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What’s in Style: Museum Exhibitions That Focus on Fashion

Balenciaga spiral hat at the Bard Graduate Center

Chicago: Charles James (1906–1978) was a true couturier, revered for his mastery of cut and structure. “Charles James: Genius Deconstructed,” an exhibition at the Chicago History Museum (Oct. 22–April 16, 2012), aims to broaden appreciation of the designer’s talents by showcasing his ball gowns and tailored dresses.

New York City: Milliner Stephen Jones plays curator with “Hats: An Anthology” at the Bard Graduate Center (pictured; Sept. 15–April 15, 2012). Jones has chosen more than 250 items, including a Balenciaga hat and creations by fellow London milliner Philip Treacy, whose witty fascinators made Will and Kate’s wedding such a head-turning event.

Photo by V&A Images

East Village West at Los Angeles's Royal/T Café

of Austin Young's California New Wave collection for East Village West

Earlier this month, dozens of museums, galleries and art spaces across Los Angeles hosted parties to commemorate the launch of Pacific Standard Time, a massive celebration of the L.A. art scene circa 1940 to 1980. While some of the larger institutions are tackling capital-I Issues—“Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles” at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, for example—other spaces are approaching the topic more obliquely.

Royal/T Café is normally a Japanese-style exhibition space, retail store and “cosplay” maid café in Culver City. (That’s short for “costume play.”) Through January 2012, the 10,000-square-foot storefront has more in common with Greenwich Village than Ginza, thanks to “East Village West,” an examination of Los Angeles’ influence on New York City’s early punk scene. The show is co-curated by artists Ann Magnuson and Kenny Scharf.

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Online Shop Sells Cool Finds from India

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Sub-continental style takes on a refreshing meaning with the launch of “Shop of Indian Origin” (SOIO) this month. Irked by stale representations of Indian design—think mango motifs and Taj Mahal prints—U.K.-based entrepreneur, Nisha John, created a much-needed web portal for artists and designers “linked to India by body, mind our soul.” The result is a delightfully whimsical collection (paintings, jewelry, clothing and home goods) of over 300 pieces that include rickshaw-patterned flip-flops, teak wood purses, and pillowcases splattered with images from vintage Bollywood films.

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Miami Events Calendar: Sleepless Night

On November 5, all of Miami Beach becomes a stage when more than 150 cultural events take over the town, from dusk to dawn. There’ll be water ballet at the Raleigh hotel; street theater from Barcelona’s Sarruga troupe on Ocean Drive; plus museums open round-the-clock and breakfast on the beach from Whole Foods. The best part? It’s all free. sleeplessnight.org.

Photo courtesy of Sarruga

OKA! Opens: New Film Highlights Rarely Heard Music From Africa

In theaters today, OKA! is an adaptation of the memoir of an ethnomusicologist from New Jersey, Louis Sarno, who moved to the remote forests of the Central African Republic to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies over 20 years ago, fell in love and stayed.

Kris Marshall (Love Actually) gives a fine performance as the ethnomusicologist, but it’s the local Bayaka ensemble cast and the lush African rainforest that are worth your attention here. The plot is familiar—a capitalistic politician wants to destroy the Bayaka’s forest home to make way for a logging company’s expansion—but don’t be quick to dismiss this as another Fern Gully rip-off. The beauty of this film is in the moments that aren’t trying to move the plot along—children singing in perfect syncopated rhythm together, a group of women making music in a river using the water as their only instrument, and the documentary-worthy wildlife shots.

If you're in New York you can catch it at the Angelika Film Center, and soon in other theaters nationwide.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure

Lean Times on the Thames: Big Ben Slightly Askew

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Associated Press
|  Big Ben has a little bend.

Experts say the neogothic clock tower - one of the world's most recognizable landmarks - is gently leaning to one side. Documents recently published by Britain's Parliament show that the top of its gilded spire is nearly 18 inches (nearly half a meter) out of line.

The 315-foot (96-meter) tower is leaning in the northwest direction at an angle of 0.26 degrees, according to a report from 2009 that was recently obtained by the Sunday Telegraph through a Freedom of Information request.

But there's no cause for alarm, experts said. It would take thousands of years before the London landmark's tilt matches that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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A Luxe Travel Insider Launches New Website

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PR guru/savvy entrepreneur/enthusiastic globetrotter/longtime friend of T+L Melanie Brandman lives a life many would envy, traveling to all corners of the globe for her namesake company’s top-name travel clients.

And having also grown up in Australia and the Middle East, it’s no surprise Melanie’s world view is big—one that’s surely influenced and helped cultivate her good eye (and her good taste). Few know, however, that before her start in the travel industry, she worked as an editor at Vogue Australia.

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Today, Melanie officially returns to her early professional roots with the launch of The Travel Curator. The new website is her little black book of favorite finds from the road. Think of it as the short list or cheat sheet (hotels, restaurants, shops, more) for the world’s top luxury destinations mixed with smart trend coverage.

The first city in the spotlight? Sydney, of course. Melanie tips readers off to everything from a Surry Hills boutique renown for its custom textiles to what she calls “the best food truck in the Southern Hemisphere,” which sells meat pies with all the fixings around the clock. “Believe me, at 2 a.m. it’s just what the doctor ordered.” We do, Melanie!

Next month, travel with Melanie to New York City.

TODAY Show: The Results Are In - America's Favorite Cities Survey

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Which U.S. city is the cleanest? The most affordable? Best for hotels? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares the results from our popular annual survey—America's Favorite Cities. For complete results—in 50 categories, go here.

From Boston to Moscow, Cities for the Arts-Obsessed to Visit

Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland

Boston: After opening the Art of the Americas wing by Foster & Partners, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, continues its renovation with seven galleries devoted to contemporary art in the Linde Family Wing. First show: wood sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly on September 18. 465 Huntington Ave..

Montreal: Music director Kent Nagano leads the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to inaugurate the concert hall (Sept. 7), designed by Toronto architects Diamond & Schmitt. Rufus Wainwright joins the orchestra in a program featuring his own songs (Oct. 5). 1600 Rue St.-Urbain.

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Fall Preview: New Movie Reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Movie: War Horse, Steven Spielberg’s take on the battlefields of World War I, and The Adventures of Tintin, his second December release, based on the popular Belgian comics.

Why Go? For the director’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s acclaimed book, and the international hit play; the 3-D performance-capture Tintin was produced at Peter Jackson’s WETA Studios in New Zealand.

The Movie: David Fincher’s cinematic version of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was shot on location in Sweden and stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

Why Go? It is the long-awaited English-language treatment of the grisly crime novel. Added value: an original score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

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