December 19th, 2011

Gift Guide by Christiane Mack

Christiane, the director of Vogue’s editorial project development and KiC Style Setter,  gave us so many  great gift ideas when we recently profiled her, I thought it best to save them for a holiday post. Her Danish heritage really shines through this time of year and her gift choices reflect a clean, yet somewhat whimsical, Nordic sensibility.  “I love modern design (must be the Danish blood), but can do without the cold aesthetic often associated with it.  I also hate unnecessary items around the house.  If I find something that combines good design, historical context, and function, I’m in heaven. In my opinion, the Miller House and Garden in Indianapolis is the ultimate inspiration and my dream residence.  Now that it’s a museum, I hope to visit next year.”

A great tip from Christiane “my mother kept a gift drawer where she stored little items for last-minute events, so I learned from her.”

Christiane Mack Hostess Gifts

My regular stock includes:

Beautiful books such as Vogue: The Covers and Nostalgia in Vogue

Magisso cake server

Colorful African woven baskets such as the Zulu telephone wire ones.  They are an incredible example of old world craftsmanship but also vibrant and functional

Playable Art Ball (for ages 3 – 99)

When a bottle will do, give Zaya sipping rum or an aged Balsamic Mussini vinegar.  They are both hard to find, exotic and addictive, and the packaging is elegant.

Fashion’s Night Out tote by Brahmin.  Even strangers ask where I got this festive, practical tote, so I bought a bunch to give out as gifts or use as “wrapping paper” for bigger gifts–all for a great cause.

Mail order:

Graeter’s Ice Cream (someone sent me a huge variety after my daughter was born.  Perfection!)

Teas from Mrs. Oldbucks

Nuts from Fat Uncle Farms

The chocolate bars from Equal Exchange.  They are truly some of the best
I’ve ever tasted (I am a true chocolate connoisseur, especially of the dark
variety), and I feel good supporting sustainable farming and small co-ops in
struggling areas.

Towels from Layla in Brooklyn.  Even for a modernist, the
colors and textures of these (mostly Indian) textiles can’t be beat.  Like a
true addict, I stop in regularly just to see what’s new, and to enjoy a
little eye candy.

Larger gift picks:

Big Green Egg.  It grills, smokes, bakes and barbecues.  Once you try it, you’ll never go back to a regular grill.

Paula Hayes terrariums.  They are serenity and beauty in a bottle, each have their own personality, and they last a lot longer than cut flowers.

Hermes or D. Porthault towels.  Who wouldn’t want one, two, or three of these by the pool?

Any Kotur bag.  They are little jewels, and all my friends covet them.

Ever since my last MoMA visit several weeks ago, I’ve been hunting for a
three-dimensional suspended wood and/or metal sculpture a la Rodchenko. There is something soothing about taking in such a perfect object, and to see it suspended above makes it that much more beautiful,
like a vision from outer space.


At holiday time I thrust my own gift desires upon family and friends and cross fingers that they appreciate it too!

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