Cosmo's Give-Some, Get-Some Gift Guide
OMG Shoes! Party Essentials! Hot Accents! Stocking Stuffers! Tech Upgrades! A Li'l Something Sexy and More!
There are two reasons GQ is running photos of a toothbrush and a stand mixer to kick off Best Stuff. The first: Because they're so, so black. It's been a dark time in lots of ways but especially with design, where black is all over watches, sneakers, underwear, and phones. Second: Because Boie USA, an N.Y.C.-based start-up, actually built a better toothbrush, which they're calling...Toothbrush. The genius is in the disposable brush section, which you replace every two or three weeks instead of throwing the whole thing in the trash and wasting a whole lot of plastic. And this limited-edition Black Tie stand mixer? It's not any different from the KitchenAid you may already own—except that its matte black finish makes baking cookies seem like an even darker art than usual. Black is way back.
Until now, the only way to achieve a perfectly blistered pie at home has been with a backyard stonework that makes pizza seem less like dinner and more like a lifestyle choice. The Uuni 3 (invented in the UK by a pizza-loving Finn) gets the same results but from a sleek, portable steel unit that's smaller than the sack of wood pellets you need to keep it fired up. Throw a handful of them into a box in the back and light them with a small blowtorch. Then wait for the flames to fan out across the ceiling of the cooking chamber—you'll have a properly cooked pizza in about 60 seconds.
Behind the hexagons that make up Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound Shape system, of which there are many colors and infinite pleasing combinations, are an amp, speakers, and foam acoustic dampeners. (You can mount as few as 6 tiles on your wall and more than 50 if you like.) The sound is clear and powerful but, somehow, not overpowering, like a soundtrack playing behind a dinner party in a movie. (Hi-fi tip: If the music feels immersive but you can have a conversation over it, you're listening to some damn good speakers.)
The Igloohome Smart Keybox loops around a metal railing or gate and allows you to stuff a key in for safekeeping. Igloohome's app generates PIN codes to the padlock set for one time, a duration, or forever. The upshots: You don't need to install a smart door lock, you don't have to change your key box every time you fire a cat sitter, and you never again have to interact with an Airbnb guest.
Spadone makes all kinds of small home goods out of its Kennebunk, Maine, studio—only it doesn't make them all with trendy materials like ceramics, stone, or wood. This planter (or pen holder), which they call Miami Motel Vessel, is made from the same stuff that's used for faux-marble kitchen surfaces. It's a countertop for your countertop.
These leather-and-wood trays from Hermès call to mind cartoon conversation bubbles, lending a Pop-art vibe to something that usually rests quietly on a table. Use them for any purpose—change holder, remote-control caddy, butterscotch valet (love ya, Granny)—including starting a conversation.
A little thoughtful engineering and some finely milled brass turn this everyday tool into something that feels like a piece of art. These American-made Closed Helix Keyrings by Brooklyn design house Craighill feature the simplest mechanism (one end unscrews), but the transformation in your relationship to the annoying, jangly things you're forced to carry in your pocket is huge.
Not because the Moke was designed, in the '50s, as a parachute-droppable whip for the British military. Not because Brigitte Bardot spent the '70s driving one around St. Tropez. Not because it was Hunter S. Thompson's ride while reporting from Grenada in the '80s. The long-awaited reissue of the Moke—a hundred models this year, 500 more on the way—gets our vote because of its price. If you live anywhere with a summer, meet your new second car.
Alcohol's been around awhile—9,000 years, give or take—and by now the categories are pretty clear. But there are still surprises. Kikori, a Japanese rice whisky, gets all the nuance of barrel-aging you'd expect from a good scotch but matches it to the bright citric base typical of sake.
Lo-Fi Aperitifs, a line of vermouths and amari, vinted in Napa, have Americanized the typically sleepy world of after-dinner drinks and cocktail ingredients.
And then there's Seedlip. What to make of the first “non-alcoholic spirit”? Let's put it this way: If it didn't hold up, we wouldn't let it get away with a phrase like that. A blend of herbs and botanicals, it expands the menu for non-drinkers and is a gift to bartenders looking to play around without adding booze. (Maybe that's why so many top-notch bars, including N.Y.C.'s famed Dead Rabbit, have signed on.) It's like gin without the kick, and it kills in a glass of tonic. If given the option, we'll still take the gin, but it's nice to know there's now a choice.
The ripple carafe and glasses from Ferm Living are beautiful, impossibly thin, and super-inexpensive. fermliving.com; carafe, $41; glasses, $48 for 4
R. Murphy's “Jackson Cannon” bar saw is a heftier version of its now legendary (in fruit-cutting circles at least) bar knife. rmurphyknives.com, $89
The Danish furniture design house Hay transforms the lowly cutting board into a thick and durable polyethylene masterpiece. hay.dk, from $29 It’s a desk for your feet.
At GQ, we're not standing at our desks because of all those reports that sitting will kill you. (Stop ruining everything, CNN! What's next? Smoke breaks?!) It's because standing increases energy expenditure, thus burns more calories, especially when you do it on a balance board. Our favorite is the sculptural FluidStance, a deck (and meeting conversation piece) that subtly shifts your weight around while making it impossible for you to fall. We promise.
Every design shop we hit this year in Portland, Austin, and San Francisco seemed to have a drippy, trippy tabletop sculpture by the Canadian mom-and-pop brand Concrete Cat. And every time we'd hoist each vase, ashtray, cheese board, and stash box to get a closer look at the swirly patterns, we'd think, “This'll be a fortune to ship home.” Also: “It's totally worth it.” The object we wanted most was this handmade chess set, inspired by the mysterious Black Lodge netherworld in Twin Peaks. It's heavy in the best, most Lynchian sense. Your move, Log Lady.
Mesh Wi-Fi allows you to plug an “extender” into an outlet in each room and send the signal evenly throughout. Plume goes a step further and optimizes where the signal should be, based on where your gadgets are. Or you can use the app to shut down your 5-year-old's network so you can stream your Netflix at resolution. Get a job, kiddo!
Incense burners have long been trapped in a psychedelic head-shop-y design phase. Whether or not you're putting it to use, this piece by Brooklyn designer Yoav Menachem is sculpture for your coffee table.
Weed-delivery innovator Hmbldt has mastered not just aesthetics (its dose pen, good for 200 hits, could be sold in an Apple Store) but also tech, a rarity in the pot world. The pen vibrates when you've inhaled just the right amount, which makes getting high a pleasantly predictable endeavor, not a dice roll on the Too Fucked-up to Function craps table.
An office staple since 1934 (and a Pixar icon since 1986), the Anglepoise task lamp is somehow getting even more iconic now that the British clothing designer Paul Smith has applied three of his favorite color palettes to it. You can get it in the classic size (26 inches), but we prefer either very small, like the brand-new Mini edition (20 inches), or very, very big, like the Giant edition (nine feet).
Contributors Mark Byrne, Andrew Goble, Benjy Hansen-Bundy, Nick Marino, Garrett Munce, Anna Peele