shopping 02.22.06


Understatement is not the fashion of the day, so a design house that's so understated it borders on mysterious — that's a genuine rarity. VBH, 940 Mad [74th/75th] 212.717.9800, the luxury accessories line based in Rome, produces exquisite bags and jewelry. The store here is located in a former bank.

The man behind VBH is V. Bruce Hoeksema, an American who worked for Valentino, and who has lived in Italy for the past two decades. The leather goods, which are made in Florence, are remarkable.

A friend of ours considers the clutch the most beautiful of its kind in the world. We see what she means: it is Audrey Hepburn beautiful: elegant, restrained, timeless. And the workmanship is impeccable. There are a number of color and material variations (satin, python skin) of that clutch, but the silver metallic is the most sought after. The smaller version is $695, the large is $825.

We get a kick out of their "website." It's one page with absolutely no information — refreshing when anyone these days has the confidence to let their work speak for itself.

RESTAURANTS WE LIKE WITH PRIVATE ROOMS: There are plenty of fine restaurants with private rooms that weren't on yesterday's list. We'll try to do another roundup at a future date. We did want to add one from one of our favorite chefs, Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto, 775 Wash [Jane/12th] 212.924.9700, who wrote: "I just wanted to mention my semi-private room and kitchen table. They are both available for parties up to 12 (more if everyone's naked)."

FIRST RESPONDERS: "The city has awarded Motorola and Nortel to do a pilot of WIFI networks downtown, though it hasn't been announced."

"FYI, Commissioner Menchini is leaving DoITT. In addition, his First Deputy, Larry Knafo is leaving as well. A new commissioner hasn't been announced yet but I think it is fair to say that there is a shakeup in leadership and hopefully this means that this project will get more attention under the new commissioner."

EGGS: With March 21 fast approaching, you did leave out the best egg trivia: it's the only day of the year that up can place an egg on a countertop, and it'll balance itself. It'll stand upright! Really an amazing little thing to see."

"Another egg suggestion: Andrew Bird's 2005 album, The Mysterious Production of Eggs, was put on several critics' best-of-year-yet-most-unheralded lists. It's great — kind of folksy, quirky, really smart."

"I am surprised not by the absence of caviar, but the absence of Ukrainian Easter eggs. There is a place down on 2nd which sells both the finished eggs and the dyes and wax and pens to make these eggs." [Ed: Yes, the Ukrainian Museum Gift Shop sells the materials for what's called pysanky.]

"Here is one you left off. Paul Wirhun: hand-painted sexy eggs. He lives in Brooklyn. All artists I know could use a little more press."

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