Creativity in cocktails and fashion design

Paparazzi Dogman and Paparazzi Rabbitgirl by artists Gillie and Marc

Last weekend for me was mostly focused on attending ScentXplore 2022, which provided plenty of excitement in one venue; but I also had a couple of other destinations in NYC that filled me with just as much (dare I admit… if not more) anticipation. Both were a distance away from Times Square (where we stayed not only because it was close to ScentXplore, but also because it was the only relatively decently priced option I could find), which was characterized by fast-moving crowds and rickshaws blaring Last Christmas to the point of almost ruining the song for me.

The first was Thyme Bar, which serves “creative libations” of multisensory indulgence (an emerging theme on my limited travels this year). At least one of the creations involves the use of power tools to drill holes in large ice cubes, into which flavorful ingredients are poured. Cocktails were categorized under “Le Jardin” or “Floriography,” with the former more likely to contain flowers.

Some listed perfumey ingredients, for example: “Light Opium” featured mezcal, blood orange, apricot, and patchouli; while “Thé Noir” promised vodka, cherry, aphrodisiac tea, bergamot, amaro, and oud. I cannot say that we were able to parse these flavors from either drink, and both were quite sweet.

“Light Opium”

The one I had to try was for the vessel rather than the liquid, as it was served in a replica Fabergé egg! Asked what it was; not surprised to learn it was the “Napoleon Bonaparte.” Cognac, Grand Marnier, saffron, and spiced orange. Tasted pretty much as one might imagine this combination of ingredients would, with the sweetness dialed up.

I wanted a red “Napoleon Bonaparte,” but…
…got a blue one instead.

The one in the terrarium, as we referred to it before being told it was “Chatpata Fizz,” was a win-win in terms of container and contents. With mezcal, cardamom tea, pani puri, wasabi, pandan, and smoked salt, it was more savory and also medicinal. One of the garnishes was a sweaty-smelling moss, and the presentation included dry ice and incense in a separate compartment above the cocktail.

“Chatpata Fizz”

Finally, we satisfied our curiosity about the ingredients in “Ambre Nuit”: bourbon, bergamot, coconut, tonka, amber. While still sweeter than I would have preferred, this was my favorite out of the ones we tried, because the coconut was not really noticeable but the overall effect was vanillic and perfumey. I didn’t ask about the concentration of the tonka syrup, but I did ask what the “amber” was and one of the bartenders told me that it was a kind of edible perfume made by burning and melting amber resin. We were a little dubious but didn’t pursue the question much further.

“Ambre Nuit”

The second thing I’d been looking forward to on this trip has nothing at all to do with perfume, but rather with my obsession with metal zippers on clothes. I’ve long preferred zippers to buttons as closures on jackets, and soon found myself easily attracted to dresses, sweaters, etc. that incorporated functional zippers as design elements. I think this idea had a moment in fashion, but I seem to have missed the phase when it was ubiquitous, if indeed there was such a phase.

It was in a rather roundabout and serendipitous way that I came across Sohung Designs, a store by independent designer Sohung Tong; first on Etsy, which he started using for an online shop during the pandemic. His brick-and-mortar store near Chelsea Market has been around much longer and is his main focus. I made it a point to visit and spent a marvelous hour or so admiring everything, as the physical store has a lot more than the Etsy shop.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation whatsoever and am just sharing my unadulterated joy of having discovered a zipper paradise. He uses zippers (and neckties) in such original, creative ways on jackets, dresses, t-shirts… and little details are thought out—on some of the coats with four parallel sets of zippers, each set is a working 2-way zipper so you could zip over your other zipper that zips over another zipper… if you ever wanted to. Regardless of the zippers, the cuts are flattering and the designs often incorporate features that make you look twice: a flare here, a layer there…

Now you know a little bit more about me and my tastes.

The zippers aren’t very obvious in this photo, but the zipper bolero above the racks gives an idea.
Zippers in action!

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