Mastering the Art of Cake Decorating

For her latest culinary escapade, pays a visit to Ron Ben-Israel for tips on crafting a dessert almost too pretty to eat. "Elton John’s people just called and asked me to make his birthday cake—what should I do?" says Ron Ben-Israel when he calls to postpone my cake-decorating lesson. For Elton, I let him off the hook. A few weeks later I’m in Ron’s Manhattan loft where he designs and makes voluptuous, witty works of edible art—bowers of flowers, replicas of designer shoes. In the sunny …[Read more]

Making Scents

Florentine master perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi lets Reggie Nadelson in on the secrets of his art—and his city "Luxury is having something no one else has, "Lorenzo Villoresi says, sounding a bit like a Renaissance prince handing down a proclamation on the nature of things. In his case, the nature of things is in the scent. Come to his atelier in an ancient Florentine palazzo, and Villoresi—one of the last great artisanal perfumers of Europe—will design for you a couture fragrance that no one …[Read more]

“Consuming Passions”: Santa, Baby

You could call this The Twelve Days of Christmas for the famous, the very famous and the hyper celeb. This is about what they give and what they want. It is the season, after all, of celebrity. With the holidays come the albums, the TV specials, the special songs – think Cliff Richard! Think the vision of all these fairy-tale people discussing the meaning of it all. Well, Hark the Herald Angels, but if I’m not mistaken even Pee-wee Herman once, in the 1980s, delivered himself of a Christmas …[Read more]

“Consuming Passions”: The Sales!

“Mery-llllll, I found the shoes in your size, come over here! Meryl? I got the Man-o-llllllos, hurry up!” So shrieks the lady from New Jersey across the floor in Bergdorf Goodman’s shoe salon (trust me, they call it a salon), as she pounces on several pairs of shoes on a sale rack. All of a sudden, I lose my interest. I no longer covet the Manolos, the Jimmys, the Emmas, the Christians; whatever the shoe, however much I had wanted it the week before last, however much I felt that it was …[Read more]

Sag Harbor Summer: Porcelain Plums…

Wednesday, 4 August 1993 'I WANTED proper American country antiques, I didn't like faked-up things then. I still don't,' says Eliza Werner, the laconic proprietor of Sage Street Antiques. Her blue eyes peer out coolly from behind tortoiseshell spectacles at the mob frolicking in her shop this steamy Saturday morning, as …[Read more]

Sag Harbor Summer: I want a man…

…with blue eyes and garbage skills   THE BOYS cruise up and down in their cars here all night. They think if they do it often enough, they'll magically get laid,' says Jack, sitting on the porch of the American Hotel, drinking a kir. It's dusk on Main Street. The hotel is just down the road from the Paradise Grill, where …[Read more]

Sag Harbor Summer: Where’s my bicycle?

The Independent, August 1993 THE WORLD is slowly arriving in Sag Harbor,' says Detective Thomas Mackey. Over the weekend, I lost my innocence. And met Detective Mackey, a big handsome cop with a red crewcut - red with a blond glint, more like - some poetic rhetoric and tales to tell about the seamy side of Sag Harbor. On …[Read more]