Weekend Observations

- The more I learn about the women's fashion industry, the more I find it resembles the booze business. My wife and I were shopping at the Nordstrom downtown when she saw some black Mary Jane flats by Miu Miu (a Prada spinoff). She asked to try them on, but they didn't have her size. We checked every other Nordstrom in the U.S. -- sold out. Possibly other stores? Nope. These particular shoes were "Nordstrom Exclusives" meaning the designer, in this case Miuccia Prada, had created them specifically for the retail chain. This trend is becoming more and more the norm in the women's retail fashion world: commissioning products in small quantities from exciting designers to add unique and interesting options unavailable to other competitors. Neiman Marcus might approach Kate Spade or Ted Baker and say: "Hey, we'd like to work together with you on an exclusive dress or jacket. What do you say?" Sound familiar? It's a model that's obviously working for both the retailer and the producer. The Miu Miu shoes were from the recent Spring release and they were already completely cleaned out.

- We spotted Suns center Emeka Okefor going for a stroll down Mission Street with his Ukranian teammate Alex Len. They were heading over the bridge to take on the Warriors later that evening. Man, are they tall!

- I'm really fascinated by curation right now. Museums don't really interest me these days, but I am always captivated by a beautiful layout. I'll look at art, but I want it presented in a way that makes it interesting and engaging (explain to me why this is important or groundbreaking while I'm taking it in, don't just give me a small card-sized descriptor). I'm finding better artistic curation in retail outlets as of late than I am in museums. The Bloomingdale's at the Westfield in San Francisco is one of the most incredible stores I've ever visited. It's huge, the layout is expansive and impeccable, and the music is atmospheric and super hip. The Anthropology on Market Street is the same. You don't need to buy anything to enjoy either of these places, just walk around and take in the view; enjoy the creativity they've put into each section and soak in the mood. I wish there was a more sensual way we could present the spirits at K&L -- a way that was fashion-forward and artistic, combining music and imagery, yet practical and easy-to-navigate. Like flying on Virgin America.

- Speaking of curation, the way in which we present wine and spirits to one another (in person, not in a retail outlet) has a big impact on how we enjoy those beverages. Too often in the United States will you find bottles taken completely out of context, stripping them of their intended usage and therefore their magic. Buying a bottle of red Burgundy to drink on the patio isn't going to maximize the flavor potential of that wine. Pouring a glass of single malt while you and your friends eat tacos and watch the game might be fun, but there's nothing particularly special going on. That's not to say that all experiences with alcohol need to be curated and memorable either, but like anything in life the details make all the difference. Taking the time to comb your hair right, tailor your pants, or shine your shoes can completely change your appearance. Taking the time to pick the right vegetables, light a candle, or decorate the dinner table with your finest glassware can heighten the experience of your meal. The right couch or painting on the wall can make or break the interior design of your living room. These details may appear effortless or minor, but they're not. Effortless chic isn't actually effortless. Drinking a glass of Ardbeg at Duffy's in the town of Bowmore will never be the same as drinking it at my house, but I can at least try to get the mood right. I wonder how many negative experiences with alcohol could have been more positive had it been presented differently?

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll