Color Do Brasil

Along with the sun comes Color do Brasils latest collection. Right on time for beach season, French designer Amanda de Montal presents her 5th collection of Brazilian- inspired sexy swimsuits. For the lucky Butterflies who want to be irresistible this summer, note that a private sale is taking place from April 29th to 30th at 153 Lafayette street (11am to 7pm). You’ll find a large selection of swimsuits, wraps and other accessories.

Visit the “goodies” section of NYButterfly to see the invitation to the private sale. And for more info about the collection check Color Do Brasils website.


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5 mn with… Ben Towill and Phil Winser

Profession: Partners of Silkstone


Who are you guys?

Ben Towill, 26: I started my career as a chef in the kitchen’s of Raymond Blanc (of Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons) at the age of 16, working daily side by side with him.  From there I went on to Rick Stein’s in Cornwall where I learnt everything possible about seafood, how to fish for it, prepare in and cook it! Gordon Ramsay’s empire was my next step, first in London then New York where I was picked to head up a team at his new restaurant and then personally accompany Gordon on his Nationwide TV tour for Gordon’s Kitchen Nightmares.  Once in New York I opened the popular restaurant – the Kingswood and a year later left to start Silkstone with Phil.

Phil Winser, 25:  I’m a Event Planner and Designer for Silkstone. I have trained in the hospitality industry since I was 14, with one of my first events being at the British Royal Palace I have experienced the highest echelon of service. Their attention to detail and unmistakable perfection inspired me to enter into the hospitality industry. I spent a considerable time with London’s finest event planners – Admiral Crichton Events and Catering – putting on huge production events all over the world.  I also worked at Party Ingredients where I learnt the highest level of planning, management and service through high profile events at locations such as the British Royal Palace.

How or why did you decide to work in the food industry?

Ben: I grew up in-between British Countryside and Coast, where I developed a real understanding of what it takes to produce and source ingredients that not only taste of the highest quality but are produced with integrity and passion.  My family have also been macrobiotic for years, which has been a great influence and inspiration in my cooking and approach to food.

Phil: Coming from a family who’s life (work and play) has been centered around looking into the worlds geography and ecology, I have always been passionate about building a sustainable future. I have also always loved food and in particular the fact that it brings together everyone and provides a great platform for great conversations and even better times.  I have always sourced my food locally (ideally growing it from home) so have realized and enjoyed the benefits of this using local or homegrown quality produce for cooking for a long time. Design is another major part of my life, having followed restaurant, hotel and bar design especially closely my whole life.

When was Silkstone born and what is the concept?

Silkstone officially started in October 2008, but we first thought of it together at school at the age of 16. Silkstone is committed to delivering creative, innovative and sustainable food, lifestyle and design concepts, focused on events, restaurants and developing brands through unique experiences. It is born from the notion that there are two essential ingredients to the service industry:  The stone represents the intensive labor, integrity and commitment, and the silk reflects the creativity, innovation and elegance in which this is presented.

Do you just do large events for private clients or companies or do you do small dinner parties too?

As a comprehensive event planning, design, production and company we look after every aspect to an event, including the catering but do also love being part of the intimate surroundings of a small dinner party too.

Ben, tell me a bit about Silkstone menus.

For our events and catering company we approach every event individually, continually looking for the most seasonal, fresh ingredients.  The journey of farm to plate and the integrity of the ingredients are key to us so we are consistently in touch with our suppliers to get an understanding on how their produce is that very week.  We listen to the clients ideas and try and expand it further, referencing it throughout the food, drink and cocktail offerings but always keeping it true to Silkstone offering balanced, light fresh, intensely flavorful bites. A typical Silkstone meal would be:

Start off party with a cocktail of elderflower, cucumber, and lemongrass vodka, along with a few light bites such as lobster ceviche with passion fruit curd and threads of crispy ginger.  

Then we would move on to the shared dishes passed around communal tables using seasonal ingredients. For example: crisp market vegetables with anchovy and chili dressing.   A salad of sugar snap peas, mint, balsamic caramelized spring onions, pea shoots and baby lettuces all sourced from the nearby Yuno’s farm. A beetroot and Swiss chard crumble that is a savory take on a classic with clothbound cheddar, oats and hazelnuts.  Also as whole grains are such an important part of our menus we would include bulgur wheat tabouleh with kale and blue foot mushrooms.

To finish, it would have to be a berry and pistachio Eton mess (meringue and fresh whipped cream) served in mason jars.

This industry is very challenging in a city like NY, there are so many great restaurants and chefs… what’s the key to success?

Personal service and attention to detail, hard-working happy staff and passionate owners. Simplicity and quality throughout – the food, the design, the service.

Where would you recommend to go food shopping in the city?

Great food shopping can be found all over the city but my one of the most easily accessible places for fresh and quality food can be found at Union square market first thing in the morning. Also the fish market in the Bronx is fantastic for the freshest, flavour-filled and cost-effective fish – but be prepared for a 2am start!  Finally the Essex street market always has some great local producers all year round.

What does a city like NY bring to you?

Ben:  For me, NY is a great place because it is so full of opportunity and life which is not only very beneficial for a start-up company but really inspiring and positive.

Phil: The energy, I feel that anything is possible here and there is always something fun to do.

What is your idea of a perfect day in NY?

Ben: My perfect day would consist of getting up early on a Sunday, its amazingly peaceful as no one in the city is awake! Take the world with the Sunday newspapers (and girly magazines!), maybe heading out for bike ride over to Brooklyn for a wander around the flea market to sample some local delights then as the sun comes down heading back to the city for some rooftop cocktails.

Phil: When I have a bit of a headache – I love to walk around downtown New York, visiting the Russian baths, then heading  to Souen or Japanese for some healthy, light and delicious dinner and then maybe rounding off with a night at the movies – in the summer ideally an open air rooftop cinema. But Its quite fun getting the headaches as well – as they are usually from my great friends bar Apotheke in China Town!

What is your favorite place in the city?

Ben: Visiting Roberta’s in Bushwick for some locally sourced, family style food.  I love the open fire pit outside too!

Phil: The Russian baths on 10th Street is my favorite place and I love hosting a dinner party.

What’s next? Any project?

We have several very fun and quirky weddings in Hamptons coming up which will be great as well as a series of events with a luxury brand (but just in negotiations so can’t reveal the name as yet!)

Also Silkstone have recently been appointed exclusive partners with one of New York’s premiere event spaces – Stephen Weiss studios. A great venue that has had everyone from Def Jam to the Dalai Lama come play & talk. The event space has been developed by Donna Karan whose core principles on design and sustainable, healthy eating marry seamlessly with ours, providing the perfect platform for some great events in 2010!

Lastly, but definitely not least we are building out our restaurant in the lower east side which is due to open in June!  It will be serving modern seasonal British cuisine, which is healthy but still innovative and creatively presented.

Silkstone offices are located 17 Orchard Street, 2nd floor. Tel: 1.646.861.1545. For more info check their Website

New York ArtBus

After its success in London, the ArtBus has crossed the Atlantic. This bus takes art lovers to galleries, artists’ studios, and private spaces around the city’s 5 boroughs. One Sunday a month, jump onto this school bus, and discover various emerging artists whose works and creativity help make New York such a vibrant, cultural city.

Find out more information on the ArtBus website. The next tour will be on April 25thfrom 3pm till 6pm. Price: $50 donation to support emerging artists.


MONA KUHN: NATIVE Opening reception and artist talk

“Native”, Mona Kuhn’s new show is opening tonight at Flowers Gallery in Chelsea.

This exhibit features her latest series of photographs also published in a new book –Native (Steidl, Winter 2009/10).

Acclaimed photographer, Mona Kuhn returns from her birthplace, Brazil, with sensual images of captivating nudes, dense jungle landscape, and sparse interior of an abandoned apartment. 

MONA KUHN: NATIVE from April 9th – May 15th, 2010
Opening reception Thursday, April 8th from 6 – 8 pm
Artist talk: Saturday April 10 at 3 pm
Flowers Gallery is located 529 West 20th St. Tel: 1 212 439 17 00

5mn with… Vera Balyura

Profession: Jewelry designer

Who are you Vera?

I was born in Kiev, Ukraine. My heart has been beating for about 25 years. I run a jewelry company that began as a way to unwind my brain from stories told to me in dreams, starring bee-keeper centaurs, creatures that never die and deep sea animals…

How or why did you decide to design jewelry?

When I was little my grandpa would show me miniatures he made and do puppet shows for me. I believed the little people and creatures could come alive on their own, but had pride in keeping very still whenever I was looking. When I’d go to sleep they would take me to their magical land. Now I repay them for the adventures by bringing them and their friends back into my world. It’s all about giving back.

When was VearMeat born and why did you pick this name?

VeraMeat was born about 3 years ago. This name was picked because it was the only name which made me laugh and yet felt powerful.

If you had to create  a line for a famous designer or famous brand, who would it be?

Hmm…Chanel would be incredible, Jil Sander would inspire, Marc Jacobs of course… And I’m thinking of doing an exclusive cuff line for Opening Ceremony, something sincere for Atelier…

Which celebrity would you be flattered to see wear your designs?

Hmm… I’ve been super lucky to have a few wish list clients like Miranda July and Tilda Swinton. Would love to add Isabelle Huppert, Zoe Deschanel, Charlotte Rampling & Gainsbourg, Adrien Brody and Patti Smith who is my neighbor. We met through a mutual friend and when I mentioned needing feedback on a writing project she invited me in. So I’m working on a “thank you” VeraMeat for her right now.

What does a city like NY brings to you?

It brings the opportunity to connect with artists you admire and to be inspired every second which can get exhausting in a sexy way. You become a part of the big piece of art that is NY which invite friends into your life who through a conversation make you feel like you’ve evolved into a future ancestor.

What is your idea of a perfect day in NY?

Hah well, I’m an Austrian art fan so a day at Neue Gallery with lunch in their cafe would be perfect… or have breakfast in bed with a French book then design some amazing jewelry … or taking photos of the west village daily life. Again walking around Manhattan to see what the city brings is often better then anything I can foresee.

What is your favorite belonging?

My guitar, love to pick her up, and unrehearsed play whatever comes to mind
and record it. It’s like improved acting at UCB which I also love, magic happens when you let yourself free. Going to be starting a VeraMeat TV in the City series on YouTube!

What is your favorite place in the city?

As far as things to do when in West Village, Happy Owl is great for lunch. In Williamsburg, Monkey Town has great shows and films in their back room-though they may be closing.

What’s next? Any project?

Yes VeraMeat TV satire comedy episodes, viking taking over the sky collection for VeraMeat while building on some old themes. I am recording a punk folk music album under a new band name: Party Of Virgins. I’m also decorating a new studio in the East Village. Please come to the open house on April 24th!

VeraMeat has a studio on 303 East 5th street. apt # 1A. bet 1st & 2nd av.
Check Vera’s Website to see the full collection and order online.