How Kira & Julia von Eichel
Celebrate the Holiday Season
in Brooklyn

Friends & Family

Dec 5th, 2016

Photography | Jessica Antola

As Brooklyn power duos go, Julia and Kira Von Eichel are something of a force to be reckoned with. Respectively a prolific artist and sculptor, and writer-slash-illustrator whose recent bylines include Vogue, the sisters embody Brooklyn’s fluid creative landscape at its most quintessential. Having lived in the borough for nearly a decade and a half, today they both call historic Clinton Hill home—indeed, their families reside just a block apart (an actor and playwright, their brother’s a stone’s throw away, too).

As a pair who came of age reading their parents’ Interview magazines during the some of the headiest days of Warhol’s glossy, they may have pined for some of the glamour of the nocturnal demimonde of Manhattan in that era. On the eve of 2017, though, they’re quick to point out that Brooklyn has in many ways taken up the creative mantle of downtown’s former glory. The borough’s reputation as one chock full of “fearlessly creative people” as Kira says, is one well-earned. “You’re constantly negotiating with your viewpoints.”

It’s that dynamism married with something akin to small town closeness that the sisters prize most about Brooklyn living. As Julia tells it: “The same way Kira and I grew up, where our parents’ friends were so much a part of our lives, I think that we’re doing the same thing for our kids. It’s so family-oriented.” That close-knit quality makes for plenty of cross-milieu creative pollination. Both Julia and Kira are longtime friends of Bird owner Jen Mankins, since before the store’s original Park Slope locale had ever debuted, while Kira’s husband, Jonathan Butler, is the cofounder of local favorites Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea.

During the holiday season in particular, there’s a spur-of-the-moment celebratory quality to, say, running into friends gift shopping at independently-owned gems—and Von Eichel-approved favorites—like Greenlight Bookstore, or braving an ice-slicked climb up the hill at Fort Greene Park, hot cocoa in hand, where sledding becomes a spectator sport. Where less local wintry Brooklyn destinations are concerned, the pair heartily endorse Dyker Heights’ infamous lights extravaganza (enough to put the Vegas strip to shame) and warming up with a spicy Chinese dinner afterward.

Chalk Julia and Kira’s zeal for the season up to something in their bloodline. “Our parents were both really, really enthusiastic people,” Julia says. The children of two prolific party hosts, for the pair growing up Christmas marked a rare intimate evening of family-only celebrations (save one or two consistent “adopted” guests). And feteing the holiday today as adults, the Von Eichels favor the same traditional German festivities that they grew up with. Below, they share what they’re hoping to gift, get, and raise a glass to this season.

TO GIVE

Kira:
・Definitely one of the Bird x Active Cashmere beanies. Love these!
Hansel From Basel trio crew socks: because if you're wearing great socks, it gives you private joy. Something we need these days.
・For my husband, a drawing by the artist Adam Raymont who loves his great, quirky, deep work (as do I).

Julia:
Coqui Coqui Tobacco candle.
・Any and all of the Comme des Garçons neon zip pouches!
・A pair of Common Projects Original Achilles low leather sneaker in Blush. I’m loving that soft pink color this season.
Honore walnut planche

TO GET

Kira:
・The amazing, bonkers, shearling Milena Silvano coat and the A Détacher pink top from the shoot
・“I already have a pair of Quarry earrings and I wear them constantly so I’d love another pair. I especially love the Quarry Anis earrings”
Loeffler Randall Hartley deerskin and shearling neoprene ankle boots: because New York, I love you, but you make my feet cold and wet sometimes.
 ・A set of Guy Richards Smit Skull paintings.

Julia:
・Any of the clothes that I wore for this shoot! Especially the Acne Studios shearling coat, the Lauren Manoogian Lantern pants and Dries Van Noten Cocteau pearl top.
Amo Twist vintage stretch skinny cropped jeans
・A backup generator.

TO TOAST

Kira:
・Champagne with elderflower syrup.

Julia:
・My husband's tequila Negroni.

TO SEE

Kira:
・My 14 year-old daughter's rock-and-roll show at Joe's Pub, where she will belt the shit out of “Gimme Shelter.”

Julia:
・My new niece!

TO DO

Kira:
・We celebrate German Christmas on the night of the 24th all together with a tree lit with mini beeswax candles (No fires yet—knock on wood). The children wait at the top of the stairs until they hear a bell which indicates that the Christkindl has departed and left the presents beneath the tree. They run down the stairs and we all kiss and drink champagne and read the passage about Mary and Joseph looking for shelter and then the frenzy begins. We are atheists, but we've held on to this aspect of family culture. And we wear our dirndls!

Julia:
・Cut our own Christmas tree and move into our house upstate!

TO WEAR

Kira:
・My rotating Zero + Maria Cornejo favorites. Some are 15 years-old already, but they work every time: my jumpsuit, hot pink dress, the Poiret-esque wool coat…
・My Quarry earrings… They remind me of a Klimt painting.
・My Frame Denim jeans that I've worn almost daily for a year and they're still alive, and which I hope to wear through slush and rain with those Loeffler Randall boots...

Julia:
Rubber boots and jeans… Something comfy—I plan to be upstate!

TO SHARE

Kira:
・Supporting The Paris Review, one of my favorite private delights. It feels like a chance to step into a place where one can lose oneself alone in the brilliant worlds of others. 
・I think that BAM and The Park Avenue Armory are two of the most exciting places to see music and art, and I love them especially because community is ingrained in their missions. They offer programs to children and students who otherwise might not be able to see and meet with artists whose work might be the thing that opens an unexpected path in life, or even just a different perspective. 

Julia:

・Same as Kira. Plus, working with local farms upstate to promote sustainable agriculture.

WHAT IS THE WORST PRESENT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? 

Kira:
・A synthetic sweater-knit skirt and top with shoulder pads in a maroon—like fuchsia—if that even exists, from an aunt when I was 17. In retrospect it was perfect normcore bizarreness. Jules got a matching one in blue.

Julia:
・A rhinestone sweatsuit.

WHAT IS YOUR WISH FOR THE NEW YEAR? 

Kira:
・Healing and some positive fire in the belly to ensure that our world doesn't lose itself to fear.

Julia:

・For the election to be reversed.