Martha at Macy's

The new Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's is one to behold. It is the largest collection by a designer ever to be featured at Macy's (over 2000 individual products) and it has been one of the most anticipated. The product design was headed up by Hillary Blumberg, who has designed seven collections for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia since 1997. For the roll-out in September '07, Macy's gave Martha all 36 windows of the deapartment store in Manhattan, along with all 26 awnings. Each display featured elaborately arranged Collection merchandise. The line is a few steps up from the Everyday line she has at Kmart, both in terms of quality and price, but it is accessible enough to make its way into just about anyone's home.

I've selected a few pieces below that I find particularly irresistible.

Who couldn't perfectly ream a lemon wearing a bright-red apron emblazoned with the Martha Stewart logo? No one. Absolutely no one. And that cute little tea kettle just tickles me.

Sleek stainless-steel mixing bowls with rubber bases ensure a sturdy stirring experience. A nice bar of kitchen soap, strong enough to remove onion and garlic odors, comes in handy after meal prep.

I just love the colours of this collection: plastic mixing bowls in cool blues and vintage-style collanders in lime green.

Among the products are some pre-packaged food items (gasp!) including various cake mixes, shown at left. An adorable tin recipe holder in signature aqua is a must-have.

Coral patterned sheets and faux-bois patterned towels are among the most alluring things I've seen all year. Based on elements found at Martha's seaside home in Maine, they speak only of luxury.

The Ralph Lauren Book

Ralph Lauren has released a gargantuan tome about his life and legacy to mark the 40th anniversary of his company. The hardcover book is about two feet tall and a foot-and-a-half wide with 480 glossy pages, most of which are printed with full-colour photographs of his designs. It weighs about 25 pounds and comes in a sturdy box for storage.

The first part of the book tells his life story through photographs and brief personal reflections on his childhood dreams of becoming famous. He spent his youth at the movies, something he says deeply influenced his desire to replicate the glamour he saw on screen in every day life. The book is a lovely retrospective of some of his best collections and most memorable designs, from the runway to the furniture showroom. And it is not without sentiment: his memory of hand-stitching the labels to his first collection of ties in the late 1960s with his wife and mother-in-law is poignant. The book comes highly recommended for anyone who loves this designer or has a thorough interest in fashion.

Incidentally, a written speech by Audrey Hepburn about Ralph Lauren's designs is featured in the foreword.

The Ralph Lauren book: $145.00