Monday, May 30, 2011

Read This: Thomas Pynchon "Inherent Vice"

Cover image: Darshan Zenith / Cruiser Art

Blow your mind! 

Through a drug smoke haze, Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice" takes us on a wild ride through late 1960's Southern California, painting a perfect picture of our post-hippie youth. At times the landscapes seem apocalyptic, but in reality they are just astute depictions of sprawl and decay juxtaposed with acerbic wit.

Below are photos inspired by the wordscapes of Thomas Pynchon.

 Hollywood Freeway - 1969

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Concrete Jungle Girl

Below is a rare find, an amazing wicker monkey handbag from the 1950s. This is the perfect carry-all for a concrete jungle girl to transport her essentials (iPhone, fuchsia lip gloss and fancy chocolates).

                                                                                                                             available here

 Jungle girl, show your wild side!

Below is a wild tiger print dress, the perfect neon camouflage for stalking your prey at night...

                                                                                   available here

 A concrete jungle girl always needs extra flash, why not throw on a big chain with a wild beast surrounded by rhinestones! A hunting trophy, perhaps?

                                                                                                                                           available here

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Of The Tropical Persuasion

The days are getting warmer and here at Pearl Modern we are going tropical! We have been searching the world for fun, graphic patterns and lush colors inspired by the legendary Brazilian style of Carmen Miranda, the fabulously decadent nightlife of pre-revolutionary Cuba and the fun-in-the-sun sixties of Waikiki Beach.

The fabulous dress below is from 1960's Guam, a geographical and cultural crossroads. Its flavor is both Polynesian and Japanese, with a little Latin flair.

                                                                                   available here

 Waikiki Beach! Below is a fun and flirty 1960's Kamehameha mini dress that is the perfect thing to throw on over a bikini (with the perfect sandals, of course)...

                                                                                   available here

Copacabana - 1947

Below is a long, slinky gown ideal for cocktails and dancing late into the night...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   available here

Cocktail of the week - "The Tropical Persuasion"

Serves Four

2 to 3 cups crushed ice
3/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup white rum
3 tbsp canned coconut cream
juice of two large lemons
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced


additional kiwi fruit slices

In an electric blender, blend all ingredients (except garnish) until frothy. 
Serve in chilled glasses, garnish with kiwi fruit slices.

And the closing musical number for tonight is from the amazing Cuban upright bassist Cachao, performing a rendition of one of his famous descargas. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Plat du Jour - Fusilli with Leek, Baby Spinach & Cream

A perfect dish for a balmy spring night in the city...


serves four

1 lb. fusilli pasta (We love using Kamut Spirals from Eden Organic for the grain's rich, nutty flavor)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large or two thin leeks (cut lengthwise, then cut crosswise, ending up with quarter inch half-moons, wash thoroughly in a strainer to remove any dirt or sand.)
5 oz. baby spinach leaves (washed, dried & coarsely chopped)
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente. 
In a large, deep frying pan, heat olive oil
Add the sliced leeks and cook over moderate heat until soft, about twelve minutes.
Add cream and cook on low heat until thickened, about seven minutes.
Add the chopped baby spinach, coating with the cream sauce and cook just long enough to wilt the spinach leaves, about four minutes.
Add the cooked, strained fusilli to the pan with the sauce and gently mix. Remove from heat.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sprinkle with chopped basil, serve promptly.

As for a wine to accompany this dish, we recommend the wonderful, effervescent white Fâmega vinho verde from Portugal. It is smooth and even with bubbles that dance on the tongue. This was our go-to wine for garden parties all last summer.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spotlight - Joseph La Rose: Shoe Designer Extraordinaire

Joseph La Rose was a flashy dresser who loved fast cars, especially his white 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra with the lipstick red interior.

A revered shoe designer, Joseph La Rose designed exquisite, hand crafted shoes in Jacksonville, Florida for nearly half a century. His shoes were worn and collected by celebrities such as Joan Crawford (who preferred black and gold heels), Jayne Mansfield and Jackie Kennedy and are worn today by Cameron Diaz, Winona Ryder and Mena Suvari among others. 

                                                                                                                                    available here

Joseph La Rose Shoes have been a huge inspiration to contemporary designers and are considered by collectors and shoe aficionados to be works of art. 

                                                                                                                                 available here

Explaining why his shoes appealed to movie stars, Joseph La Rose said "Shoes are like theater, and I try to give my customers a good show."

                                                                                                                 available here

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Rotation - Freddie Hubbard

Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" has been in constant rotation here at Pearl Modern.

The rhythmic interplay between Ron Carter's bass and Lenny White's drums provides a powerful structure to support the soulful lines and harmonies of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone and Herbie Hancock on electric piano and organ. 

Below is another fantastic album from Freddie Hubbard entitled "Hub-Tones". This album cover is amazing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Collecting Hats is Serious Business - Borsalino

                                                         Poster Designed by Max Huber - 1950s

For as long as we have been collecting and selling fabulous vintage hats, we have been on a serious lookout for stellar men's hats. Finding a vintage hat from a world class hat maker such as Borsalino that is in excellent or (shall we dream) mint condition is no easy feat. This is why it was so amazing to discover through a shop window this bottle green hat of mystery on a misty morning down by a river. We can imagine that it has had quite a life, maybe it was worn by a private detective or modern Casanova...

front view

side view
                                                                                                                               available here

This is a still from the fantastic Ferragamo Men's Fall 2011 runway show in Milan. The models donned gorgeous Borsalino hats in jewel toned colors that looked so rich and luxurious. We can't wait for fall!

              Giuseppe Cacace /Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Johnny Depp looking amazing as usual in a favorite Borsalino.

       Vogue Italia

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Elsa Schiaparelli

We adore Elsa Schiaparelli!

Her best pieces exhibit her 
artist's imagination and love
of all things wild...
This Schiaparelli necklace looks so brilliant on, as if you were attending the most outrageous Roman party.                         
                                                                                                                                   available here

Coming up next, a wonderful example of a Schiaparelli Watermelon Vitrail rhinestone bracelet.
                                                                              available here

Below is a wonderful new addition to the Pearl Modern shop...
a Watermelon Tourmaline Rhinestone brooch from the 1950s by Schiaparelli. So vibrant!

                                                                                  available here

Below is an excellent 'Stormy Sky' Rhinestone Schiaparelli Necklace from the 1940s to 1950s. The necklace is available here from the Pearl Modern shop.

A perfect Schiaparelli sun hat, just right for a holiday.            

Wear it on a yacht or on a walk through Central Park...   

                                                                          available here    

Below, a pair of the perfect serpentine cornucopia Aurora Borealis rhinestone earrings from Elsa Schiaparelli... 

available here                
This wild and wonderful Schiaparelli hat found a new home in Hawaii...

"Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale." - Elsa Schiaparelli

Inspired by Schiaparelli's quote, we prepared this fabulous asparagus recipe from Ursula Ferrigno. The recipe is super-simple but full of complex and beautiful spring flavors.

While getting dizzyingly lost in Florence a few years back, seduced by one amazing vintage Roberta di Camerino bag after another, we stumbled upon a wonderful book shop devoted to culinary tomes, discovering an absolutely gorgeous book of Ursula Ferrigno's entitled "Trattoria: Italian Food for Family & Friends." We highly recommend it.


"What grows together, goes together" is a concept that often holds true, but disparate denizens of the garden sometimes need coaxing to harmonize. Ferrigno sets about the task with wise restraint—just a little butter, shallot, and fresh basil turns asparagus and peas into the best of friends.
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 lb shelled fresh peas (2 1/2 cups; 1 3/4 lb in pods) or 1 (10-oz) package thawed frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Handful of torn basil leaves (about 3/4 cup)
  • Cook shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in asparagus, peas, sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then seal skillet with foil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in basil and sea salt to taste.
COOKS’ NOTE: Peas can be shelled and asparagus cut 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.