#154: Dirt Newsletter
Daisy Alioto and Kyle Chayka drop in to tell us about Stefano Worldwide Jeans, Cocca Moka Espresso Pot, Ariat Paddock Boots, Lullatone, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Daisy Alioto and Kyle Chayka to share some recommendations on Perfectly Imperfect.
Daisy Alioto and Kyle Chayka are the creators of one of my favorite Substacks, Dirt. Their newsletter provides commentary on digital entertainment, the internet, trends, and more— you may remember that I wrote a piece for Dirt on the typeface of Perfectly Imperfect, Comic Sans. If stuff like that seems interesting, consider subscribing! Normally I’m very skeptical of crypto and NFTs…but what they’re doing with DirtDAO is actually pretty cool, and you can read about it in The Verge and Business of Fashion. Lucky for us, Daisy and Kyle are here to tell us what they’ve been into.
Without further ado
🎻 Bowmakers by DS & Durga
For my 30th birthday (last year) all I wanted was to have a slumber party with my best friend! We chose The Beekman, known for its stunning atrium. However, the biggest thrill was the toiletries by D.S. & Durga in their Bowmakers scent. Bowmakers is supposed to smell like a violin shop in Massachusetts, which is coincidentally where I am from. I fell in love with the scent and ordered the perfume shortly after. I use Neutrogena shampoo for my scalp that smells like coal tar and Bowmakers just happens to go perfectly with that, admittedly funky, top note. The first time my mom came to visit after I started wearing Bowmakers she got really excited about it. I still had a bottle of the shampoo from my hotel stay so I gave it to her to take home.
Later she told me she had been “rationing” it to make it last longer which broke my heart a little bit because my mom is the most wonderful person in the world and deserves the best of everything. Of course, I had to buy her a bottle of Bowmakers for Christmas.
🇦🇺 A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
I found this book on the shelf of a small lake cabin my family used to stay in sometimes (smells like moth balls, canoe paddles as decor, bunk beds) and devoured it during our stay. This book is slow in the way that Green Card (1990) is slow. The tension builds to a romantic crescendo later in the book and you’re like oh my god!!! Nevil Shute was an Australian author better known for his nuclear apocalypse novel On the Beach that scared the shit out of me in middle school. I recommend A Town Like Alice to people as the best novel you’ve never heard of with the caveat that it was published in 1950 and has an unmistakably colonial perspective. Read it if you loved Atonement.
The Fence is a young, smart and brutally funny London magazine in the tradition of vintage Tatler or Spy. Subscribe in print or buy the NFT we co-designed.
My husband and I got engaged in late February 2020. If you can cast your mind back that far, the true comedy of timing will become clear. We spent our engagement weekend at Arlo NoMad, our favorite reasonably priced microhotel, went to the restaurant we had our first date at (Marta) and bought a MoMA membership that we never used again for obvious reasons. After touring the Judd exhibit we hit the MoMA store and I bought this espresso pot to commemorate the weekend (because a ring wasn’t enough.) Anyway, we got Zoom married on our couch and I use the espresso pot almost every day!
🎼 The Row playlists
Do you want to feel EXPENSIVE for FREE? I have discovered so many new favorite songs from listening to the monthly Spotify playlists put out by The Row. I am so attuned to their cadence that I even like to think that I can tell when the unseen curator is going through it. If you, like me, can’t afford anything from The Row just consider these playlists oatmeal cashmere for the ears.
🖼️ Scout Zabinski
Do you ever meet someone and think “oh, they are going to be famous.” Scout Zabinski is one of those people. Her symbolically accessorized, nude self-portraits manage to bring something genuinely new to self-objectification as a healing–even feminist–statement. Don’t blink, this woman is going places.
🇮🇹 Agnelli (HBO)
This documentary about Gianni Agnelli is a (sometimes intense) look at the life of FIAT’s fashionable scion. I learned a lot about post-war Italy and when it’s ok to wear a watch over your sleeve–(when you have the confidence to pull it off.) Agnelli was executive produced by Graydon Carter so you know it’s good, but it might leave you with more questions than answers. For example: do I want to be WITH an older Italian man, or do I want to BE one.
These pants are my The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by which I mean mysterious pants traveling from unknown origins to my body. I dug my first pair out of a bin at Dusty Rose Vintage, eyeballing the fit…which was perfect. For years, they held a place of prominence in my wardrobe as my singular pair of high-waisted jeans until one day I had the genius idea to google the brand and buy out every pair I could find on the internet. Now, I have five or six pairs of Stefano Worldwide Jeans in different variations sourced from eBay, Etsy and Poshmark and I still have no insight into the brand. My theory is that they might be the Italian equivalent of Lee jeans. (If they are even Italian!!!) Anyway, I refuse to gatekeep their magic. Thank you, “Stefano.”
Kyle Chayka (twitter)
Now that Blundstones are justifiably everywhere, worn for every purpose in every place, we all need a new hot Chelsea / desert / everyday boot to embrace all winter. I was tipped off by Emma Wiseman, a puppeteer and theater creator, whose family wears them — Ariat is an American outdoor gear company that makes an amazing (apparently English-style) “paddock boot,” that’s like a Chelsea boot with a zipper on the front. Made of super durable leather and rubber, they are both cool and useful like their Australian predecessors. Beware, they may run a little big.
Sheila Heti is one of my favorite novelists. Each new book seems to be a step in a larger literary project, or an expansion of a Heti-ian way of thinking. They break aesthetic ground but are also a pleasure to read. How Should a Person Be is key reading for whatever “modern life” is at this point and Motherhood is a daring examination of choice — her use of I Ching coin tosses as a literary mechanism is breathtaking Her latest is Pure Colour, which moves from a fairy-tale-ish story of young city-dwelling adults into a more abstract mythology of grief, art, nature, and beauty. It can’t be described, which is high praise for writing, and yet it’s seamless and joyous. Almost more a painting than a novel.
My girlfriend Jess and I got a puppy a little less than a year ago. Her name is Rhubarb and she’s great, and also opens up a whole world of dog lifestyle accessories. All the gear is fascinating, although not all appealing in terms of style. At the same time, I love Snow Peak, the Japanese mountaineering brand, but I don’t actually need to set up an entire outdoor kitchen or navigate an actual mountain, so few of their products apply to me. Their dog leash is perfect, however. It feels like climbing rope and it’s slightly reflective, which is always good for walking at night. It makes me feel like a hiker even though I mostly hate hiking.
I just finished a short tour for my first book coming out in Spain, so that’s probably why I’m obsessed with the general Spanish lifestyle. Literally what could be better than sitting at one of these white-tiled little bars in late morning or late afternoon and having a little glass of vermouth and a toothpick with an olive, spicy pepper, and anchovy? The point isn’t to stay all day; no one is working on their laptop. It’s to spend the perfect half an hour, maybe adding a plate of patatas bravas and a cortado to help you stagger on with your day. (I also assume this is why everyone in Barcelona is always smoking: how else do you recalibrate your body chemistry after the various snacks, booze, and caffeine?)
Lullatone is like lo-fi chill beats with an actual soul. Made by an American long relocated to Japan named Shawn James Seymour, alongside his wife Yoshimi Tomida and sometimes their children as well, it’s the perfect ambient music. Go deep into the archives. Lullatone, please let me move into your music studio.
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