Baked in a Pie

Chatting with the Elsen sisters of Four & Twenty Blackbirds

On a calm Tuesday evening, I stroll into Four & Twenty Blackbirds. It’s 6:30 p.m. and the Brooklyn pie shop closes in half an hour; only two customers are left clicking on their computers and scraping up their last crumbs. A slight breeze comes through the window, gently rustling the sheer white curtains. Some members of the staff tidy up the shop while others knead new batches of pie dough.  Four & Twenty Blackbirds is off the beaten path, and although it’s located on Gowanus’ bustling 3rd Avenue, I feel like I’m in the countryside. The painted tin walls and circulating ceiling fans lend the space a touch of charm, but the decor is simple enough that it doesn’t seem over thought.

Emily Elsen, who owns the shop with her younger sister Melissa, arrives to meet me–eager to talk about pie and its complexities. To make a really good, fresh pie, one has to consider the seasonal ingredients available, the flavor pairings in the filling, and what type of crust best suits the pie filling–both in ingredients and in form. Read More

By Alyssa Pagano on May 17th, 2012

Mociun on Wythe

A look at Caitlin's new brick and mortar shop

Terrific designer Caitlin Mociun recently opened her brick and mortar shop on Wythe and North 4th St. in Williamsburg. Alongside her full jewelry line and rolls of original textiles, Caitlin has filled the boutique with an exquisite selection of designers, many of whom are not found in any other New York stores. “A big part of it for me is about how its displayed,” Caitlin explains, “and how that makes people experience the shop and how they relate to the objects in it.”

The elegantly curated space plays host to a selection of jewelry, housewares, and curiosities. Featured designers include SAMMA, David Neale, Andy Lifschutz, Better Late Than Never, Eric Bonnin, Shino Takeda, Arla Bascom, Small Spells, Robert Blue, Lebico, Baggu, Kim Eischler-Messmer, Doug Johnston, Suzanne Sullivan, Futagami, MCMC Fragrances, Saipua, Iacoli & McAllister, Santafe Stoneworks, Alyson Fox, Chen Chen and Kia Williams, and vintage rugs from Morocco.

Read more to check out our gallery from opening day. Read More

By Rachel Kichler on May 2nd, 2012

Creative Solutions

Discussing designing solo with Ann Yee

“I had a nightmare last night about the number of styles I need to do for Spring ’13,” designer Ann Yee tells me. “Someone in the dream was telling me that I had to create more than 100 styles for the season. And I was screaming back, ‘How is that possible? There’s no way I can do that!’”

There is something really refreshing about Ann’s candor. While it is understood that developing a collection as a singular, emerging designer is no cake-walk, it is also rare to hear an ambitious upstart discuss the challenges.

“Developing a collection is expensive,” Ann continues. “I am always thinking: how many different styles should I construct for the season? I know I need to provide a variety for the buyers to choose from. But I can’t create so many, that if some don’t get picked up, I didn’t waste a whole lot of development money. It’s a delicate balance.” Read More

By Francesca Sonara on April 28th, 2012

A New Edition

Of a Kind collaborates with Kate Jones of Ursa Major

Recently, Of a Kind co-founders Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur stopped by Ursa Major designer Kate Jones’s Tribeca studio to discuss the jewelry maker’s contribution to their unique website.

Launched in 2010, Of a Kind entered the online retail sphere just as editorialization had begun to incorporate into e-commerce. Until that point, as Claire puts it, internet shopping was both “an anonymous and impersonal experience.”

Using this experiential failing as a prompt, Claire and Erica conceived of a website that not only sold items but also gave the story behind them. “There are boutiques where you have really knowledgeable salespeople, who can tell you a lot about the pieces their store is carrying. You definitely don’t get that online. This idea of bringing that person outside of the brick-and-mortar space and into the online realm was really exciting to us. It felt like something new–to make e-commerce more than just click-and-buy,” Claire says. Read More

By Francesca Sonara on April 17th, 2012


Williamsburg: A Thousand Picnics

Species by the Thousands and Cold Picnic craft an unmissable shopping experience in S. Williamsburg.


Redefining the Lookbook

Through the lens of photographer Mikael Kennedy

The fashion lookbook has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years. In many ways, it has come to life and leapt off the proverbial pages–thanks in huge part to the artistic talents of the man or woman behind the camera. “I think companies in general are realizing that a lookbook doesn’t really need to be a person standing on a white backdrop. Lots of companies are really opening up to the idea of letting it be a little more wild; they are realizing that it gets more play that way,” photographer Mikael Kennedy observes. A well-known photographer for his own personal work, including his popular Polaroid collection “Passport To Trespass,” Mikael’s commercial photography has received equal amounts of attention. His shots for The Hill-Side‘s Fall/Winter 2011 lookbook spread like wildfire on the Internet, catching buzz left and right and gathering thousands of Tumblr re-blogs along the way.

Mikael always knew that he wanted to be a photographer. In high school, his mother gave him her old Nikkormat and he subsequently spent most of his time in the woods taking pictures. Read More

By Christine Mitchell on March 26th, 2012