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BRING BACK THE DRESS CODE

James Andrew at the Met

James Andrew at the Met

When Scott McBee and I returned from Portugal the New York Season was already in full swing, so we wasted no time securing our tickets to Puccini’s Chinoiserie confection, Turandot. It’s one of the remaining productions designed by Franco Zeffirelli, and as expected it was an absolute dream!

Going to the opera is a special thing; musicians, and all the staff at the MET are dressed in formal attire. Which begs the question: why should’t all the patrons and attendees be dressed in anything less? Mcbee and I dressed in black tie of course, but we were appalled to see that less than 10% of the men atteneding wore black tie (women on the whole, were dressed quite nicely – thank you ladies). We’ve ranted about this in the past (see: Dress Code Please) It was all jeans, shorts etc., that time — as if folks were going to the local cineplex. We just can’t say it enough — this is simply unacceptable — the Met should have higher standards, and this should apply to all of the performing arts venues, as well as fine restaurants!

(detail) James Andrew at the Met

(detail) James Andrew at the Met

I’ve been accused of being an elitist, but we’re not talking about some sort of slavish adherence to traditions of the past. Our point is more about dressing appropriately to celebrate an elevated event, and having enough respect for ourselves and others to make some modicum of effort! Furthermore. as you know, we here at WIJW are even open to interesting variations on the theme. At the opening gala for example, we were rather taken by Miguel Angel Guzman and his ravishing ensemble: an elegant interpretation of the Kimono – it was perfectly appropriate AND alternative. Bravo!

Miguel Angel Guzman - Photo by Rose Callahan for lastnightatthemet.com

Miguel Angel Guzman – Photo by Rose Callahan for lastnightatthemet.com

There was a lovely young lady dressed in a vintage 1950’s ensemble — also quite stunning. It doesn’t have to be Tom Ford to be fabulous. In any case, I really do wish the Met would get on board with this, and start to require guests to dress appropriately.

To celebrate this amazing evening, (top) I’m sporting a Tom Ford chartreuse silk velvet dinner jacket, tuxedo pants, black silk faille bow tie, black and ivory silk pocket square and Tom Ford era Gucci white cotton voile ruffle and lace trimmed tuxedo shirt, a diamond evening set by M. de Phocas, Paul Stuart black silk evening hose, Creed Imperial Millesime fragrance, and a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel to add a sun-kissed glow.

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FAREWELL PORTUGAL SINTRA AND THE TIVOLI PALACIO DE SETEAIS

james Andrew at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais

james Andrew at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais

Our final installment from our journey Portugaise finds me still reeling from the beauty of it all. And as always, we are thrilled to hear such wonderful feedback! I sense we will be returning to Portugal in the very near future.

We simply did not want to leave Tivoli Palacio de Seteais (our home in Sintra) yet with so much left to see during our remaining day, McBee and I managed to tear ourselves away after a hearty breakfast.

There are two more not-to-be-missed palaces in Sintra: The Palacio Nacional de Sintra located and the Palacio da Pena.

The former is located in the heart of the old town, and was a residence of Portuguese royalty until 1910. Its marvelous mix of Moorish architectural styles, amazing azulejos, painted ceilings, and fabulous furnishings make the Palacio Nacional de Sintra a true delight to behold.

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

The latter, Palacio da Pena, was used as the royal summer residence up until 1910. Perched on the highest peaks of Sintra and realized in a dizzying conflation of architectural styles, it is one of the finest examples of Portuguese Romanticism, and as would be expected, it is replete with enchanted park grounds. A fog rolled in towards the end of our visit there, creating the most pictorially perfect ending to our visit. Just a five minute walk from there, we had a lovely Portuguese luncheon at Tacho Real, and later to celebrate our last night in Sintra, we dined at the divinely elegant Tivoli Palacio de Seteais.

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Gardens at Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Gardens at Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Taking time to bask in the beauty of our palatial room at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais (top), I’m sporting a Tom Ford wool/cashmere suit in an ivory, charcoal and claret check, black and white striped cotton shirt and black and saddle leather loafers, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, vintage Rolex, Charvet Paris black silk pocket square, red wool socks from Barney’s NY, and my fragrance is Creed Windsor. I’ve also applied a touch of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel to provide a healthy glow.

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SINTRA AND THE HOTEL TIVOLI PALACIO DE SETEAIS

James Andrew at Tivoli Palacio de Setais

James Andrew at Tivoli Palacio de Setais

After a fabulous breakfast at the Pestana Palacio de Freixo in Porto, we boarded an express train back to Lisbon. There we were collected at the train station and brought to Sintra for the last leg our sublime journey.

With its lush micro-climate, enchanting wildlife, and fairyland architecture, the town of Sintra is an absolute dream, and thankfully we had a good three days to explore! Of the Sintra hotels, Tivoli Palacio de Seteais is a stand out. This neo-classical masterpiece dates to the late 1700’s and was purchased by the Dutch consol, Daniel Gildemeester. In 1800 it was sold to the 5th Marquis of Marialva who added the second matching pavilion and the triumphal arch in honor of the Prince Regent and future King Joao VI. It became a hotel in the early part of the 20th Century. With its superb location and spectacular views, the Palacio de Seteais was certainly a splendid place to spend our remaining days in Portugal, and the perfect base of operation from which to explore the rest of Sintra.

Quite nearby — actually just a quick walk from the hotel — is the must-see, Quinta de Regaleira. Built in the early 1900’s, it was the esoteric fantasy retreat of eccentric millionaire, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The Italian set-designer and architect Luigi Manini was enlisted to create the magical gardens and palace and it is imbued throughout with historical, mystical, and even occult symbolism. To say that it is a visual feast is an understatement.

Gardens at Quinta da Regaleira

Gardens at Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Redering - Quinta da Regaleira

Rendering – Quinta da Regaleira

Interior, Quinta da Regaleira

Interior, Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

James Andrew at Quinta da Regaleira

James Andrew at Quinta da Regaleira

For a day of touring, I’m sporting a Tom Ford charcoal wool silk tweed jacket, grey cotton cashmere corduroy pant, grey and charcoal checked cotton shirt, a Ralph Lauren black and ivory dot print silk scarf and red alligator belt with sterling buckle, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, Tom Ford era Gucci black suede loafers, Turnbull and Asser grey and black dot print silk pocket square, vintage Rolex, my fragrance is Tom Ford London, and I’m using a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a healthy glow.

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