Tag Archives: orlebar brown

Stain Tuned with Orlebar Brown!


Orlebar Brown has teamed up with one of the world’s most in demand tattoo artists, Saira Hunjan. Known for her intricate tribal chic creations, Saira has established herself as a one-of-a-kind in her field. Take a look at her in action – the collaboration may be in-store at Babalu by the time you read this.

Babalu Garage Sale: It’s Here. It’s Now!

#babalumiami #garagesale

The Mother of all Garage Sales is here now once again at Babalu.  Come visit us in-store for special offers through 30 June!

London Calls

Greg and Paolo in front of Paul Smith, Covent Garden

February’s the month snowbirds thaw in Miami, but this year we did the opposite — we jetted off to London for a bit of business and a trip down Memory Lane. Our home away from home was the quintessentially British Gore Hotel in Kensington, the perfect Sherlock Holmes-y setting for a pair of gents on a working R & D holiday with mum — Greg’s mom.

The Tudor Room, Gore Hotel

Note: Next to Italy, UK has more brands represented at Babalu Miami than any other country. This trip connected us with our designers/suppliers and got us closer to our DNA. Paolo got closer to his Boy George ’80s, when he discoed the night away at Taboo and Daisy Chain and worked days as a costume & set designer for the renowned King’s Head Theatre.

Adam Brown in front of Orlebar Brown flagship store, Notting Hill. Right: Orlebar Brown Spring/Summer 12 styles in store.

First up, a visit to Orlebar Brown’s flagship store in Notting Hill Gate with founder/former photographer Adam Brown. At the shop next door to our fave gourmanderie, Ottolenghi, Adam told us how he fell into the beachwear biz at an arty friend’s 40th in Rajasthan: “The women looked great; the men ghastly in horrid, brightly patterned boxer shorts with elastic waistbands, and worse, baggy board shorts with their bums hanging out.” (Not a good look for a man over 30. BTW, tennis ace Greg looks swimmingly fit in his red Orlebars.) After Adam did his research, he made a batch of 1,000 swim-to-shore shorts and sold them right out of his flat. The rest is history. OB key colors for Spring Summer 2012 pays tribute to fashionista Slim Aarons ’60s photography of the Riviera and Palm Springs and Pierre Koenig’s Californian architecture.

Ottolenghi, Notting Hill. Right: the Ottolenghi cookbook series available at Babalu.

Next day we had breakfast downstairs at Bistro 190 with FB Collection founders Harry Brantly and Max Leese. Once college roommates who dreamt of beach-ier days while toiling in London finance, they cleverly created their own niche with a high-end beach-bat business, their ode to happy frescobol-ers on the sands of Rio in Harry’s native Brazil. The pair have since expanded FB Collection to include a line of beach shorts and quick-dry linen beach towels big enough for two that knots into a sarong. Genius!

FB Collection Fine Linen Beach Towels. Right: Frescobol Paddle Sets. Handmade in Brazil from recycled rainforest wood.

Off to Comme des Garçons wiz Rei Kawakubo‘s multi-level retail store, Dover Street Market, a must-stop-shop destination for any stylista. Floors of avant-garde designer collaborations from Marimekko tees to Paco Rabanne industrial slingbags tease the eye. Greg found the place to have similar touch points to the styling of 10 Corso Como in Milan. What did we bring back? Their new eau de toilette, Dover Street Market a classic woody fragrance for men and women with notes of bergamot, mandarin, black pepper, coriander, incense, juniper berry, cedar wood, labdanum cistus, patchouli, and pine. And, fun Jack Purcell sneaks. Across the road, we popped in to the American-style bistro Automat — best Truffle Oil Mac & Cheese in London.

Dover Street Market Perfume, Comme des Garcons. Right: CdG PLAY sneakers by Jack Purcell

Automat, American Style Bistro, Dover Street

Five o’clock shadow? Must see the barber. No Anglophile’s trip is complete without stopping at Geo F Trumper, the finest traditional gentlemen’s barber in London known worldwide for its matchless range of gentlemen’s colognes and grooming products — shaving creams and soaps, aftershave balms, skin foods and moisturizers, bath soaps and shower gels, razors, shaving brushes, mirrors, hair brushes. Formidable! Yes, we carry the complete selection of Geo F Trumper’s legendary shaving cream .

Greg & Paolo in front of Geo Trumper post-shave. Da Mario Restaurant

Ah, finally, time for a pizza at Paolo’s (and Lady Di‘s) favorite Napoletano ristorante in Knightsbridge — Da Mario. It’s common lore that when la princesa began feeling a bit peckish, she often stepped out of Kensington Palace and brought Prince William and Prince Harry in for a nosh. After all, they lived in the neighborhood.

Faberge egg designed by Brazilian artist Ciao Locke, currently collaborating with FB Collection for their Summer 2012 Trunks Collection.

Psychic Santa’s Celeb Recap

by Cyn. Zarco


‘Twas two nights before Christmas when all through Babalu, three guys came a-stirrin’ and shoppin’ yoo-hoo!

“Here for the holidays?” I said, to the quiet one riffling through the rack of SunDek swim shorts. No tan — definitely a tourist. “Visiting my friend,” he said, pointing to the one playing with the Tic-Tacs. Quiet One unfolds a pair of teensy Paul Smith swim briefs and does a doubletake. “Hmmmm…kinda small…must be for a kid…” Not.

As he looks over a pair of Paul Smith Rabbit Sneakers, I check his shoes  — well-traveled, designer combat boots. Doesn’t ring a bell. They remind me of Johnny Depp’s, only his are Army Navy.

“Where’d you get those?” I ask, nosy. (Once a reporter always a reporter.) He mutters what I think is Martinique then I realize he means Martin Margiela. He picks up a pair of white Orlebar Brown swim shorts and looks for a dressing room. I lead him behind the bookshelf/office/changing room. Time passes. Door opens slightly. His friends approve. I miss the show.

“Ipanema flip-flops for the beach?”

“Got hundreds of those,” he says. He picks up the last Brittdesign teddy bear. It’s flat, soft and cute with Xs for eyes. I say it’s made in Sydney by friends of the owners. He likes it. What I don’t know at the time is Tall, Not Tan & Quiet is none other than ABC’s hot property — David Muir, award-winning reporter and Weekend anchor for “ABC World News.” At the register, I notice a slight twinge of sticker shock: “How much?!” he says before handing over his card. His friend answers: “I threw in a couple of Tic-Tacs….”

“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” drummer Questlove  & Cyn. “Psychic Santa” Zarco


“Good thing you dropped your toothbrush,” I say to Questlove the second time he walks into Babalu to Christmas shop on Psychic Santa Saturday. The big guy just smiles. I think I see his Fight-the-Power Afro pick move a little. Best known as drummer for The Roots, the Grammy-winning house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Questlove a.k.a Ahmir Khalib Thompson was in South Beach to deejay at Wall on Christmas Eve. And, put in some quality down time.

“When I’m in town, I always come to Babalu,” says the Philly native as he cooly peruses the shelves before laying down some heavy plastic for three fortune-cookie keychains and Rizzolli’s “The Story of Island Records: Keep on Trucking” on founder/pioneer SoBe hotelier Chris Blackwell.

“You know Chris?” I say yakking. “We met at The Marlin.” Says Questlove, “I record at his studio in the Islands.” This guy is busy. Aside from his regular day, well, night, gig at NBC, he has produced hits for Jay-Z, Erykah “You Got Me” Badu, John Legend, Jill Scott, Al Green, and Amy Winehouse. Not too shabby. But, lately, folks may know him for hijinks — he played Fishbone’s tune “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as then-Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachman appeared. A-ight.

I say: “You’re from Philly, so you must know my once-upon-a time BF Ornette Coleman jazz bassist/funk producer Jamaaladeen Tacuma.” Questlove’s eyes get big. “Wow, he discovered us! If it wasn’t for Jamaal I wouldn’t be where I am today.”


Just because I’m Psychic Santa doesn’t mean I don’t wait until the last-minute to buy stocking stuff. Bad habits die hard. But, I’m getting a head start this year. And, I’m even gonna share my nifty gift-y suggestions with all you Secret Santas out there who have to exchange presents at work and at home, whether you like it or not. Two words: Boo, humbug!
Psychic Santa sez: “Listen up, people! Be good to your loved ones even if they may not be good to you. Open your crusty hearts, and your wallets. Give them the best. Give them Ba-ba-lu-u-u-u-u-u!

1. Smiley perfume — Cheery for your dearie.
2. Millefiori car deodorizer — Sleek scents like sandalwood for pack rats on the go
3. Folding reading glasses — Always carry a spare.
4. Paul Smith multi-striped jockeys — Don’t go commando!
5. Tattoo Brite — Why be dull?

6. “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” by Paul Arden
7. Leone candy — For each French kiss!
8. Paul Smith leather dog leash — Fancy!
9. Orlebar Brown scarf — Only you, babe!
10. Juliette Has a Gun perfume — Sexy!

11. S.T. Dupont minijet lighter — Works every time!
12. Graf von Faber Castell pens — Chic, unique.
13. Men’s Wallet Tuxedo — Airtight hard shell
14. Campana Zigzag mini Mary Janes — Darling doll shoes!
15. Munitio earphones — Worth every darn penny!



By Greg Melvin & Paolo Ambu

View of Porto Cervo from our suite at the Cervo Hotel


From Venice we flew into Cagliari, Paolo’s hometown in Sardinia. This is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world! And, it smells good, too! The air reeked of fresh herbs! An occasional pink flamingo flew past. We saw more flamingos here than in Florida! In between catching up with family, we toured Cagliari. Known as the fortified city, most of the ancient buildings are strengthened with bastions. We were amazed by the intricate architecture of the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta, built in the Pisane-Romanesque style in 1258. Spectacular!

We rented a red Fiat Cinquecento (500) and headed north on the Costa Smeralda to Porto Cervo, a billionaire’s playground created by Prince Aga Khan in the ’60s. Midway we stopped to see the Bronze Age village at Barumini, an archaeological site of cone-like stone structures called nuragheNo wonder Blood Concept perfume’s primal roots are in Sardinia. Conceived by Antonio Zuddas, a Sardinian [and Giovanni Castelli] the island exudes the pure essence of man. We hiked slowly through the walled city, squeezing in between precarious boulders thousands of years old. If these walls could talk….!

Bronze Age nuraghic village in Barumini

By the time we checked in to the Cervo Hotel at Porto Cervo, it was as if we had just zipped through light years of history, as if our red Fiat were a time machine hurtling us from the era of cavemen to a luxe spa in the most decadent place on earth. Ciao, belle monde! This is the perfect location for a James Bond film — the only place in the world where you can dock your uberyacht and shop Versace just two shakes from the beach. We took a dip in the emerald sea in our Orlebar Brown swim-to-shore shorts. Divino!


What can we say about Rome? The weather was gorgeous all week, so we did the same thing every day. After breakfast, we spent our mornings getting cultured — we visited the Pantheon, gazed at the Botticelli, walked up and down the Spanish Steps. After lunch, we’d shop. Greg bought a Missoni sweater at the Missoni shoppe [not Target]; Paolo bought a pair of black Gucci loafers to replace last year’s tattered staple. Etcetera. We’d drop our bags off at the hotel, freshen up a bit (Malin +Goetz kit), then aim for Leon’s Place downstairs for cocktails concocted by Matteo the Alchemist. Life is good. La dolce vita!

A few things we couldn’t help but notice — everyone, and we mean everyone in Rome is wearing Raybans and Persols. It’s as if the entire city was channeling Steve McQueen. Or, Marcello Mastroianni.

Get the look at Babalu

We also noticed a new trend in man style — the emergence of the Chicken Bear. What is this curious creature, you ask? What could it be? Well, in a nutshell — skinny young men with beards, everywhere!

Go figure. You heard it here first.

Arrivederci, Roma!

Ciao for now!

Baci baci

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