Sometimes, just being in a different environment other than the one to which you are accustomed can open your eyes to amazing objects and inspiration that you might never have experienced. That's exactly what happened when the fabulous Senor Amor and Jonona Lambert of Jonamor Decor and retropia.net took me to to the LA Modernism show last month in Santa Monica. The weather was picture-perfect, a cool breeze was blowing off the ocean, and the sun just warm enough to make you want to go inside the Civic Center to see what kinds of Mid-Century wonders awaited. So when this oddity appeared from across the hall in the exhibition center, I was caught off guard.I couldn't for the life of me figure out just what this object was holding court in the middle of Off the Wall Antiques' booth(www.offthewallantiques.com). I didn't even notice it was shaped like a wine glass, but I did notice the odd little gent on the front aboard a horse on a leathery, tan finish.
"May I open it up?" I asked the proprietor before delicately moving the hinged door with its skeleton key. That's when the secret was revealed.
Inside this ocre colored drinking vessel was a lit-up, twinkling mirrored bar with holders for wine glasses and a center space upon which to display a fine bottle of wine (or champagne, or vodka!) On the rim of this gigantic wine glass sat a removeable tray that could be used for serving -- handy for its previous owner, Phyllis McQuire of the McGuire Sisters . Created by Italian furniture maker Aldo Tura in 1954, this bar is covered in goat skin and sits about three-and-a-half foot high.
Now I'm not a big drinker, but I imagine opening this fanciful vessel's door to reveal a gorgeous bottle of Brunello di Montalcino perched in a place of honor. As I stared inside, my memory was jarred back to the days when I traveled Italy as a fashion editor, savoring the culture at every turn. I was instantly taken back to the hotel in Florence that had a view of the Ponte Vecchio from its balcony and reminded of the sounds of motorbikes as they whisked over the cobblestone streets. On a certain humid night in late June, we would gather atop this hotel to celebrate the festival of San Giovanni, complete with endless glasses of Prosecco, and topped off with a smokey fireworks display. We swatted mosquitos, kicked at pigeons and sweated in the steamy heat, but these are the things that give life to memories and add details to the past.
As I closed the door to this bar creation, I quickly returned to reality. Back to the convention center. Back to Santa Moncia. Back to the rental car. But for a fleeting moment, I could almost see Italy.