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James Andrew - the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

James Andrew – the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

I’d been rather excited to visit the Cooper Hewitt Museum since hearing of their new renovations, and so Scott McBee and I ventured uptown for a visit. I have always adored this museum which is housed in the most magnificent 64 room, turn of the century Georgian-country style Andrew Carnegie mansion (Babb, Cook, and Williard, architects). It really is such a wonderful treat to explore these exquisite examples of monumental architecture (and this one is pretty innovative, being the first private house in the US to incorporate a steel frame). Just now, their glorious garden is blanketed in snow, but I can’t wait until spring to revisit!

Damian Ortega's Controller of the Universe

Damian Ortega’s Controller of the Universe

The Cooper Hewitt is a Smithsonian design museum, and you can always expect a really comprehensive treatment, whatever aspect of design they are featuring. On view now is their opening exhibition which tackles tools in every form imaginable, and its pièce de résistance has got to be this fantastic piece (pictured above) by artist Damian Ortega entitled “Controller of the Universe” — a frozen explosion of tools…genius! Needless to say, if you are into design, the Cooper Hewitt is a must!

Captured at the front of the Cooper Hewitt, I’m sporting a vintage camel toggle coat with tartan wool lining, Tom Ford charcoal tweed jacket, teal cotton corduroy pants, teal and navy silk pocket square, teal and charcoal wool/cashmere glen check tie, brown leather belt with rose gold buckle and brown leather tasseled loafers, Turnbull and Asser red and white striped shirt with contrast white color and cuffs, Seaman Schepps aquamarine and diamond cuff links, vintage Rolex, Gucci aviator sunglasses, Sermonetta red leather gloves, Tom Ford London fragrance and Tom Ford For Men Bronzing Gel for that sun kissed glow.

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James Andrew

James Andrew

When all of the inherent baggage of the past drags one down, and fearful projections of future calamity find one utterly paralyzed, it’s time to get present — something as simple as taking time to observe one’s breath or just being aware of, say, the sunlight (if there happens to be any!) can bring some much needed grounding. It’s an age old technique and has been re-espoused and championed by nearly every modern master of the mind (Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, Shunryu Suzuk, Jiddu Krishnamurti; the list goes on and on). Now is where everything that we know and experience is and always will be! If everything is a mess, well then, that is how it is. Whether one likes or dislikes that experience doesn’t actually have much to do with things — that mess has a perfection about it — a perfect mess! We only begin to have problems when we start to see things one way or another — when we start to fuss — and then we waste a LOT of energy running away from (or looking for, as the case may be) what we perceive to be a huge threat or an irresistible object of desire.

Of course one does need to try to create a better environment and reality for oneself and others, but taking it easy and being still is an absolute prerequisite to any effort. From there, we can scoop up some of the tremendous energy that is all around us right now, and if we want, fashion it with clarity into a better situation.

In this effort, it is really important to recognize how we perceive struggle; I find great comfort in the fine words of Neale Donald Walsch:

“It is okay to be at a place of struggle. Struggle is just another word for growth. Even the most evolved beings find themselves in a place of struggle now and then. In fact, struggle is a sure sign to them that they are expanding; it is their indication of real and important progress. The only one who doesn’t struggle is the one who doesn’t grow. So if you are struggling right now, see it as a terrific sign — and celebrate your struggle.”

As you know, I’m quite an experienced daydreamer (and it got me into no small bit of trouble as a youngster in school!), but even now, I quite often need to remind myself to use daydreaming in a more powerful way, and to be aware of the stories I’m telling myself. Those imaginings, whatever they may be, become reality! Try creating a truly palpable and beautiful daydream (that is, make believe as if it were already manifest) on a regular basis — I myself make this a daily routine — and watch your very best imaginings blossom in this wonderfully perfect moment!

Giving thanks for the sunlight (and the gorgeous strains of Carmen playing in the background), I’m thinking of the infinite potential of the here and now. I’m sporting a Tom Ford era Gucci navy cotton velvet jacket, Tom Ford ink and ivory cotton plaid shirt, purple wool tie, purple glen plaid silk pocket square, glasses and black and tan leather loafers, Etro wool challis scarf in a Sonia Delaunay inspired print, Uniqlo slim jeans, Ralph Lauren purple alligator belt with sterling buckle, vintage Rolex, Tom Ford bronzing gel and my fragrance is Lorenzo Villoresi’s, Garofano.

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James Andrew at the Frick Museum Boucher room - photo Lars Stefan.

James Andrew at the Frick Museum Boucher room – photo Lars Stefan.

Over the years, we’ve worked with some truly brilliant photographers, and we’ve collaborated together to produce some pretty epic images, if I do say so myself! One of my favorites is the above by the incomparable Lars Stephan for a WIJW piece entitled Romantically Rococo — a post created in conjunction with the Frick to promote the museum as the perfect Valentine’s destination. As things turned out, the photograph was extremely popular, and led to an appearance and interview in Italy’s foremost newspaper, Corriere della Sera. The issue also featured the likes of Vogue’s magnificent editor at large, Hamish Bowles among a select group of other notable aesthetes! Needless to say, I was quite thrilled and honored by the tremendous accolade!

Thanks to the Frick, WIJW is finding the Boucher room a perfect setting to gather a few of Cupid’s pointed arrows. I’m reclining in a Tom Ford shocking pink silk dressing gown from the Tom Ford boutique at 845 Madison Avenue, white cotton voile and lace tuxedo shirt, black and white polka dot silk bow tie, tuxedo pants and black patent leather opera pumps all by Gucci vintage Cartier gold fountain pen and platinum and diamond cuff links and shirt studs from my dear friend private jeweler Raj Tolaram. 

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