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Tom Ford

Occasionally—very occasionally—a shirt-pant combination comes along that truly inspires us. Tom Ford is usually the source. Our pulses here at Air Mail HQ quickened upon seeing his latest ensemble, which consists of silver-sequined tulle pants and a matching blouse. Festivities are back—or at least imminent. Excessively frilly or skin-baring gowns feel so pre-pandemic. And who wants to cram herself into a skintight sheath anymore? As usual, Ford has crystallized (pun intended) this cultural moment and given us the feel of pajamas with the spirit of celebration. Consider it our go-to dinner-party look until further notice. (shirt, $1,190;; pants, $1,390; —Ashley Baker



A bowl of sherbet is the sort of thing we like to see in a dress for spring. As warmer weather finally tiptoes toward New York City, our closets must be ready for next season. Stocking it with a frock we look forward to wearing is a tradition for your Air Mail style correspondent. This season, it’s the silk-satin Batura dress, festooned with a single, undulating pleat, from Roksanda. Fitted but not constrictive, it will function beautifully at the office (oh, yes, we will return), as well as at whatever after-hours events are in store. Top with a cream cardigan or an off-white denim jacket, and everything will once again be right with the world. ($2,008; —Ashley Baker


Shou Sugi Ban House

In Water Mill, off Montauk Highway, a former corporate lawyer and her longtime friend started a small Japanese spa. Opened in 2019, Shou Sugi Ban House has only 13 cabins—with Japanese wooden tubs and late-afternoon deliveries of homemade dried fruit in lieu of a mini-bar. Amenities include the Movement Pavilion (a gym with complimentary workout classes), the Meditation Hall (for yoga and sound baths), a spa (for facials, body wraps, and reflexology), and the Main Barn (for lounging and eating). Most of those rooms have an always-warm pot of the spa’s signature tea (rooibos chai with coconut, cinnamon, and ginger). In the evening, someone drops off a jumbo-size sachet of the tea for your tub, so you can soak in the blend. The yuzu-miso roasted cauliflower head was among the best vegetable dishes I’ve had. (Mads Refslund, one of the co-founders of the Danish restaurant Noma, is a consulting chef.) Even the fighting couple that seemed headed for divorce were relaxed enough to bring their bickering to a hushed tone as they ate the chia-seed pudding. (Starting at $1,530 per night, —Jensen Davis

Cate Le Bon - Pompeii Album


On the Welsh musician Cate Le Bon’s sixth album, Pompeii, the mood is opulent. Think: French boys, pearls, sensual guitar solos, and saxophone grooves. It’s some of Le Bon’s best songwriting yet; her lyrics are playful and delectably opaque. Take “Remember Me,” in which bass synthesizers bubble like cauldron water and Le Bon’s vocals get dreamy and distant. Or “Harbour,” where a sax solo splices the song in two. This is freaky dinner-party music. Put on something see-through and open up a bottle of cava. ( —Sophie Kemp



As an adventurous drinker, I’m always open to trying new things. Basbas, a type of hierbas—a liqueur made of herbs native to the Balearic Islands, just off the eastern coast of Spain—is a bright and herbaceous spirit distilled in the Santa Eulalia region of Ibiza. Though the drink only recently came to the U.S., the recipe dates back to the 15th century, when monks relied on its medicinal qualities. Notes of anise are mellowed by soft sage, rosemary, and a hint of citrus for a distinctive flavor profile as fitting for an aperitif as for an elegant nightcap. I prefer mine with soda and a twist of orange—anytime. And substance aside, the bottle’s striking Gothic label design will make it a stylish addition to any bar cart. ($52, —Laura Neilson

Busting (1974) Directed by Peter HyamsShown from left: Elliott Gould, Robert Blake


Recently issued on Blu-ray, Busting (1974) is a criminally under-seen proto-buddy-cop movie that served as the main inspiration for ABC’s smash hit Starsky & Hutch, which debuted the following year. The film stars the unlikely yet utterly compelling combination of Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as L.A.P.D. vice-squad detectives. Gould’s signature charm—riffing on Philip Marlowe in Robert Altman’s jazzy The Long Goodbye just the year prior—is in peak form, further evidencing that the early 70s truly was “the Goulden Age” (as it was dubbed by The Village Voice’s J. Hoberman). The assured debut of writer and director Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, 2010: The Year We Make Contact) and not a commercial or critical success at the time, Busting has the credentials to become a cult classic now that it’s been made more readily available by Kino Lorber. ($6, —Spike Carter

Issue No. 137
February 26, 2022
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Issue No. 137
February 26, 2022