Saturday, 17 December 2011

Aesop Thinking- December 2011

December 2011


Scientists and artists nurture us in deeply connected ways. The intricate wall drawings by Sol LeWitt on display at Dia:Beacon conjure wonder out of simple geometry. Patterns of arithmetical precision trace the walls of Connock & Lockie, a tailor on London’s Lambs Conduit Street (a rewarding stroll from our friends at Folk, should you mark your clothier by his regard for Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash ). At Connock & Lockie, Mr Yusuke Nagashima, his inclination to excellence honed during his apprenticeship on the premises, cuts, sews and fits old-fashioned but ageless suits. Not that there’s anything outdated about “old”; the accretion of experience should be celebrated rather than masked, and we are grateful to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, whose learned luminaries illuminate our understanding. Certain medical interventions may promise to erase the score of years from your face but - please - avoid them unless you’re also willing to cloud the mirror of your secret wishes. Paul Ekman's Emotions Revealed explains how and why our feelings activate the minute muscles of our eyes and mouth, revealing our unsuspected prowess in this silent, profound intimacy. However, even Ekman cannot tell us why our mouths water when we consider the Dhaba food trucks idling on the outskirts of Melbourne. Tincture of North Indian village, the air misted with fish curry and green mango crispy rolls...on the march to our fate we cannot live only on food for thought.

As president of the Downtown Alliance, Elizabeth Berger supervises lower Manhattan’s ongoing renaissance, which began long before the construction work at Ground Zero. Berger, thirty years a local, is focusing the creative energy of New York to encourage the business district in welcoming people and families, not just corporations. (The corporations will always have Delaware.) Punctuate the trip with a stop at our latest New York venture, on University Place – part of our small contribution to the renewal of this most wonderful of towns.

When the grey world of the city is too much with you, late and soon, choose the white and boundless views from the Chalet Zannier near Megève. These traditional log cabins in the French Alps present time-polished materials: raw wood, stone and iron. Consider packing the calfskin travel case we have created with Isaac Reina for the French edition of Architectural Digest. Its unisex selection of skin, hair and body essentials is available exclusively at our Rue Bonaparte store in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The discreet elegance of M Reina's chemical-free patina is comfortably at home in the Alps and everywhere else.

Fresh market produce and a generous selection of Jerez wines are the sirens that keep drawing us to José on Bermondsey Street SE1, a careless toss of an olive pit away from our new London office. There are no bookings, the place is mostly standing room and one must negotiate for elbow space and the waiters’ attention. The tapas are so delicious that all is justified. (Chef José Pizarro will open a full-size restaurant just down the street in mid-December). After dinner, look for our store in Soho, next door to Fernandez and Wells which expresses Britain's best espresso.

The Emily Dickinson Museum dwells in the brick house where the poet was born and spent most of her reclusive life in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her tiny bedchamber was the portal to the limitless, “undiscovered continent” of the mind that Dickinson mapped in verse. No month, or wine, should be consumed without poetry, so we've unveiled an installation at I.T Hysan One in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Designed by Cheungvogl Architects, eight hundred resin boxes that might be impelled upward by their own pure form recollect Wallace Stevens's reader who became the book.

If you are a registered Aesop customer, please join us for a glass of fine red at one of our December customer evenings while we introduce our 2011 gift kits. This year we’ve reflected on the women and men who have shaped our lives through science. If entropy prevents your reaching an Aesop store, could we suggest viewing whilst enjoying a glass of 2004 Cabernet Merlot from Fighting Gully Road ? Our scents are yet to infuse the World Wide Web, but the cacao notes of this sophisticated, under-rated Beechworth red should more than compensate.

Recent DVDs release Hiroshi Shimizu from the daunting shadow cast by his friend Yasujiro Ozu. Shimizu's visual style alternates between the naturalistic and the symbolic, as displayed in Ornamental Hairpin (Kanzashi , 1941). This record of doomed love, equally formed of lyricism and cynicism, is set in a resort town which is but an ephemeral shelter from the war - the protagonist is a soldier on leave - and the fire that would soon issue from the skies. The kiln-formed interior of our new store in Ginza recalls another sadness in Japanese history: this district was enkindled in the great fire of 1872 and rebuilt in brick. It is perhaps self-indulgent but, after many years serving customers across Tokyo, we are quietly proud to join this street's shotengai.

Four decades after teaching a generation to fine-tune the optic nerve in Ways of Seeing (1972), John Berger underwent (successful) binocular cataract surgery. Fortunately he has recorded his reunion with the joys and sheer physicality of observation in the monograph Cataract, illustrated with scintillating wit by Selçuk Demirel. The text and drawings inform each other and the volume is handsomely bound. It may be foolhardy to launch an essay-oriented publishing house in this age of false friending but Notting Hill Editions has essayed a promising start. Holiday shoppers should be grateful: e-books will never make such beautiful gifts.

The path to self-knowledge may be accessible on horseback, especially when the mount is as intelligent and willing as the South American Criollo. Ride one across the slopes of the Argentinian Andes from the Jujuy province to San Miguel de Tucuman, where the Criollo is our ancestral partner in farming and herding (and, lately, in polo). The long, regular stride of the horse. The encompassing prospect of the canyons and pampas. The red earth of the salt mines. Breathe in. Exhale slowly and satisfyingly. Repeat.

‘All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.’ Galileo Galilei

No comments:

Post a Comment