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Inside Botánica's Don Eliette Collection

NYC native Nic De La Paz finds inspiration in her father's richly textured wardrobe

by Graham Hiemstra in Style on 29 July 2014

Accessories, Design, Fashion, Jewelry, Menswear, New York

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Though the city is bursting with energy and ambition, designer Nic De La Paz's strolls through the busiest streets of NYC sometimes reflect the masses tendency to follow fads. To do something fresh, and combat such style stagnation, the Brooklyn native founded Botánica, an accessories brand directly inspired by the vivid style of her father Eliette Anthony Alvarez. Following up on her debut "Rosary" collection, the label's recently released (and heavily admired) second season offering sidesteps the theme of religion in favor of focusing exclusively on De La Paz's father, and his richly textured wardrobe.

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The "Don Eliette" collection—which has a rather strong vintage Versace vibe—includes an 18k gold ring, two bracelets and a pair of sunglasses. Drawing on the jewelry her father acquired between New York and Puerto Rico in the '60s, '70s and '80s, De La Paz hopes to make rare statement pieces that feel both contemporary and timeless. "My dad is in everything that I do," says De La Paz, "[his fashion] had a huge influence on me as a kid. He was always very much about quality and having nice things, and keeping them nice." To ensure quality and a long life, each piece is made by hand in NYC's diamond district.

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In the coming months De La Paz aims to release her third collection under the Botánica label, once again eyeing religious iconography but this time with her sights set on the Middle East—a standout piece is the Arabic nameplate, an unconventional take on the immediately recognizable piece of jewelry worn by many New Yorkers. De La Paz's sole intention is to create lively, conversation-starting jewelry for men to express themselves.

Visit Botánica to view the current collection of unique, handmade pieces ranging from $260 to $630. And keep an eye out for the forthcoming collection online as well.

Lookbook images by Antwan Duncan, all others courtesy of Botánica

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Horace and the Rough Stuff Fellowship

Crossing Iceland's moonlike central desert—past and present

by Hans Aschim in Culture on 29 July 2014

Adventures, Bike Culture, Bike Touring, Biking, Iceland, Short Films

Long before bikes got fat tires, full suspension and carbon fiber frames, the urge to push the pedals off road found its way into the hearts of riders. One group, the UK-based Rough Stuff Fellowship has united such riders for decades, since a time when crossing rugged terrain was truly for the dedicated adventurer. "Horace and the Rough Stuff Fellowship" tells the story of Horace Dall, an astronomer who—80 years ago—single-handedly crossed Iceland's moonlike central desert in his suit and tie, solo, with just a napkin-sized map and the stars as his guide. The film tells Dall's story as well as the like-minded adventurers who came after him, only to find it had (sort of) been done before. The film, with its stunning high-definition shots of the landscape, examines the eternal questions: Why do we go off road? Why leave the comforts of home? Are there any new adventures to be had? The answers of course (if there are any) lie in the hearts of individuals. And—as the film suggests—if you keep looking, you're already there.

Check out the full short film above and visit Infinite Trails for more adventure films.

Video courtesy of Infinite Trails

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Electric Vehicle Sports Racer

A look at the team taking the dream of the electric car onto the racetrack

by Katharine Erwin in Design on 29 July 2014

Auto Design, Cars, Electric Cars, Lime Rock Park, Racing

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"We are feeding it right now. It's hungry," says project manager and chief engineer of Electric Vehicle Sports Racer (EVSR) Charlie Greenhaus, referring to his electric racecar's appetite for a charge. Greenhaus, who founded EVSR, has spent over 25 years in motorsports—as a racer, director, and engineer—and simultaneously spearheads Independent Motorsports Group (aka IMG, a race series dedicated to camaraderie) and Entropy Racing (a full race service providing car rentals, instruction and servicing).

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Today EVSR demands most of his and fellow Entropy driver and EVSR chief programmer Charles Turano's attention. The EVSR program, which consists of two fully electric sports racing cars, began this year and has already broken records after being the first full electric to complete the Mt. Washington Hillclimb. EVSR also holds the electric record at Summit Point, Thompson Speedway, Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and the infamous Lime Rock Park. (They are also the first team to field two electric cars against gas cars.) Greenhaus and Turano came up with the idea to make fuel alternative racecars to create a fully electric race series. "We want to have a 10-20 car field," says Turano.

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The EVSR cars were developed and made in just three months, in a two-person shop in Pennsylvania. "I started looking at it from the technical perspective, what we needed to do to complete it," says Turano regarding the process. "What is the wiring going to be like in the car? How are we going to hook all these components up? What kinds of things we can do with the controllers? Charlie is really amazing with racecars. When we were building out the car, he was managing and arranging everything the entire time. Every time he checked the corner weights on the car, they were within a couple pounds of each other after each component was added and put in place. He came up with a bunch of tweaks to the suspension that make it ergonomically feasible," he says.

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The cars have a light steel tube frame and a motor that turns out 160 horsepower (located in the back) and have two lithium battery packs tucked neatly on either side of the cockpit providing even weight distribution. The only telltale sign of the EVSR, is its almost stealth whine, which the team is in the process of changing. "The acceleration is so smooth that you don't have a power peak, so it comes on and stays on strong. There is no feeling of acceleration once the initial burst of power has started. So people were going into a corner way faster than they expected because the car kept accelerating. So what we want to give is some sort of auditory clue similar to what you are used to with a gas engine," says Turano. For their first sound machine, they are—somewhat humorously yet aptly—using a sample of the Jetson's car noise.

For more information on the cars and the engineering that goes into them, visit EVSR online.

Images by Katharine Erwin

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