by humans over centuries to communally mark time, to measure and mark it in physical form—ranging from Jantar Mantar, to the Prime Meridian line, to ubiquitous minarets, clock towers, and animated or astronomical clocks around the world—the museum building,” says Sze, “will become a site to explore the idea of a public clock, and an experiment in collective timekeeping that all in the city can experience.”

Inside, the artist will be filling the Guggenheim rotunda with myriad intricate site-specific installations that incorporate painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and video—each a meditation on “how our experience of time and place is continuously reshaped in relationship to the constant stream of objects, images, and information in today’s digitally and materially saturated world.” Among the highlights, the Guggenheim’s own Timekeeper, 2016, a multichannel color video installation, with sound, mirrors, archival pigment prints, and a host of utilitarian objects.

“Whether an intimately scaled sculpture or a large, permanent public commission,” says exhibition curator Kyung An, “her works possess a generative quality—as though in a cycle of growth and decay—and dynamically engage with the spaces they occupy.” —amhs

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“Like the collective efforts used by humans over centuries to communally mark time, to measure and mark it in physical form…the museum building will become a site to explore the idea of a public clock…”
—SARAH SZE
AN EXACTING EYE The artist at work in her studio ahead of her landmark Guggenheim exhibition.
BOTH IMAGES COURTESY SARAH SZE STUDIO
THE FOURTH DIMENSION Timekeeper, 2016, a multichannel color video installation, with sound, mirrors, archival pigment prints, and a host of utilitarian objects was acquired by the Guggenheim in 2017. “Sarah Sze: Timelapse” runs March 31–September 10 at the Guggenheim. guggenheim.org

We Need to Talk About Woody

What do we do with great art by flawed men? Avenue’s new literary critic Tom Shone finds the dilemma at the heart of four thrilling new titles

In June of 2017, as the first Cosby trial was taking place, and the seemingly never-ending parade of what novelist Jenny Offill has called “art monsters” were being marched through the public square, Seattle’s belle-lettrist Claire Dederer started keeping a list: Polanski, Allen, Cosby, Galliano, Mailer, Wagner, Caravaggio… She wished someone would invent a calculator. You would insert the name of an artist, and the calculator would measure the heinousness of their crime, balance it against the greatness of the work, and spit out a verdict: you could or could not consume their work with an easy conscience.

She spent much of the Trump years rewatching Polanski and Woody Allen movies, trying to figure out the calculus herself. She rewatched Manhattan, whose masterpiece status she had once endorsed but now found woefully unalert to the moral complexities of its central theme: middle-aged men nailing high schoolers. “Allen is fas-

38 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023 BRIAN HAMILL/GETTY IMAGES
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FILMS AND MISDEMEANORS Above: the brilliant but polarizing Woody Allen in his 1977 masterpiece, Annie Hall

cinated by moral shading except when it comes to this particular issue,” she writes in her thrillingly smart new memoir Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma (Knopf). “In the face of this particular issue, one of our greatest observers of contemporary ethics—someone whose mid-career work can approach the Flaubertian—suddenly becomes a dummy.” But, after on-demanding Annie Hall, she fell in love all over again, and felt “almost mugged by the sense of belonging. I don’t go around feeling connected to humanity all the time. It’s a rare pleasure. And I was supposed to give it up just because Woody Allen behaved like a terrible person? It hardly seemed fair.”

What was she supposed to do? Junk Manhattan but keep Annie Hall? Watch them, but only at a friend’s house? We’ve all faced versions of this dilemma over the last few years—what ought we to do with great art by bad men—but Dederer, whose previous books are Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses and Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning, has skin, heart, and brains in the game. Growing up in Seattle in the late ’70s and early ’80s, she experienced her first sexual assault at 13, two attempted rapes, multiple assaults on the street, and innumerable gropings—not far off the norm—all the while poring over Life magazine spreads of Picasso and Hemingway, those avatars of male genius, “muscular, unfettered, womanizing, virile, cruel, sexual.” Years later, taking her own daughters to the exhibition “Picasso: The Artist and His Muses” at the Vancouver Art Gallery, as they learned how he destroyed each woman in turn, her daughters recoiled. “Ugh, this is so depressing,” one of them said, finally. “What a disgusting creep. Can we leave?”

All these things can be true at once. The masterstroke of Dederer’s book is that she doesn’t seek to duck her ambivalence. She doesn’t try to magic it away by finding an expert or thinking harder, although her book has crystalline intellectual force, and still less by pointing fingers, although her command of the demotic is delicious (“I took the f***ing of Soon-Yi as a terrible betrayal of me personally,” she writes). Denounce Allen or Polanski all she wants, she realizes, their work still calls to her, and from that stubborn fact she has fashioned a book of depth and candor about what it is to be heartbroken by an artist

whose work we also happen to love. “Love is the quiet voice,” she writes, “next to the louder call for public shaming.” You might call it a manifesto for un-cancel culture. The love doesn’t cancel out the horror, nor does the horror cancel out the love. They simply sit side by side, as they do in our heads, shimmering like swathes of color in a Rothko.

So on point is Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma about the historical moment in which we currently find ourselves, you want to carry it around with you and whip it out at every bar or dinner party where people are getting heated about Louis C.K., say, or Kevin Spacey. What would Dederer’s hypothetical moral calculator make, for instance, of a stinker like Roald Dahl—notoriously anti-Semitic, offensively opinionated, bullying, overbearing, and “an absolute sod,” according to critic Kathryn Hughes? Even his three-year-old son called Dahl a “wasp’s nest.” In Roald Dahl: Teller of the Unexpected (Pegasus), the acclaimed biographer Matthew Dennison brushes off the wasps to deliver a brisk thumbnail sketch that doesn’t supplant so much as supplement Jeremy Treglown’s definitive, thornier 1993 biography of a writer, whose assholeness, like Picasso’s, was in some sense baked into the cake.

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IMAGES; POLANKSI: CENTRAL PRESS/GETTY IMAGES
So on point is Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma about the historical moment in which we currently find ourselves, you want to carry it around with you and whip it out at every bar or dinner party where people are getting heated about Louis C.K. or Kevin Spacey.
GODS AND MONSTERS Above: the artist Pablo Picasso; left, the notorious film director Roman Polanski.

Growing up fatherless in South Wales, exiled to a boarding school where he was “caned for doing everything that it was natural for small boys to do,” Dahl later lost his youngest daughter to measles, and nursed his first wife, actress Patricia Neal, back to health after a stroke, noting down her nonsense phrases for use in his children’s books about orphaned survivors—James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Matilda—in which the cruelty, wickedness, and violence are laid on with gusto. “Life isn’t beautiful and sentimental and clear,” Dahl once wrote. “It’s full of foul things and horrid people.” That children feel this as much as adults, if not more so, is maybe one of the reasons Dahl’s books have sold over 250 million copies in 58 languages.

There are enough foul things and horrid people in James B. Stewart’s and Rachel Abrams’s Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy (Penguin Press) to have had Dahl levitating with delight. First is Sumner Redstone, the waxen-skinned Methuselah who sat atop the Viacom empire, whose geriatric hobbies included harassing women on planes and choking on his steak when it wasn’t cut into small enough pieces. Then there are his two live-in girlfriends, who moved into Redstone’s mansion, cut off communication with his family, and started siphoning off his millions: Manuela Herzer, a naturalized Argentinian dodging angry creditors and a restraining order; and Sydney

Holland, a recovering alcoholic trailing a string of liens, court judgements, and a failed yoga apparel line. She also boasted a boyfriend named George Pilgrim, who once made a “Hunks in Trunks” photo spread for Men; got caught impersonating the grandson of William Randolph Hearst for a VH1 reality show, Hopelessly Rich ; and whose Facebook approach to Sydney was, “I think you’re hot. Damn, I’m hung.”

With a cast as good as this— Weekend at Bernie’s as rewritten by James M. Cain—it makes perfect sense that Stewart and Abrams, who originally reported on the story for the New York Times, would divide their book into “seasons” and “episodes” like a CBS reality show. They’ve written the

40 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023 ROALD DAHL: COURTESY PEGASUS BOOKS; SUMNER REDSTONE: JOHN BLANDING/THE BOSTON GLOBE; LOUIS B. MAYER: HULTON-DEUTSCH COLLECTION/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES
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“Life isn’t beautiful and sentimental and clear,” Roald Dahl once wrote.
“It’s full of foul things and horrid people.”
HERO OR VILLAIN? The British writer Roald Dahl.

literary equivalent of a guilty binge-watch, whose eye-widening excess is matched only by the feeling of pleasurable superiority one feels while surveying the moral tawdriness of the mega-rich. And that’s before we’ve even got to the season finale: the slow tick-tock of accusations against CBS’s Les Moonves, in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. The most poignant chapter is the closing one, which does a “Where Are They Now?” for the entire cast of liggers and scammers. Herzer is refused a bank account by First Republic Bank. Pilgrim is still looking for a publisher for his autobiography, Citizen Pilgrim, while obeying the terms of a restraining order brought by Holland, who auditioned for The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills before getting her claws into a rich, elderly doctor in San Diego. It’s like seeing lizards scamper off into the desert to find another rock.

One of the more interesting points made by Michael Schulman in his ambitious Oscar Wars: A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat, and Tears (Harper) is that the Academy Awards were designed, in part, to deflect from exactly this kind of scandal. After the mysterious death of Olive Thomas, a former Ziegfeld girl, who ingested poison in the bathroom of the Paris Ritz; Virginia Rappe, the silent film actress found mortally injured in the hotel room of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle; and the tragic end of morphine-addicted actor Wallace Reid, stars discovered “morality clauses” written into their contracts, to prove that Hollywood was no latter-day Gomorrah of addicts, orgiasts, and harlots. MGM’s owner, Louis B. Mayer, had an even better idea and proposed the formation of an Academy—the

loftiness of the title provoked much eye-rolling—along with an annual gong show, in order to keep the talent in line. “I found that the best way to handle [artists] was to hang medals all over them,” said Mayer.

If Mayer is one of the book’s more colorful villains—“You are talking about the devil incarnate,” said actress Helen Hayes. “Not just evil, but the most evil man I have ever dealt with in my life”—the bashful hero of the book turns out to be Gregory Peck, whose transformative tenure as Academy president from 1967–70 invigorated membership with a younger generation, including Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, and Elliott Gould—whose ingratitude makes you wince. “I would rather have a good three-man basketball game than sit there in my monkey suit,” quipped Gould. At the 1970 awards, Jane Fonda turned up in her Klute shag and pumped a

OF VICE AND MEN Left, Sumner Redstone, the late billionaire and head of the Viacom empire; below, Louis B. Mayer, cofounder of the MetroGoldwyn-Mayer empire and “the devil incarnate” according to the actress Helen Hayes.

fist—“Right on!”—while protestors waved “JOHN WAYNE IS A RACIST” placards. “This is not an Academy Awards, this is a freakout,” joked host Bob Hope, nervously.

Famously, the right-on kids of the Easy Rider generation pushed the X-rated Midnight Cowboy to a best-picture win, but the ironic coda to the story comes 46 years later, when many of those same groovy kids, their ponytails now graying, found they were the ones being put out to pasture by Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, following the public shame-a-thon of #OscarsSoWhite in 2016. What goes around comes around. In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, a new “code of conduct” clause was also introduced into the Academy’s rule book, echoing the “morality clauses” of the ’20s. Sometimes, the two-step between monsters and their accusers feels like the oldest dance number in town.

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Famiglia Affair

With Luigi Russo and his wife Maria at the helm, Il Postino has become a favorite haunt of uptown movers and shakers. The couple talks to Peter Davis about bringing la dolce vita to the Upper East Side

One recent afternoon, sporting his signature blue ( not white) chef’s shirt and tangerine orange scarf, Luigi Russo is sitting under an enormous, gilded baroque mirror in the grand dining room of Il Postino, his new Italian eatery on East 61st. Large black-and-white photographs of movie stars, such as Sophia Loren, flank the walls, while a table overflowing with fresh vegetables, cheeses, and other delicacies commands the entrance to the room. “People appreciate old world ambience,” Russo tells me in his deep Roman accent. “Old world can be clothing, shoes, food—it never goes out of style.”

Russo, who also owns the venerable Scalinatella two blocks east of Il Postino—named after his favorite film—has effectively built an Italian culinary empire on the Upper East Side. He bops back and forth between the two locations throughout the week and, although he lives with his wife and two grown children in Westbury on Long Island, he keeps a studio above Il Postino as a crash pad when it’s too late to commute home. “This is all I do in my life—the restaurants,” he says as he carefully combs through Il Postino’s daily specials; so lengthy, they could be a novella. The ambitious menu at Il Postino spans the best of Italian fare. Russo is famous for his Dover sole, which sells out fast, as well as his meats (he will only buy lamb from Colorado) and pastas, which are made fresh daily. Russo’s dishes are dictated by what is seasonal and fresh. “I have a really big selection of food here and tremendous food costs. But you can come here and dine every night.” And dine every night people do. Both locations are filled with die-hard regulars, New York power players who eat there at least twice a week.

Russo grew up in Castelforte, a small town southeast of Rome, where he started cooking when he was just six years old. “Every woman in my mother’s family should have been a fivestar chef,” he declares proudly, tapping the table

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“People come for dinner and then want to have a meeting with me after. ‘Why didn’t you give me a corner table?’ they ask me.”
CULTURE
—Luigi Russo
TABLE OF PLENTY Luigi and Maria Russo at their restaurant Il Postino. Photography by Alexander Thompson for Avenue

with his finger. “At five o’clock in the morning, my grandmother had the pasta ready. My grandfather would go buy meat and fish every day. We made our own cheeses. There was no refrigerator. We ate what was available in the market. We never ate anything out of season.” Russo came to New York when he was still in school, working as a waiter and then a captain in high-end restaurants. This familial love of fresh food is what drives the menu at both Il Postino and Scalinatella. “My goal is to make everything as authentic as possible,” he says. “I was 27 when I signed my first lease. I was very ambitious and full of energy. I had focus. I dreamed that my place would have celebrities and a loyal clientele. And it happened.”

Russo’s wife, Maria, a statuesque blonde who worked for years in the fashion business, is his secret weapon. Maria runs the show behind the

scenes, greets guests at the door nightly, and tackles the difficult task of seating the clientele, many of whom are regulars. “It’s like an art or science,” she says with a laugh. “I need to make sure everyone has the right table.” Russo nods his head. “It’s very, very difficult,” he agrees. “People come for dinner and then want to have a meeting with me after. ‘Why didn’t you give me a corner table?’ they ask me.”

Russo met his wife at Scalinatella’s first location on East 49th Street. Maria had cancelled the meeting, set up by friends, twice. “I had two dogs at home. I just wanted to go home from work and see my dogs,” she chuckles. “I tried to cancel a third time, but I went to the dinner and we started talking about food and recipes.” Luigi interrupts. “She didn’t fall in love with me. She fell in love with the food,” he says, giving his wife a playful

wink. The next day, Russo had orchids delivered to Maria’s office. “He sent flowers, but no note. It was a little shocking,” she admits. “I had to call the florist and ask who sent them.” Russo interjects: “I wanted her to work for it!” Maria finishes the love story: “We started dating and the rest is history. We have been together 22 years.”

Will Russo open a third restaurant? “I would, but I’m starting to get old,” he confesses. “It takes a lot of energy to do that.” Plus, Il Postino is still new and exciting. “We have a very loyal clientele and it keeps us open,” he says as waiters buzz around the room, prepping for a busy night. “I always wanted this exact spot on 61st Street,” he says proudly. “There is a history of restaurants here, going back to David Burke. Everybody all over the world is fascinated by New York because this is the greatest city in the world.”

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BRIAN COX WAS ARGUABLY THE FINEST CHARACTER

ACTOR OF HIS GENERATION UNTIL LOGAN ROY CAME

ALONG AND MADE HIM A BONAFIDE SUPERSTAR.

HE TALKS TO MICHAEL MUS TO ABOUT THE FAME GAME

SWEET SMELL OF

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN COPE LIFE OF BRIAN The Scottish actor photographed here and throughout at Bar Calico in Gramercy Park.

Brian Cox has been tasting the success in Succession. Thanks to the darkly satirical HBO series, in which he plays conglomerate-owning billionaire Logan Roy, Cox’s public profile has exploded like the finest champagne popping. “It’s a great role,” Cox tells me in his distinctive Scottish burr one recent morning. “An iconic character. A lot of people here see a lot of King Lear in the whole story.”

And the direct result of his playing the part with such authority and angst has been…celebrity! In his 70s (he’s 76 now), Brian Cox has become a bonafide superstar. “I used to pride myself on my anonymity,” he admits, “but it’s gone. Logan has taken over. I managed for 60odd years to avoid that. Somebody once said, ‘It’s a long haul for you, Brian.’ I never knew it would be this long.” The seasoned actor lets out

er who was a spinner in jute mills and a policeman dad who died when Brian was eight, leaving his mom distraught. She had suffered a series of miscarriages before Brian was born and, later on, she had several nervous breakdowns, leaving Brian, the youngest of five children, to be brought up by his three older sisters. At 15, he left school and gravitated towards the theater, working with the Dundee Repertory Theatre, then training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He made his West End debut in 1967 in As You Like It and gradually became one of the best-known interpreters of the Bard, spending seasons with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre throughout the ’80s and ’90s. An especially memorable project came in 1983, when he played the Duke of Burgundy in the Granada Television production of King Lear, starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Having entered the world of television acting in Britain in 1965 when he was 19, Cox eventually expanded into movie roles. In 1986, he landed

“SOMEBODY ONCE SAID, ‘IT’S A LONG HAUL FOR YOU, BRIAN.’

a hearty laugh of the type that Logan Roy rarely gets to enjoy.

The impact of Succession has been so strong that when Cox went to the London premiere of The Fabelmans last year, he became a reluctant object of frenzied paparazzi and fans. Cox went with a friend who had worked with Spielberg and who kept urging Cox to walk the red carpet, though the actor wasn’t sure it would be right, since he was only there as a plus-one. But he gamely did so, and all hell broke loose. “A photographer said, ‘Can you take your coat off so we can take some photographs?’ ” he relates. “The crowd went berserk. ‘Oh, Brian! Brian!’ I ended up signing about 100 autographs. I don’t want to be churlish because it’s wonderful and very touching and the public is always graceful and nice, but you’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt because it could all go away. At the same time, you can’t be graceless.”

Brian Cox’s life didn’t start with flashing cameras. He was born in Dundee, Scotland, to a moth-

Michael Mann’s Manhunter , in which he was the first actor to play cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (spelled “Lecktor” in that film). Manhunter got mixed reviews at the time, but it’s grown in status as a cult thriller rather than just a prelude to a phenomenon. As for Anthony Hopkins taking on the part in the classic The Silence of the Lambs, Cox jokes, “The only thing I didn’t like was he won an Oscar and made a lot of money!”

After Manhunter, Cox had to deal with a divorce from the actress Caroline Burt, whom he married in 1968 when he was just 21 and with whom he has two children, writer/director Margaret and actor Alan. By the mid-90s, Cox had situated himself in America to pursue other juicy opportunities. He figured this was a way to be in the heart of the entertainment industry, so he could suss out roles that appealed to him. Was it a relief to escape the British class system? “Yes,” he readily admits, “because America is known as an egalitarian state. But, as it turns out, that’s not really practiced.” Oh, well, it sounded great in theory.

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I NEVER KNEW IT WOULD BE THIS LONG.”

Fortunately, immersing himself in movieland allowed for some rewards. Cox got to pursue his gifts as a character actor—someone who dives into colorful opportunities, often in supporting, but scene-stealing, roles. “I think we all are character actors,” he says. “There’s the Brad Pitt syndrome, but in Babylon, the screen idol he plays is a character. I decided I was going to become a character actor. I don’t care about playing the leading man; I want to play a part that has quality. I owe it to a lot of my biggest influences—the character actors of the ’30s, like William Demarest. I thought, ‘That’s what I’ll do now.’” But in the process, he judiciously turned down some big movies, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (he felt the part in question—Governor Weatherby Swann—was pretty meh, especially in the shadow of Johnny Depp’s flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow). And after working with Steven Seagal, he was hardly chomping at a chance for a reteaming. (In his

forthright 2022 memoir, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, Cox reveals that he found the ’90s action star to be on a different plane, but not necessarily a higher one. “It’s a shame,” Cox tells me, “because his politics are quite liberal.”)

Cox has learned not to regret having rejected various offers, especially since his Scottish grandma long ago told him something to the effect that if an opportunity gets away, then it wasn’t meant to be, whereas if you do end up doing something, then it’s yours. And the stuff he did choose was pretty choice, including key characters in films such as Braveheart (he was Argyle, the mentoring uncle of Mel Gibson’s Scottish warrior) and The Boxer (in which he played Emily Watson’s dad, an IRA leader fighting for peace). A special moment came in 2001, when Cox tackled a controversial role in the small but potent L.I.E. He brought all his dramatic skills to bear as Big John Harrigan, a pedophile who develops a complicated relationship with a troubled boy played by Paul Dano. “I

was advised to think about it before taking it,” Cox reveals, “because of the subject matter. I said, ‘No, this is a really good script’ and ignored the advice. It proved to be a very good move on my part. I loved working with [director/cowriter] Michael Cuesta and Paul Dano, who was great, and I’m so happy with the way Paul has developed as a magnificent actor.”

Cox has worked nonstop since, but the stardust didn’t really fall until Succession premiered in 2018 to acclaim for its savvy look at jaundiced blood relatives lobbying for power at any cost. With the fourth and final season launching this month, the possible sale of Waystar Royco might continue to be a plotline, though Cox said he isn’t allowed to give any details as to what developments could lurk.

Told that he admirably doesn’t play Logan as a moustache-twirling villain, but as a human being, Cox—who’s won a Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations for his performance—has a

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TV TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

“I THINK [LOGAN ROY’S] A MAN WHO’S VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE HUMAN EXPERIMENT, WHICH HAS MADE HIM MISANTHROPIC, WHEREAS I, ON THE OTHER HAND, AM OPTIMISTIC.”

response. “He is [human],” he says. “I have a lot of empathy for him. I don’t judge him. I think he’s had a troubled time. He’s a misanthrope and is also painting himself into a corner because of who he is. I think he’s a man who’s very disappointed in the human experiment, which has made him misanthropic, whereas I, on the other hand, am optimistic, even though it’s hard to be optimistic with the crises we find ourselves in, thanks to the political nonsense on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Does Cox think Logan has a favorite of his endlessly conniving offspring, or are they all vile to him? “He loves all his children,” insists the actor, “but he’s constantly been let down by them because they won’t step up to the plate, and it’s also the sense of entitlement. It’s funny because they have not been reliable. It’s been treachery and scheming. But of course, he’s created the whole thing. When you live at that level and have children, naturally they’re spoiled. They have a very, very narrow view of the world. They always

talk about their ambition and what they want to do, and he gives them enough rope to hang themselves with.”

There’s no need for Cox himself to resort to such chicanery; his plate is running over these days, due in no small part to his HBO triumph. He’s set to star in four movies and two plays, one in London’s West End, just for starters. “I couldn’t ask for a better position,” he enthuses. “I also feel a need to go back to the theater before my mind finally goes. I’m nervous about it, but I’m going to do a play about Johann Sebastian Bach and Frederick the Great, and, in 2024, I’m going to do Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.” He’s also directing and costarring in a film in Scotland this summer, Glenrothan, about two estranged, reuniting brothers and the family distillery. Maybe it’ll be Succession with a thicker brogue.

The picture that emerges of Brian Cox is one of a modest yet forthright person who’s been

served a surprising new career chapter that he’s tickled by, though he’s deep down still the hardworking Shakespearean actor of days past.

And he seems to have achieved a gratifying balance in his relationship with his wife, German-born actor/director Nicole Ansari, who is 54. The couple, who married in 2002, lived in a penthouse in a Downtown Brooklyn high-rise for ten years, but moved to a house not far away, in Boerum Hill. “We adore this neighborhood,” Nicole tells me, “and our life revolves around the span of five blocks. We try to avoid crossing the bridge into Manhattan. That frantic city energy can be inspiring, but tiring. Brian misses London a lot, so being in a house—and a neighborhood with houses, not skyscrapers—makes him feel more at home.”

Their life together? “Because of our jobs,” she explains, “we rarely get to spend time together at home, so when we are home, we like to lounge and do nothing much other than watch TCM to-

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THE GREAT SUCCESSION Opposite page: Cox as Harry in the television adaptation of the Graham Greene short story “The Blue Film,” which ran as part of the ’70s series Shades of Greene
“I FEEL A NEED TO GO BACK TO THE THEATER BEFORE MY MIND FINALLY GOES.”

gether, have dinner with our boys, and walk over to one of our neighborhood cafés for breakfast. Home becomes a special kind of vacation for us.”

The “boys” are Orson, 21, who’s studying acting, and Torin, 18, who’s applying to colleges. They live on the third floor of the house, “and have their own world up there,” says Nicole. “I love that they are still living with us. The house would feel too big and empty without them.”

In another sane move, Brian and Nicole happen to sleep in separate bedrooms. “I think it is the best decision we ever made,” says Nicole. “Of course, this is not possible for every couple. But I think it is so important to have your individual space. Instead of having an office, each can have their desk in their own bedroom. I think a lot of couples actually suffer from overexposure to each other. No wonder they get bored! We both also like our own company. We are OK with who we are and don’t need the other to validate us. It also helps having time apart and discovering each other after travels.”

Brian agrees that some separation time is good for the relationship. He says their secret as a couple is “allowing each other to be who they are and not trying to make them who they’re not. Total respect for their position and what they want to do. And actively encouraging. Nicole is very smart—a great director and with terrific visual sense. And she’s gotten me into being an activist. She’s doing a lot of work for women in the Middle East.”

By the way, Brian met Nicole in 1990 when he was playing… King Lear.

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GREAT SCOT Cox and his wife, the actor and director Nicole Ansari-Cox, at Netflix’s Golden Globes After-Party in January 2020. EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY IMAGES/NETFLIX

Suits her

Since launching her pioneering tailoring label The Deck, Daisy Knatchbull has redefined power dressing for women, shaking up London’s Savile Row along the way. Now the sartorial disrupter, who has rebellion in her genes, is bringing her vision to America. Mickey Boardman catches up with her in New York

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MAGAZINE
BICESTER VILLAGE/COURTESY THE DECK
GOING GREEN Daisy Knatchbull in an emerald suit of her own design.

Legend has it that

on February 25, 1960, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was perched majestically on her chintz sofa, trusty gin-and-tonic in hand, watching the televised burial-at-sea of Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. The Countess, last vicereine of India and an internationally celebrated symbol of beauty, jet-set style, and panache, had died in Borneo, and had requested a burial at sea, off the coast of Portsmouth. As her coffin slid majestically beneath the waves, the Queen Mum is reported to have purred, “Dear Edwina. She always liked to make a splash.”

Splash-making seems to be a habit Edwina passed down to her great-granddaughter Daisy Knatchbull, the 30-year-old founder of The Deck, the first women’s tailoring brand to take up shop on the traditionally male-dominated Savile Row. In another pioneering move, last month The Deck moved from number 19 to number 32, one of the largest storefronts on the row—2,000 square feet of de Gournay hand-woven wallpaper, blond parquet floors, plush velvet sofas, and antique gilded mirrors, designed by Cordles, a luxury design firm.

Bold acts are catnip to Knatchbull. After all, this is the woman who strode into the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, a bastion of tradition and respectability, in 2016, in top hat and tails. Her duds were by Huntsman, the venerable Savile Row establishment where she was working in public relations at the time, and her sartorial hijinks were a stroke of promo genius. As she wrote in Tatler magazine in 2019, the year she launched The Deck, “Once, I was described as having ‘a genetic predisposition for rebellion’—which matches perfectly an ethos that guided my youth: ‘It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.’”

I caught up with Knatchbull and her all-female crew in New York last fall at her inaugural American trunk show. In a loft

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WHITEOUT Daisy Knatchbull in a white suit and sneakers. FAMILY TIES Knatchbull’s maternal great-grandmother, Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. DAISY KNATCHBULL: BUMBLE BIZZ/COURTESY THE DECK; EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN: SASHA/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

on Lower Broadway, the three-day event, which was fully booked, managed to project a feeling of British urban luxury and American downtown cool. Knatchbull wore trousers and a blouse from The Deck, naturally, and looked so stunning that she could have been mistaken for the fit model. We drank tea—of course.

“We were really trying to make Savile Row feel more relevant and more interesting for women, to bring more women to the street,” Knatchbull told me of her caper in the Royal Enclosure. “We thought it was a really fun idea to make a scene and generate some kind of fun, cool coverage, and it worked!” The day had its bumps though. “They tried to stop me from getting in because I think they knew I was going to make a fuss,” Knatchbull recalled, “so they tried to call me out on the fact that I was wearing these six-inch Louboutin heels. They said, ‘The rule is if you wear a top hat and tails, you must wear correct footwear,’ of which obviously heels wasn’t a thing.”

She asked to speak to the manager of the enclosure, who took one gander at Knatchbull, and said, “Come on in.” A press frenzy ensued, making Knatchbull the poster girl for women’s

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TALL TAILS Knatchbull in the tails that shocked Ascot.
“They tried to call me out on the fact that I was wearing these six-inch Louboutin heels. They said,
RICHARD YOUNG/COURTESY THE DECK
‘The rule is if you wear a top hat and tails, you must wear correct footwear.’ ”
MATILDA LOWTHER/COURTESY THE DECK PURPLE REIGN A lavender velvet bespoke suit by The Deck.
Knatchbull’s early interest in fashion gave her “this feeling that I can’t describe—this insane feeling. When you really are passionate about something, you feel that.”

bespoke tailoring from then on. “That was really such a catalyst moment for this business,” she said.

As a child growing up in London, Knatchbull was a bit of a tomboy, and loved to wear non-“ladylike” things, like camouflage trousers. “My stepmother always tried to put me and my sister Phoebe in matching dresses.” she laughed. “I wanted to dress in things that I felt comfy and cool in rather than pretty and girly.” She went on to boarding school at Benenden in Kent. These days she lives in London’s Little Venice with an Italian boyfriend who cooks her dinner every night. Her father is Curzon Cinemas CEO Philip Knatchbull. Anyone who has watched The Crown knows that her aunt Penelope Knatchbull was quite close to Prince Philip. Today you’re still not likely to find her in a frilly frock. “Ball gowns are beautiful,” Knatchbull said, “and I appreciate that, but

for me, I always feel sexier and more elegant when I’m in a really good trouser suit. There’s something about it that gives you this unapologetic confidence.”

Her clients, many of them friends from similarly royal-adjacent backgrounds, share her sensibility. “The simplicity of a suit to an untrained eye is just that—seemingly simple,” said Lady Violet Manners, an old friend, and the Duke of Rutland’s daughter. “But the detail in The Deck’s suits, with refined tailoring to your shape, is so subtle, but it makes the most enormous difference. Wearing The Deck always makes me feel an intoxicating mix of feminine and masculine, a yin and yang that no off-the-peg dress trousers and shirt combo ever would.”

Knatchbull’s maternal grandmother, Sydney Smith, was married to the fashion photographer John Cowan, and told her stories of London in the Swinging Sixties. She

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PORTRAIT: MATILDA LOWTHER; LAPEL: COURTESY THE DECK
MEASURED AND MADE Above, left to right: a client being sized for a suit; a threepiece pinstripe suit.
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CANDICE LAKE/COURTESY THE DECK
DECKED OUT Four looks by Knatchbull. Facing page: a gray flannel suit with a wide navy blue collar.

and Knatchbull would make dress patterns on the floor together while Granny caught Knatchbull up on fashion history. “She taught me about the ‘New Look’ and what that meant,” Knatchbull said. “About each era and what that did to fashion with what was going on at the time.”

Her early interest in fashion gave her “this feeling that I can’t describe,” she said, “this insane feeling. When you really are passionate about something, you feel that. I have it with my business.”

The passion became the through line to her career. After college at the University of Leeds, she segued from internships at Huntsman and Purple PR to styling, then fashion journalism at the Evening Standard and The Sunday Times, designing her own line seemed the natural next step, but deciding that men’s fashion was going to be her jumping off point was a bold move. Having landed on Savile Row in her early 20s, she said, “I fell into this beautiful world, and this opportunity fell into my lap.” If that’s what you want to call the sensation of showing up at Ascot in Savile Row regalia. She ran with it.

Knatchbull was The Deck’s initial designer, and she handpicked her tailoring team. The results were soon snapped up by women of all ages, from her cousin India Hicks to the Duchess of York, Elizabeth Hurley, Jodie Whittaker, and a healthy smattering of CEOs. If it looks like a breeze, it isn’t. Hicks, who knows a thing or two about creating a business, said, “Daisy Knatchbull did not just stroll onto Savile Row. She worked her arse off to be there.”

Prices at the Deck start at $2,500, quite reasonable considering that Knatchbull’s suits are fully custom and made-to-measure, and come with free repairs for life. Each style has a different name: the Boyfriend, the SingleBreasted, the Safari, and are modeled on The Deck website by friends and notables like former Spice Girl Mel C, model Olivia Arben, and paralympian Nikki Maxwell.

What’s the process for ordering a Deck suit? There’s the standard measurement taking, but Knatchbull also believes in really getting to know each client: What does the suit seeker love to wear? What doesn’t she like in her wardrobe? Does she perspire a lot? Which assets might she want to show off, and are there

things she’d rather downplay? “We find out everything,” Knatchbull said, “to make sure that what they have from us, they adore and love and wear repeatedly.” There are several fittings, and each client chooses her own fabric—the options include velvets, corduroys, tartans, and cashmeres—as well as the lining, buttons, and monogramming for her suit. “We spend three hours on average with each client,” said Knatchbull, “so you build a really close

relationship. You understand them. You know about their nightmare mother-in-law and their sick dog and their annoying husband.” The Deck’s reorder rate is 40 percent. The entire process takes 12 to 14 weeks.

The Deck also welcomes women of any size. “It’s being able to have these women come in and show off their beautiful figures, and get it right in the right proportions and places,” Knatchbull said. “That makes up a big part of

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MATILDA LOWTHER/COURTESY THE DECK
COURTESY THE DECK
ON A ROW Knatchbull in front of The Deck’s storefront.

our business because people are tired of just not being heard or seen. It doesn’t work.”

Her list of style influences is a who’s who of glamorous legends in trousers: Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Hutton. “If I tell you every time someone comes in and wants a bridal suit and their reference point is Bianca Jagger…” She’d love to dress Ellen DeGeneres, who, she said, knows a beautifully tailored suit when she sees one, and Oprah.

When Knatchbull started her business, she said, men would continually say to her, “So you’re doing men’s suits for women?”

“No,” she always countered. “No. We’re doing women’s suits for women.” The benighted fellows were probably thinking of the ’80s power suit, she said. “And it had its moments. But beautifully tailored garments will always be in style. A well-fitting jacket and trousers or skirt are never going to go out of fashion.”

Skirts? Dresses? “We just launched this kilt skirt that has gone a bit bananas,” Knatchbull said. If there’s something in particular a client asks for, The Deck can almost always oblige. “It’s all bespoke,” Knatchbull reiterated.

To her, a Deck customer doesn’t only look chic, powerful, and sophisticated but also singularly sexy. Most people, she said, “think of sexy as short. Short and maybe off the shoulder. A suit’s not like that, but it’s [sexy] in certain ways, whether it’s that part of an ankle that you see with heels, or the clavicle, which I think is the sexiest part of the body. The clavicle or the wrist—if [a suit] is beautifully made, there’s something that just highlights all the best features, projects strength, and has that softness as well. For me, that’s just the ultimate look.”

Perhaps Knatchbull could dispense advice to the royal family as it struggles to adapt

and modernize. After all, her uncle Norton Knatchbull is godfather to the Prince of Wales. She’d be thrilled to dress the Princess of Wales, she admitted. “We say that The Deck is classicalelegance-meets-modern-femininity,” Knatchbull said, “and it’s that combination you want to keep: some of that heritage and tradition, and, you know, the craft and the art of the street. You want to make it sexy and understated and elegant and all of those things.”

Her biggest challenge, she said, is being able to keep up with demand. Growth spurts are a constant. The Deck’s New York trunk show sold out. She’ll be back in New York in late April, and Palm Beach, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Texas. “In five years,” Knatchbull told me, “I see The Deck as the destination for women’s tailoring. That’s where I want to be.” Her goal, she said, only half-joking: “Global domination.”

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Pristine white suits by The Deck await clients.
MARK BASS/COURTESY THE DECK
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HAUTE LAVA The Nayara resort with the Arenal volcano in the background.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Costa Rica’s pristine rainforest is home to some of the world’s rarest creatures, including bullet ants, poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, and the three-toed sloth.

Peter Davis heads to a tented camp to bug out with the wildlife

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When I announce to friends and family that I am heading to Costa Rica to stay in a tent in the middle of the rainforest, it is met with gales of laughter.

“Don’t forget to pack mosquito netting,” my sister Minnie snorts, while my best friend Steven texts, “Good luck with that,” followed by a slew of laughing emojis. But while I am a bug-averse New Yorker who vacations in ski resorts to minimize the wildlife quotient, my fiancé Ted is an adventurer—a binocular-wielding, zip-lining, rope-traversing type who has always wanted to

spot a sloth in its natural habitat. So, in an act of goodwill towards our future union, I book a trip to the Nayara Tented Camp located deep in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park near the border of the Arenal volcano and pack a few bottles of insect repellant.

On a crisp day in October, Ted and I land at San José International Airport after a five-anda-half-hour flight from New York. We are greeted by a cheerful driver from Nayara and set off on a three-hour journey to the Arenal Volcano National Park, possibly the windiest drive I have ever been on. Memories of my sister Minnie’s trip to Costa Rica after college—when she stayed up all night battling furry spiders and beetles the size of Mini Coopers, returning home to New York with mosquito bites as big as dinner plates—are immediately banished when we arrive at Nayara Tented Camp. What greets us is a chic encampment of luxury tents rising majestically on stilts above the lush undergrowth, with breathtaking views of the cone-shaped Arenal volcano in the far distance.

We check into our secluded “tented” suite, which is completely sheltered from the rest of the hotel encampment, surrounded by lush fauna which appears to almost glow green, and wild orchids, fronds, and ferns that are so gargantuan they resemble small trees. The suite is sleek and chic, decorated in soothing shades of tree-bark brown, moss green with touches of smooth leather, and each comes with its own luxurious double-head outdoor shower. A bed rests in front of an impressive botanical mural and is draped in mosquito netting, a reminder that, somewhere in the undergrowth surrounding us, hides the poison dart frog, red-eyed tree frog, and the scarily famous bullet ant, which is known by locals as hormiga veinticuatro or “24-hour ant” for the 24 hours of stinging pain their bites can cause. Double ouch, to say the least. But I refuse to bug out. Minnie may have shacked up at a Costa Rican hippie hostel sometime back in the ’90s, but this is 2023 and I am at the Nayara Tented Camp, the ultimate in glamping. I will not be going face-to-face with the Costa Rican zebra tarantula on my vacation.

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KERMIT 2.0 Costa Rica’s famed red-eyed tree frog. POLLYANNA The yellow-naped parrot.
“WHAT GREETS US IS A CHIC ENCAMPMENT OF LUXURY TENTS RISING MAJESTICALLY ON STILTS ABOVE THE LUSH UNDERGROWTH, WITH BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF THE ARENAL VOLCANO.”
FROG: ALBERTO GHIZZI PANIZZA/REDA&CO; PARROT: JON G. FULLER/VW PICS/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP/IMAGES

After mulling over whether to lull about on the private wooden deck looking out to the still active volcano, we opt instead for our private infinity plunge pool, which is fed with crystalline water from the volcanic hot springs, for which the area is known. “This,” says Ted, “is what I call a tropical paradise.”

Costa Rica is one of the most important biodiversity zones in the world and the Northern Plains, where the Arenal volcano is located, contains a host of protected lakes and lagoons, waterfalls and evergreen forests, all of which are sanctuaries for mammals, reptiles, and water birds (75 percent of the country’s bird population live here), and such endangered species as the prehistoric gaspar fish and the great green macaw. The rainforest plays a critical role in planetary health and Nayara Tented Camp is committed to both nurturing and protecting it. When Nayara’s cofounder, Leo Ghitis, purchased the land, the original rainforest had been razed to make way for agricultural pastures. Ghitis enlisted the renowned Australian landscape architect Matthew Flynn to reforest the area with thousands of guarumo and cecropia trees, a main food source for sloths. “Bringing back the rainforest was a huge objective,” Ghitis stresses.

“We wanted it back to the way it was.” Now the

area is once again full of the sounds of toucans and howler monkeys, which have the capacity to vocalize and project their roar for miles.

Our first dinner is at Ayla, a modern Mediterranean restaurant with Middle Eastern flavors. Located in the main lodge, Ayla sits under a long rectangular tent with breezy curtains overlooking a shimmering infinity pool and the ever-present volcano. The name Ayla means “halo of light around the sun or moon” in Turkish. Looking up at the night sky as we eat, it is like nothing we have ever seen before, so bright are the stars without the light pollution we have become used to in New York. A long-haired musician in braided leather sandals strums acoustic versions of songs by Sting and Beck as we nibble on hummus, harissa chicken, fish kebabs, and the best tahini I’ve ever tasted.

That night, we snooze soundly to a symphony of chirping birds (the area is home to over 900 species). If the infamous howler monkey is out and about, I am too tired to hear its haunting roar.

I wake up refreshed and ready for the rainforest safari Ted has been enthusiastically blabbing about since we left New York. Dressed to trek in Patagonia shorts and a breathable Topo shirt, I am prepared to greet Costa Rica’s unofficial Big Five: the howler monkey, the red-eyed

GLAMPING IT UP A private infinity plunge pool at Nayara Tented Camp.
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SERIOUSLY SERPENTINE The eyelash pit viper. ROOM: COURTESY NAYARA TENTED CAMP; SNAKE: J.P. LAWRENCE PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

tree frog, the venomous eyelash viper snake, the rainbow-colored scarlet macaw, and the lazy three-toed sloth, the pura vida , or “pure life,” mellow-vibes mascot of Costa Rica. Bring it on! I have also brought my wide-brimmed hat, having been warned that howler monkeys have a wicked sense of humor and are known to hurl fecal pellets like bullets at hapless tourists. Naturally, I do not want to be hit in the eye by monkey poo.

We set off for the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park with our expert guide from Nayara. It’s exhausting work hiking the two miles through the jungle park to the 195-foot La Fortuna Waterfall, but we are rewarded with sights of two coiled snakes hiding inside a tree stump, an iridescent blue morpho butterfly, and small spider monkeys dangling upside down from their tails high in the trees. Our guide even teaches us what game-changing iPhone filters to use for Instagram-worthy images of every creature we encounter, which includes an army

of ants lugging leaves ten times their size to an anthill below the foot of a hanging bridge. My Instagram stories have never looked this far-out. I say a quick prayer that National Geographic might follow me.

That afternoon, obviously not even slightly fatigued from the long hike, adrenaline-starved Ted decides to zip-line over the rainforest canopy. For $115, Sky Tram & Sky Trek gets you to the top of the mountain in a cable car, gears you up with Mad Max-like hooks and harnesses, and then whizzes you off at lightning speed along cables between canyons. The open-air gondola ride up is enough vertigo pour moi, so I sit and watch Ted leap off a cliff as high as a Midtown skyscraper. I do manage to yelp, “Cowabunga!” as he leaps, feet first, into the abyss.

Back at Nayara I consult the “Sloth Concierge” Juan Pablo, who will happily locate Tony, the resort’s star sloth. Sloths have an extremely low metabolic rate, so move through trees at a

languid pace—41 yards per day, to be exact. They are also very shy, so finding Tony may take some time, Juan Pablo says. That night, after a dinner of zucchini blossoms and tropical cazuela (seafood and bean noodles with red and green curry) at Amor Loco, the louche restaurant-cum-nightclub at Nayara Springs (a Relais & Châteaux sister resort just down from our suite), there is a knock on our door. It is Juan Pablo, and the three of us speed off in a golf cart, where we catch Tony snoozing in a tree, his fur a mossy green (sloths sleep so much that algae grow on their backs). Tony is definitely my kind of creature.

On our final day at Nayara, we take a yoga class on a pavilion high up in the rainforest which gives beautiful views out across the panoply of trees. Afterwards we go hot spring hopping, soaking in all seven of the interconnected mineral hot spring pools at the camp, which range from chilled to piping hot. A bartender is on hand to serve us guaro sour cocktails to sip

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CHASING WATERFALLS The La Fortuna Waterfall.
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BUTTERFLY:
DARRELL GULIN; SLOTH: COURTESY NAYARA TENTED CAMP; WATERFALL: MAREK STEFUNKO/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; FACING PAGE COURTESY NAYARA SPRINGS BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE The blue morpho butterfly. IN SLO-MO A sloth hanging out in the rainforest.

“ON OUR FINAL DAY WE GO HOT SPRING HOPPING, SOAKING IN ALL SEVEN OF THE INTERCONNECTED MINERAL HOT SPRING POOLS AT THE CAMP, WHICH RANGE FROM CHILLED TO PIPING HOT.”

LAP OF LUXURY The Nayara Springs lap pool.
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as therapeutic water bubbles around us. We also decide to pay a quick visit to the open-air spa for a volcano hot stone treatment—a soothing treat after mucho hiking.

That evening we head off on a pre-dinner trek with a naturalist guide, walking across the resort’s footbridges in search of wildlife. We spot the otherworldly red-eyed tree frog (score!) as well as a translucent glass frog whose inner organs pump under the glare of flashlights. The “Rainforest Journal” that Nayara gave us when

we arrived now feels almost complete. Our farewell dinner is my favorite: at Asia Luna, the Costa Rican-Asian fusion restaurant which gives the impression that you’re dining in a tree house. As we feast on shrimp tempura, avocado, and fried plantains, our conversation is interrupted by the call of a group of howler monkeys, their cries echoing around the canopy of trees. If a spider monkey had swung by, or even the red-eyed tree frog, I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. I am at home in the jungle now.

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JOURNEYS COURTESY NAYARA TENTED CAMP
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LUXE LIFE Casa Paloma at Nayara Tented Camp.

AROUND THE WORLD IN DEMI-GLACE

Pop-ups in Mexico, residencies in Anguilla, culinary events in California: Joshua David Stein reports on the celebrity chefs cooking their way around the world

COURTESY AUBERGE RESORTS COLLECTION

ith his wavy coif of snow-white hair and deep Mediterranean tan, Chef Xavier Mathieu exudes European elan. His is a face made for the Provence sun where, as it happens, he runs a Michelin-star restaurant, La Table de Xavier Mathieu, at Le Phébus & Spa, a five-star farmhouse in Joucas. Yet I met Mathieu, and his stunning Monégasque wife, Stefanie, not in the lavender fields of southeastern France but at the Applewood Manor, a six-room bed-and-breakfast in Asheville, North Carolina. Mathieu was there for the weekend, alongside two young commis, for what tech entrepreneur (and Applewood’s new owner) Stephen Collins called an “immersive guest chef event.” Mathieu has brought olive oil from his estate and smuggled in a few knobby black truffles.

WWhen I arrived, Mathieu was preparing cromesqui de brandade de morue (salt cod fritters) in a massive Dutch oven, smoking the fritters on a bed of thyme in what essentially amounts to a very nice home kitchen in a very nice inn in a small town in America. And as incongruous as that seems, Mathieu is only one of many high-wattage culinary talents popping up unexpectedly behind the pass—or, in this case, kitchen counter—of hotels, inns, and resorts in far-flung destinations.

The march of progress of hotel dining has gone roughly from forgettable food of a vaguely Continental but strictly utilitarian ilk (Cebus horribilus), to celebrity chef-helmed restaurant with its complex array of contractually obligated appearances by said chef, but otherwise minimal oversight (Cebus celebritas), to hotels being actually the loci for some of the most exciting food in town (Cebus zeitgeisticus). Like all gradual evolutionary processes, this one has been multifactorial. At first, hoteliers contented themselves with the revenues—RevPAR or “revenue per

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DINE INN Above: Chef Xavier Mathieu hard at work at Applewood Manor, one of the longest-operating bed and breakfasts in North Carolina. Facing page: the stunning beach and clear waters at Malliouhana.

available room”—from the guests themselves. Searching for more dollars, they opened up their dining rooms to both guests and non-guests alike, using big-name chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Tom Colicchio to woo diners inside.

But this was an imperfect solution, since it played almost exclusively to the largest and most munificently funded hotels. Simultaneously, since often these restaurants bore only the imprimatur of a bold-faced name while seldom benefiting from their constant presence, the luster of these restaurants began to wear off. In addition, actually being connected to a community, rather than being simply a moon landing of well-known names, became in vogue. Today, many hotels, for instance the Thompson Dallas, where two-star Michelin chef Danny Grant helms a glittering steak house called Monarch, or the Tributary Hotel in McMinnville, Oregon, where Matthew Lightner’s Ōkta opened in July, are turning to local restaurateurs to impart both their cachet and their cooking. And now we have something new.

A permanent—or erstwhile permanent— restaurant is a high-stakes marriage, both for the chef and for the property. Surely, in this era of Hinge, short attention spans, thirsty marketing,

and a hunger for the new, a novel model was needed. Thus was born the ever-changing culinary circuit of guest chefs, hopping like artists of yore, from residency to residency, with little more than a knife roll, clout, and the ability to draw the hungry in. Like any pairing, transitory or otherwise, each individual case has its unique factors.

At Applewood, the pairing came from the owner’s mania for bike riding, which took him to the hills of southern France and a house in Provence, and therefore proximity to, and affection for, the kitchen of Mathieu. Collins has doubled down on culinary programs with residencies at Applewood with other chefs, such as Noma cofounder Mads Refslund, who tools around the farmer’s market with guests before initiating them into the wonders of Ny Nordisk Mad, or New Nordic Food, the movement he helped start back in 2004.

For owners like Collins, much of the programming is based on personal connection. (Being immensely wealthy and having lived in 20 countries doesn’t hurt.) But elsewhere the chef residency model is a company-wide directive. Take Auberge Resorts Collection. The company, with 24 resorts scattered around the globe, recently hosted New York-based chef JJ Johnson for a culinary weekend at Malliouhana in Anguilla. April Bloomfield,

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VENI, VINO, VICI Above: trumpet mushroom with maple black garlic, roasted red pepper pesto, and pickled mustard seed, created by Chef Shenarri Freeman for the Bubble Room. Facing page: Bow Tie vineyard in California. The vineyard got its name from the shape of its land, which resembles the menswear item.
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the tremendously talented Brummie chef behind not just the Spotted Pig but the Breslin and the Hearth & Hound in Los Angeles, completed a months-long residency at Connecticut’s Mayflower Inn & Spa. “It’s a win-win-win,” says Kat Odell, the author and food journalist who has been working with Auberge since March 2022 to curate their culinary experiences. “For the in-house chef, they get to work with a big name, learn some new techniques and potentially new ingredients. For the property, they benefit from the social-media following so many of these chefs have. And for the chef, they get to promote awareness of their brand to the hotel clientele.”

In some cases, a resort’s kitchen gives chefsin-need both an outlet and a refuge. For instance, JJ Johnson, whose first restaurant, the Cecil, was a forerunner of fine dining diasporic food, no longer has an outlet for fine dining. (His sole New York restaurant is a very good fast-casual Harlem spot called Fieldtrip.) April Bloomfield was cast into exile following the downfall of her business partner Ken Friedman. And Daniela Soto-Innes, after being named the world’s best female chef—a stupidly gendered award but an award nonetheless—hasn’t had a restaurant since she left Cosme in New York to move to the now-closed Willows

Inn on Washington’s Lummi Island with her husband, Chef Blaine Wetzel, in 2020. For diners long of tooth and with some modicum of institutional knowledge, a pop-up or residency is often the only chance to taste the work of their favorite now-nomadic chefs.

Even for chefs with restaurants, a residency sometimes offers the best chance of eating their food. Ever since Shenarri Freeman opened Cadence, her vegan Southern food restaurant in the East Village, a table has been hard to come by. The difficulty only increased when Esquire ahem, me!—named Cadence one of the best new restaurants in 2021 and was hardly relieved when the place moved across the street into slightly roomier digs in 2022. A reservation at Cadence is, at this point, beyond even my grasp. So, when I heard Freeman was doing a week’s long residency at J Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California, it seemed worth the trip. Freeman’s appearance was part of a chef residency series called “Shifting the Lens,” a marketing initiative seeking to include diversity in the wine industry, curated by Chef Preeti Mistry. For a few weeks in September, Freeman took over the kitchen at the winery’s restaurant, the Bubble Room, raiding the Napa farmer’s markets for her larder. Her menu,

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COOKS TOUR Above: a smiling Chef JJ Johnson manning the kitchen at Celeste. Facing page: two of Anguilla’s best beaches, Meads Bay and Turtle Cove.

including a trio of trumpet mushroom in black garlic glaze atop roasted red pepper pesto, and okra gumbo, was all the more delicious because it was fleeting. And, thankfully, all it took was a flight across the country to taste it.

This is even more salient an issue with Noma, René Redzepi’s Copenhagen restaurant, whose waiting list seems sempiternal. Even if you do make it to Copenhagen, you’d likely get citizenship before you score a table. Thankfully, for the past few years Redzepi has taken Noma nomadic, into places so far-flung only the most die-hard fans make the journey. This March, after residencies in Tokyo, Sydney, and Tulum, he’s taking over the Ace Hotel in Kyoto for a ten-week residency. Reservations are now sold out, certainly helped by the recent news that Redzepi will be shuttering Copenhagen’s Noma permanently at the end of 2024. But perhaps you may get lucky joining the (assuredly long) waiting list.

Sometimes, even if you can enjoy a restaurant in situ, it just feels better in paradise. For anyone who lived in New York City (at least below 14th Street, so apologies to 90 percent of Avenue ’s

readership) in the mid-aughts, the three letters “PDT” instantly conjure memories of taut anticipation, nocturnal stress, and, if you’re lucky, joyous nights. Dark in the extreme, difficult to get into, with complex and strong cocktails, PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, was a speakeasy on St. Marks Place and was the apotheosis (and catalyst) for much of the cocktail revival in New York. And it’s still there and you can still go. But sometimes, well, sometimes you want to drink during the day, overlooking the Caribbean Sea before returning to a luxurious suite whose bathroom is significantly bigger than your crummy New York apartment. A few months ago, instead of descending a few stairs into a hot dog shack and buzzing through a phone booth, I sauntered along the wooden walkway at the Etéreo resort on the Riviera Maya. PDT was throwing a beachside party, part of their residency at the hotel. There would be hot dogs and cocktails, sunsets, and hammocks. I could have maybe the world’s greatest Manhattan on a beach in Mexico, and if that seems incongruous, well, it’s perfect as well.

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EAT, DRINK, LOVE Left: Jeff Bell, Please Don’t Tell’s general manager, behind the bar. Above: a citrusinfused libation awaits the thirsty. Facing page, the pool area at Etereo Riviera Maya where Please Don’t Tell has a pop-up.
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BOSTON UNCOMMON

elcome to the new old Boston. The ’Quin House, once the Algonquin Club, is the beaux-arts McKim, Mead & White building on patrician Commonwealth Avenue that’s suddenly one of the most stylish members clubs on the planet. Meanwhile, the grande dame formerly known as the Ritz overlooking Boston’s Public Garden has been reimagined into the very hip, very luxe Newbury hotel. Together they are adding to Boston’s modern luxury renaissance, spinning history and its charms seemingly overnight into an epicenter of style, art, and design with a chic social scene to match.

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The ’Quin House and the Newbury Boston are putting the bling into Brahmin.
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WJENNA PEFFLEY/COURTESY THE ’QUIN HOUSE
’QUIN-TESSENTIALLY COOL The grand reading room at Boston’s members club ’Quin House.

’Quin at any cost Boston power couple Paul and Sandra Edgerley (he’s managing director of private equity shop VantEdge Partners, she’s with high-end Hexagon Properties) scooped up the Algonquin for a cool $17.5 million in 2018, and have now, with the help of hospitality design guru Ken Fulk, rejiggered the old-line Brahmin hangout into a playground for the city’s creative class. The website beckons you to “reinvent your social life” and the massive waiting list to join shows there are many who would like to. A quarter of the ’Quin’s members are under 35, and everyone seems eager to hobnob behind its ornate 1886 limestone facade. The club, says Sandra Edgerley, is “a gathering place across generations, sectors, ethnicities, and points of view,” and it’s already being called Boston’s answer to Annabel’s in London. Members are accepted only after a personal referral and an exhaustive Zoom interview with a ’Quin “ambassador.” Yearly dues, based on age, range from $2,000 to $4,000.

Fulk actually lived across the street from the Algonquin in his early 20s, but had never been inside, and jumped at the chance to reinvent the palatial six-floor, 56,000-square-foot landmark. “I wanted it to feel like a new generation had taken over the place rather than exalting it as a period piece,” Fulk explains. “I refer to the aesthetic as ‘the rockstars have taken over their grandfather’s mansion’ because we were respectful of the heritage, but also willing to push the boundaries of style and tradition.” Once approved, members can socialize in four restaurants, and even more bars and hangout areas filled with star-quality art by Picasso, Warhol, and Kehinde Wiley, to name a few. “The art collection, as well as references from film, music, and literature, were absolutely part of the vision from the very start,” Fulk says. The Dive Bar was informed by a single photograph, George Hoyningen-Huene’s The Divers, Paris, 1930. There’s a full roster of exclusive member events, the grand living room has kept its original marble columns, the hand-carved furniture mixes well with laptops, and the fitness center is stateof-the-art.

Culinary director Jean Paul Lourdes offers American gastropub fare at the Pub, Parisian-style plates at the Terrace, Mediterranean-influenced dishes at Café Q, and pan-Asian food with a New England twist at the ’Quin’s star eatery Bondo, its majestic dining room a prime spot to see and be seen under a massive Donald Lipski chandelier fashioned from the roots and trunk of an enormous tree.

Another attraction is Scottie’s, a louche Art Deco lounge with pale pink walls and buttons reading “Push for Champagne” for instant bubbly service. “The room takes its inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald who captured the champagne-soaked exuberance of the Jazz Age so beautifully,” says Fulk. “We named the space after his and Zelda Fitzgerald’s only daughter, Frances Scott ‘Scottie’ Fitzgerald.” The Edgerleys are serious collectors of vintage vinyl records, and the Hideaway bar, accessed speakeasy-style behind a secret door, is an homage to Frank Sinatra. The Founders Room is restricted to founding mem-

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THINK PINK Scottie’s, the ’Quin’s louche lounge.
ANOTHER ATTRACTION AT THE ’QUIN IS SCOTTIE’S, A LOUCHE ART DECO LOUNGE WITH PALE PINK WALLS AND BUTTONS READING
“PUSH FOR CHAMPAGNE” FOR INSTANT BUBBLY SERVICE.
JENNA PEFFLEY/COURTESY THE ’QUIN HOUSE

bers. “Boston has such deep traditions in thought leadership and innovation,” Fulk says. “We wanted to set the stage as much for important conversations as memorable celebrations.”

The new hotel puttin’ on the Ritz No photos allowed at the ’Quin, thank you very much. But Contessa, the glass-roofed northern Italian restaurant on the top floor of the nearby Newbury Boston, also designed by Fulk, has become the place to geotag on Instagram. The focal point of the Jazz Age relic that was once the Ritz, the latest from Major Food Group (which also boasts hot spots like Carbone, the Grill, and Sadelle’s), it’s Boston’s toughest reservation to score. With the Boston Public Garden across the street, “We wanted it to feel like a secret garden in the sky,” Fulk says. “We designed it like a grand conservatory with a glass roof and retractable panels for open-air dining.” The design inflections are Art Deco and modernist. The Newbury’s 286 rooms and 90 suites are in high demand, and not only come with working fireplaces, but fireplace butlers on call to help you choose your wood, then build you a roaring fire. The rooms’ calming hues of blue, gray, and cream cast a residential mood over them, and from the blue-velvet window nooks there are sweeping views. The Mansion suite is VIP: at 1,925 square feet, it has a living room, a dining room, a butler’s pantry, and a personal “attaché” to arrange en suite entertaining.

Art is everywhere at the Newbury, too. Mike Carroll, who owns the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, and Lynne Kortenhaus, one of his artists, have chosen an eclectic mix of art, from Yousuf Karsh portraits of creative icons like Martha Graham, I.M. Pei, and Jessye Norman in the clubby Library lounge to Jeannie Motherwell’s trippy acrylic abstract paintings in the Street Bar and David Akiba’s lush large-scale landscape prints in the Assembly foyer. Hanging over the grand staircase is a towering chrome chandelier by Brand van Egmond. The Garden Room still features the famous cobalt-blue chandeliers from the original Ritz. In 1927, some 200 guests gathered beneath them for the hotel’s opening. They dined on a seven-course dinner of caviar imperial d’Astrakan, lobster au whiskey, and soufflé glacé Cyrano. Even Jimmy Walker, the mayor of New York, was there. Someone better alert Eric Adams.

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STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN The art-decked staircase at the ’Quin.
JENNA
PEFFLEY/COURTESY THE ‘QUIN HOUSE

THE MANSION SUITE IS VIP: AT 1,925 SQUARE FEET, IT HAS A LIVING ROOM, A DINING ROOM, A BUTLER’S PANTRY, AND A PERSONAL “ATTACHÉ” TO ARRANGE EN SUITE ENTERTAINING.

SKY HIGH A Ken Fulk-designed booth at Contessa, on the roof of the Newbury Boston.
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HALL PASS A mural passageway at the Newbury Boston.
LIVING
THE SWEET LIFE The Newbury’s luxe Mansion suite. ROOM: NIKOLAS KOENIG; ROOFTOP, HALL: DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN/COURTESY THE NEWBURY

Tall Tales Indeed

Frederick Cook was the first explorer to reach the North Pole and summit Denali—or was he? Todd Plummer regales us with tales of the scandal-ridden 19th-century adventurer and his stunning fall from grace.

The dawn of the 20th century was an exhilarating time in exploration, with multiple men of action vying to be the first to the North Pole, the first to the South Pole, the first to ply the icechoked waters of the Northwest Passage, and the first to summit the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Pushing any of these unknowns off the map would assure the first explorer to set foot there a prominent place in the annals of history.

A promise of fame and fortune, not to mention ego, spurred many of those who are household names today, including Robert Peary and Matthew Henson, Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon

Scott, and Sir Ernest Shackleton. To be considered among the ranks of these great men was what motivated New York physician Frederick Cook to leave behind the stability of a career in medicine for a life on the edge of the map.

His first taste of adventure came when he was hired as a surgeon on Peary’s Arctic expedition of 1891. Having performed the job with aplomb, he was invited to join the crew of the Belgica, part of Adrien de Gerlache’s 1897 Belgian Antarctic Expedition. When disaster struck and the ship was forced to unexpectedly overwinter for months in Antarctic darkness, Cook ensured that each crew member was adequately taken care of, often leaving the ship to personally hunt for meat to keep the crew’s scurvy at bay. His heroism put him on the radar, as it were, among explorers and adven-

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NOTORIOUS NEW YORKERS
A STAR IS BORN Frederick Cook in a production still for The Truth About the North Pole, a short, silent film made in 1911 that recreated his 1909 expedition. Notably, the short was filmed in Chicago.

turers alike, and he used his newfound fame—and respect—to gain support for his own expeditions.

In 1897, while he was on the Belgian expedition, Cook visited Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago at South America’s southernmost tip. There he studied the Ona and Yahgan tribes, his appreciation of Indigenous peoples setting him apart from many other explorers of the period. Cook also met with the missionary Thomas Bridges, who had already spent two decades studying the people of that region, compiling a comprehensive dictionary of their language. Unfortunately, Bridges never got around to publishing the dictionary before his death from stomach cancer in 1898 (an occurrence which would come back to haunt Cook later).

By the turn of the century, Cook had a sterling reputation as an explorer and a leader—but the events of the decade would spiral out of his control, damaging his reputation irrevocably.

The trouble began with Cook’s mountaineering. In 1903, he led an expedition that was the first to successfully circumnavigate Denali in Alaska. Three years later, in 1906, when he returned to Denali with the intention of summiting it, Cook alleged that he reached the mountain’s peak—yet, by his own photographic evidence, he didn’t even come close. His critics noted that the pictures of Cook “summiting” Denali were taken on a small outcrop about 19 miles away. (Today, said outcrop is known as Fake Peak.)

The mishap became fodder for the exploration set. It was the stuff of gossip exchanged in Manhattan’s gentleman clubs and explorer societies half a world away—until a string of further controversies started to make headline news. In the aftermath of his 1909 expedition to the North Pole, things really started to deteriorate for Cook.

In February of 1908, Cook departed Annoatok, a remote village in northern Greenland, with a small party. Soon, he was accompanied by just two Inuit men. He claimed they reached the North Pole on April 21. On the return journey south, Cook alleged that he found his route obstructed, and was thus forced to spend much of the next year overwintering in what is now part of Arctic Canada. Eventually, Cook and his two companions returned to Annoatok in the spring of 1909. They had been gone for 14 months, but the exact path of their journey was never substantiated with detailed navigational plans. Those records, Cook alleged, were part of his personal belongings, left in three boxes back in Annoatok—and lost. To this day, the boxes have never been found.

More trouble found Cook when his former mentor-turned-rival Robert Peary—the leader of Cook’s first Arctic expedition in 1891—launched a campaign to discredit him, alleging that, in fact, Peary himself had been the first to reach the North Pole. It was a battle for the ages—explorer against explorer, mentor against student—playing out largely on the front pages of New York’s major newspapers. Peary accused Cook of lying, Cook accused Peary of getting to the North Pole too late, and Peary brought up the Denali incident from 1906 to further discredit Cook’s career. The good work Cook had done on the Belgica, as well as his valid claim of having circumnavigated the mountain in 1903, was quickly overshadowed.

The ongoing war between these two men became the stuff of tabloid legend, as each went back and forth attempting to discredit the other. Their motivations did, on one level, have to do with the glory of being the first to reach the North Pole; but back in New York, having the flashier credentials also meant you could attract the attention of financiers to support future expeditions.

It did not help that in 1910, the New York Times reported that Cook was accused of trying to publish Thomas Bridges’ Tierra del Fuego dictionary under his own name. His fate sealed, Cook’s reputation took a nosedive. He continued to defend his North Pole claim to the hilt, threatening to sue journalists for libel if they wrote that he fabricated his claim.

In 1919, perhaps exhausted by having to defend the validity of his polar exploits, or perhaps having exhausted the pool of financiers willing to support such a controversial figure, Cook turned to another sort of exploration: oil. He began working with and promoting start-up oil companies in Fort Worth, Texas. Four years later, however, he—along with 24 other Fort Worth promoters—were found guilty of fraud and deceptive practices by the fed-

eral government, and he was sentenced to just under 15 years in prison. He was imprisoned until 1930, during which time the famed polar explorer Roald Amundsen, a member of the original Belgica crew which owed its survival to Cook, visited him several times. In 1940, a decade after his release, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pardoned Cook. And then, just a few short months later, Frederick Cook, one of the most infamous explorers of all time, passed away from a brain hemorrhage.

While a number of Cook’s claims have been scrutinized and his reputation remains tarnished, a small cadre of supporters believe that he is still one of the greatest explorers to have ever lived. The Frederick A. Cook Society, which still meets today, maintains that Cook’s claims were valid, and that he was merely an early victim of what we now call “fake news.”

The punchline of the drama between Cook and Peary is that Peary’s own North Pole claim has since been seriously questioned by numerous organizations, including the National Geographic Society. But, as we’ve come to learn, no matter how powerful the truth may or may not be, it pales in comparison to the power of public perception.

MARCH—APRIL 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 83 PEARY: GL ARCHIVE; COOK: BETTMAN/GETTY IMAGES; JOHN FROST NEWSPAPERS/ALAMY
THE FREDERICK A. COOK SOCIETY, WHICH STILL MEETS TODAY, MAINTAINS THAT COOK’S CLAIMS WERE VALID, AND THAT HE WAS MERELY AN EARLY VICTIM OF WHAT WE NOW CALL “FAKE NEWS.”
IN THE THICK OF IT Clockwise from right, Cook sitting at a desk; the front page of the Chicago Daily News, announcing Cook’s discovery; and a portrait of explorer Robert Peary, who challenged Cook’s claims. Tyler Mitchell, Michael Diaz-Griffith, Emily Bode Aujla, and Aaron Aujla
ON THE
Polina Proshkina Julia Workman Brown, Allegra Eifler, and Jamie Singer Soros Ryan McGinley and John Giordano

EXHIBITING GOOD TASTE

The 69th annual Winter Show returned to the Park Avenue Armory, and featured 68 exhibitors from the worlds of art and antiquities. Over the show’s ten-day run, it held two major events—an opening night party, and its annual Young Collectors Night bash. Both featured drinks and small bites, and both benefitted East Side House Settlement.

PHOTOS BY BFA
Dontai Nottingham Natsayi Mawere, Alexandra Moncure, Camila Ihenetu, and Maciej Flakowz Joelle El Sawalhi Rebecca Moses and Freddie Leiba Julia Loomis and Temur Hamilton Martha Stewart

SOPHOMORE CELEBRATION

The Fifteen Percent Pledge Gala returned to the New York Public Library for its second year. The ceremony, which celebrates Black creators and entrepreneurs, awarded a number of grants over the course of the evening, including the first-ever Achievement Award to the beauty brand 54 Thrones.

Steven Dubb and Selby Drummond Bethann Hardison and Veronica Webb Radhika Jones Christina Tegbe of 54 Thrones Fabiola Beracasa Beckman, Karlie Kloss, and Emma Grede
PHOTOS BY BFA
Carly Cushnie, Hannah Bronfman, Charles Harbison, Eva Chen, and Tommy Dorfman Thom Browne and Aurora James Sade Lythcott, Libby Wadle, Joyce Lee, and Olympia Gayot Sara Moonves and Ashley Graham MoAnA Luu and Claire Sulmers

CANDACE BUSHNELL

The blonde icon, back in town with her one-woman show Is There Still Sex in the City?, dishes the dirt with Peter Davis

So, Candace, is there actually still sex in the city?

There is! The people who are having less sex are younger. But amongst people who are older, there is still sex in the city—especially now that the pandemic is over.

Have dating apps changed sex and dating? Are you on anything like Raya or Bumble?

I am on a couple of dating apps. One, I use a lot and the other one, I don’t really go on that much. It’s definitely changed sex and dating. It’s very easy to find sex and difficult to find a relationship.

Why so difficult?

There is a certain mindset where you keep looking for the bigger, better deal, which is a very New York kind of thing to do. People get used to the little bit of a buzz that you get from going on a dating app, when somebody responds and you have a whole fantasy about what this person might be like. And then, if you meet up with them, there’s always some disappointment.

Do you Google people before a date?

All the time. Knowledge is power. One of the reasons why I will often Google people is to see if they’re actually still married, because there are people on dating apps who are still married.

Is that like the hetero version of being on the down low?

I guess so [laughs]. There’s a pretty typical scenario of a nice guy, he’s married for 12 to

20 years, he has a good job, but never has, like, the big job. And he gets divorced and the wife takes the bulk of the money. So then you have a guy who’s living like he lived when he was in his early 20s—he’s renting an apartment; he loves his life because he’s on a dating app and he’s probably getting more sex than he was from his ex-wife. But that guy’s really not a good bet.

Who’s your type? Is it a Mr. Big? He had the big job.

My type is anybody who is age appropriate. Look, I’m in my 60s, so it could be mid-50s to 70.

What about a 40-year-old hottie? No go?

You know what, I actually want to have a more serious relationship and I don’t think a 40-year-old hottie wants to be with a 64-year-old woman. Maybe for, you know, sex. But I’m looking for a relationship now.

So is there still true love in the city?

I hope so. People do find that person, believe it or not, when they get older. I know somebody who’s over 70 who hasn’t had a boyfriend for 20 years who found somebody—a guy who’s really attractive.

People are looking better and better as they get older these days.

There was always this idea that men age well and women don’t. That is so wrong. There are so many men I see on dating apps who are in their 50s and they look like they’re in their 60s or even older. Like, dude, do some exercise. The women out there are in shape. They’re doing Pilates. They’re keeping themselves together and the men aren’t.

Why do you think that is?

Could be low-grade depression. They’re getting divorced and they gave their ex-wife all their resources.

Are you pro-plastic surgery?

I actually wish that I had gotten plastic surgery when I was younger—maybe had a nose job.

You’re a smoking hot 64-year-old without a nose job. What’s your secret weapon?

I always weigh the same. I weigh within four to six pounds of what I weighed when I was 16. I used to do a lot of Pilates, but then I pulled a muscle. So now I take a lot of Advil.

88 AVENUE MAGAZINE | MARCH—APRIL 2023 Q & AVE
Is There Still Sex in the City?, written by and starring Candace Bushnell, is at Café Carlyle from April 25–29.

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