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— February 6, 2013

Essential Items: Michael Phillips Moskowitz

  • Bureau of Trade’s CEO and founder talks us through his list of six essential collectables, from petrified lightening to classic cars

    Having starting his career as an US think-tank Middle East foreign policy analyst, Michael Phillips Moskowitz spent several years working at design agency IDEO and co-founded his own magazine (TODO Monthly) and menswear label Gytha Mander, before setting up Bureau of Trade.

    One of the internet’s most interesting marketplaces, Bureau of Trade specialising in finding quality, vintage and rarities from around the world,  ranging from menswear to interior pieces, petrified lightening (see below) to vintage sports cars, mail boxes to Ferregamo penny loafers. Curated into thematic collections – the first of which launches on Friday 15th February, entitled Continental Rift – the hand-selected items are pulled from small-scale merchants across the internet, as well as the Bureau’s own inventory.

    Here, Michael talks us through six items that make up his “essential” collection.

    PETRIFIED LIGHTNING

    Origin
    A desert near you…

    #SuitableFor
    Alchemists, shamans and witchdoctors
    -
    #NotSuitableFor
    Weighing down paper

    Petrified-lightening “The simple fact of fulgurite’s existence brings me joy. You read right: that’s petrified lightning. Fulgurite (from the Latin fulgur, meaning thunderbolt) consists of “natural, hollow glass tubes formed in silica, quartzose sand, or soil when lightning strikes.”

    Every third home I visit has a tentacled starburst of bleached coral sitting atop a table or shelf, which is fine… It’s just not particularly original. When looking for an organic flourish, don’t pilfer from Poseidon – pick up Thor in physical form.”

  • Military-desk

    .

    CHROME CAMPAIGN DESK
    -
    Origin
    United States

    #SuitableFor
    Planning military campaigns
    -
    #NotSuitableFor
    Wax sealed letters on hot days…
    -

    “When battle lines move, so does the General.

    There’s no better place to draw up plans to outflank opponents and protect the rear than seated behind a military campaign desk. This one was stripped of its original dun-colored paint and buffed to a gleaming mirrored surface. In a pinch, I’ll leap over it to glance at my reflection on the way out the door.Note to self: buy a mirror.”

  • .

    VINTAGE BORO
    OR NORAGI JACKET

    -
    Origin
    Japan, circa 1800s

    #SuitableFor
    Cool summer nights
    -
    #NotSuitableFor
    Wearing with a long-sleeved shirt… It would look awkward
    -

    “A superlative jacket is not just an article of clothing, but a precious object: not an article, but art itself.

    Japanese boro jackets or noragi cloth coats can command attention (when worn or on the wall). It’s all about proper draping. Boro, literally “rags” or scraps of cloth, were peasant garments donned by merchants and artisans from the Edo period through early Showa (17th – early 19th century). Today, once again they’re making their way into the light of the world, worn by the slightly more daring among us. Not by bohos, but high-end global hobos.”

    Noragi-jacket

  • leather-exercise-mat

    .

    LEATHER EXERCISE MAT
    -
    Origin
    France
    -
    #SuitableFor
    Throwing down on
    -
    #NotSuitableFor
    Being turned into a clothes-horse
    -

    “Think gymnast. Conjure punishment: blood, sweat, tears, and toil, all driven into a living surface that doesn’t cushion falls, but conveys a narrative. That’s what a French leather exercise mat really is: not a stuffed skin, but a story, soft to the touch. The price of these durable staples (which now serve as headboards, tables, sofas, or visually rhetorical flourish) continue to climb, but their utility and appeal over the long term won’t slip, fall, fail to qualify, or sustain a career-ending compound fracture.”

  • 1967 silver Maserati Mistral

    .

    1967 MASERATI MISTRAL
    -
    Origin
    Italy
    -
    #SuitableFor
    Sitting idle in your multi-car garage while you work yourself to death
    -
    #NotSuitableFor
    Feeling the champagne-colored napa leather seat against your black-jeans-clad ass
    -

    “Nobody needs a Maserati Mistral – a slick, silver speedster with a sinister growl, out-roared only by its price tag. But there worse ways to indulge one’s self. Named after a cold wind notorious in southern France and shaped by the Italian design maestro Pietro Frua, the Mistral comes with a straight six cylinder, twin-spark, double overhead cam engine, plus a rich Grand Prix race history, and the requisite sex appeal to make any red Ferrari blush.”

  • .

    10-X SHOOTING JACKET
    -
    Origin
    Iowa, United States
    -
    #SuitableFor
    Hunting Bison
    -
    #NotSuitableFor
    Hunting jilted lovers
    -

    “It’s not about guns. Nor is it about stalking and hunting to kill. On the contrary: it’s about the glamour of big game “spotting”, and shooting tranquilizers darts to maximize petting pleasure (after a mandatory waiting period of 15 minutes until the medicine takes effect.) The jacket just helps you look the part be it Tanzania, or NoLita en route to the Bronx Zoo.

    As for 10-X brand, the venerable American outfitter still makes sportsmen’s attire, but (in my opinion) none of their contemporary articles compare to their vintage pieces of yore. (And I am in no way condoning the unauthorized tranquilizing of animals in captivity.)”

    Bureau of Trade’s website relaunches with their first curated collection Continental Rift on Friday 15 February

    10-x-hunting-jacket

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