Archives for June 2011 | A Continuous Lean.

Viand Coffee Shop: The High Rent Diner

Jun 30th, 2011 | Categories: David Coggins, Food, New York City | by David Coggins

The diner is a rightly beloved cultural institution, and yet it remains a curious one. In one sense they all resemble one another—you could order in any diner without referring to a menu. And yet they also reflect their owners and neighborhoods—they may have an unexpected specialty or insist on serving something only one way. (We won’t get into the hash browns v. home fries debate at the moment, though it is a rich one.)

Consider the Viand, on Madison Avenue and 61st Street. It’s near Barneys and Hermes, not the exact provenance of a fried eggs and bacon—unless you’re ordering room service at The Pierre. The Viand is narrow—the booths are only one person wide—and nearly always crowded with one of the more unusual cross-sections of diners in the city. You may sit at the counter next to a high-powered lawyer or a woman who would typically lunch in a far tonier setting. But it’s not always an overly smart crowd, you come across tourists, office workers, shopping Europeans. It’s local and international at the same time, which is to say, it’s a uniquely New York institution.

Made in Italy | Isaia Napoli

Jun 28th, 2011 | Categories: Clothing, Factory Tour, Italy, Made in Italy 2011, Napoli | by Michael Williams

The third installment from the ACL Made in Italy tour focuses its sights on the Neopolitan tailor Isaia. Located on the outskirts of Napoli — in a small town called Casalnuovo, a place that has been the home of tailors for generations — in a factory where nearly everyone that works in production is a second or third generation tailor. Isaia itself is a family-run business; founded in 1957 by Enrico Isaia, the clothing maker is now helmed by Enrico’s grandson Gianluca Isaia, and has various other family members involved in its day-to-day operations.

The factory is an expansive two story building that is tucked away in an unmarked alley with a large gate. If I were to find the place without the assistance of Isaia’s driver, I’d venture to say it would have been impossible. More than that, if I had to drive myself through the traffic in Napoli, I don’t know if I would be alive to report about the wonderful tailoring I witnessed. But all of that just adds to the allure of Napoli and of course, the Neapolitans. I find Southern Italians to be charming and friendly with a good sense of humor. I find Napoli to be intense, exciting and renegade. Definitely unlike any other place in Italy that I have been.


Jun 27th, 2011 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams

  • Design, manufacture and installation of the Piccadilly Circus Coca-Cola sign c.1954 [Creative Review] [Pictured]
  • Jack Kerouac’s On the Road has been released as a pretty amazing iPad app [iTMS via L.A. Times]
  • Fun fact: Louis Vuitton owns two factories in California. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Bon Appétit has a little product round-up of coolers, which I will use only for beer [Bon Appétit]
  • The perfect 1949 summer vacation to Canada’s Malibu Club [LIFE]

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Further Assessments | Brunello Cucinelli SS12

Jun 26th, 2011 | Categories: Further Assessments, Italy, Pitti Uomo 2011 | by Michael Williams

The Brunello Cucinelli area at Pitti Uomo was consistently crowded, and for good reason. As I said in my GQ Pitti Diary. “The layering is just so well executed. Just being in the Cucinelli stand makes you have better taste via menswear osmosis.” And it’s not just the styling, Cucinelli (like many of the Italians) is very good at the pairing of color and texture. It goes without saying that the fabric is also extremely well done and the fit is slim but not insane. That all said, how could these guys not make amazing collections when they go to work here everyday.

A few more images from the Brunello Cucinelli SS12 collection below.

Mr. Heisler’s Voice Found in Kodachrome

Jun 24th, 2011 | Categories: Kodachrome | by Michael Williams

Way back when — before Instagram filters and digital do overs — every frame counted and Kodachrome was the filter. The New York Times photographer Todd Heisler recently got around to processing a box of his dad’s old Kodachrome slides, and in doing so, he discovered not only a series of beautiful images from the 1950s, but revealed a previously lost voice of his father Gordon.

More from Todd’s post on the Lens Blog:

“Cutting my teeth at newspapers in the 1990s, I had never shot in Kodachrome. Our film of choice (rather, necessity) was dull color negative, scanned. I didn’t anticipate the transformative power of a box of well-exposed Kodachromes taken nearly 50 years ago by Dad.

With the Kodachrome images, there is something deeper. There is a deliberate aesthetic at play, an eye for color, a voice. Perhaps a brief burst of creativity before the responsibilities of life with three boys took over. I wish so dearly that I could ask him about these images.”

Read the article and see all of the great photos here.

Kodachrome photos by Gordon Heisler.

Further Assessments | Nanamica SS12

Jun 23rd, 2011 | Categories: Further Assessments, Italy, Japan, Pitti Uomo 2011 | by Michael Williams

While there were quite a few Japanese buyers at Pitti Uomo, there weren’t many labels selling their own wares. One notable exception was Nanamica, who had its second collection of private label goods on offer to buyers. The line was not one to miss — it was full of amazing fabrics, great detailing and the always fun “classics with a twist” that we have all grown to love from the Japanese.

If you aren’t familiar with the company, Nanmica is a distributor in Japan (The North Face Purple Label, Filson, etc.) and also has several of its own stores which sell the labels it distributes plus outside collections from all sorts of good designers. To me, Nanmica is one of the best shops in Japan. I always make a point to stop in and often end up leaving with a something that You can’t find in The States. The good news is, that won’t be the case with the private label collection pictured here.

From the Desk of… A Continuous Lean

Jun 21st, 2011 | Categories: From the Desk of... | by Michael Williams

The From the Desk of series is one of the oldest and longest running posts on ACL. I hear from a lot of people that say it is their favorite thing on the site, something I have to say that I tend to agree with. Honestly though, it is harder to pull off than I ever could have imagined. It’s difficult to find interesting people that also have intriguing work areas — and get them to open said desks to the world and the ravenous commenters here. So it is something maybe less explored than it should be.

I actually have been thinking about featuring my own desk for about the past year — considering if maybe people will like it, or at the very least people will detest it and a comment flame war will ensue — but I never really felt it was totally right, not yet ready for public consumption. Recently though, with the addition of a proper desk chair (a new Knoll Generation chair, which was sent gratis from the Pennsylvania-based design company) I realized that I’m as ready now as I will ever be.