Byline: Emily Holt
“We happened upon a pawn shop,” said Kirk Bray at the beginning of his story about the leather cuff line, Billykirk.
It was there, at the pawn shop, that Kirk and his brother Christopher, self proclaimed “thrift store junkies,” came across a worn and tattered leather band from the Seventies that, as Kirk told it, “wouldn’t last long and didn’t.”
Liking it too much to let it go, Kirk had it repaired by a shoe repair man who ended up remaking the band entirely.
Kirk’s background in clothing design, coupled with visions of a sibling-owned business, gave birth to Billykirk, a line of hand-tooled Mexican leather cuffs that puts a vivid new spin on an old Seventies concept.
Consistent with its vintage beginnings, Billykirk offers such designs as a three-inch-wide turquoise band embossed with intricate patterns, also available in solid brown and black. The line also offers a cleaner look, in a single color band with two thinner bands of a contrasting color interwoven, resulting in such combinations as fuchsia, turquoise, white and violet combined with black. However, these represent only two of the three styles, three widths and two sizes breeding innumerable looks that sell for $50 to $85 in stores like Fred Segal, Rag Factory and Yellow.
Both brothers design the bands, while Kirk himself provides the artwork for the labels, all based on his original paintings. The labels are slapped on the packaging. Clear plastic pots, designed by a company specializing in cosmetic packages, are used to encase the cuffs.
However the brothers may soon be in need of some new package designs, given that plastic pots are likely not the most conducive to packaging an upcoming line of bags. The bag designs are still in the works.
This is one of those “why didn’t someone think of this before” deals. Datah Designs, based in San Rafael, Calif., is importing hand-woven, hand-blocked, vegetable-dyed Dhurrie floor coverings created in India to their specifications. The rugs (no two are exactly alike) are 100 percent cotton and preshrunk. Best of all, they’re washable, which makes them perfect for beach or country houses or simply for people who have pets. Another nice touch: Datah says the company shares profits with the Old World artisans who work with them. Wholesale prices range from $75 for 2.5 by 7 to $250 for 8 by 10. Datah Designs, 159 Rollingwood Drive, San Rafael, Calif., 94901. Tel/fax: 415-459-6368.
A Room With a View
It used to be Rick Calamaro’s job to bring the crowd into hip Hollywood hangouts like Fenix at the Argyle, the Grand Ville and On the Rox. The crowd always came, including Gwyneth, Leonardo and Liv. Then the crowd moved on.
But Calamaro grew tired of not having control, so a year ago he and a couple of partners opened Cyrano in West Hollywood. The partnership split up, as partnerships will. And now Calamaro, who shut down and reopened, is going it alone — with the help of chef Jacob La Tray — in a charming upstairs space.
A huge balcony looks north toward the distant Hollywood Hills that get all sparkly with lights at night. There’s a patio for smokers and another cozy outside lounge as well as an elegant interior with dark polished floors, a sophisticated-looking bar area and great stretches of windows for viewing those lights from inside.
Cyrano’s serves standards like Caesar salad, crab cakes, iced oysters and filet mignon. But the menu also surprises with vegetarian shepherd’s pie, grilled shrimp with couscous and crisp white fish with mushroom ravioli and winter vegetable ragout.
Sometimes the crowd — which could include Hollywood agents, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry (or just plain folks) — comes simply for drinks. The Scorpion, which serves four, makes other diners’ heads snap when it arrives in a bowl garnished with a gardenia and two-foot straws. The Sofia combines chilled Absolut vodka and white grape juice. Cyrano, 8840 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, Calif., 90048. 310-271-4193. Dinner Monday-Saturday. (Sunday jazz brunch begins in late spring.) Appetizers range from $7 to 10. Entrees: $8-21. The Scorpion: $20 bowl for four.