Kaitlin Phillips’s unedited unreadable noncomprehensive Christmas Gift Guide
If you are reading this gift guide please Venmo me @kaitlin-phillips! If you want to send me a bottle of champagne, I will give you my home address, I really don’t give a fuck: [email protected].
Sam Mckinniss’s real estate agent
The painter Sam McKinniss says, “It’s time to consider gifting a second home in Litchfield County to that special someone in your life. I mean, why not. You missed out on a pretty good window (it’s a seller’s market now, too bad) but if you need the number of my real estate agent, he’s a real bitch, but also a shark and more than capable of securing a most favorable deal. His name is David Brooke. Yes, like the Times columnist.” Call him today: 860-670-8081.
Christian Lorentzen recommends five fiction “books by women big in the 1990s,” because that’s the prompt I gave him.
(1) House Rules by Heather Lewis (1994). “Kicked out of boarding school and into the Florida show horse riding circuit, all appropriately sordid.” ***This Heather Lewis profile is essential reading in the New York Times Magazine!*** (2) The Colorist by Susan Daitch (1985). “A digressive New York City novel about a woman who colors in the panels of comic books, this one predated the literary comic book wave led by Lethem and Chabon, which anticipated the debasement of American film by Marvel. Daitch has a new book coming out called Siege of Comedians.” (3) The Spectacle of the Body by Noy Holland (1994). “Contains Holland’s legendary story ‘Orbit’. According to lore, it is the only story Gordon Lish ever let a student read out to the end in one of his classes. Actually, Lish told me that himself.” (4) Caucasia by Danzy Senna (1998). “The other great Boston novel of the 1990s.” (5) The Vanishing Princess by Jenny Diski (1995). “These stories are about taking baths, committing adultery, and failing to commit suicide.”
Susie — James Joyce freak, queen of the West Village, lover of Simone Rocha — is kicking off the gift guide because she has given me the best, most thoughtful gifts over the years: A heart-shaped le creuset on Valentine’s Day... the best smelling non-sticky hand sanitizer at the peak of the pandemic, by a perfume company… her favorite “ugly” fur house shoes just in time for winter. (See left: paired with the Row slouchy corduroys, the best corduroys money can buy, I have them in every color: camel and black.)
She says: Go to P.E. Guerin and replace all of the door handles in your entire apartment. This is really good advice, please PAUSE, click the link, and think about doing it. And by it I mean: Elevate your life. Change things no one else would bother to change! She says buy clothes at 45R. “Pricey but forever.”
My grandmother was appalled by the gift of alcohol. But it’s hard to find a truly great glass of champagne in Sinai, South Dakota (population 200 and dropping), so what the fuck did she know, RIP. Needless to say, I am not appalled by the gift of alcohol. For my 30th birthday present, my ex, Carsten H*****, called and gave me a choice of gifts, one of which was a case of wine from the year I was born (1990). Touching! Also touching: Giving people gift options?? He does this yearly and I think it’s cool.
What case of “cheap” wine, you ask??? My friend, the LA astrologist Mercedes Kilmer,—who lives in the model apartment from The Long Goodbye, you know, the one where Elliot Gould is watching those girls do yoga topless; so you should take her advice, I mean imagine the ideas you have living in a place like that!!!—loves this primal wine, which “embodies the perfect alignment of primal of ancestral prowess and subtle elegance and nobility. Made from 100% Grignolino, one of the most ancient and revered local varieties of Monferrato, it comes from an East-facing single cru....Electric drinkability, zippy tannins, unending freshness and depth of character sing here a unique song of deep forests after an Autumn rain, Calvados-soaked wild sour cherries, spiced rye bread, red currants and cinnamon.” This wine company has a wine club.
Everything else I order in bulk at Astor Wines, for the discount, they have a great selection, they’re really the best in the city, every boomer I know orders from them. Call them today: 212-674-7500.
When I want to buy a SINGLE bottle of PERFECT wine, AND I want to walk from the East Village, where I live, to the West Village, I go to “rare wines” in the west village, and talk to that SUPER hot guy who owns it, and who, incidentally, writes an AMAZING wine newsletter. Read the blog here. The WSJ wrote about it once, so you know it’s good...the WSJ knows wine. Buy something that costs $50 and you won’t be disappointed, and you might even impress someone.
Whenever I say a man is hot, I mean hot to me, but this guy is really hot, no???
If you know someone living abroad in a cosmopolitan city, I recommend buying them a subscription to The Natural Wine Company, which is affiliated somehow with Omar, that guy that runs Apartamento. For 135 euros, you can get 6 bottles, they don’t ship to the U.S. yet, sucks, but they hit the only 35 countries I’d ever bother to visit abroad.
~~~A WICKER BASKET OF CAVIAR AND CHAMPAGNE AND POTATOES~~~
A single bottle of champagne — now that’s a great gift. I like to send people a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne. Why? Michael Bargo drinks it. He’s the gay guy who is always unidentified in the Olsen twins’ pap photos (him and Tory Burch’s step-daughter, the wan redhead). He picks all the furniture for The Row store… follow him on instagram if you want to get the inspo that inspires the inspo-ers.
Caviar is a staple of Marian Goodman’s diet. She prefers the Petrossian brand. Her staff says, “We usually get her the basket...it doesn’t matter if it says sold out, you can just call… Also it detracts from the glamour but be sure to get the bodega thin lays, because the chips are sometimes too crisp...the best crème fraîche is isigny st mere.” Alex Traub, the Times reporter and native UES-er, says Sabel’s is where his parents buy caviar.
I can also recommend Dom Perignon (vintage 2010), because the aforementioned Susie has messengered them over to me out of the blue from time to time, and it’s excellent. Whenever she sends me champagne, she explicitly says do NOT save it for a special occasion.
THE KITCHEN GIFT GUIDE, BROUGHT TO YOU BY RACHEL TASHJIAN OF OPULENT TIPS, and GQ MAGAZINE—NOTABLY MY EX BEST FRIEND, like, 2014-2016—THE GODDESS HERSELF:
Do you dream of having an overpriced, inefficient kitchen appliance that inspired an entire literary genre??? Have I got the gift for YOU! The AGA is a legend of British country cooking culture, which you may have seen while perusing WOI or studying the Instagram of English-Russian heiress (and explorer??? In these times???) Alexandra Tolstoy (yes, that Tolstoy). This is a $20,000 cast iron stove—though you can get a half size for $6,000ish, and you can sometimes find them used, I know someone who drove to Nebraska to get one off Craigslist—that locks the heat into dedicated "cooking zones" so that the insulation creates the most tender and moist roasts and baked goods possible. The price does not connote ease of use: you have to adjust nearly everything you make to its impetuous ways. Its radiant warmth means British country house owners often use it in place of heating, and its regular presence in these kinds of homes gave rise to a niche genre of British romance novel called the AGA saga, pioneered by author Joanna Trollope. (Her real name!!!) Essentially, these are books about people in Laura Ashley dresses making pies and having sex in purposefully down-at-heel cottages filled with chintz furniture--very au courant. My favorite is The Rector's Wife, and the queer romance novel (!!!!) A Village Affair.
Claude Lalanne designed the GREATEST bar carts of all time with her husband Francois-Xavier; my favorite is a hippo. Also every boring rich person has one of their sheep. You might have seen the gold breast and torso plates they designed for Yves Saint Laurent, which are still copied by designers to this day. But most interesting to me are Claude's flatware designs...radiant organic sculptures you can use everyday, like these Snail Spoons (probably ~$6,000?). They really believed that being alive is a work of art! Shouldn't you, too?
It’s super easy to find children cheap funny gifts—like magic grow toys—but sometimes you just want to buy the yuppies yuppy shit:
A friend of mine just had a baby, and the celebrity S***** M***** sent her nice stuff from Quincy Mae, the organic baby store. If you want to dress your kid like a serious Japanese architect, which is a really good idea, shop at Makié. “It’s all handmade,” says T editor Thessaly La Force, “Baby couture!” (This baby hat set, with Super soft and fluffy fleece booties, is my favorite.) Little Moony in Nolita has a personal shopping service for people who just want to e-mail over the age and “gender” of the baby and not get involved on a personal level and have it shipped, and not give a shit what’s in it. I like the store because I think the only humans who can get away with wearing harem pants are children; their harem pants for unpotty trained kids make SO MUCH sense!
I do think every 10-year-old boy should get an uncut sheet of $1 bills.
Children are a waste of money.
There’s nothing like a gift that costs over $5,000. The best gifts I’ve ever received have been over $5,000, sorry to all the people who gave me thoughtful gifts. I don’t really care about that shit.
My most recent ex bought me an entire look from The Row each holiday, for, like, five years (last year’s on the left). Now I can wear the Row every day of the week if I want to pretend I’m rich. It slaps! Just the I