EDGE Holiday Gift Guide: His & His and Her & Her

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Sunday Dec 11, 2011

According to some studies, many people prefer receiving gift cards for the holidays.

According to other studies, millions of gift cards remain unused, thereby filling the coffers of high-end retailers.

Our thinking? Might as well toss money out the window.

Our parents taught us to be thoughtful in giving - and particularly when giving something homemade. Think about the recipient; use a little empathy and imagine what would make that person happy. While gift cards might be easier, there are few gestures so rewarding as a gift that hits its mark.

Think about the natural pearls you received from your father or the Cartier watch your parents gave you for graduation - and think how much joy you've derived from receiving good gifts. Return the favor. Read through our gift guide and wrap your imagination around making friends and family as happy as Tiny Tim.


"The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk"

Some people live like they have all the fun in the world - and while some people might have wanted Mick Jagger’s life, for us, it’s always been Jean Paul Gaultier. Think about it: playing dress-up with Madonna and Kylie and doing runway and mixing up perfumes - and always doing everything with that impish, manic charm and unbridled enthusiasm that makes Gaultier the veritable personification of "joie de vivre."

After its sold-out, four-month run in Montreal, the recent retrospective of Gaultier’s life and work, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier," has now opened in Dallas (before traveling on to San Francisco in March 2012). The critically acclaimed multimedia exhibition, the first focusing solely on the French couturier, is a stunning celebration of Gaultier’s creative genius, technical inventiveness, and humanist vision. More than thirty animated mannequins provide commentary, alongside extensive fashion photography and numerous examples of Gaultier’s artistic collaborations with music and film legends.

Of course, there’s no excuse for missing this exhibition. That said, the next best thing (as well as a perfect complement to one’s own visit) is the magnificent monograph edited by Thierry-Maxime Loriot (curator of the Montreal exhibition) and published by Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Abrams Books. An objet d’art in its own right, the stunning, oversize hardcover book is presented in a slipcase, with a cover incorporating the work of Herb Ritts among others. Featuring over 550 illustrations and photographs (many of them previously unpublished), the 424-page catalogue also includes archival documents and more than fifty interviews with Gaultier’s muses and colleagues, as well as an essay by Suzy Menkes, and a timeline of Gaultier’s career that examines Gaultier’s interactions with the worlds of film, dance, and music.

From Dallas, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier" moves to San Francisco - and then Madrid and Rotterdam. Book your flights now - and while you wait, enter into Jean Paul Gaultier’s world with one of the most deluxe monographs of the decade. You’ll be smiling the entire time.

PRICE: $125.00 / hardcover with slipcase
LINK: "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk"


Parker: Urban Premium Ebony Metal Chiselled Roller Ball Pen

Some things just feel so good in your hand. It’s so nice to wrap your fingers around something so smooth and hard, something that expresses your emotions perfectly.

A pen, people. We’re talking about a pen. And this one’s a honey. It’s one of those instruments that you look at - and immediately covet. You’ve got to have it. It looks so good that you want to feel it. You want to put it in your...hand.

The new Urban Premium Ebony Metal Chiselled has a stunning silhouette: long and lean, with a nicely proportioned curved top. With a deep ebony metallic finish and an ergonomic shape, this is a pen with such character and style that you almost want to salute.

Founded in 1888, Parker Pen Company is one of the oldest names in American business, and for much of the twentieth century, Parker was the largest writing instrument company in the world.

While we’re partial to the roller ball (which might be expected...), the Urban Premium Ebony Chiselled also comes in a fountain pen and ballpoint edition. Fitted with chrome trim and a snap cap design, this black iridescent lacquer pen is as seductive as a cigar. As soon as you have it in your hand... You might give one as a gift, but you’ll definitely keep one for yourself.

PRICE: $52.00
LINK: Parker Urban Premium Ebony Metal Chiselled Roller Ball Pen


MOZO: Downtown

Is there any one of us that doesn’t have an actor/model/waiter on our holiday gift list? Don’t we all have at least one super-talented friend still slinging the hash browns - on his feet all day? In which case, there’s no better gift than the "Shoes that Serve" from MOZO®.

In case you have yet to discover them, MOZO® Shoes are the shoe company for people who work on their feet. The word "mozo" derives from cattle round-ups on the American frontier, where a "mozo" was the non-horse-riding helper. Last spring, the company introduced its Chef Signature shoe collection, with shoes designed by celebrity chefs including Marcus Samuelsson, Aarón Sánchez, and Chris Cosentino.

These are shoes with traction, for dealing with greasy floors, icy sidewalks, snowy roads - and just about any other slippery substance that might leave you landing on your caboose. Samuelsson helped conceive the Downtown model, which incorporates both the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge into the shoe’s design (check out the heel logo and the footbed). In short, these shoes look as good in the dining room as they work in the kitchen.

Perhaps as nice as the fit is the fact that every pair purchased helps the non-profit organization, Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), which provides career opportunities for underserved youth by linking public high school culinary teachers and their students to the food service industry.

"Get your MOZO® on" - and give your feet a break.

PRICE: $74.95
LINK: MOZO Downtown


(Gift Guide continues on next page...)

Frankley: Subscription Underwear

Who has time to shop for underwear? If you’re like us, your underwear collection comes hurled at you from the stage of a circuit party. Which is probably one reason why you’re a little skittish about undressing in a locker room.

Leave it to San Francisco, home of Folsom Street Festival, to come up with a better option: subscription underwear. Frankley, the company behind this why-didn’t-I-think-of-that concept, will ship underwear to your address every two months (or three or six months - depending upon how quickly you auction the used ones to your fan base).

With each shipment of Frankley, you’ll receive your subscription of tagless t-shirts in a cotton/modal blend, or soft boxers of 100% cotton in black or white, or thigh length boxer briefs in a super-soft cotton/modal mix. In other words, no more hanging at the lip of the stage, hoping to score some undies from some pulchritudinous go-go boy.

And as for a gift, what could be more suggestive than subscription underwear? Frankly, Frankley is as perfect for that comely adjunct professor as it is for your trainer at the gym. A little thank-you for taking such an interest in your development.

PRICE: $9.50 - $13.50 each
LINK: Frankley Subscription Underwear


Cool Cats: Lacoste

Crocodiles are hypnotically fascinating - whether they’re being devoured by a Burmese python (don’t pretend you didn’t see those photos) or worn over your left tit on a pink Lacoste polo shirt. Lacoste has always been the epitome of crocodile chic - and now, thanks to Lacoste’s collaboration with Cool Cats, the results are even more mesmerizing.

Since 2009, Cool Cats, a Parisian collective of three long-term friends, have been leaving their mark on numerous, well-known labels. The three friends, who are also acknowledged for their musical prowess and sartorial savvy, recently designed a nine-piece collection with the classic French sportswear company, Lacoste.

By tweaking the signature motifs of Lacoste and their own logo for Cool Cats, the three friends have created fashion that is as classic as it is streetwise. Their playful recreation of the classic Lacoste boat shoe features a denim exterior and leopard-print insole. Perfect for the Pink Panther in your life.

Available at Lacoste Live shops and specialty retailers worldwide (including Sneaker Junkie in Providence, Rhode Island; AKIRA in Chicago; and Extra Butter in Rockville Centre, Long Island).

PRICE: $100.00
LINK: Cool Cats Le Store


Narciso Rodriguez: for her in color

We once knew a very urbane and cultured individual who wore a large alexandrite ring. The beautifully faceted fuchsia stone was riveting, hypnotizing us with its pinkish-red color - which was something that happened to us again upon opening the latest limited edition fragrance from Narciso Rodriguez.

For Her in Color arrives in a luminous fuchsia bottle with a metallic interior, creating something of a hologram between liquid, metal, and glass. Hold this one up to the light and it’s like watching mercury dance across the surface of a candied apple.

As a fashion designer, Rodriguez has been fascinated with the purity of color - and, therefore, it’s a natural extension for him to examine the parallels between color and fragrance. According to Rodriguez, "Pure color elicits profound emotions" - and with a bottle as brilliantly bright as a gemstone, it’s clear that we’re dealing with passionate feelings.

A musky floral fragrance, For Her in Color elaborates on Rodriguez’s original For Her fragrance, heightening the rose and peach, but it’s the heartnotes of amber and musk deepened by vanilla that cling to the skin and linger. A chypre (French for "Cyprus") accord appears in the basenotes of sandalwood and moss, so that the overall effect is not unlike an autumnal walk through a misty, moss-covered forest in the last hour before sunrise. Barefoot, pumps in hand, a woman in evening dress wanders alone, the estate where she dined some hours earlier still visible in the near distance.

For Her in Color walks the fine line between the civility of a catered affair and the breathless abandon of a dalliance in the moonlight. As suitable for Lady Chatterley as for a character from Dashiell Hammett, Narciso Rodriguez for her in color is as mesmerizing as an outlaw jewel.

PRICE: $84.00 / 1.6 fl oz EDP
LINK: Narciso Rodriquez for her in color


Cult Eyewear: The World’s Enduring Classics

Who can forget Marilyn hilariously stumbling her way through "How to Marry a Millionaire" without her eyeglasses? Or JFK in his Ray-Bans while boating on Cape Cod? Or Elton John at his piano with eyeglasses as glittering as her persona?

Now, more than ever before, eyeglasses are everywhere. Everyone from kids in baby carriages to golden-age fashionistas is wearing eyewear that signals their personality with a sly wink and a cultural reference.

Neil Handley, curator of the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists in London, has written one of the most fascinating tomes on the history of eyewear. A celebration of design as well as a chronicle of the global industry, "Cult Eyewear: The World’s Enduring Classics" includes chapters on more than 30 famous eyewear brands from the 1780s to today, including Persol and Polaroid, Ray-Bay and ic! Berlin.

The history of eyewear dates back to 1663 and Handley utilizes fascinating anecdotes to trace the evolution of the most iconic spectacles and sunglasses. Not only did Handley seek out Elvis Presley’s California optician, he tracked down the man who first sold "granny glasses" in the Sixties.

Handley examines key personalities associated with particular eyewear, including Elvis, John Lennon, Dame Edna Everage (whose frames are, apparently, inscribed with the words "a hand job by an Anglo American"), as well as films such as "Easy Rider" and "Blues Brothers" that created demand for certain eyeglass styles.

With more than 500 color illustrations spread over its 192 pages, "Cult Eyewear: The World’s Enduring Classics" includes an illuminating glossary - and enough anecdotal detail to make you an eyewear authority. As with all fashion, the more you understand its antecedents, the more you appreciate its appeal - and the more likely you are to succumb to the temptations of collection.

Be forewarned: "Cult Eyewear" might cost you more than its purchase price as you consider supplementing your own collection of designer shades.

PRICE: $49.95
LINK: "Cult Eyewear: The World’s Enduring Classics"


"The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences..."

When you consider the life of a tree and its reactions to the four seasons, perhaps it’s not so surprising to accept that we, too, are subject to the vagaries of the changing seasons.

Most people are familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the role that the absence of sunlight plays in determining people’s moods and outlooks - but consider this fact: more couples have unprotected sex in the summer than at any time of year. And how about this one: more people try alcohol for the first time in December and January than during any other month.

In his new book "The Emotional Calendar," author John R. Sharp reveals how we are profoundly impacted by cultural and environmental forces - and how seasonal anniversaries influence our moods and behavior.

A psychiatrist who sits on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, as well as the School of Medicine at UCLA, Sharp shows us how to recognize our own emotional calendars, while providing guidance on ways to remedy destructive patterns and moods.

Doctor’s counsel? Order this one for the nightstand for those long January nights.

PRICE: $14.99 / Trade paperback
LINK: "The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences..."


A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


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