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Our Blog

  1. Photo Journal: Natasha Pickowicz

    Natasha Pickowicz is a pastry chef & writer based in Brooklyn. We spent the day with Natasha and her cat Tini in their fuzzy-lawned Greenpoint backyard, as she prepared dinner for dinner with friends. Read on, reader, for a delightful bursting-with-summer interview complete with Natasha's favorite spots for martinis and french fries, and her ice cream dreams.

    Describe your perfect day in Brooklyn.

    Every morning, before the sun is too direct and the air is still cool, I’ll make a cup of coffee (pour over, Parlor) and go out back with my mug and check in on my garden. It’s my favorite part of the day, to see how everything grew a little bit more while I was sleeping. I’m growing some familiar-to-me-plants like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, kale, lettuces, arugula and herbs, and lots of more cheffy plants like Thai chiles, golden amaranth, tulsi, bronze fennel, and lemongrass. I take my time weeding and pruning and watching the bees and butterflies. If this is a perfect day we’re talking about, then I’ll have a book with me. I’ve been reading poetry by Li-Young Lee and Walt Whitman, poems about peaches and summer and “nature without check with original energy.” 

     

    I’ll cook something simple for myself for breakfast, like steamed rice and ponzu or buttered toast, wilted greens, braised beans and a big salad, and eat outside before the sun gets too strong. I always have a few quarts of iced mujicha (barley tea) ready to go. This to me is the flavor of summer. I eat and drink whatever I want at night, but for breakfast and lunch I try to keep things reasonable so I don’t get sluggish when I try to write. My weekly exception is the ipad-sized Darren Vito, this insane, crispy panino from Archestratus, my favorite bookstore in the world that is also an Italian cafe and market. This sandwich squishes together mortadella, roasted red peppers, caciocavallo, and a breadcrumb spread (what is a breadcrumb spread!). It’s divine. Half of one is a full meal for sure. On a perfect day in Brooklyn I am definitely eating that sandwich. 

     

    Then I am going for a walk, really taking my time, at least 6 or 7 miles but hopefully more like 9 or 11. Greenpoint to Roosevelt Island is only 3 miles, and I love walking up to Hunters Point, up the East river, cross over to Roosevelt Island, and then wind my way around the island, from the lighthouse to the Louis Kahn memorial, and then home. That’s a pretty perfect walk for a perfect day, the breezes and ocean spray coming off the river always feels so good. Then I’ll come home, or maybe stop first at Achilles Heel, Amber Steakhouse, or Chez Ma Tante for a few vodka martinis and french fries. Then, home, rub the soft grey belly of my kitty Tini, put on a few Simpsons episodes, catch up with my parents. That’s a perfect day for sure.

    We chatted A LOT about ice cream while we were at your house - what is your favorite flavor to make?

    Making ice cream is the number one pastry project that I miss the most from working in restaurants. I don’t have an ice cream machine at home so whenever I have a Never Ending Taste pop-up I look forward to writing the ice cream part of the menu the most. 

    In the summer, I’ll steep dairy with the fresh, bright flavors of herbs like lemon verbena, anise hyssop, and Thai basil. Lately, I’ve been playing around a lot with using the leaves from fruit trees, which have their own, subtle flavors and, depending on the time of the year, are easy to score in abundance. The fresh, new leaves from peach and fig trees impart a subtle tropical, coconutty, almondy essence to dairy, fat and sweets in general. I also love super rich ice cream flavors, like black sesame, Adzuki bean, and hazelnut, and very bright, tart sorbet flavors, like roasted plum, unstrained strawberry, and bracing citrus like Yuzu. And also nothing is really better than vanilla bean. 

    My “unicorn” ice cream flavors are coffee (I can never get it as intense or rich or as coffee as I want) and melon (fruit like cantaloupe and honeydew are often so subtle that adding sugar and serving them cold ruins their delicate notes). Someday I will figure these flavors out and be proud of them.

    How has your approach to baking changed since you started Never Ending Taste?

    Because it’s so ephemeral and comes together so quickly, with very little money, staffing, space, and any other resources, Never Ending Taste really makes me appreciate being in the moment with my work—I’m still learning to relax my own expectations for everything to be “perfect” and “dialed in,” which was something that was always drilled into me when I was working in fancy restaurants, and lean into the side of me that wants to be bigger and bolder and more messy and lush. The pop-ups allow me to be more playful with plating and presentation and to also take advantage of hyper-seasonal ingredients like red currants and donut peaches. In a restaurant setting, often the recipe testing process for developing a new dish can take so long, an ingredient will be available and then disappear before I have a chance to even sell the dish! 

     

    The customers who buy pastries from me are the sweetest, coolest, best people, and I think their positivity reinforces that I should keep going. It’s just a slice of cake, in a paper boat, maybe a little lopsided, but totally made from scratch and with love. In that sense, doing the pop-up helped me revisit why I love pastry so much. It’s a chance to connect with other people.

    What is your first baking memory?

    As my parents LOVE to remind me, when I was little I was obsessed with baking the cornbread from the Jiffy box (I think you just add milk and an egg!) for our Thanksgiving feast every year. I think it was my way of “contributing” to the meal so I always felt super proud. I love those box mixes—they still give you the sense of accomplishment that only baking can do! My boyfriend has a good brownie box mix hack—he adds mezcal and fernet to the batter, which adds smokiness and big flavor.

    Many of your bake sales have a giving component! Can you tell us a little bit about the organizations you work with and how your partnerships came to be?

    Organizing the bake sales really revealed a lot to me about the role pastry plays in my life and the kind of person I want to be. The bake sale is full of joy and connection and ease. They’re so FUN. It’s people coming together over sweets after all. There’s something very approachable about cookies on a paper plate. Everyone can participate. It felt really important to me to have a way to connect with people in a pastry context without relying on the fancy, old-school models of “fine dining” which I actually think can be really alienating and exclusive.

     

    I have been building my relationships with local organizations for years. For me, that means getting to know the people that work there. Being a part of their programming in some way. Spending time on their property. Tying in their mission into my pop-ups. In this way, I’m on the Culinary Council at God’s Love We Deliver, and the Industry Advisory Board at the Food Education Fund. I also have a really special relationship with the amazing team at the Teaching Kitchen at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, which I first encountered when I was working at the Met Breuer and was trying to see what was on the Upper East Side outside of fancy fashion boutiques and mansions. And of course, it was such an honor to fundraise over $125,000 for the Planned Parenthood of Greater New York via the bake sales I organized from 2017 to 2019. Allying with these organizations gives my work meaning and reaffirms my love of pastry. I don’t think I’d still be in pastry if it weren’t for these kind of relationships.

    What is always in your fridge / kitchen?

    Fizzy water, barley tea, oolong tea, Parlor coffee. Hummus, cheese, eggs, tortillas, cabbage, and about 10-12 jars of jam from different places at any given time (right now my favorites are from June Taylor and Camilla Wynne, probably the two best jam makers in North America if you ask me!). Natural wine from my boyfriend’s wine shop, Radicle Wine. Ketchup. Peas, Vodka, bread scraps, roti, butter in the freezer.

    I also keep a lot of my baking staples in the freezer so they don’t spoil, like nuts, flours, leaveners, and yeast. I buy most of my “everyday” groceries from Archestratus, which is amazing because Archestratus is really a bookstore. I buy ground pork, whole chickens, Parmesan, ricotta, flawless vegetables (the cucumbers! The basil! If you know, you know) from Bodhitree Farm, the sesame sourdough from She Wolf. Archestratus also sells a great range of Gustiamo imports, so I stock up on Iasa hot peppers, dried beans, Italian rice and barley, and liter cans of olive oil. When I was working full-time in restaurants, I rarely ate any meals at home, let alone three meals a day. Building out my pantry and refrigerator to be full and ready to go at all times has been one of the more satisfying developments of my 2021 life.

    Can you please tell us about your excellent eye makeup!

    I have naturally very short, fine, and straight Chinese eyelashes, and I’ve probably been doing the same winged eyeliner shape for at least 15 years now, which is crazy. I should mix it up! I’ll do a few pumps with an eyelash curler, then black pencil, then I paint in the wing tip with liquid eyeliner so the point looks crisp, then a few coats of mascara. I think all the products I have right now are L’Oreal, but I love Chanel mascara too. And that’s it, no other makeup. Lots of moisturizer and sunscreen, of course.

    Who would you love most to bake for (living or otherwise) and what would you bake for them?

    I’ve already baked for Ina Garten, so I can cross that one off my list, haha. I love to bake a big, weird layer cake festooned with flowers and plants for Kate Bush.

    Natasha's Guide to Brooklyn (& beyond)

    Restaurants

    Four Horseman

    295 Grand Street

    Chez Ma Tante

    90 Calyer St

    Casa Enrique

    (Long Island City) 5-48 49th Ave

    Superiority Burger

    (Manhattan) 430 E. 9th St

    Best Martini

    Amber Steakhouse

    119 Nassau Ave

    Giando on the Water

    400 Kent Ave

    Le Crocodile

    80 Wythe Ave

    Twins Lounge

    732 Manhattan Ave

    Achilles Heel

    180 West St

    Markets & Grocery

    Archestraus

    160 Huron St

    H Mart

    Kalustyan’s

    (Manhattan) 123 Lexington Ave

    Sunrise Mart

    Patel Brothers

    SOS Chefs

    (Manhattan) 104 Avenue B

    Katagiri

     

     

    Sweet Treats

    Breads Bakery

    Te Company

    (Manhattan) 163 W. 10th St

    Yellow Rose

    (Manhattan) 102 3rd Ave

    Shop Natasha's Edit

  2. Diana of the Upper Air

    Diana, atop Madison Square Garden

    "For a short while the highest point of the New York skyline was marked by a girl standing on tiptoe. At night she was also the brightest point, the focus of 66 incandescent lamps and ten spotlights, at a time when there was little electric light in the city. During the day, the sun detonated her gilded surface and she ‘flashed against a green-blue sky’, as Willa Cather described it in My Mortal Enemy." — Diana of the Upper Air, Lavinia Greenlaw 

    Reader, read it! So very, very good. Like a gust of cool breeze, the sort that would have sent Diana spinning.


    xo Leigh

  3. The Catbird Giving Fund Spotlight: Kurandza

    The Catbird Giving Fund is so proud to support Kurandza in honor of our new collection with artist Cassi Namoda. Kurandza is a grassroots nonprofit based in Mozambique that provides holistic schooling for over 200 girls and counting!  When you give a girl an education,  she’s more likely to earn a higher income, provide healthcare and opportunities for her family, and send her own daughters to school someday, breaking the cycle of poverty. This is why empowering girls within their own community has always been one of Catbird Giving Fund's primary areas of focus. Below is the story of Kurandza through founder Elisabetta Colabianchi.

    What originally brought you to Mozambique?

    In 2014 I joined the Peace Corps and my first assignment brought me to a rural village in Mozambique where I volunteered in the maternal and infant health department at the hospital, Centro de Saúde of Guijá. My work there included counseling HIV+ women on the prevention and transmission to their babies. While I was there I fell in love with the people, the lifestyle and honestly everything about the country and from there I became very integrated into the community. In addition to learning the national language of Portuguese, I loved learning the local language (Changana) and building strong friendships with many of the women in the community, which then inspired me to continue working and living there. 

    Kurandza originally started as a sewing cooperative in Mozambique. Can you elaborate on how its focus has evolved over time?

    We started as a sewing cooperative, but because of our grassroots approach, we’re able to shift with the community needs. In 2016, the drought and hunger crisis hit Mozambique. This propelled us to bring our first campaign to life, raising enough funds to give food aid to a select group of HIV+ women and their families as well as all the women in the sewing cooperative. From this we started envisioning the real possibilities of bringing the community together. Over the years, we assessed the differences between short-term fixes and long-term impact, and we began to recognize that the earlier a girl receives support in her life, the more sustainable her growth, development, and community impact will likely be. And so, we shifted our focus to education. We began with the sponsorship of Lindsey Brianna, and in just three months, she was counting in English, reciting poetry in Portuguese, and had a newfound curiosity about the world around her. In the fall of 2017, we launched the first #IStandForGirls campaign with the goal of sending 100 girls to school. This was the start of Kurandza as we know it today. Since then, we have witnessed the transformative power of education and focused our efforts on providing scholarships, resources, and psychosocial support to all of our students.

    How many students does the program sponsor currently and across what education levels does the program span?

    Currently we have 200 girls and 5 boys enrolled in our program spanning from preschool through high school. Next month we will launch our partnerships with students at local universities who will come on as interns with Kurandza--serving as “mentor leaders” for the girls in our new mentorship program.

    Kurandza takes a holistic approach to each student’s education. Can you talk a bit about what that entails?

    Since the start of our girls education program, we’ve come to realize that education involves much more than just school attendance. It’s about access to all of the tools that allow and support someone to actually become educated. To be at the same level as the other students begins with a uniform, but it also includes reliable and safe transportation, proper school supplies like rulers and protractor sets, art materials, textbooks, notebooks, and pencils. Additionally, it involves holistic care, which means helping with the social aspects of their lives, too, since social and home situations are often strongly correlated with academic performance. We take special care with the most at risk girls who are HIV+, pregnant, or dealing with abuse or malnutrition, and offer counseling, mentorship, and social support for all 200 girls in our program, with the long-term goal of supporting the girls through high school, and going on to reach their full potential.

    How has the pandemic affected Kurandza’s efforts and the student’s education?

    The pandemic has widened the literacy gap globally, especially in the rural villages where we do most of our work. With the schools closed for over a year, we have seen a decline in the girls’ literacy, but now that the lockdown is over, we are finally able to implement our literacy workshops to get the girls back up to the national standard level pre-Covid. A year out of the classroom has also caused a significant increase in the dropout and teen pregnancy rates. In an effort to provide extra support and counseling to these girls, we’ve brought on additional team members who also serve as the impetus to start our waterfall-model mentorship program. Our newest Kurandza team members are part of the 1% of Mozambican women to graduate college, and will be working alongside local college students, acting as mentor leaders for the high school mentors, who will then be placed in groups of 10 younger girls (mentees)-- with each generation guiding the next.

    What are you envisioning for the future of Kurandza?

    I’m excited about the future of Kurandza! This year has been a year of renewal and transformation, growing our leadership team in Mozambique, and strengthening our programs. I’m looking forward to continuing to build out our mentorship program by involving more women leaders and together creating the next generation of female leaders in Mozambique. Heading towards 300 girls, this year we want to support even more girls in the community, and in the long-term we have dreams of developing a leadership academy and curriculum.
    On the US side, we’re looking forward to cultivating community and building relationships with aligned individuals and companies, so that we can work together towards this shared vision. Together is always better!

    What is one of your favorite success stories?

    The first story that came to mind is 10-year-old Ayanda. She was one of the first babies I met after arriving in Mozambique 10 years ago. When we started our girls education program in 2017, Ayanda was in the founding group of girls as a first grader. Her mother, Gelar, like many of the women in the village, never had access to education like Ayanda does, and knew her daughter deserved to have more opportunities in life. Ayanda was initially so apprehensive about going to school 4 years ago. She was afraid and wasn’t used to seeing other people in her family or her sphere of influence attending school. But once she received her very own uniform and backpack full of school supplies, she gained confidence and purpose in attending school. She is now one of the girls who is always excited and happy to attend school, and she has one of the best attendance records of all the girls in our program. Seeing her flourish has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me.

    Where do you look for motivation and inspiration?

    I get motivated to push through the difficulties when I see how much this work means to our team in Mozambique (and the US). Our team works day and night to help empower girls to have a say in their future, and they constantly encourage me to keep on working towards our shared vision. Talking with the girls and hearing about their progress also empowers me, because it shows me that we are making a tangible difference and that this work matters. I’m also constantly inspired by the creative community of women I’ve met on Instagram :)

    Learn more about Kurandza's 2020 impact

    Shop our collection with Cassi Namoda

  4. Catbird Spotlight: Stacey Nishimoto

    I'm a longtime admirer of Stacey Nishimoto and her emphasis on elegance, ease, open and quixotic specificity, vulnerability, and the beauty of every day. I've been screenshotting her posts on Instagram for as long as I can remember using Instagram (a mixed blessing, that IG, but oh the glory of peeking into lives!), and I'm so thrilled to work with her and say that Catbird is her first retail account.

    xo Leigh

    What is your first jewelry memory?

    My first jewelry memory was watching Dynasty. Jewels that matched the actual dresses worn seared through my tiny brain.

    What does jewelry mean to you?

    Jewelry means everything to me. Although I own a few key pieces, I wear them carefully daily. Jewelry holds energy. When I slip on a large stone on my finger or a delicate gold chain on my neck, it literally elevates my soul. I feel like jewelry acts like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence, it does the same thing to my outfit no matter how casual the outfit is.

    Where do you look for inspiration?

    I find divine inspiration in music, vintage interior books, random people who I come across in my life that become my muses, my city, Los Angeles.

    How do you like to wear your jewelry?

    I am a minimalist and a maximalist. I switch back and forth with moods. I like to wear one giant ring. Other days I layer with delicate sensual yellow gold. I  also like to wear jewelry unexpectedly, for example I like  to wear my pearl choker casually like with an old oversized t-shirt.

    Can you share with us a challenge in bringing your (very singular) vision to life?

    Honestly the biggest challenge is that I am self-funded so I have to carefully release pieces that are without time. Pieces that you could wear easily three years later. My brain is bursting with ideas that I wish I could pour out into the world. I don’t want to clutter the world with a bunch of products regardless, everything I put out will always be practical and forever. Hopefully one day I will be a full on fashion house representing the raw beauty of my world in Los Angeles, the city of angels.

    Do you take your jewelry off at night? Leave it on? We know that you are a bather (oh, Instagram!), do you wear jewels in the tub?

     I bathe with gold. But anything that has a stone I take off :)

    Take us through a perfect day in LA.

    A perfect day in LA  starts with an iced espresso and a chorizo and potato burrito with a side of pickled carrots and jalapenos. Then heading to the beach with a bottle of chilled amber wine and poké and basking under the beautiful California sun. Night capping at a crazy friend's house in Echo Park.

    Shop Stacey Nishimoto

  5. Three Looks - Lauren

    Writer, vintage lover, strawberry admirer: meet Lauren! We met Lauren at our inaugural book club meeting, held last year at our Soho shop. More book clubs, more of our Soho shop to come, but until then, let's join Lauren as she wears Catbird (and some excellent dresses) with great aplomb and joie de vivre. 

    Look One

    A passion we share with Lauren: baskets. Oh, and stacks, so many fine and good ring stacks!

    shop the look

    Look Two

    A Full Heart a Baby Pearl Collar, rings rings and more rings, and a boyfriend are Lauren's boon companions for a walk to get some matcha at Secret Garden.

    shop the look

    Look Three

    Before heading out to dinner with a friend (the delight of doing this again!) Lauren has a little moment with a Gumball Ring, the Portraiture Pearl Earrings, a sprig of goldenrod, and an expertly-applied cat eye.

    shop the look

  6. Weird Greens

    The sides of the highways are teeming, unshorn, a veritable forest clearing full of bunnies-fairies-wild flowers-butterflies-bees, to city people like you and me. To come: weird greens on the wall, for when the flowers fall. Here, some green as my guest on the car ride home — I've got a pair of clippers and I clip with full decorum from public spaces where all is plentiful. I seek to bring you clippers, too. 


    Clip kindly,
    Leigh

  7. Photo Journal: Anthony + Austin

    My son and I were checking out at our favorite bookstore, Books Are Magic, when I noticed Anthony's perfect Catbird stacks and they noticed my Catbird email! Learning that they and their partner, Austin, get each other Catbird jewelry for meaningful occassions is the best possible thing I could ever hear. We invited Anthony & Austin to spend the afternoon with us and chat about all things jewelry and love! 

    -- Rony, Founder & Co-Creative Director

    Where are you both originally from?

    Austin: We moved around a lot growing up, my mom had a restless heart. But, for me Sebastopol, California always felt like my home with vivid memories of misty mornings and ancient redwoods.

    Anthony: I grew up on Long Island, we also moved around a lot, my parents are divorced and bouncing back and forth between them unfortunately nothing really felt like home. I do sometimes miss being able to just walk outside to lay in the grass and read.

    How did you meet?

    Anthony: We actually met on OkCupid. After talking for awhile we decided to set a date to get coffee in the East Village. The day of our date I rushed onto the subway platform and I thought I saw someone who looked familiar, so I turned to them and said “Austin?”. It turned out that we actually lived off the same subway stop in Bushwick, and our apartments were only 4 blocks away from each other. Our date started on the subway platform and fast forward 7 years, here we are. It does seem pretty unreal how much of a rom-com our first date was like, after coffee we started walking around and we happened to walk down a street where they were filming a movie and it was completely covered in fake snow in the middle of summer. We got ice cream at the end and when Austin forgot the word for bench (I guess because he was nervous, something he’ll never fully admit) he asked if we should sit down on the “long chair” which I’ve never let him forget.

    What are your jewelry uniforms?

    Austin: I always wear a stack of yellow and rose gold hammered rings with a Cosmic Witch Ring, mirrored on the other hand with a Twisted Stacker and an opal and diamond Sleeping Beauty Ring. I love a healthy flow of necklaces so I’ll wear a Sleeping Beauty, Unicorn Horseshoe, and a Tinsel Chain with a Fort Tilden Charm regularly. I love a good anklet so I always wear a Sweet Nothing with a Mermaid Treasure Charm even over my nursing compression socks, it gets a lot of attention on the unit. And as my grandma always said, "A lady always has a string of pearls!" So with that in mind I always wear a pearl bracelet, whether it’s a string of Catbird Sweet Sixteen pink pearls or a Serpentine Delilah Pearl Bracelet. Then there’s earrings I never leave home without at least four! 

    Anthony: The thing I wear every day, because I can’t actually take it off is my Forever Sweet Nothing Bracelet that matches Austin’s. It’s only ever come off once, after our cat Dorito clawed it off getting a little too rambunctious playing tag. My Gentle Spider Charm crawls to different spots everyday, sometimes I wear it on my 1976 Bracelet or on my Sweet Nothing Chain, or I’ll hook it onto the backing of an earring stud. I never actually take my rings off, I have a mix of different Catbird rings stacked with a Black Diamond Tiniest Ring, Naga Snake Ring, and Moon Guardian Ring from Sofia Zakia.

    So you both have quite the Catbird collection! 

    Austin: It was actually Anthony that first introduced me to Catbird. For our first anniversary Anthony surprised me with a dinner date at Beauty & Essex - and I’d been living as a pretty broke nursing student then so it was pretty impressive! Anyway, towards the end of our dinner, Anthony presented me with my very first piece of my Catbird collection, a Classic Hammered Ring. Now it’s almost been seven years since that day and it’s still my most treasured piece of my collection.

    Anthony: Later that year Austin completely surprised me with a Catbird Rose Thorn necklace for Yule. It’s been a tradition to get each other Catbird pieces ever since.

    What does jewelry mean to you both?

    Austin: For me jewelry is magic, from the inherent power lying in the natural stones to the dedication of the inspired artist that made them - pure magic! I also connect very deeply with jewelry and my grandmother - she had an impressive collection with some original Tiffany pieces to family heirlooms. I recall getting ready with her, trying on some of her necklaces and huge strings of pearls, and sorting through her collection with her to get her jewelry uniform on for the day.

    Anthony: I have a deep fascination with medieval alchemy. Gold was one of seven metals they used to represent the heavenly bodies. Gold fittingly represented the sun, and jewelry makes me feel like I’m wearing rays of sunlight.

    When did you know it was love?

    Anthony: As gushy as it sounds, the first time we told each other we loved each other, I had been reading Austin short stories as the sun was setting and we were just laying in my bed and staring into each other’s eyes, and in that moment I knew it was love. He was able to ground me and know me unlike anyone ever had. That’s when we first told each other “I love you” though he always says that he said it first.

    Describe your perfect New York day together!

    Austin: Quite recently we had a pretty perfect New York day together this April. First, we have found that every perfect day has to start with brunch with a few mimosas. Anthony then took me to the Brooklyn botanical gardens for the very first time - it was simply incredible surrounded by newly flowering cherry blossoms, a beautiful Japanese garden, and flower petals gently blowing through the air. We then traveled into the Lower East Side, visited a pencil store owned by one of Anthony’s friends, picked up a bouquet of peonies, and a jar of pickles from a newly opened book store. Towards the end of the day I think we had walked close to 12 miles, so we made our way back to our Bushwick home and treated ourselves to some pretty amazing Chinese takeout. 

    A + A 's Shopping Edit

  8. Catbird x The Real Real

    This is the Catbird collection of our technicolor dreams! We were so excited to work with materials beyond our usual palette, and to treat with reverence these pieces that held their own stories. We thought about the streets of New York, flooded with color, Taglioni’s Jewel Casket by Joseph Cornell, and women who run to the bodega in their nightgown, a trenchcoat and diamond earrings. Our in-house design team carefully extracted stones and tucked them gently and precisely into their new homes which all nod to classic Catbird silhouettes. We’re so proud of this collection, and are really energized by the splashes of luminous color. We hope you like it, too.

    - Leigh Batnick Plessner, Catbird Creative Director

    what's old is new

    in the studio

    the complete collection

    Diamond Baby Pearl Hoops

    Diamond Baby Pearl Necklace

    Holy Cannoli Supreme Charm Necklace

    Diamond Moon Flower Ring

    Double Sleeping Beauty Opal Ring

    Emerald Solitaire Supreme

    Dewdrop Pearl Necklace Supreme

    Full Heart Charm Supreme Necklace

    Marquise Snow Queen Ring

    Topsy-Turvy Angel Hair Ruby Earrings

    Topsy-Turvy Angel Hair Sapphire Earrings

    Pearl Odette the Swan Ring

    Sapphire Moon Flower Ring

    Snow Queen Bangle

  9. Catbird x Hannah Magazine

    Earlier this spring we shot a photo project with our friends at HANNAH, it was a story of strength and beauty, of birthing in all forms. Founder and editor-in-chief Qimmah Saafir created HANNAH as an ode to black women everywhere and true to its conception, this is the story of the many interwoven connections between Qimmah, her daughter Leahn, and Memaniye, the midwife who delivered Leahn 4 years ago.  

    The complete editorial will be released on Friday, May 7th on HANNAH's digital platform (stay tuned!) This is a glimpse, alongside an interview with Qimmah on motherhood, and all of the light and love on set that day. 
    In celebration of the project, The Catbird Giving Fund has made a donation of $10,000 to the National Birth Equity Collaborative, in support of their work in Black maternal and infant health.

    Tell us about how Hannah Magazine came to be.

    I essentially created what I wanted to see exist. I grew up with publications that highlighted and celebrated Black women. Aside from Essence, there were none that I could look to in my early adulthood. I wanted to celebrate Black women wholly, not just celebrities. I wanted to document how amazing we are, in a way that is beautiful and timeless.

    You are also the creator of a digital platform on ‘perspective shifts’ - what do you find most useful for finding perspective, clarity, balance?

    Carving out time for stillness. For sitting with my breath and grounding my heart. ​It's much easier to grant myself grace, allow space to feel something fully and emote when I am grounded in my heart space. Those things always bring clarity.

    What was your inspiration for the shoot? What story did you want to tell?

    I often think about the juxtaposition of soft and strong. How they are often seen as opposites but in fact go hand in hand. The way the earth must be soft to be workable, fertile, and the quiet strength it requires to support the growth of plants and crops. Also the characteristics of the womb. This is what was on my mind when thinking about this shoot celebrating birthing. I really wanted to visually present soft and strong.

    What was your favorite part of the shoot?

    Showing Memaniye a photo of herself in the dress we selected for her. She was hesitant when she saw it on the rack, but lit up when she saw how she looked in it. I live for those moments.

    Describe your perfect day.

    I have yet to master easing into my day with a toddler. I'm normally reactive as soon as I am called to open my eyes. A perfect day is any day that I have control of my time and process. As well as any day spent in nature or with loved ones.

    What is your favorite mother-daughter ritual?

    Our nighttime ritual. We read, we sing, we create stories, we cuddle. When she falls asleep I pray over her. Every night.

    When you are in New York, what are you go-to spots?

    Well the pandemic kind of shut all this down but Ode to Babel, Evelina, Ruby's and Zaca Cafe, Fort Greene and Prospect parks.

    What songs are you playing on repeat right now / always?

    I have an everyday playlist that I add to whenever I hear a song that moves me. It has everyone from Stevie Wonder to Gabriel Garzon-Montano to Tame Impala to Buena Vista Social Club.

    What does jewelry mean to you?

    My jewelry is an extension of my energy. I rarely take off my pieces and I have special occasion jewelry when I want to present my energy even more.

    Questions for Leahn

    What's your favorite color?

    Rainbow!

    Did you have fun at the photoshoot?

    Yes, I got to take some pictures.

    Do you like jewelry?

    Yes, especially pretty rings.

    What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

    Square pasta! For lunch or dinner or anytime.

    Can you tell us about your mom? We think she's so cool, she must be such a fun mommy!

    I love my mommy. I love when we play together and go places. She's my favorite mommy.

    Hannah Magazine Jewelry Edit

  10. Catbird Spotlight: Chelsea Mak

    "Like if Norma Kamali skipped cotillion to go to a punk show and then met her godfather for dim sum the next morning before reporting for work in her 80s power suit," is how LA based designer Chelsea Mak describes her eponymous clothing line. How does she wear her own work? "The more unexpected the combination the better...with good jewelry, like all my Catbird pieces!"

    effortless dress is a balancing act inspired by Chelsea’s childhood

    I was born and raised in LA but spent a large part of my childhood in Hong Kong and Taiwan where my parents are from, living in Hong Kong from ages 2 to 6 and then visiting every summer thereafter.

    Being connected to both LA and Hong Kong definitely made such impressions on my style. From LA it was the laid-back casual way of dressing, I learned from early on that even if you spent hours putting an outfit together it should come across like it took you seconds.  From Hong Kong it was the opposite — flip flops and jeans might be considered sloppy so it was a balancing act to exist in both worlds which has translated through my designs — a balancing act between old and new world, high and low brow, east and west.

     

    dressing for this newest spring we’ve been waiting for

    I’m really into the idea of using the Vienna Blouse as a light jacket over everything and the more unexpected the combination the better. I have a floor length muslin slip dress I’d like to wear over it as well as a vintage Norma Kamali piece that’s a white cotton onesie; over jeans and nude bodysuit would be cool too. All with good jewelry, like all my Catbird pieces!

     

    what you can’t stop imagining is worth the pursuit.

     Striking out on my own felt a lot like jumping off a cliff unplanned for.  At the time I was working for a brand I believed in, a boss I looked up to and co-workers I loved also but I could not stop thinking about what the main label of the brand would look like if I started one.  There were so many huge unknowns but I knew that I wouldn’t have been happy if I stayed where I was so I took the plunge.  It was very scary for the first few months but also very exciting.

    The Vienna, Amalia and Gallery blouses are the core pieces in the line so designing a new collection will always feel a bit like building out a wardrobe around those three pieces.  Since they are all quite feminine and bold and in the classic silk white taffeta, I like the other pieces to be more masculine, unassuming and offbeat. 

     A large part of the collection is made from deadstock silks found at the fabric market in Shanghai so those qualities very much dictate how each collection will look.  I also find a lot of inspiration in old movies, books, and bands so each of my collections will usually reflect how I was feeling during that moment in time.

    How Our Team Wears Chelsea Mak & Catbird 

    "I want women wearing Chelsea Mak to command a type of attention that you wouldn’t get from other brands, it’s more about feeling smart and interesting than sexy and showy.Women who wear Chelsea Mak are creative, well-read and in the know and that’s a lot of us!"

    Airina wears the Gallery Blouse with a Dollhouse Locket slung on a Tinsel Chain paired with a Sweet Nothing Choker and a Snow Queen Ear Climber.

    Tatiana wears the Jaffe Top with a slew of Catbird Classics. 

    Earrings: Snow Queen Hoop, Heart Stud, Little Secret

    Necklaces: Gumball Pearl Charm, 18th Century Bow Charm, Anemone Charm on a Sweet Nothing Choker.

    Chelsea's Shopping Edit

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