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A WEEKEND ON CAPE MAY

James Andrew on Cape May

James Andrew on Cape May

It seems I’m becoming something of a professional house guest, and with quite a few recent invitations, I’ve been very pleased to spend some wonderful weekends out of town.

Speaking of which, I had the most delightful stay in Cape May, New Jersey, this weekend. My super chic friends Mark Alden Lukas and his partner Edward Celata were our most gracious hosts.

Lukas has been summering on Cape May for all of his life and has become, as you might imagine, an authority on all things having to do with the place, including its rich architectural heritage! In fact, he himself acquired a glorious Gothic Revival house that was transformed into a Colonial Revival in 1904. Lukas has been lovingly and painstakingly restoring the house to its original splendor and beyond.

During my stay, Lukas treated me to the most terrific architectural tour. The story goes that in the late 1880s, Cape May went out of fashion, and people took to Newport and Atlantic City instead. As a result, Cape May basically fell asleep for almost 100 years. A massive 1940s hurricane and another in the 60s destroyed much of what once stood on the beach front, but for the most part the town is a snapshot frozen in time. During its hay day, the people of Cape May indulged themselves with all the fashionable and important architects, and subsequently there is a really fantastic diversity of architectural styles to see.

Gallagher House in the Second Empire style

Gallagher House in the Second Empire style

Cherry House in the late Federal Style c. 1840s

Cherry House in the late Federal Style c. 1840s

Physick Estate, Stick style, 1879. Attributed to Frank Furness

Physick Estate, Stick style, 1879. Attributed to Frank Furness

A lovely little folly.

A lovely little folly.

I’m pictured in front of the Mainstay Inn. It’s a bracketed American Villa style building originally built in the 1870s (and known then as Jackson’s Clubhouse, a gambling hall and gentlemen’s club). For a morning of touring, I’m sporting a straw hat from India Hicks’ chic Harbour Island shop- The Sugar Mill, a YSL black cotton poplin safari style shirt, Tom Ford black linen sateen pant, Ralph Lauren black alligator belt with sterling buckle and Louboutin black leather sandal/espadrilles, vintage Rolex, and my fragrance is Creed Orange Spice.

Needless to say, after our tour, it was off to lounge on the beach and sip a few bottles of very chilled rosé.

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WORKING ON THE WEEKEND

James Andrew

James Andrew

The notion of working on the weekend may seem like drudgery to some, but I love what I do, weekend or not. In fact, as a creative person, one is actually “working” all the time…and it’s no accident, this happy state of affairs for me. It’s a reality I’ve always imagined for myself! The idea here is to bring vocation that much closer to vacation until the two are virtually indistinguishable. All this being said, a big part of what I do involves knowing what is out there—doing the footwork, and bring the best of what I’ve found to my clients.

With my weekdays busy decorating for clients, creating content for WIJW, and attending the many social obligations one inevitably has as a New Yorker, it’s almost impossible to do and see all that one would like. Thankfully I look to the weekends for time to catch up, and this weekend I treated myself to an exquisite exhibition, The Art of Tôle, Flowers, Fruit, and Buzzing Insects by Carmen Almon at The Chinese Porcelain Co. in NYC.

Pink Peony - Carmen Almon

Pink Peony – Carmen Almon

I was introduced to Almon’s stunning sheet metal, brass, and oil-painted sculptures through my friend (and magnificent aesthete) Howard Slatkin who has been a major advocate of Almon’s work.

Almon’s early botanical watercolors caught the eye of style icon socialite/swan, Deeda Blair, who subsequently had Almon restore some of her antique tôle pieces—a serendipitous meeting of artist with medium (and patron!) that has had lasting effects.

It’s a bit hard to describe these pieces (and I’m afraid these pictures fall far short of doing them justice) – there’s certainly a recollection of the attention to detail that one might find in the work of 17/18th c. botanists and entomologists, but along with the added (and surprising) dimensionality, Almon brings to her pieces a sense of intimacy and a palpable sense of the temporal/ephemeral quality of the natural world. It’s the most elegant fusing of multi-disciplines that make Almon’s pieces at once painterly, and yet sculptural…and all is realized with the most delicate sense of coloration. Our friend, Slatkin, puts it quite well when he references Joel A. Rosenthal’s celebrated jewelry in an effort to describe Almon’s beautiful work.

Pineapples - Carmen Armon

Pineapples – Carmen Armon

The exhibition ends November 1st so do make a point to visit the Chinese Porcelain Co at 475 Park Avenue New York —and while you are there be sure and take a look at Scott McBee’s stunning ocean liner and yacht paintings.

Dressed for a working weekend I am sporting a vintage Loden Frey cape, Eddie Bauer bright chartreuse slim fitting down jacket,Tom Ford era Gucci purple feather weight cashmere turtleneck sweater, Uniqlo jeans, YSL augergine suede “Eton” boot, Hildestahl “Valfrid” leather tote, Tom Ford “Nicolo” sunglasses, Rolex watch and my fragrance is Creed Bois du Portugal.

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SCOTT MCBEE IN BLOOMBERG PURSUITS

James Andrew at the Scott McBee studio

James Andrew at the Scott McBee studio

“His Ship Has Come In. How Scott McBee became the pre-eminent portrait painter of yachts,” Aaron Kuriloff entitles his piece for Bloomberg Pursuits. A fitting tribute to our formidable artist friend — well done Scott McBee! Since Mcbee is near and dear to our hearts, we are of course beyond thrilled to share his success with our WIJW readership.

Artist Scott McBee in his studio.

Artist Scott McBee in his studio. (click to view article)

View McBee’s work (yacht and ocean liner paintings) online at www.scottmcbee.com, or find a selection for purchase here in New York City at the Chinese Porcelain Company on Park Avenue. Also, McBee’s fabulous animal paintings can be found at Creel and Gow on 131 East 70th Street as well as at John Fondas’ fabulous, The Island Store in Lyford. Should you want to commission a fine yacht portrait, do schedule your piece early on as there is now quite a waiting list!

Stopping by McBee’s studio to celebrate this brilliant press release, I’m sporting a Tom Ford era Gucci red leather biker jacket and black and white striped cotton shirt with French cuffs, pearl cuff links, my black and grey silk paisley ascot by Le Noued Pappillion, Rolex watch, Paul Smith light weight grey wool pants, black alligator belt with sterling buckle by Ralph Lauren, YSL black leather “Windsor” loafers and my fragrance is Creed Original Cologne.

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