It's easy to get distracted by the hubbub of the holidays. Planning, rushing, cooking, wrapping. But if you want to savor the season, all you need to remember are two simple words: comfort and joy.
There's certainly joy in giving, and this issue of the Image magazine is full of gift ideas, from a mink sweater to glitter go-go boots, from stylish books to perfumed tree ornaments.
And there's comfort in a well-appointed space where you can commune with friends, whether that's a hotel, a restaurant or your home.
On the subject of stylish comfort, Adam Tschorn profiles the founders of Commune Design, the Los Angeles firm responsible for bringing the California artisan craft look to the world through store, décor and hotel design, including downtown L.A.'s Ace Hotel. And Heather John meets Heather Taylor, the up-and-coming home accessories and lifestyle designer whose rough-hewn table linens and scarves are beloved by L.A.'s style set. We also interview Daniel Corrigan and Jake Sargent of Simon Miller, the latest denim label to try to transition from the comfort of its five-pocket roots to a full ready-to-wear collection taken seriously by the East Coast fashion industry.
Another hometown fashion star in the making, Lakers forward Nick "Swaggy P" Young, sure knows his way around a store, so much so that we thought that accompanying him on a shopping trip to Rodeo Drive would be the perfect way to get to know him better. And speaking of Beverly Hills' glittery retail row, there have been a slew of new store openings there and elsewhere in the area, so we have a roundup to make your holiday shopping logistics a little easier.
It's also the season to travel — for family gatherings, pleasure trips or, in my case, a spiritual reboot. Seeking more balance in my life, I visited the Mii amo spa in Sedona, Ariz., where I found a sublime red-rock setting, healthful and delicious food and life-changing spa treatments, all just a 7 1/2-hour drive from L.A. Because, let's face it, air travel has lost a lot of its luster unless you're indulging in some of the new super-premium airline services chronicled by Christopher Reynolds (think suites instead of seats and food with Michelin-starred provenance).
Speaking of food, there's new life in the dining scene in the desert, thanks to Bruno Lopez, chef at the new Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage. He's a former French marine who is whipping the hotel's eateries into four-star shape just in time for the holidays, with 60-day aged Wagyu steak, boules made from locally grown wheat and other delectables.
And if you're still in need of some seasonal inspiration, our Endpaper is an essay about how one Easterner searched for — and found — the spirit of the holidays in sunny Southern California.