Category Archives: Travel

January Instagram Looks

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In LOS ANGELES wearing:

LEVIS JEANS
MSGM BLAZER
CELINE SUNGLASSES
LOUIS VUITTON CHRISTOPHER PM BACKPACK
CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION CAMERON SNEAKERS
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 17.11.16In LOS ANGELES wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION HOT DOG&SODA SLIPPERS
LEVIS SHIRT
VALENTINO BAG
RAYBAN SUNGLASSES

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 17.11.49In LOS ANGELES wearing:

STRIPED TSHIRT
SAINT LAURENT PANTS
CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION FLIRTING SLIPONS
THE END LEATHER VEST
CELINE TRAPEZE BAG
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 17.12.11In LOS ANGELES wearing:

FEDORA HAT
ANINE BING LEATHER JACKET
CELINE BOX BAG

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 17.12.43In LOS ANGELES wearing:

LEVIS JEANS
CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION KIM SHOES
CHANEL BAG
DIOR SUNGLASSES

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 17.12.59In LOS ANGELES wearing:

JBRAND JEANS
MIU MIU SUNGLASSES
MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA BOOTS

unnamed-12 In PARIS wearing:

JIL SANDER SUIT
LOUIS VUITTON ESSENTIAL V EARRING

unnamed-11 In BERLIN wearing:

CLOSED STOLE
CELINE BAG

unnamed-10 In BERLIN wearing:

RALPH LAUREN DRESS
CELINE BAG

unnamed-9 In MILAN wearing:

HERMES KELLY BAG
PRADA SHOES
JBRAND JEANS
LOUIS VUITTON KEEPALL
LOUIS VUITTON ZEPHYR LUGGAGE

unnamed-8 In MILAN wearing:

FAIRLY SWEATER
CALVIN KLEIN BOOTS
CALVIN KLEIN DRESS

unnamed-7 In MILAN wearing:

CALVIN KLEIN COAT
CELINE BAG
DIOR SUNGLASSES

unnamed-6 In LOS ANGELES wearing:

ANINE BING VARSITY JACKET
CELINE SUNGLASSES

unnamed-5 In LOS ANGELES wearing:

ANINE BING SWEATER
JBRAND JEANS
MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA BOOTS
CHANEL BOY BAG
DIOR SUNGLASSES
LOUIS VUITTON KEEPALL
LOUIS VUITTON ZEPHYR LUGGAGE

unnamed-4 In LOS ANGELES wearing:

ANINE BING TSHIRT

unnamed-3In LOS ANGELES wearing:

SAINT LAURENT DRESS

unnamedIn MILAN wearing:

NIKE ROSHERUN SHOES
BLACK ORCHID OVERALL
VINTAGE COAT
REED KRAKOFF BAG

Mexico Diary

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Over Christmas, I went to visit the Encuentro Antiresorts in Baja California with my friend and constant creative partner Quan. We had an amazing experience in the middle of the desert – great food, amazing vistas, and warm service. For those of you looking to go somewhere off the beaten path and literally ‘get away’ I highly recommend coming here! Jump through for the rest of the Diary!

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East side fun

unnamed-1unnamed-7 unnamed-2 unnamed-3 unnamed-8unnamed-4 unnamed-5 unnamed-6 unnamedBERLIN, January 2015

I was wearing:

CHANEL BOOTS
VINTAGE COAT
J BRAND JEANS
HERMES KELLY BAG
FENDI KARLITO CHARM
RAYBAN SUNGLASSES

Photos by Timur Emek

Back in Black

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Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1144 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1274 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1350 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1405 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1221 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1292 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1117 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1218 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1137 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1431 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1398 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1423 Margo and Me_Ashleyb_1450Guess what! Today’s a snow day! Although I was supposed to be back in sunny LA by now, I am instead sitting at my in law’s (to be) house in New York as my flight home was canceled until Wednesday night (sigh). Hopefully I will be back in time for my Birthday party Friday! I grew up on the east coast until I was ten and haven’t been in a snow storm since. It’s surreal how everything shuts down, it kind of feels like Y2K!

There’s not much to do on a snow day but make snow angels, did you see mine on Instagram today?! The only other thing I can think of doing is a little online shopping!  I’ll definitely be glued to my laptop picking out the perfect pieces to wear to Paris for Fashion Week. As I’ve gotten older, I definitely like to invest in key pieces but can’t say that I like paying full price. And the best place to look for the best deals is online because you can hunt for the best deal.

Two of my favorite spots to score some real gems are Bluefly and The Outnet. They have everything from contemporary designers like Alice & Olivia and Rachel Zoe to Dior and Saint Laurent. I am currently contemplating these Alaia’s, what do you think? Don’t you love?

Photos by Fred Cipoletti 

Veronika / Berlin

I’ve never been to Berlin, but it’s one of my dreams – and who better to ask for the secrets of the city than Veronika? She lives a beautiful life there, amid all of the art and culture. And I can’t wait to visit all of these places with her next time I visit!

How would you describe Berlin to someone who has never been?
The city with two faces; young and old, beautiful and torn down, grey and colorful, loud and quiet, modern and old-fashioned.

Tell us about your first visit to Berlin — what made it memorable?
I was only 16. It felt enormously huge. As it was a very short weekend, I only visited West Berlin. I was overwhelmed exploring the area around Bahnhof Zoo, thanks to my favorite book C, Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo by Christiane F. Disturbing and exciting. Mostly I remember the colors were dirty and bleached out, very 70s-like. It was only years later that I found out David Bowie was playing in the movie.

What is your favorite restaurant here?
Grill Royal is the place to be and is always fun!

And the best bar?
Diener Tattersaal

Where do you go if you feel like dancing with friends?
I rarely go dancing, as I am traveling so much. I really enjoy my quiet time at home in Berlin. I really do love dancing in our corridor in our huge apartment (one of Berlin´s big pluses are the spacious apartments)…

And for date night…
Luckily my date (Justin) loves bringing me to Grill Royal. Another good place is Paris Bar. It’s a classic West Berlin restaurant that is filled with art and breathes historic air.

What is the one landmark in Berlin that everyone should visit?
Museumsinsel is a very beautiful place. I love the Pergamom Museum – unfortunately it’s closed for renovation. but the Neues Museum, renovated by David Chipperfield, is an amazing place. also the Dom nearby is one of my favorites. Visiting churches is something I love – quiet places that feel like time machines to me. Another exciting spot is the Bundestags-Building. Very impressive and amazingly renovated!

What is the best souvenir someone can buy in Berlin?
Porcelain from KPM (Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur)

Where is the best spot for people watching?
The restaurant Borchardt. A famous place where the people watching is major next to having schnitzel. I love going there on a rainy sunday afternoon, having late lunch and a glass of champagne.

Describe your favorite stores here…
I am very excited for The Store in Soho House to officially open in March, they have an amazing juice bar — very healthy, yummy snacks and a great selection of designers from J.W. Anderson and Simone Rocha to Christophe Lemaire. And I like Andreas Murkudis’ store a lot, he sells not only Céline and Dries van Noten, but also beautiful furniture pieces.

How do you prefer to get around Berlin?
In Summer I am always on my bike and preferably crossing the Tiergarten (by day – it’s a bit dodgy in the night). In winter, it’s best to have a car. My favorite is driving with Justin on his beautiful 70s BMW motorbike on the super impressive Karl-Marx-Alee with its enormous socialist building blocks.

Where do you go for a day trip outside of Berlin?
To Potsdam. Its a very short trip. The castle Sans Souci is a must-see and the lakes around are beautiful. My secret spot for sunbathing and swimming is Heiliger See in Potsdam.

Describe your perfect day in Berlin…
After waking up early (one of the pluses of not going dancing ;)), we have a fresh juice and a snack (best cookies and carrot cake in town!!) in our favorite cafe What Do You Fancy Love. Then we have a walk on Ku Damm through my favorite street, Fasanenstrasse, visit my favorite church Gedächtniskirche (its new version built by Egon Eiermann at the zoo). Then we visit some galleries like Blain Southern, maybe go see a movie in the afternoon and have an early aperitivo in Grosz. Then either we invite friends for dinner – luckily Justin is a great chef, or we go and have the best meat in town in Pauly Saal.

 

Click here for more city guides.

Photo by Sandra Semburg.

40 things about Berlin

unnamed-1011. Ballhaus Clärchen – Auguststraße 24, dance and have a ball in this enchanting ballroom

22. Princess Cheescake

33.  Cafè Luzia – Oranienstr. 34, 10999 Berlin, Germany 

44. Yellow Sunshine, Wienerstr. 19 – Germany first vegetarian and organic fast food

55. Colours. Vintage shopping at kilos! Bergmannstrasse 102, Kreuzberg Berlin

66. Gorlitzer park, Görlitzer Str.,  10999 Berlin

77. Monsieur Vuong, Vietnamese Restaurant in Alte Schönhauser Straße 46 

88. Wood Wood Store, Rochstraße 4, 10178 Berlin

99. Voo Store, Oranienstraße 24 10999 Berlin

10 10. Michelberger Hotel -  Warschauer Straße 39/40

1111. Bionade, Refreshing fruit juice brewed with sparkling water.
Try the Holunder (elderberry) or Ingwer (ginger) varieties

12 12. Nina Kraviz – Boiler Room Berlin dj set

13 13. Kopps, Lini­en­straße 94, 10115 Ber­lin - Best vegan brunch 

14 14. Do you read me? Book Shop in Berlin

15 15. Gestalten Space, Sophie-Gips-Höfe Sophienstraße 21

1616. Jewish Museum, Lindenstraße 9-14, Berlin

17 17. Sammlung Boros, Contemporary art in the Bunker, Reinhardtstraße 20, Berlin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA18. A symbol of Berlin,  the Fernsehturm 

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 12.17.37 19.  Aerea Negrot, Berlin based eletronic musician end remixer 

20 20. Sculpture by Rein Vollenga, artist based in Berlin 

Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle 21. Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle - Auguststraße 36 

2222. Cassiopeia Live and Club music -  Revaler Straße 99, Berlin

Schermata 01-2457043 alle 12.18.36 23. Shop Window at Gas Jeans in Mitte

24 24. Food Section at KaDeWe - Tauentzienstraße 21-24 

26 25. Style icon Marlene Dietrich

27 26. The STORE X The SOHO HOUSE BERLIN X AMMA STUDIO

28 27. Philippe Fernandez, tattoo artist from Aka tattoo, Pflügerstraße 6, Berlin

29 28. Old postcard of the waterfall in ViktoriaPark, Kreuzbergstraße Berlin 

30 29. Nikolaikirche | Stadtmuseum Berlin, Nikolaikirchplatz 10178 Berlin

31 30. Club Der Visionäre - Am Flutgraben 1 Berlin

32 31. Paul’s Boutique - Oderberger Str. 47

3332. Das Neue Schwartz, a super second hand store - Mulackstraße 38 

34 33. Fraulein Frost, Friedelstraße 38,  ice ice baby

35 34. 032c Magazine

David Bowie at the Berlin Wall, 1987 35. David Bowie

316984_10150370079040726_55745540725_10165647_1154051031_n-136. Berlin based singer Dominique Dillon de Byington

37 37. A glimpse in a Berlin apartment, Freunde Von Freunde

38 38. Goodbye Lenin! 2003 Movie

3939. Nina Hagen

Markthalle 940. Markthalle Neun Berlin Kreuzberg

 

Into the Chateau

>>I never “got” the allure of the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles until I had been given the time last weekend to properly roam its rooms, its vaguely haunted corridors and the outside cottages and bungalows.  And thanks to Mulberry, I styled up their S/S 15 pieces with my own clothes and also got to poke my nose around the premises to find little nooks to do this impromptu shoot (yes that is wet brickwork you see there – evidence that it does rain in LA from time to time…).  It’s hard not to be seduced by all the restored details of this Hollywood haunt.  The chipped away tile work and the old-fashioned 1920s ventilation in the bathrooms, the personalised stationery with that endearingly faux-Medieval font of a logo, the restored O’Keefe and Merritt hob in the kitchenette, the mirrored dressing table and the curiously high number of closets (Hollywood starlets and their unusually large trousseaus?).  And then beyond its walls, the seclusion provided by the folliage even though you’re technically located on Sunset Boulevard, the lemon tree (I took one – sorry – they are very juicy) and the the old logo-ed lifebuoy by the pool and all the Spanish tile details to go with the accompanying bungalows.  Consider me charmed by the Chateau.

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014Mulberry jacquard jacket and ‘Lily’ bag worn with vintage geometric slip dress and Meadham Kirchhoff shoes

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048Mulberry two-piece suit and ‘Delphie’ bag worn with my own Back shirt and Converse chucks

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060Mulberry shirt and jumper and ‘Cara’ rucksack worn with my own Toga jeans, Purified loafers

More’s the Pitti

Florence, it’s been too long.  Two seasons away from Pitti Uomo and I’ve relished roaming the maze-like tradeshow finding significant bits and bobs that don’t necessarily fall into the fast and furious pace of FASH-ON during say ready to wear womenswear weeks.  I know I know.  I’m sounding like a broken record harping on about longevity and craft and heritage.  Those are loaded words that along with “timeless” and “luxury” can be used and abused in fashion vernacular.  And on the grounds of Pitti Uomo, every stand is shouting out about their heritage/timeless/luxury credentials.  It can feel tiresome.  Therefore I’ve sought to find little nuggets at Pitti that balance out a joyful and witty aesthetic with admirable values of craftsmanship and increasingly social responsibility.  It was satisfying to go around Pitti and find out about a handful of stories and endeavours to either keep a craft alive or try and do a bit of a good.  And the ultimate end game?  To create great product.


Kele Clothing

Geometric patterns!  Lush colours!  Kele Clothing’s rail was always going to catch the eye.  Designed by Ildikó Kele, this Budapest-based knitwear label has been bringing Hungarian fashion to the forefront.  Their A/W 15-6 collection on show at Pitti attempts to capture winter sun, storing it up in the form of cheerful knits.  You could say the same for their S/S 15 collection too as they steer clear of trends as they get back to nature with traditional Hungarian csango patterns subtly worked into the knits.  I know I misuse the word but “organic” is the feeling you get from Kele.  They’ve also admirably launched a charity campaign #SharingIsMultiplying, working with autistic artists to create a collection of sweatshirts, where all proceeds will go to the Autistic Arts foundation.  And the designs hold up.  They’re things you’d want to wear, whether they’re associated with autism or not.  

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botondKele’s Sharing is Multiplying campaign featuring sweatshirts illustrated by autistic artists

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ss15_lb_33-1024x724Kele S/S 15 collection

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IMG_2732Kele A/W 15-6 collection at Pitti Uomo


Larose 

Any new hat discoveries are welcome by me and although Parisian hat brand Larose isn’t exactly new-new, it’s nice to see how they’re starting to come into their own with an increasing number of collaborations.  Founders Isaac Larose-Farmer & Marc Beaugé work with a specialist factory in the south of France to make their hats and caps.  They try and keep things minimal and clean with their design as to not detract from their sole offering.  But choice fabrics such as collegiate stripes and nubbly wool as seen in their new A/W 15-6 collection makes all the difference with their well made caps.  With their fashion collaborations such as with Japanese label Pine (past ones include Ami and Jacquemus), they get to play around a bit more with experimental materials.  When people often need a bit of a push towards even donning a hat, Larose definitely fills a niche. 

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larosess15_3Larose S/S 15

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Larose-Paris-X-Pine-1 copyLarose x Pine collaboration

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IMG_2788Larose A/W15 -6 at Pitti Uomo


Westage & Co

My eyes zoomed in on the unique colourways at Korean menswear brand Westage & Co‘s stand.  Waxed country jackets and jersey blazers are all very well and nice but Wastage & Co’s designer Don Kim has been experimenting with ombre dip dyed effects that make these menswear staples stand out.  In smaller sizes, women would be seduced too.  Kim ensures his Korean mark is made with red paper cut tigers in the linings and Wastage & Co in Korean embroidered on to the collars and establishing the Made in Korea label to denote quality is also a high priority for the designer.  With these unique colour treatments though, Wastage & Co is certainly shaking up those tried-and-tested menswear traits.

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Rumisu

If I had a penny for every printed silk scarf label that I get emailed about… well, I’d be mega rich.  I thought the silk scarf label bank on this blog had well and truly been filled but then Istanbul-based brand Rumisu came and gave me a big hug.  Literally.  Their character Mr Hugs-a-Lot dominated their stand as well as their beautiful scarves.  Sisters Pinar and Deniz Yegin are illustrators with a distinct style.  ‘Whimsical’ is too facile a description for their silk and cotton scarves.  Every design tells a real tale.  It might depict something random like a dinner party with monsters doing a selfie.  Or it might be an environmental issue that Pinar and Deniz feel strongly about like tiger hunting or killing snakes for their skins, depicted in humourous fashion.  The addition of unique crocheted creatures to the corners of the scarves add a social responsibility dimension as they’re hand-made in South Eastern Turkey in co-operation with UNDP, a project to give employment to women in that region.  Touches like the tales told on their tags and sweet embroidered canvas packaging all add to the charm of Rumisu.

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IMG_2759The poacher being hunted by the tigers…

IMG_2760The snakes swallowing their prey, rather than being preyed upon…

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Their e-shop has a fine selection of their current collections:

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Jimi Roos

Here’s a label with a true Florentine flavour.  Jimi Roos is originally from Denmark but learnt his craft from the small traditional shops of Florence’s back alleys.  Anywhere you stumble in Florence, you’re likely to find craft in abundance.  Roos’s hands might be rooted in tradition but his particular type of machine embroidery was developed accidentally as the machine trips up to create a sort of error-strewn stitching.  With these mistakes, he has been putting smiley faces, toothy grins and drawing out union jacks and collars on t-shirts, shirts and sweatshirts.  For A/W 15-6, Roos has also applied his embroidery to some awesome bomber jackets as well as collaborating with tailoring brand Harris Wharf for a more formal look.

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IMG_2740Jimi Roos A/W 15-6 at Pitti Uomo

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jimiroosmoodJimi Roos S/S 15 


Böle

This was one of the loveliest discoveries of my Pitti trip.  In all my numerous trips to Sweden, not once have I been made aware of Böle, the last standing spruce bark tannery on Earth (to their knowledge…) right up in the north of Sweden near the Arctic Circle!  This is a family business in its 4th generation, currently headed up by Anders Sandlund.  Since 1899, Böle has been tanning Swedish cattle hides with spruce bark.  The tanning process is 100% natural – simply bark and unheated water from the nearby Pite river – without any chemicals.  It can take up to twelve months to tan a single hide and as a result you have a beautiful tanned leather that needs no further treatment or dyeing and is highly durable.  Once made into bags and leather goods, the leather continues to take on a life of its own with a rich deepening of the colour.  Böle would describe themselves as a tannery first and a saddlery second but their foray into commercial leather bags and briefcases in the 1960s means they’ve navigated their brand into the 21st century, picking up retailers like Harrods as well as becoming Royal Purveyor to members of the Swedish royal family.  Their giant rucksacks, tote bags and doctor’s bags uniform in a deep shade of caramel make me think of Böle as a sort of Swedish Delvaux or Hermès - only far more minimal and stripped down (so very Scandi…).  I was very impressed with their extensive website, which goes into great detail about the cows their sustainability and green credentials as well as being entirely transparent about their manufacturing processes.  I’m so glad that I got to discover Böle’s debut at Pitti, as part of their recent restructuring to bring the brand into greater prominence worldwide.  

Tannery & Saddlery

Böle Beach

Anders and Jan Sandlund Father and Son 4th and 3rd generation

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Sprucebark Tannery

Hide-drying

Anathomy of Post Handle

Prince Rucksack

Lady Executive Bag

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Doctors Bag

Tote

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Anna K

For a bit of “fun”, in Pitti W, a few Ukranian designers were showing their collections.  I’ve written about Anna K‘s fash-oh t-shirts that read with slogans such as “I’m not a fashion blogger” and “Fashion Circus”.  That collection has expanded greatly but it’s her mainline collection that I’m more interested in.  She was swishing around Pitti looking pretty fantastic in a trapeze navy number adorned with colourful patches from her brand new pre-fall A/W 15 collection.  Her graphic S/S 15 and resort collections filled with stripes and funny fashion-themed stop signs are also a welcome break from Pitti’s sartorial finery.

21-tommy-ton-fall-2015-menswear-street-style-12Anna K wearing coat from her pre-fall 2015 collection at Pitti photographed by Tommy Ton for Style.com

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annakss15_5Anna K S/S 15 and resort collection


And finally… my favourite moment captured at Pitti were these stacked-up bracelets originating from the Ndebele people in South Africa.  They are worn by Jerri Mokgufe a fashion blogger and consultant from South Africa.  Again, something of a break from the shades of navy and khaki that flood the people of Pitti.

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COLA GIRL

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Apologies for the absence of posts of late. Traveling so much definitely takes a toll on the blog work! That being said. Happy to be back at it. This dress though! The perfect sorbet lime color and slinky factor. I decided to wear one of the sides lower on my arm, because hello, it’s Mexico and gotta have some of that Latin ‘flava’ as Quan so animatedly puts it. Thank you to Jenny from Not Aligne for loaning us this dress and do make sure to check out her collection online now!

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Creative Direction: Quan Mai + Vanessa Hong // Styling: Vanessa Hong // Dress Not Aligne; Shoes Stuart Weitzman; Bound Cuffs THPSHOP.co

COLA GIRL

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Apologies for the absence of posts of late. Traveling so much definitely takes a toll on the blog work! That being said. Happy to be back at it. This dress though! The perfect sorbet lime color and slinky factor. I decided to wear one of the sides lower on my arm, because hello, it’s Mexico and gotta have some of that Latin ‘flava’ as Quan so animatedly puts it. Thank you to Jenny from Not Aligne for loaning us this dress and do make sure to check out her collection online now!

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Creative Direction: Quan Mai + Vanessa Hong // Styling: Vanessa Hong // Dress Not Aligne; Shoes Stuart Weitzman; Bound Cuffs THPSHOP.co

Out of Towners

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I experienced rain in Los Angeles for the first time.  Like actual heavy-ish rain.  Looking out at the drizzly skies felt weirdly appropriate though as we were standing in the ballroom of the Four Seasons, quaffing tea, chomping on cucumber sandwiches at the annual BAFTA tea party on Saturday.  It was an odd place to find myself but I came on invitation by Mulberry who are a primary sponsor of the event for the second year running (along with Jaguar).  I’ve missed out on all the LC:M action back in London this past weekend but curiosity got the better of me as to what exactly the deal was with the hype that surrounds awards season in Hollywood.  In fact, just Hollywood in general – as in the industry of the film world, the celeb culture – was something that I’ve never really experienced before in LA.  Plus selfishly, I thought it would be nice to get a few days of sun lounging around at legendary residence Chateau Marmont.  Bar the sun, the weekend was definitely a fine taster of Hollywood at its busiest and buzziest.

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Back to the tea party.  We might have been made to feel at “home” with all the accoutrements of afternoon tea and British accents everywhere but the surroundings couldn’t have felt more alien to me.  The room was thronging with BAFTA nominees and at every turn you’d be brushing past people that I’ve only ever seen on celluloid or in Getty photographs.  Starstruck isn’t quite the right word.  Starshocked?  As in paralysed with fear because you’re feeling very little and insignificant in this razzle dazzle scheme of things?  Oh look, Keira Knightley looking radiant (of course she’s radiant – she’s pregnant) in yellow.  Marion Cotillard – eeeeeeek – literally awed by her beauty!  Wes Anderson – would it be entirely improper to go up to him and tell him how deeply I’ve analysed his cinematography?  Acclaimed set designer and Mulberry collaborator Michael Howells, kind gentleman that he is, was present to help guide me through this surreal setting.  This sort of thing obviously doesn’t faze him.  He tells me it’s all about nominees meeting ’n’ greeting the board of BAFTA voters – saying five second hello’s and how are you’s to hopefully garner their vote.  No time to chit chat to randoms then.  However Howells was gallant enough to manoeuvre our way to Eddie Redmayne, so that I could say how much he made me cry in The Theory of Everything.  A ten second chat ensued before his agent swiftly ushered him off to the next important person.  One line of dialogue with one nominee was more than I could handle.  Note on images, the room was declared a “No Selfie” zone and my DSLR was duly barred.

Thankfully Mulberry were present to provide some light relief in the foyer.   Cue a surreal sight of the likes of Ethan Hawke hammering away at their initials on leather bracelets at the Mulberry crafting stations.  Cara Delevigne and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith from Downton) also had a go.  It’s definitely a lot easier hammering letters into leather than hanging out with Hollywood folk.

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The night before at the Chateau Marmont, Mulberry had also hosted an informal dinner and cocktail party as well as a sneak screening of an upcoming short film.  “Out of Towners” their now signature golden balloons spelled out over the pool, which pretty much summed up my state of being.  Again, I floated around like a lost-ling as guests like Rosamund Pike and Dominic West milled about, until I was rescued by Emma Wyman, fashion editor of Dazed, who happens to be a native LA person.  She went to school with Camille Belle, who was also at the party.  Naturally.  I’m going to go all teenage on you and *sigh* -  will I ever get a clue and not be ridden with social awks?  Didn’t help of course that I was also doing a social media takeover for Mulberry on their accounts for the weekend.  I can but only ever be perpetually perplexed by this Hollywood hub-hub.  At the end of the day, it’s not my world but I thank Mulberry wholeheartedly for the otherworldly experience.

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From the perspective of Mulberry, their presence in Los Angeles and their ties with Hollywood is strategic of course to assert themselves in what is an important market to them.  In Britain, Mulberry has been clouded with negative headlines regarding their profit fall and their inability to claw back the mid-range customer that appreciated their reasonably priced, British-made leather goods, That was recently quelled by the announcement that former Céline accessories maestro Johnny Coca will be taking over the creative director reins.  Coca brings with him a track record of creating bona fide bag hits, which puts Mulberry in good stead when he begins in July this year.  

In the meantime though, looking at their S/S 15 collection, it’s clear their in-house design team are doing a solid job of holding the fort.  The clothes whilst always a sideline at an accessorised-focused brand like Mulberry, has highlights like a beautiful geometric floral jacquard, pretty broderie anglaise dresses in white and periwinkle blue and a lovely grey suit with flecks of embroidered parsley flowers.  It’s all pretty English garden fare that is appropriate for this “holding” period as Mulberry prepares for Coca’s arrival.

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On the bag front, the Cara 2-in-1 rucksack and tote combo marches on.  The Lily turns mini.  But the big Mulberry bag story of the season is definitely the Delphie.  It’s cleverly constructed so that the front envelope flips around to the back to snap into place to create a different colourway/texture for the bag.  The shoulder strap can also be shortened.  It’s hard to describe in words or convey in pics but hopefully you get the idea with this Instagram vid and pics shot around the lovingly restored features of my Chateau Marmont room.

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January 1st

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My January 1st 2015 in photos: I woke up at a friends’ house in Malibu and I basically spent all day walking on different beaches, waiting for the sun to set.
Thinking about how 2014 was a dream with eyes wide open, which gave me even more energy for 2015.
I feel like a lion, and I want to give you (and myself) even more.

Il mio primo Gennaio 2015 in foto: mi sono svegliata a casa di amici a Malibu e ho passato praticamente tutto il giorno camminando per spiagge diverse, aspettando il tramonto.
Pensando a quanto l’anno appena finito sia stato un sogno ad occhi aperti, che mi ha dato ancora più energia per affrontare quello appena iniziato. Mi sento un leone, e voglio darvi (e dare a me stessa) ancora di più.

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MALIBU, January 2015

I was wearing:

GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI BOOTIES
REDUN JEANS
REFORMATION SWEATER
NIALAYA NECKLACE
MY MUM’S VINTAGE FRINGED JACKET
CELINE NANO BAG
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

January 1st

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My January 1st 2015 in photos: I woke up at a friends’ house in Malibu and I basically spent all day walking on different beaches, waiting for the sun to set.
Thinking about how 2014 was a dream with eyes wide open, which gave me even more energy for 2015.
I feel like a lion, and I want to give you (and myself) even more.

Il mio primo Gennaio 2015 in foto: mi sono svegliata a casa di amici a Malibu e ho passato praticamente tutto il giorno camminando per spiagge diverse, aspettando il tramonto.
Pensando a quanto l’anno appena finito sia stato un sogno ad occhi aperti, che mi ha dato ancora più energia per affrontare quello appena iniziato. Mi sento un leone, e voglio darvi (e dare a me stessa) ancora di più.

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MALIBU, January 2015

I was wearing:

GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI BOOTIES
REDUN JEANS
REFORMATION SWEATER
NIALAYA NECKLACE
MY MUM’S VINTAGE FRINGED JACKET
CELINE NANO BAG
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Happy New Wave!

Probably the most frustrating and most rewarding way to start a new year is: to learn something new.

In other words: to be totally bad at something.

This year, I decided to learn how to surf – it’s been one of my dreams since I was about 12 years old. I went with Lauren (who surfs), Camille (who surfs really well) and Chris (who surfs really, really well). We are in Costa Rica, where the waves are known to be easy for beginners like me but, right now as I’m writing this, I’m sore as hell, and it’s been like this for three days.


It started amazing – I threw myself into the water with my wetsuit and board just like Elle McPherson in Elle magazine in the 90s. Thirty minutes later, I was standing up on the board, an hour after that, I was doing turns, and I was already imagining my new career as a Roxy spokeswoman, traveling all over the world looking for the best surf spots and announcing that fashion blogs were so 2010 and that the new thing was definitely surf blogs…

When suddenly my body turned against me. It started with me being intensely thirsty, then I had abdominal pain so bad I thought I was going to explode. I begged my teacher to let me take a break and I went to lie down right away, but not without stopping on the way to let my friends know, of course (who are all way better than I am, if you haven’t caught on yet) that I was totally killing it out there.

I’ve got a kind of pretentious bitchy side like that.
(Which, if used properly, isn’t such a bad thing actually – when you exaggerate your performance, you’re forced to get good at it. For example, I swore I was the best foosball player in the world TO A GROUP OF ENRAGED ITALIANS AND GERMANS, so I totally have to practice before our tournament to make sure I could preserve France’s honor).

Anyway.
Other than half passing out, due to the fact that I like to keep my muscles in a state of half-sleep most of the year, taking extra care to avoid any exercise at the gym or any activity that might build muscle other than typing on my iPad, I totally thought I was on my way to being in the world cup of surfing. Or that I’d at least have a little appearance in The Surfers Journal or something. You know, no big deal.

The second day only confirmed my doubts: I surfed like Kelly Slater in the small waves, without missing even one. My friends were all behind me, loving the fact that they were finally going to be able to enjoy my wonderful company on real waves in the days to come. And plus, my muscles were just fine that day – I was the master of the universe.

On Day 3, I was totally telling my teacher that at my level, I was getting super bored with the little waves and it was time to move on. Since she’s a patient person (and she had already figured out that I can get a little carried away) she told me “One more day with the little waves. Tomorrow, we’ll get serious.”

“It’s about time!” I shouted before being hit by a huge wave right in the face.

At 7am the next morning, I was ready on the beach in my blue Lisa Marie Fernandez wetsuit (a surf blog that doesn’t leave behind its fashion roots, what do you think?) doing my stretches. We got into the warm water, in the light of the rising sun. A flock of pelicans took off into the sky, forming a promising “Go, G!”

And this is where the story of my exploits ends and my New Year’s post begins, kids.

F(%&ing s#*t.

How to surf in the big waves by Garance Doré:

First of all, you have to get past the little waves before you can handle the big waves, and honestly, the little waves are a bitch and they don’t make it easy — they will slap you in the face and carry your board away and throw you back on the beach just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it. They smack you around and mess up your hair and make your SPF 200 sunscreen drip into your eyes, causing instant conjunctivitis, and making it so you can’t tell the diffrence between the sky and the ground and if those are your friends or strangers with vaguely human forms. They also make sure to tear off your swimsuit bottoms, which, after the tenth time, get all stretched out and ugly (except for the Lisa Marie Fernandez, since it’s made of Neoprene, of course, hahaha) and once you’ve fought the waves with all the strength of your youth (hahaha) then you have to get up on your board (miserable), paddle like crazy (super miserable) and pass through enormous waves with your board (so, so, so miserable).

You arrive at the Line-up (where the surfers, the real ones, wait for the wave)

(The place to be)(THE COOLEST PLACE ON EARTH, ACTUALLY).

Paddle like crazy. End up exhausted. Totally. Dead. A little piece of nothing at all in the ocean. A pelican flies over and poops on you. And that’s when the real challenge is supposed to begin. Take a wave and stay standing up on your board.

And that’s when you hear the noise. The sound of the wave crashing against you. It’s crushing you and, while you’re trying to come back out of the water without drowning, another wave grabs you by the collar and throws you to the bottom of the ocean, all the while giving you a bunch of mini-slaps, taking off with your board, your suit, and all traces of vanity if you still had any left. And then the same thing happens all over again.

Until your body and mind are so completely worn out, and you’re just lying on the edge of the beach, wondering why. (A general why about the meaning of life and stupid dreams).

And the next day you try it all again – until you end up finding muscles you didn’t know you had. Until you get your balance, sitting on a board in the middle of the ocean. Until you laugh (not even a ironic laugh) picking yourself up again for the 1,547th time. Until you’re so exhausted you need to take a whole day to rest.

(And it’s precisely on that day of rest that I’m finally able to tell you all about my exploits, dear readers)

So that’s how I started my year – worn out on the beach in Costa Rica, waving at my friends while they were carving beautiful lines in the waves.

The sun was setting, and I told myself that one day I’d be with them, once I’ve learned, gotten past my fears, and found new strengths inside me. I’ll continue to learn, to follow my childhood dreams (even if they’re as simple as learning to surf) and keep trying over and over again until I get it and it becomes a part of me. Well, I mean, or not – actually. Some people never become surfers, and there are some dreams better left behind. We’ll see at the end of next week.

So it’s here sitting on the beach in Costa Rica, as the sun goes down, that I send you my best wishes for the new year. The future will tell us whether or not I become a pro surfer, but in the meantime, I’m putting my whole heart and sense of humor into it, and the little bit of humility I can muster up, to get through learning a new art, which is always so difficult.

I hope you will put your whole heart into your new projects this year, never give up, never tell yourself it’s too late, never lose your sense of humor, and run after everything that makes you love life without giving up even if life slaps you around a little bit. After all, maybe those slaps are well-deserved, you never know ;)

2015 is going to be a fantastic year, we’ve all agreed on that. I send you all big kisses and I’ll be back soon with photos. Pura Vida!!!

Translated by Andrea Perdue

Koh Phi Phi 2014- Diary part 2

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Second part of my Thailand trip to Koh Phi Phi. Read more about the part 1 here. I’m wearing (in order of appearance): Goldie London printed dress (similar)/ Triya Brasil bikini (similar) with accessories by Litter SF  and The Row for Linda Farrow sunnies (similar) / Zara cropped top (similar) with vintage Levi’s (similar) and Litter SF  body chains / Goldie London white dress (similar)/ Varley white bikini top (similar) / Andrés Sardá blue bikini (similar).

Aquí tenéis la segunda parte de mi viaje Tailandia y estuve en Koh Phi Phi. Podéis leer más acerca de la primera parte aquí. Llevo ( en orden de aparición): vestido estampado de Goldie London (similar) / bikini de Triya Brasil (similar) con accesorios de Litter SF y gafas de sol de The Row para Linda Farrow (similar)/ Crop top de Zara (similar) con Levi’s vintage (similar) y cadenas de Litter SF / vestido blanco de Goldie London (similar) / bikini blanco de Varley (similar) / bikini azul de Andrés Sardá (similar).


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In the desert

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I like starting 2015 like this.. Awesome news on Instagram and going back a few days, with these photos shot in Palm Springs desert on Christmas Eve with my mum and sisters.
It was the most different yet beautiful Christmas Eve ever. So beautiful we decided this desert trip is going to become one of our holiday traditions for the next years.

Il 2015 lo iniziamo cosi… Belle notizie su Instagram e tornando indietro di qualche giorno, con queste foto scattate nel deserto di Palm Springs la vigilia di Natale insieme a mamma e sorelline.
La vigilia di Natale più strana ed emozionante, tanto che abbiamo deciso che questa gita nel deserto diventerà una delle nostre tradizioni natalizie nei prossimi anni.

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PALM SPRINGS, December 2014

I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI GLITTER ESPADRILLAS (s/s 2015)
REDUN JEANS
IRO SEQUINED JACKET
CARTIER PANTHERE RING
CHANEL DOUBLE FLAB BAG
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Desert Girl

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Still reeling from a great trip to the Guadalupe Valley with my friend Quan over Christmas. We shot so much incredible content – I can’t wait to share with you all! New York based brand Not Aligne sent me this great crop top – dress duo that I loved wearing. It really spoke to me. Sensible. Simple. Extremely flattering. I can imagine this looking quite stellar with heels, but for me I opted for flats and at times, no shoes at all! Hope everyone has been having a great holiday season – less than one week away from the end of 2014. What a doozy!notalignecroptopdressvanessahong4

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notalignecroptopdressvanessahong6Wearing Not Aligne top and skirt, THPSHOP Bound Cuffs, THPSHOP Retract Silver Ear Cuffs, The Row Backpack

Thank you to Encuentro Antiresorts for being such amazing hosts to me and Quan over the Holidays. Make sure to check them out here

Koh Phi Phi 2014 -Diary part 1

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It’s not my first time in Thailand.. and definetely won’t be the last one either! Whenever I finish fashion week I always take a few days off to jet somewhere non fashion-related to chill and disconnect before going back to reality. Thailand was a place where I’ve spent quite a bit of time last year backpacking around so it was perfect to just chill on Koh Phi Phi as we didn’t have to explore but enjoy it non stop. Even that it was pretty hot we picked up the last bit of the Monsoon season so the skies weren’t as blue as the last time I was there but the place itself was much nicer as it was way less crowded! If you wanna know how to travel and what to pack around Thailand don’t forget to check MY ULTIMATE THAILAND TRAVEL GUIDE based on my previous trip. I wore (in order of appearance): Andres Sarda blue swim shorts (similar) with American Apparel top (similar)/ Goldie London printed blouse (similar) with Lee vintage shorts (similar)


Esta no ha sido mi primera vez en Tailandia y definitivamente no será la última! Siempre que acaba el periodo frenético de fashion week me tomo un par de días libres y me voy a algún sitio que no tenga nada ver con la moda, para disfrutar y desconectar antes de volver de nuevo a la realidad. Tailandia ha sido un lugar dónde pasé algún tiempo el pasado año viajando con la mochila a cuestas, pero Koh Phi Phi era perfecto para disfrutar sin más puesto que ya lo habíamos explorado anteriormente. Aunque el clima cuando fuimos era bastante cálido nos pilló los últimos coletazos de la temporada monzónica, de modo que los cielos no eran tan azules como la última vez que estuve allí pero en contrapunto no había tanta gente por lo que estuvo genial! Si queréis saber más acerca de qué llevaros y consejos sobre viajar alrededor de Tailandia os recomiendo que echéis un vistazo a MY ULTIMATE THAILAND TRAVEL GUIDE basada en mi anterior viaje. Llevé (en orden de aparición): shorts de Andrés Sarda (similar) con top de American Apparel (similar)/ blusa estampada de Goldie London (similar) con shorts vintage de Lee (similar)

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The post Koh Phi Phi 2014 -Diary part 1 appeared first on AMLUL.COM.

Look of the Day.399: Hideaway

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If you are following my adventures on Instagram you know I’ve spent the last few days locked up in the beautiful Scotland. Enjoying nature and of course blending in. When I had to pack I decided to just bring flats and comfy clothes, that’s why this wool skirt and turtle neck from Related Apparel were the perfect match for a rustic get away, yet chic but great to chill indoors too paired with the ultimate season shoes from Jimmy Choo. Very soon more pictures from this trip. But don’t forget to come back tomorrow for my Thailand photo diary!!!


Si estáis siguiendo mis aventuras en Instagram sabréis que he pasado estos últimos días aislada en la preciosa Escocia, disfrutando de su naturaleza y absorbiendo su belleza. A la hora de hacer la maleta lo tuve claro y sabía que zapato plano y prendas cómodas no podían faltar, como este conjunto de falda de lana y jersey de Related Apparel. Para esta escapada han sido un look chic a la vez que estupendo para estar en casa combinado con zapatos de la última temporada de Jimmy Choo. Pronto compartiré más fotografías de esta escapada con vosotros pero no olvidéis echar un vistazo mañana que os presentaré mi diario fotográfico en Tailandia!!

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Tokyo Vintage Trail

After London, Tokyo comes a close second when it comes to buying vintage.  I haven’t shopped the world over to give an accurate comparison but as “select” and “curated” vintage goes, Tokyo can be hard to beat.   That will sound odd as Tokyo sits in a continent that is by and large vintage-shy (fear of wearing dead people’s garments affects the swathe of the Chinese for instance, as I grew up defending vintage to relatives).  But there’s got to be an explanation as to why I come home with a trunk of secondhand gems every time I go.  Even my two day trip for Dior last week yielded more than a few things.  There’s the secondhand designer finds of course, mainly down to the resale chains like Ragtag and Kind.  But there’s also unique vintage shops, who have gone to America and Europe to scour fairs, markets and dealers, and seem to have found all the bona fide goodies with their early bird diligence.  They then create specialized vintage emporiums that are a far cry from many of the 70s’ polyester and 80s’ tat ridden overpriced stores that London falls victim to.  Not to say that London doesn’t have real deal vintage places – but another advantage Tokyo vintage spots seem to have is that they’re less picked over and new goodie drops feel like they’re more frequent.

I wanted to highlight a few of my favourite places and recent finds that make that pricy trip all the more worth it as I increasingly drift towards vintage that feels special and more often than not, are veritably old (as in dating back pre 1950).

Birthdeath – I didn’t find out about Shibuya vintage spot until this year when Nagi from the ever-awesome Disco Nail directed me there.  Browsing the store and their website, it feels like they’ve cultivated a lifestyle as opposed to merely a vintage store, where record rarities meets pristine Victoriana and 70s-80s new wave garms.  The breadth of periods covered by the selection is broad but the common thread is that every piece feels purposefully chosen.  A quick browse begot me a 1930s’ ruched sleeved capelet and a 1920s’ geometric printed slip dress.  They also sell new menswear labels like blackmeans, which has its own counterculture thing going on.  Birthdeath is the sort of music meets fashion hub that you’d think would be more prevalent in London (or in the UK in general) but weirdly isn’t.

Shibuya NC bldg 1F, 1-9-4 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

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J’Antiques – Everybody and their mum who has been to Tokyo will know J’Antiques.  It’s the equivalent of Rellik in London.  What’s interesting about J’Antiques is the equal billing that both menswear and womenswear get.  Actually in general, vintage in Tokyo is freely available for both sexes unlike in other cities where it’s normally weighted in favour of women.  But J’Antiques excels in sheer selection.  Rare denim, seriously old workwear, beautiful Victorian to 1930s’ cotton lawn dresses, East European embroidery, old Chinese robes… basically anything that has decorative and historical heft can be found here.  It can be expensive but the things I’ve found like this tartan blanket dress was fairly reasonable.  And if absolutely no garments take your fancy, the stack of quality French linens by the front are definitely worth rifling through.

2-25-13 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

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Jeanne Valet – This is one of the first vintage places that I stumbled into by accident.  It’s worth looking upwards inside this tiny shop where clothes hang high from the ceiling.  Also ask the helpful (and English-speaking – a rarity sometimes in Tokyo!) staff if you’re looking for something specific and they’ll climb up into their turret to get it from their stockroom.  Victorian, old military, 1960-70s’ designer pieces, rare scarves and men’s workwear are its specialties.  The last time I was there, I was vaguely tempted by an early 20th century Shakesperean stage costume but opted for a men’s striped denim shirt instead.

13-6 Daikanyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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Toro – Somewhere between Shibuya and Harajuku up on the 4th floor, Toru is a little bit hidden and in its teensy square footage, they get a lot in.  Everything from a Victorian corseted jacket to a 1960s’ Oleg Cassini two-piece suit can be found and every piece has been cleaned, repaired and restored properly.  I indulged in my love of intricate smocking with a dusky pink dress with beautiful folksy detailing.  Actually, I’ve never not found an instant !Love! piece whenever I’ve been in.  As with much of Tokyo’s shopping, bar or restaurant scene, sometimes the best places can be found on higher floors, away from expensive ground rent.

4F, 6-19-17 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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 6 (Roku)This place is a bit of a mystery to Google in English.  I can’t even give you an exact address other than it’s near Nakameguro station.  It’s signposted by a simple “6” sticker on the door and on the 2nd and 3rd floor you’ll find the most amazing collection of rarities – military, denim, sportswear, leathers, varsity jackets – whatever category it is, they come up trumps with brilliant examples.  That might sound very menswear-centric but that’s precisely what makes it so interesting to go through meticulously (I once spent two hours here…) because every piece has its own possibilities to be worn as womenswear.  When I was going through my Chinese dragons fixation, I found this blue silk shirt – the owner told me it was worn by servants in the Qing Dynasty court.  I found that tale a bit far-fetched but I do like that it’s different and older than the embroidered dragon robes and shirts that you tend to find dating to the mid-20th century.  If you can find your way there, you won’t be disappointed.  Long may it last that Six doesn’t let itself be known with websites, Twitter updates and all of that new-fandangled promotion stuff.

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Enchanted Afternoon

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As we embark on a new year, I can’t help but reflect on some amazing experiences I’ve had over the last few years I’ve been blogging. September 2013 was a month one major dream of mine came true; I was invited by a few of my favorite designers to attend New York Fashion Week. My college years were spent studding to be a buyer – ever since I was a young teenager pining for the fashion industry, buying was a direction I always saw myself going in. I also thought this was my ticket to fashion shows world wide! Paths change as they tend to but I still ended up sitting in those seats admiring the looks going down the runway and dreaming of things I’d love to wear on the blog.

This past fashion show season, one designer’s collection in particular really spoke to me with their original prints, luxurious fabrics, rich textures and sophisticated silhouettes; and that was New York designer, Sachin & Babi’s 2015 NOIR Pre-Fall collection. The collection is a breath taking ensemble of hyper-hued florals like the skirt I am wearing here. The silhouettes of each piece perfectly marry classic femininity with that fresh modern edge through the use of graphic color blocking and sheer paneling.

As I sat there admiring this Alice in Wonderland meets Marie Antoinette collection, all I could think about was how quickly I’d be able to get these pieces into my closet. My first thought was the online luxury retailer, Moda Operandi. Have you heard of them before? They are the only online destination where you can actually preorder looks straight from the runway through daily trunk shows they host. I had my fingers crossed that Sachin & Babi’s NOIR collection would be available and guess what, it finally is!

As of this last Monday, December 15 – December 22nd their collection is exclusively available for pre-order at Moda Operandi. To see the entire collection, head over to the Sachin & Babi NOIR boutique. I’ve also selected a few of my favorite looks below for you to peruse from. The pieces are perfect for your upcoming holiday soirees, spring weddings or bridal showers that I know you need to start shopping for!

 Photos by Fred Cipoletti 

Esprit Dior Tokyo Part Two

Part two of my Dior Tokyo experience and into the vast Ryogkoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium we go.  I can’t communicate how vast the scale was.  Dior venues under Raf Simons’ tenure have been lavish, ornate but never vast on this level.  It felt like the “biggest” Dior show I had been to because of the sheer number of people there coupled with the mega height of the vaulted ceiling of this stadium from which “snow” fell through a futuristic suspended grid structure.  Official numbers said 800 people were there but it felt like more because technically the venue can hold 10,000 people.

It was vast for a reason though.  It wasn’t just to wow the selected journalists that were flown in for the show.  On the upper tiers of the stadium sat Tokyo’s younger generation – the Shibuya and Harajuku kids and IT-people that are fast becoming influencers in their own right.  They’re the sort of peeps that you wouldn’t see at a regular Japan Fashion Week show (JFW’s cachet of cool is an up and down affair but that’s another story) but here they were, made to feel inclusive and invited at one of the biggest Dior shows ever to be staged.   After the show, Sidney Toledano was eager to talk up Japan’s strength as a market, asking us to disregard recent news that it has entered recession again.  The Japanese know and are ready to spend on luxury and have done so for a very long time and Dior are ready to reciprocate.

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ESPRIT-DIOR-TOKYO-2015-CELEBRITES-Susie-LauHead to toe Dior… with all-night partying, karaoke and sushi breakfast at Tsukiji market in mind – Have to thank Emily Sheffield from Vogue, Jess Cartney-Morley from the Guardian and journalist/stylist Gianluca Longo for being well up for a night out in Tokyo.

Those sentiments were echoed by Raf Simons himself, as someone who knows Tokyo well, with Japan being a primary supporter of his own namesake brand.  The collection began before Tokyo had even been discussed as a destination for the show.  Simons has been building up his repertoire at Dior based on ideals of seeking modernity – he’s done so by exploring both Dior’s past and more recently, the distant past in his last ready to wear and haute couture shows.  For this particular collection, he thrusts us back into the present and into his own nuanced observations of Tokyo street style from the well-proliferated images of Fruits magazine to actually being in Tokyo many times himself and seeing street style tribes shift from place to place.  This put him in good stead to avoid any cultural cliches and of course, he moves as far away from say, Monsieur Dior’s Hokusai and Utamaro-drenched vision of Japan.

“Tokyo is a place that has been and is so constantly inspiring to me,” Simons says in the press notes.  “Particularly in terms of the liberty people take for themselves in how they dress, there is nowhere else like it: the freedom of styles, the new architecture of clothing that you can see forming in the street as well as in city’s fashion design history…. it’s a place that is both extreme and exhilarating.”

These are sentiments that I fully concur with having been hugely inspired by my trips to Tokyo and it’s clear that the freedom and liberty in Tokyo street style was translated into the layering of the collection.  A sequinned polo neck under a strapless bias cut gown with chunky boots?  Why not!  Likewise, school uniform-esque checked shifts over sequinned bloomers?  Cho kawaii!  And I mean that not in the “cute” sense but in the general way that the word is used to describe anything vaguely cool.  Traditionally outdoors-y fabrics employed on a plethora of outerwear pieces points to the way that “heritage” wear has exploded in Japan, mainly in menswear.  When rendered as dramatic opera coats and zip-up flared-out dresses with sculptural knee high boots though, that street style trope is subverted.  Same goes for Simons’ use of sequins.  He admitted he is normally a sequins-hater but when used on Aran and Argyle knits and on polo neck pieces, he nullifies the glam and evening aspect of this motif.

The language of Dior, namely in the Bar jacket, faintly persists but is also deconstructed so that the shape lingers on in waxed cotton jackets and coats and duffles and bombers.  After the show, Simons said this was outerwear that could be chucked on the floor and become an old favourite over time.

In a way it’s easy to see a parallel between the freedom and contrasts seen within Japanese streetstyle and the way that Simons has been incorporating a similar sense of freedom and unexpected contrasts within Dior’s house DNA, in order to push its aesthetic forward into the 21st century.  This collection falls in line within the trajectory that Simons has been building up at the house – one that has been exciting to witness.

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0E5A0846The graphic eye created by Peter Phillips that I’ll be attempting soon…

Dior are banking on this love letter to Japan to translate anywhere in the world.  They made it big so that the word would spread and by now, fans of the Dior universe will have heard about the sumo stadium, the fleet of Dior taxis and of course, the clothes.  Dior aren’t officially calling it a pre-fall collection and instead it has its own fancy name – Esprit Dior Tokyo collection but that doesn’t stop it from being a collection that will be on the rails longer than the main ready to wear collections and that it will have an appeal that goes far and beyond Tokyo.

As the afterparty pulsated on through the night and we moved into the intimate rooms of the kooky bar Trump Room, then into a random karaoke place in Shibuya and finally queueing up at Sushi Daiwa in Tsukiji market, dressed in my own head to toe Dior outfit (a mish mash of AW14 pieces), it felt like Simons’ vision for the house was being truly vindicated.  Breaking out of the house’s remit of occasion wear will reap rewards as a new generation of Dior customers can get in on the action, stumbling around the streets in bar bombers, panelled flat chelsea boots and layered up in sequinned polo necks to get through the cold nights.  You could already see these clothes in situ and on-the-go and that’s more exhilarating than any static lavish ball gown.

Esprit Dior Tokyo Part 1

I was going to be longwinded about recapping my brief trip to Tokyo for Dior and do it all in one big hella long post.  Despite having only spent two days in the city, it warrants more.  We experienced Dior’s history and Japan’s tradition by day and then Raf Simons’s vision of the future for the house and a look at Tokyo’s in-flux present by night.  I therefore want to be extra careful to separate the “experience” from the “show.  The former ran the course of how these “far-flung” maison shows normally operate – the experience was about giving us a flavour of the locale we’re in – in other words, Japanese culture of our collective imagining.  The latter though ran far, far away from cultural cliche.  For the show, officially called “Esprit Dior Tokyo”, Raf Simons presented a collection filled with nuanced observations and layers (literal ones too) connected with his own personal experiences of Tokyo.

That had nothing to do with irresistible details like Dior grey taxi seat covers inside specially branded Japanese taxis or the beautifully decorated restaurant where we had a lengthy kaiseki lunch complete with New Look printed lanterns and origami table pieces.  The collection also throttled away from the gowns and occasion wear that made up the majority of the Esprit Dior Tokyo exhibition in Ginza that is open to the public (for free!) until 4th January.  It felt like a familiar book, immersing oneself into Dior’s history.  The facts and the images and many of the silhouettes felt textbook.

What was newly emphasised in this particular exhibition was Monsieur Dior and the house’s specific connection with Japan.  He was enamoured with Japanese culture and art, and once likened Japonaiserie heroes Hokusai and Utamaru to his Sistine Chapel, hence why he’d give dresses name like “Jardin Japonais” and feature cherry tree motifs.  The Dior-Japan connotations don’t stop there as we’re treated to photos of Margot Fonteyn in a Dior costume for Madame Butterfly and Princess Michiko wearing Dior for her wedding in 1959.  In Dior’s successors of course Japan came alive most notably in John Galliano’s stupendously lavish spring summer 2007 haute couture collection as well as in Raf Simons’ autumn winter 2013 haute couture collection.  The contrast couldn’t be more stark when you see the silhouettes in situ as Hokusai waves flourish over voluminous opera coat with pleated bodice and collar by Galliano next to Simons’ pared back interpretation of kimono and obi folds and shibori techniques.

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The rest of the exhibition ran the gamut of Dior 101.  The bar jacket and its architecture was exposed with digital skeletal analysis.  A showcase of the petites mains that work behind the scenes in Dior’s atelier demonstrating pattern cutting.  From a commercial perspective of course, Miss Dior and J’Adore Dior took centre stage too to add a more tangible aspect to the exhibition.  Cue Dior workers busy tying up ribbons and gold thread around perfume bottles.

Running throughout the entire exhibition were new and unseen photographs by Patrick Demarchelier, who has created a second volume of portraits of iconic Dior haute couture looks from Christian Dior to Raf Simons, out now on Rizzoli.  They breathed life into the space when used as the backdrops to mannequins and display cases but also much credence to Raf Simons’ tenure at Dior.  His work for the house isn’t so much a straightforward continuation on from his predecessors but a fresh chapter that returns to the qualities, which underlined Dior right from the start – the new and the modern. That’s what I’ll be talking about when I get on to part two of this Tokyo sojourn.

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Basara Face

>> I know you guys are bored of my beginning a post with “I’m in Tokyo!”  I have hear a loud collective *yawn* being emitted from the unknown outer galaxy of “readership”.  But… but… I would argue that Tokyo with Dior is a completely different experience from my usual ramshackle second hand designer/vintage shopping trail interrupted by wolfed down meals of ramen and gyoza.

I’m here in Tokyo for the Dior’s first pre-fall show.  The ties between Monsieur Dior and Japan have already been well emphasised in all the lovely printed paraphernalia and trinkets that were all laid out in my hotel room when I arrived.  It’s all Hokusai paintings, Utamaru nudes and women walking daintily in geta sandals and kimonos.  It’s the traditional Japan of most people’s imaginations as opposed to the one filled with kook and oddities that I normally encounter.

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As we only have a few days here and there are many a Tokyo virgin in amongst our press group, I’ve somehow taken on the role as the unofficial guide.  It’s like the blind leading the blind.  It’s easy to impress though.  A quick whizz through Shibuya scramble crossing, 109 and Tokyu Hands was enough to elicit “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”.  Even I’ll get swept up in it from time to time, even though  I have visited a ridiculous number of times (comparatively speaking anyway…).  In the beauty section of Tokyu Hands, we all got a bit mesmerised by these printed face masks.  Oh, the novelty!  Want to look like Frankenstein or Dracula whilst your face is made supple with hydrolysed collagen and vitamin C derivative?  I know it’s easy to exoticise everything here but honestly, this is definitely an instance of “Only in Japan…”

The one that piqued my interest though was the “Fashion Face Pack”, created by none other than Kansai Yamamoto.  I instantly recognised the painted faces as the ones I photographed at the brilliant Fashion in Motion last year where, Yamamoto unleashed the ‘Basara’ spirit in London’s V&A Museum.  Loosely meaning “out-there” or “slant”, the basara spirit is not for the faint hearted, even as I’m lounging in my hotel robe getting my face refreshed with lavender.  Yamamoto’s ‘kumadori’ kabuki actor make-up flecked with clashing shades of ‘Japanese goldflower’ yellow, ‘pale chive’ blue and ‘willow leaf’ green is definitely one way of combatting flailing jeg-lagged faces.  Or to make a lazy comparison, it makes you look vaguely like FKA Twigs LP1 album cover.

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kansaiMake-up as seen at Kansai Yamamoto Fashion in Motion, Nov 2013

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It’s one of those “Only in Japan” examples that you can’t help but love.  An inactive fashion legend honoured by a beauty face mask?  Why not?  It’s certainly a different way of going about your beauty regime that I’d personally love to find in the aisles of Boots…

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40 things about Alps

image-9011. Maria (Julie Andrews) and the Von Trapp children in the 1965 Sound of Music Film

022. Heidi House in Salastrains – St. Moritz

033. Tyrolean mountain air, green meadows , happy cows and a breathtaking mountain panorama, experience Waidring, Tirol

044. Europe‘s highest botanical garden, Jardin botanique alpin Saussurea

Schermata 12-2456994 alle 17.37.115.  Edelweiss

066. The relaxing Cambrian Hotel, Dorfstrasse 7, 3715 Adelboden, Switzerland

077. Rosa Alpina, Relais&Chateux resort in San Cassiano in Badia (BZ) Italy

088. Gran Paradiso National Park 

099. Tappeinerweg – Tappeiner promenade, 6km through Meran

Schermata 12-2456994 alle 17.43.1010. The Glacier Express is an express train connecting railway stations of the two major mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps

01111. 50’s Milka Alpine milk chocolate poster

01212. A canal in Annecy, the Venice of Savoie

01313. Zermatt, the car-free village in the upper Valais, Switzerland

01414. Der Bozner Christkindlmarkt , Bozen Christmas Market

01515. Cover of Thomas Mann’s  The Magic Mountain book 

01616. Neuschwanstein Castle: Castle in the Bavarian Alps 

01717. At 4810 m (15,774 ft), Mont Blanc is the highest summit of Western Europe situated between the French and the Italian Alps

18. Chairlift to Monte Cristallo 1960’s, Cortina d ‘Ampezzo, Italy

01919. Pasterze Glacier, Austria – the longest glacier in Austria and in the Eastern Alps

02020. Little white church on an island in the center of an emerald green mountain lake, Bled, Slovenia

02121. L’attrice francese Brigitte Bardot a Cortina D’Ampezzo nel 1958

02322. First Winter Olympic Games in Charmonix, 1924

Schermata 12-2456994 alle 17.38.4523. Bagni di Bormio Spa Resort
Via Bagni Nuovi, 7 – 23038 Valdidentro (SO)

02424. The Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps

02525. A place of well-being at the heart of the Dolomites – Alpina Dolomites, Alpe Di Siusi, (BZ) 

02626. South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Bozen

02727. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (MART)

02828. A great vegan Apfelstrudel version 

02929. Amazing design for the rooms of the unique Naturhotel Waldklause in the Oetz Valley

03030. The Pink Panther by Blake Edwards (1963) , set in Cortina d’Ampezzo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA31. At Hotel Des Alpes in Madonna di Campiglio,  you can find a portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria 

03232. Tirol ribbons with hearts and edelweiss

03333. Experience the real Mozartkugeln at Café Fürst, Salzburg

Schermata 12-2456994 alle 17.41.2134. Flohmarkt Bürkliplatz Zürich , fleamarket in the “ portal to the Alps “ , Zurich 

Schermata 12-2456994 alle 17.44.3235. ALPENZOO – Experience the animal world in the alps, Innsbruck Alpine Zoo

03636. Swiss Alpine Museum, Helvetiaplatz 4, 3005 Bern, Switzerland 

03737. Tyrolean dresses

03838. Gourmetstüberl USINGA, small gourmet restaurant with 18 seats on the north-eastern shore of lake Chiemsee. 

03939. Idrija Lace, One of the most adored Slovenian traditional crafts

04040. Ospitale Restaurant: via Chiave, 68 – 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Simplicity

Lately, I’ve been trying to simplify my life. I want simplicity in everything. Like, even Homeland annoys me because it’s too complicated.

Everyday life, beauty, clothes. I really don’t feel like worrying about any of it. I’m leaving today for three days in Miami, and my ultimate goal would be to fit all three days into my handbag (except that since I’ve simplified everything, my bag is tiny) (ok, maybe just fit all three days in my carry on) (ok fine, in my big suitcase, then — I guess I still have a lot to learn about living simply).


(And plus, if I only had three items of clothing, this would be a pretty boring fashion blog, right?)(Even if honestly — what’s all the rage right now to say you want to have less, which is proof that this post is not at all anti-fashion.)

This process has been in the works for awhile now — I told you about downsizing my wardrobe, remember? Well I enjoyed that so much that now it’s taking over my whole life.

My bag.

I only carry one bag now. It’s my favorite one — my Lulu bag by Saint Laurent, and I always have it with me. I don’t care about the others, this one is enough for me. It’s sublime, it goes with everything, and it’s not too recognizable, which I love.

You can’t fit much in it. So that forced me to rethink my wallet. I was tired of having a huge thing in my purse full of receipts and useless stuff. I figure if guys (guys are like old people — they’re right about a lot of things!!!)(oh there, I should write a post about that next time) can go out without a handbag, I should be able to go out without a wallet the size of Kanye’s Hummer.

So I got rid of everything and bought a tiny Comme des Garçons wallet which totally fits my needs. And my goal is to manage to make it work with nothing but a Smythson card holder in the near future — that’s how liberated I’ll be from all these base earthly concerns.

So now all I take with me every day is my phone, my wallet, my headphones, my keys, and a lip gloss. And honestly, I don’t miss any of the other stuff. Well, except for chewing gum, maybe. And blotting papers. And my compact. And hand cream. And a scarf.

Beauty.

Ok, we’re not going to talk about my haircut again, I think you’ve understood by now — it’s really super easy, and plus, the more Clyde, my hair stylist, gets to know me, the faster and more beautiful it is every time, and we don’t even have to talk to understand each other anymore.

As for makeup, I asked Tatyana, my favorite makeup artist (who told me “You really don’t know how to put on makeup” the first time I met her! And like any good French girl, I love when people tell it to me straight, even more when it’s at first encounter) to do two looks for me. One for night time, one for day time. We picked out my colors together, and I got rid of everything else — all the old tubes and tubs that were just collecting dust. I’ll show you what we picked out soon if you want!!!

Clothes.

I’ve already talked to you about this, so I won’t go on and on, but this is another area of my life where I keep simplifying. I just bought five Uniqlo sweaters. Cashmere, v-neck, neutral colors. They go with everything and even if it’s not quite a Bompard (do you know where I can find Bompard sweaters in New York?) it honestly makes my life so much easier.

Those, and a few pairs of well-cut jeans — that’s my base. Then I add either jewelry, a pretty coat, or a killer pair of shoes, and that does it for me. I’m still on the lookout for my killer pair of shoes for this winter, by the way…

Normcore.

Hey, I didn’t say I was Normcore. I like beautiful things and I think too many basics kill the basic.
And vintage 501′s scare me. They’re really not for everyone.

Food.

I make single-ingredient meals. Like yesterday, I wanted to make ratatouille, and then I ended up just cooking zucchini. The ingredients? Zucchini. Nope, I didn’t even add onions — it gives them a weird taste. It’s super tasty, takes only 5 minutes to prepare (it’s all in the provençal style cooking — a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and then you have to burn them just a little) and frankly, for someone who lives in New York and spends their life in restaurants, it gives your palate a nice break.
And it’s healthy!

So I make myself little dishes with three ingredients max. I love it.
Squash soup. Avocado toast. Steamed leeks. Dark chocolate. Sardines. Cheese for dinner. A glass of red wine. Ah the good life!!!

Traveling.

Not too far. Not too complicated. For New Year’s, I’ll be on a beach in Costa Rica. The goal? To try To surf, eat ceviche, and drink margaritas with friends. That’s it.
Hey, speaking of food and Costa Rica, hahaha. Bathing suit anxiety right after Christmas.

Exercise (aka: bathing suit anxiety right after Christmas)

After pretty much quitting yoga since it was kind of messing up my back (it’s a little depressing, given my incredible talent for it, I don’t know why, but yoga just hurts my back) I decided to start exercising again, but without setting stupid goals that I’ll give up on after half an hour.

So now I work on my abs and butt at home, and I walk at least an hour per day (to get to the Studio, for example)(I have a pretty good app for that — it’s called Moves*) or I’ll run for half an hour if I know I won’t have time to walk. That plus push-ups to get me ready for surfing (I’m at 12 now — in your opinion, how many do I need to do? 100? 88 more to go!!! Yay!!!) And when I have time, I’ll do yoga or pilates or a dance class with a friend. Just for fun.

Voilà. Simple, right?

What about you? Are you super trendy like me or are you still accumulating a bunch of stuff? (That’s so 2011 — seriously, pull yourself together!)

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*Moves, is like an improved pedometer that counts your steps.
The only problem with Moves is when there’s a glitch. Yesterday I walked like a crazy person to beat my record and suddenly the app froze, and I lost everything I’d done and felt like I’d walked for nothing, which is ridiculous and just goes to show how addicted we can get to these things!!!

Translated by Andrea Perdue

Miami Diary Day 3 // Sleek Swimwear

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When packing for Miami, I had just one thing in mind; to find the perfect swimsuits! Vacations are the epitome of escape, the essence of relaxation and we all deserve nothing more than to be sipping on a refreshing caipirinha while wearing the sleekest swimwear. Miami calls for big hats, bold colors, and dramatic sunglasses. It’s colorful glamour of the 1950’s was at the root of styles I was on the hunt for.

My search began on Shopbop where I discovered KORE. I was immediately taken with their playful color block cut out details that the bikinis and one pieces boasted. The vibrant colors and rich textures of the collection immediately transported me to the white sand beaches of Miami with tropicalismo melodies floating overhead.

My complaint about other bikinis today is that they are so over done! To many details, prints and strings. KORE’s collection holds a true minimalist design at it’s core (no pun intended) which I admire about their innovative designs. Their new 2015 collection fuses fashion with sport creating a hybrid of sleek, modern sophistication.

If you can see yourself sporting KORE for your upcoming resort trips, I have some exciting news for you!  We are GIVING AWAY one suit to one lucky winner! Check out their website for all of there styles HERE.  To enter to win, simply follow along below. We will be announcing the winner in this post next Friday, December 12th. Good luck!

1. Sign up for KORE newsletter HERE

2. Follow KORE on instagram HERE

*Selection will be made at random from the newsletter signups.  
 
UPDATE: The winder of the giveaway is Jade Sheldon-Burnsed!

Photos by Fred Cipoletti 

Miami Diary Day 2 \ The Iconic’s

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When it comes to styles, I gravitate towards the iconic’s. Whether it be a boater hat or classic wide leg pant, there’s sweet sentiments in dressing like your walking out of a Bridget Bardot film from the 60’s.  Have you seen Breathless? Oh, it’s a must if you haven’t. Each and every detail in the film is perfection. Just like the details of the film take you in, the details in an outfit are equally important.

I’ve always been in love with delicate jewelry, and lots of it! Stacking and layering diamond encrusted pieces is an understated way to make a chic statement. I am always looking for delicate watches to complement this so when I came across the Deco Diamond watch from Michele, it was basically love at first sight. Not only does it blend perfectly with my other diamond duds but the classic shape of the face and chain link band is as timeless and as iconic as they come. And in the era of smart phones as your time piece, I believe in elegant wrist wear!

Time pieces make amazing gifts for the holidays too and Michele Watches are the perfect gift for your picky bestie or watch obsessed sister.

Photos by Fred Cipoletti

My best 15 Airport looks

tbs_airport1 I was wearing:

CONVERSE ALL STAR
ZARA LEATHER SHORTS (similar here)
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGES
LOUIS VUITTON W BAG

tbs_airport2I was wearing:

CHANEL BOY BAG
LAER LEATHER JACKET (similar here)
LOUIS VUITTON KEEPALL BAG

tbs_airport3 I was wearing:

BALENCIAGA CEINTURE ANKLE BOOTS
VINTAGE TSHIRT
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGES

tbs_airport4 I was wearing:

BALENCIAGA CEINTURE LACE ANKLE BOOTS
JBRAND RIPPED JEANS
CELINE LEATHER JACKET
HERMES KELLY BAG
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGES

tbs_airport5 I was wearing:

REFORMATION SWEATER
LEVIS’S JEANS
BALENCIAGA CEINTURE LACE ANKLE BOOTS
CHANEL BACKPACK
LOUIS VUITTON ZEPHYR LUGGAGE

tbs_airport6I was wearing:

BALENCIAGA CEINTURE LACE ANKLE BOOTS
CHANEL BACKPACK
DIOR “SO REAL” SUNGLASSES
LOUIS VUITTON ZEPHYR LUGGAGE

tbs_airport7 I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION CAMERON SNEAKERS
JBRAND JEANS
IRO PARIS LEATHER JACKET
LOUIS VUITTON BACKPACK BY MARC NEWSON
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGES

tbs_airport8 I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION JAMES BOOTS
JBRAND JEANS
CHANEL BOY BAG
MR&MRS FUR BOMBER JACKET
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGES

tbs_airport9 I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI COLLECTION JAMES BOOTS
TOPSHOP PUG JUMPSUIT

tbs_airport11I was wearing:

THE BLONDE SALAD X STEVE MADDEN SLIPONS
CALVIN KLEIN COAT
HERMES BIRKIN BAG
DIOR “SO REAL” SUNGLASSES

tbs_airport12 I was wearing:

THE BLONDE SALAD X STEVE MADDEN SLIPONS
JBRAND JEANS
CHANEL VINTAGE JACKET
CHANEL BOY BAG
BALENCIAGA LUGGAGE

tbs_airport13I was wearing:

LEVI’S JEANS AND JACKET
MANEBI’ ESPADRILLAS
MIUMIU SUNGLASSES
LOUIS VUITTON LUGGAGES

tbs_aerport14I was wearing:

GIVENCHY LAURA BOOTS
CAROLINA WYSER JEANS
CHANEL BOY BAG
PEUTEREY PARKA
LOUIS VUITTON ZEPHYR LUGGAGE

tbs_aerport15I was wearing:

SENSO BLAKE BOOTS
STYLESTALKER HAT

Mad for Marrakech

I apologise if a) this is all old news to those that have been to Marrakech and b) if it all reads like a hackneyed travelogue stereotype.  I can only write it how I see it and the truth is… I’ve come back genuinely extolling the sort of cliches that a city like Marrakech inspires.  To me, the city was “magical”, “mystical” and “mysterious”…  any other words beginning with M that fit the bill?  Those words are fully warranted.    A rudimentary Google search on Marrakech though is enough to convince any vague aesthete of its virtues – the saturated colours, the pride in craft and and its inherent ties with design evident in almost every nook and cranny of their buildings and interiors.  Why it’s taken so long for me to visit a city that is drenched in colour and print is probably down to my own laziness.  I therefore have to thank my sister Louisa, who happens to be the art director of Black Tomato, the boutique travel agency which arranged this trip.  A three day trip to Marrakech blind would not have been half as enjoyable as the well researched one that we enjoyed.

I hope you’ll allow me to go a bit “lifestyle” and a bit “travel” on you.  It’s my opportunity to indulge in a bit of Trip Advisor-esque critique minus the tedious comments on cleanliness.  But in case you’re wondering if this is a little bit tenuous, a quick scroll through the pics might convince you of Marrakech’s mystique (oh look, another one…) and connection to style.

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We arrived into town and were immediately picked up by the wonderful staff of Riad Farnatchi, on the edge of the souks and in the heart of the Medina.  Or should I say hosts.  It was my first riad experience and I’m now loathe to go back to conventional hotels as you are welcomed in as though it was somebody’s private home (which they were, designed to create privacy and protection).  Any one of the nine suites at Riad Farnatchi is a treat with private balconies or roof terraces attached to the lavishly decorated rooms.  I have no other Riad experience to compare with but the Farnatchi is pretty hard to beat in my mind – every little detail from the nightly canapés, the fruit arrangement at breakfast and the thorough hammam experience was well thought out.  I especially liked the personal tidbits in the information guides, written by the owner James himself.  Nothing felt standardised or systematic.  Had it been hotter (rain and 15 to 22 degree temperatures didn’t dent my experience), i probably would have wiled away hours on the rooftop or in the lush courtyard pool.

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IMG_0668Joe enjoying brekkie on his private balcony

IMG_0694Morning Marrakech!

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We got a bit carried away with our complimentary fez hats and djellaba robes.  Breakfasts and baths are way more fun when you’ve got a Fez hat on.

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We then went over to The Fellah, twenty minutes south of Marrakech to have lunch and to get a tour around what would definitely be my alternative choice of accommodation if I wanted to be away from the bustle of the Medina (a combo of an in-town Riad and something like The Fellah would make sense to me if I came back for a longer trip).  It’s a cool, slightly “hipsterfied” retreat-driven counterpart to the authentic and traditional Riad, with plenty of Insta-friendly interior details.  It’s not all about surface though as the community, eco and cultural exchange aspects are quite impressive You can brew tea, train in a boxing ring or milk a goat with a local Berber villager.  You can also learn about Arab literature or see an artist in residence at its cultural centre Dar Al-Ma’mûn.  Or else, just enjoy the poolside view overlooking the Atlas mountains.  

IMG_0634Louisa, Joe and I buddying up at the Fellah

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IMG_0036   141121_Joseph_Piper_Marrakech_Portraits_IMG_9811Photograph by Joseph Piper

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IMG_0616Wearing Kemissara ruffled top, vintage slip dress, Monki leggings, Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, Jerome Dreyfuss bag

Thanks to my super duper organised sister, the next day, we headed out for a day trip to the foot of the Atlas Mountains in the Imlil Valley passing through several Berber villages backgrounded by the surreal sight of snow-covered Toubkal (the highest mountain in the Atlas mountains), next to autumnal leaves and lush greenery.  Another “Awesome, Immense, Dose of Nature!” ticked off the bucket list.

En route we stopped off at a female cooperative producing argan oil and like the good tourists that we were, bought a needless amount of the stuff (both for eating and cosmetic use) as souvenirs.

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141122_Style_Bubble_Joseph_Piper_Marrakech_IMG_0721Photograph by Joseph Piper – Me and my super sis Louisa

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Guided by Noureddine, we got an insight into Berber village culture and also got a lot of inquisitive.  In manner of Sue Perkins in the Mekong, it does feel a bit odd to be trekking through a village with inquisitive kids and cats scampering about everywhere, as though it could be intrusive.  Noureddine assured us though that the reliance on tourism in Morocco means we are welcome by the villagers so long as we don’t point our cameras at them.

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Instead we pointed them at the imposing and mighty Toubkal… and my *ahem* interesting choice of hiking gear.  Yes you can trek with three different prints on…

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IMG_0879   141122_Joseph_Piper_Marrakech_Portraits_IMG_0876Photograph by Joseph Piper 

IMG_0915Wearing scarf from Bali, Fancy Shit paisley jacket, Nike hoodie, Romance was Born t-shirt and trousers, Nike Flyknits, Ally Capellino rucksack, Miu Miu sunglasses

Around the corner from our Riad, is Medersa Ben Youssef, the former Islamic college built in the 14th century, which is just as impressive up close as it is from afar.  We managed to catch the famous courtyard, surrounded by marble and stucco carvings and rich geometric tiles, with nobody in it but the cleaner.  I love that you get these moments of real tranquility shielded by high walls and adorned by courtyard pools, that contrast with the madness of the souks beyond.

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Another place of far-removed tranquility is of course the Jardin Majorelle, which I talked up yesterday.  It’s hard to convey in pictures, the incredibly intense saturation levels of the “Majorelle” blue of the Villa Oasis, contrasted with bright yellow accents.  As we approached the building, I believe we did do a collective squeal.

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141123_Joseph_Piper_Marrakech_Portraits_IMG_1210Wearing vintage Celine cardigan, Low Classic dress, Nike Gyakusou leggings, Christopher Kane sandals, Jerome Dreyfuss bag

Another note about the Boutique Majorelle, where I purchased the Yves Saint Laurent “Love” inspired leather slippers: it’s really not just another gift shop.  The selection of caftans, blankets, slippers, jewellery and other ornamental gifts are sympathetic to the Jardin’s connection with Saint Laurent, as exemplified by the orange and pink satin kaftan and turban combo below as well as to traditional Moroccan craftsmanship.

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Just across the road 33 rue Majorelle, Marrakech’s first and (only?) concept store, there’s more evidence of a new generation of designers wanting to place Moroccan craft into a contemporary context.  I loved the pieces like a Berber wrap skirt by Bakchic, designed by Moroccan fashion blogger Sofia El Arabi and the dyed leather bags by Fez-based label Mouhib.

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Back in the Medina, Norya Ayron is updating traditional kaftans and aybayas in a range of modern fabrics at her Pop-Up Shop at the restaurant Le Jardin.

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I’ve left the best and the most “relevant” until last.  Souks galore of course!  I was actually setting myself up for a disappointing browsing experience as having been to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, I was pretty much disillusioned by all the tourist tat and vaguely sexist/racist yelling.  The souk sellers in the Medina do try and lure you in but it’s less hardcore than their Turkish counterparts, unless you stop and make eye contact and enter into a bartering position.  And the actual products on sale – away from the main drags running off the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa – is definitely worthy of your attention (and your dirhams!).  Without even buying anything it’s worth spending many an hour walking around, connecting up colour and pattern seen in every shop and its merchandise.

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IMG_0106Breakfast fruit plate at Riad Farnatchi

IMG_0051Tiles at Cafe de France – the spot to grab a terrace view of Jemaa el-Fnaa

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IMG_1374Woodworker making traditional handles 

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IMG_1369Bric a brac shop in the souk

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IMG_1365Marble solitaire anyone?

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IMG_1357Silk thread shop – the seller tried to convince me that I needed all of these colourful spools of thread in my life.  I almost believed him.

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We had walked two minutes into souk on Sunday and we were immediately told by an overly enthusiastic guy that they were dyeing the silk and wool and after ducking in and out of several alley ways, we found ourselves in the dyers’ souk where natural pigments and spools of yarn are processed in a large vat.  The owners of the accompanying scarf stall were trying to lure us into buying something, wrapping Steve up in Yves Klein blue but in the end, once we said it was a firm no, they did let us go without any aggression.

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Staying in the Riad Farnatchi, we were lucky enough to be a stone’s throw away from many a craftsman.  It’s a world that exists not just for tourists but as a nod to local traditions – there’s a weaver, a tannery, a lamp welder (no candlestick maker…).  It’s not craft for craft’s sake but a concrete way of making a living here.  And I’ve never been in a city where practically every street has a seamstress/tailor working for local trade.

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IMG_1291Weaver and scarves at Bennouna Faissal

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IMG_0019Courtyard of a tannery – the stench of the bird poop to make the skins supple is truly heinous…

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I was expecting the hard sell to be harder and so in the end, was pleasantly surprised.  Save for the food sellers on Jemaa el-Fnaa, who seem to think us Brits would be sold in with a spot of Cockney slang and bad impressions of Jamie Oliver, the people in the souks were quite helpful and eager to talk about their wares once you got past the initial cat calls of “Konichiwa”.  If I had more time, I might have gotten carried away with the shopping but on our first souk experience, we came away with a few wooden cooking utensils, some spices that we needed in the pantry anyway, a vintage tile and my primary target of purchase – two boucherouite rugs. 

Yes, they flood every savvy interiors blog and yes, they’ve been “on-trend” for a while.  I always felt they’ve been sold at inflated prices on eBay, Easy and interior shops so I thought it was better to go to the source (well at least the same country) to buy them.  Once you’ve seen these rugs, made out of fabric scraps, in the humble homes of Berber villages and on the backs of donkeys and mules used as saddle covers, it’s hard to see them as a bijoux interior item priced at a trend-led premium.  That said, it was a joy to see so many to choose from in every carpet shop.  No two are the same which just meant I ended up in a rug quandary everywhere I went, frustrating both the sellers and my travel gang.  In the end I chose two small ones that would fit my tiddly bedrooms and paid a price that didn’t insult the seller and in my mind, was well worth the trip to Marrakech.

141123_Style_Bubble_Joseph_Piper_Marrakech_IMG_1435This particular rug was pretty expensive but the dense weaving of a huge variety of rags warrants it… except I’d probably prfer to wear it as a skirt rather than have it on my floor…

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141123_Style_Bubble_Joseph_Piper_Marrakech_IMG_1464Photographs of carpet sellers by Joseph Piper

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IMG_0024Marrakech – a cat lover’s paradise.  Kitty kitty kitties everywhere…

I know I say this after every travel post that I’ll be back.  I’m keeping my promise with Marrakech and other parts of Morocco will be on the agenda soon enough…

Experience Morocco with Black Tomato

From Marrakech with Love

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>> The title of the post is how the imaginary postcard would have gone if I had gotten my wish to stay on… and on… and on… It will surprise nobody that I’ve returned from my too short first-time trip to Marrakech in Morocco longing to go back.  The natural oohs and aaahs that the intensely vibrant yesteryear city incites are fully warranted.  I’ve just had to wait a while to experience it.  Despite my tardiness to the joys of Marrakech, I’ll still be rounding up my three day stay, with much thanks to Black Tomato Travel, with a hefty post once I’ve sorted through the bajillion of pics we took.

05_STOLEN_MOMENTS_Yves_Saint_Laurent-4Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech in 1969

For now, I’m keeping it short and sweet.  Let’s kick it off with “Love”, the theme of Yves Saint Laurent’s greeting cards, which he would create out of collage every year to send to close friends and clients to ring in a new year.  Their designs are on displayed at the Galerie Love Saint Laurent within the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, which Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé rescued in 1980 and used as his Marrakech bolthole.  It felt like a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting the beautifully landscaped gardens on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, a tranquil world away from the dusty bustle of the Medina, where Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered when he died in 2008.  Except instead of feeling sombre like you would at a grave, it was celebratory of Saint Laurent’s love of this garden, carefully restored, cultivated and maintained by Berge and Saint Laurent, and of his overall love of this mysterious city, where he felt the creative freedom to dive into an extremely colourful oeuvre in the 1970s, furiously sketched out in felt tips, and fuelled by his tight knit circle of muses wafting around.

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The exuberant and often witty graphics that Saint Laurent designed as greetings cards, exploding with colour and fun, moments of frivolity captured in his turbulent emotional life.  The beautiful merchandise in the Boutique Majorelle (no normal souvenir shop) – took inspiration from the cards and so it is I came home with a pair of embroidered leather slippers, spelling out LOVE, the only emotion I was ever going to feel for this city.

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Seoul visual diary: Dongdaemun and things, part 3

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Style-Slicker-x-Ralph Lauren's The Mini Ricky

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

With little time in Seoul, I wasn’t ready to go back to Hong Kong and face the dreadful heat and get bitten by blood sucking mozzies all over again.  My brother Ken and I were invited to spend a couple of nights at JW Marriott in Dongdaemun Square Plaza, a stone throw away from Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul’s popular shopping destination and traditional markets that covers the entire area.  Did you know the building of JW Marriott was what used to be a car park complex once belonged to a previous Hotel?  We indulged an afternoon Britishness in the rooftop alfresco before we took a walk around the neighbourhood and beyond.

What to see and do in Dongdaemun and beyond.

  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza – a shiny fluid form, neo-futuristic building what looked like a starship enterprise in Star Trek.  Designed by Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid, DPP is a popular tourist destination, the plaza features exhibition spaces and shops as well as a fashion hub in Seoul Fashion Week.
  • An afternoon/evening stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream – usually flooded with lovers for a quiet intimate moment, and joggers a like.  Do take a stroll during sunset and enjoy the breathtaking views of reflective skyscrapers.
  • Cycling along Han River – you can rent a bike at Yeouido Park from 3,000KW per hour.  Yeuouido is considered the mecca for cyclists, inline skaters and marathon runners in Seoul, it’s congested in most weekends for family and campers alike.

 


The post Seoul visual diary: Dongdaemun and things, part 3 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

Seoul visual diary: Dongdaemun and things, part 3

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Style-Slicker-x-Ralph Lauren's The Mini Ricky

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

With little time in Seoul, I wasn’t ready to go back to Hong Kong and face the dreadful heat and get bitten by blood sucking mozzies all over again.  My brother Ken and I were invited to spend a couple of nights at JW Marriott in Dongdaemun Square Plaza, a stone throw away from Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul’s popular shopping destination and traditional markets that covers the entire area.  Did you know the building of JW Marriott was what used to be a car park complex once belonged to a previous Hotel?  We indulged an afternoon Britishness in the rooftop alfresco before we took a walk around the neighbourhood and beyond.

What to see and do in Dongdaemun and beyond.

  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza – a shiny fluid form, neo-futuristic building what looked like a starship enterprise in Star Trek.  Designed by Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid, DPP is a popular tourist destination, the plaza features exhibition spaces and shops as well as a fashion hub in Seoul Fashion Week.
  • An afternoon/evening stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream – usually flooded with lovers for a quiet intimate moment, and joggers a like.  Do take a stroll during sunset and enjoy the breathtaking views of reflective skyscrapers.
  • Cycling along Han River – you can rent a bike at Yeouido Park from 3,000KW per hour.  Yeuouido is considered the mecca for cyclists, inline skaters and marathon runners in Seoul, it’s congested in most weekends for family and campers alike.

 


The post Seoul visual diary: Dongdaemun and things, part 3 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

New York sky

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I was wearing:

SAINT LAURENT BOOTIES
ANIYE BY BOYFRIEND JEANS
UNIQLO TURTLENECK
ZARA CAPE AND SCARF
CARTIER BRACELETS
CELINE BOX BAG

Photos by Cole Barash

Hong Kong diary

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Three days spent in Hong Kong, city I’d never been before, for my shoeline, Chiara Ferragni, which landed to I.T. concept store with a dedicated event.
In the photos our walks at Causeway Bay, the Sky Terrace on the top of Victoria Peak, Mong Kok and the highest bar in the world, Ozone :)

Tre giorni passati ad Hong Kong, città nella quale non ero mai stata prima, in occasione della mia linea di scarpe, Chiara Ferragni, che è arrivata in anteprima da I.T. con un evento dedicato.
Le foto delle nostre visite a Causeway Bay, la Sky Terrace a Victoria Peak, Mong Kok, ed il bar più alto al mondo, l’Ozone :)

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HONG KONG, November 3rd-6th 2014

CHIARA FERRAGNI SHOES available ONLINE HERE and IN THESE STORES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Mcq Coat weather

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New York and my first winter taste: perfect occasion to wear the new McQ Alexander McQueen coat.

New York ed il mio primo vero assaggio di inverno: ottimo pretesto per indossare il nuovo cappotto di McQ Alexander McQueen.

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I was wearing:

DIOR SNEAKERS
GAS DENIM OVERALL
STEFANEL STRIPED SWEATER
MCQ ALEXANDER MCQUEEN COAT
LOUIS VUITTON MAXI EARRING
HERMES KELLY BAG
FENDI BAG BUG
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

All pink everything in New York

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Came back last morning to Milan, and already I find myself in a hurry through all the meetings before Milan fashionweek madness.
Little by little also on the blog all the looks worn for New York fashionweek, starting with this one wearing the golden slip-ons of my new capsule collection, “The Blonde Salad x Steve Madden” (in stores and online now).

Tornata a Milano ieri, e naturalmente sono già di corsa tra tutti gli appuntamenti prima dell’inizio della fashionweek milanese.
Pian piano ecco anche qui tutti i look indossati per la settimana della moda di New York, a partire da questo in cui indossavo le slip-on della mia capsule collection appena uscita, “The Blonde Salad x Steve Madden” (negli store Steve Madden ed online).

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I was wearing:

THE BLONDE SALAD X STEVE MADDEN GOLDEN SLIP-ONS (available on Stevemadden.com and Victoriassecret.com)
MSGM TROUSERS
MSGM SWEATER
DELFINA DELETTREZ EARRINGS
THE ROW BY LINDA FARROW SUNGLASSES
CELINE BOX BAG
HAIR BY REDKEN 5TH AVE

Photos by Gregorio Capineri Tosetti

The Del Val #40

Chances are if you’re reading this you consider yourself a creative type.  And maybe while traveling you’d like to stay in another creative type’s home?  Look no further for what will assist you.

Spotify explains itself. To add our two cents: People tend to forget that in the creative fields a few people make most of the money, a portion manage to make a living, and everyone else does what they do largely as labors of love. It’s been that way for decades and we doubt it will ever be all that different in the future. Regardless, just do your small part and pay if you like consuming something!

Last week we posted about dancers in a ballet institution. This week we feature some on the streets showing people their skills for free.

We frankly don’t know how London can find enough qualified people who possess such extraordinary memory retention to drive its cabs. Peek into what is considered the hardest test in the world.

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the states, which means many people will be spending time in the kitchen. If you’re not in yours all that often these short, instructional videos will help you do things the best and most efficient way. Plus you were just on the NY Times’ site already anyway.

You were just assisted in the kitchen, now let’s look at your walls and how you are hanging artwork on them.

While the internet breaks itself over shiny Kim we’ll take an un-retouched Lara any day.

 

A weekly round up of the best links from Delphine & Wes Del Val.


By delphine and wes

The Del Val #40

Chances are if you’re reading this you consider yourself a creative type.  And maybe while traveling you’d like to stay in another creative type’s home?  Look no further for what will assist you.

Spotify explains itself. To add our two cents: People tend to forget that in the creative fields a few people make most of the money, a portion manage to make a living, and everyone else does what they do largely as labors of love. It’s been that way for decades and we doubt it will ever be all that different in the future. Regardless, just do your small part and pay if you like consuming something!

Last week we posted about dancers in a ballet institution. This week we feature some on the streets showing people their skills for free.

We frankly don’t know how London can find enough qualified people who possess such extraordinary memory retention to drive its cabs. Peek into what is considered the hardest test in the world.

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the states, which means many people will be spending time in the kitchen. If you’re not in yours all that often these short, instructional videos will help you do things the best and most efficient way. Plus you were just on the NY Times’ site already anyway.

You were just assisted in the kitchen, now let’s look at your walls and how you are hanging artwork on them.

While the internet breaks itself over shiny Kim we’ll take an un-retouched Lara any day.

 

A weekly round up of the best links from Delphine & Wes Del Val.


By delphine and wes

Dreams of San Fran

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Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1707Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1722 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1855 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1662 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1789 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1806 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1849 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1781 Margo and Me_SanFrancisco_1717With the holidays on the horizon, we have a lot to be thinking about..already! I don’t know about you but I just booked travel plans and am excited for a little east coast snow, but not too much! Last time I wished for that we were snowed in for two weeks! Whoopsies!

There are things in my life that I am rather last minute about but Holiday shopping however, is not one of them. It’s almost like a sport for me, plotting the play by figuring out the perfect gift for my loved ones and then executing my plan of attack based on sales and special discount codes! I like to refer to it as smart shopping and with all that is available to us at our fingertips, there’s no reason to not be smart shopping not only through the holidays, but all throughout the year!

Trust me, I get it. The holidays put a lot of pressure on our already stressful lives and let’s be honest, our stressed wallets! My goal this holiday season is to to bring you a little inside scoop on the tricks and the trades of shopping during the holidays to relieve a little of that stress.

First off! I have been curating a very special gift guide over the past month. If you head to the shopping portion of my site, you can find not only categories from Under $100, Gift Guide and Accessories, but I also list to a bunch of my favorite retailers who are my go-to’s for the holidays. Not to mention, Nordstrom offers free sipping AND returns….just sayin’!

You guys, black Friday is just around the corner! Which by the way, did you know it’s the fifth most popular shopping day of the season? The first, Cyber Monday on December 1st! Mark your calendars and keep an eye out for my list of go to destinations for the best discounts online and in store. And I’ve been working hard to bring you discounts on those luxury goods you’ve been eyeing all year! Because hey, Santa might forget that YSL bag you’ve been ogling!

Also, if you’re following along on my Instagram page @MargoAndMe you might be seeing a lot of this  LIKEtoKNOW.IT stuff! Curious about what it is? It’s another shopping tool! Because Instagram does not allow users to provide direct links, Reward Style has come up with what I think is the more viable (and genius) solution which I love using not only to show you where to shop what I am wearing but a lot of my favorite designers and retails use it also – this makes it easy for me to shop their looks directly from my inbox! Essentially, once you sign up for LIKEtoKNOW.IT (HERE) all you have to then do is like a photo like you normally do on Instagram when you see a code that looks like; www.liketk.it/dsj7. Then an email is sent directly to your inbox with cute little photos and links to each of the products that I am wearing, making it easier than ever to get my looks. But you can also just scroll down and shop them from here :)

Photos by Fred Cipoletti

When in Kauai

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I was wearing:

INTIMISSIMI SEXY NUDE SLIP
INTIMISSIMI SEXY NUDE PUSH UP
INTIMISSIMI LACE BABYDOLL

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Beijing Instants

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Last month I was in Beijing doing a bunch of work and here are just a few instants of my stay there. For those of you who’ve followed me from the beginning, I used to live here (for almost three years!) which is why it’ll always feel like home to me. This time I was luckily to be hosted by the incredible Opposite House, which is hands down my favorite place to stay in the capital. Super modern architecture and close proximity to the best restaurants and shopping. Make sure to check it out if you’re ever in the ‘Bei’! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

xo V

40 things about Hong Kong

unnamed-201 1. Tian Tan Buddha 

022. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery 220 Paitau village, Shatin, HK

HK 33. Man Mo Temple one of HK oldest temples dedicated to the gods of literature and war, Hollywood Road, Sheung wan

04 4. Old Wan Chai Post Office on Queen’s Road.

05 5. IDT Sheung Wan, cultural hub of HK

06 6. Lanterns festival in Hong Kong 

077. Johnson Road in the 50’s 

HK 8 8. Kowloon walled city Park, Kowloon city district. The park covers 31.000 square metros and is divided into 8 scenic zones.

09 9. Grassroots Pantry, 12 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Hong-Kong  

01010.  Lung Jie Thai Restaurant  , G/F, 2A-B Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City

Hk 11 11. Light  Radiant Food , Eastern Street, Western District , Hong Kong

012 12. Nan Lian Garden: Tang dynasty-style garden in Diamond Hill, HK

013 13. Mana ! fast slow food 

014 14. Sense 99 Bar, 99 Wellington street

015 15. Blue house, No. 72 Stone Nullah Lane 

016 16. Street Art and Graffiti in Hong Kong

017 17. Kowloon walled city, 350 interconnected high-rise buildings where 33.000 resident live. Originally was a chinese military fort.

01818. Early morning at Wan Chai street market. 

018.519. Hong Kong View in the 70’s  

HK 19 20. Lee kung man knitting factory, 111 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan

020 21. Seeva taste bar: luxurious restaurant and terrace bar at top prime central tower.

02122. Symphony of lights. Every night view of Victoria Harbour at 20.00 pm

HK 22 23. Apliu Street, Street market

023 24. Disneyland Hong Kong, Lantau Island

group25. I.T Hysan One store, here you can find Chiara Ferragni Collection shoes, 1 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

02526. Art Basel. Up coming Art Basel shows are planned in advance so you may mark your calendars 15-17 march 2015.

026 27. Ilivetomorrow gallery , 45 Tung St, Hong-Kong  

027 28. Fungus workshop, 4 Po Hing Fong, Hong-Kong 

028 29. Moustache, 31 Aberdeen St, Hong-Kong

029 30. Monocle shop, Shop 1, U/G, Bo Fung Mansion, 1-4 St. 

030 31. Cat Street Market , Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, China (Formerly Upper Lascar Row)  

031 32. Ocean Park Hong kong Giant Panda Adventure , Aberdeen Hong Kong

032 33. Teakha, a lifestyle concept tea café & zakka store 18 Tai Ping Shan St, Hong-Kong 

033 34. Bauhinia blakeana, the flower in the national Hong Kong flag 

034 35. Flower Market. Most famous one is held in Victoria Park in Causeway bay. Annually starting a couple of weeks before new year and running until new years day.

035 36. Tung Choi Street North – better known as the Goldfish Market is where Hong Kong people go to buy luck-bringing goldfish and other tropical aquarium pets.

036 37. Victoria Peak, highest point on HK island, standing at 552 m.

037 38. Ammo Cafè, restaurant and bar 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, HK

038 39. Sky 100, highest building in HK.
The observation deck is located on the 100th floor of the iconic ICC building offering a 360º views of HK.

03940. Wan Chai District Nightlife

 

Coming to Chicago!

Next week Garance and I are headed to Chicago for the first time ever!!


Yes, that’s right, we’ve both never been.

Garance is being honored at the Museum and Science and Industry with their first ever Fashion Inspiration Award (bravo G!) and we’ll be doing a Fashion for Breakfast event at SoHo House, but we’d love to know: what should we do and see? Who should we meet?

And more importantly, where can I get the best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza?


By emilyn

Coming to Chicago!

Next week Garance and I are headed to Chicago for the first time ever!!


Yes, that’s right, we’ve both never been.

Garance is being honored at the Museum and Science and Industry with their first ever Fashion Inspiration Award (bravo G!) and we’ll be doing a Fashion for Breakfast event at SoHo House, but we’d love to know: what should we do and see? Who should we meet?

And more importantly, where can I get the best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza?


By emilyn

Seoul visual diary: Bukchon and Samcheongdong, part 2

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

I’ve always wondered what it was like to stay in one of the traditional Korean hanoks in Seoul, you know, sleeping on the wooden floor with a padded mattress, a pillow and duvet in a windowless box-size room, sit on the floor with legs folded and have breakfast or dinner with Korean folks.  My ideal lifestyle for a bumster like me.

Arriving late in the evening from Hong Kong to Seoul, my brother Ken and I booked an overnight stay at Moon Guest House in Anguk before we moved to another accommodation at JW Marriott in Dongdaemun, we shared a small room without a fuss, it was a perfect opportunity for sister to brother pillow-talk catch up.  Thankfully, we both had a good night sleep, however, due to time constraints, and we were unable to explore the guest house and experience the traditional way of living, we checked out in the morning and left our luggages behind, had breakfast at a nearby cafe, and then enroute to Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을), a few minutes walk from the guest house and Anguk Subway Station, we arrived there early to avoid influx of tourists from China.  Many snaps later and being told to hurry up and move on by a group of impatient ajummas (middle-aged woman), we left Bukchon and strolled through Samcheongdong (삼청동), a quaint neighbourhood characterised by small cafes, restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, and hanok-style residential buildings tucked away in quiet alleyways leading up to tree-lined main street of Samcheong-ro.  It was another surreal moment for me.  You know what?  I would absolutely love to live there!


Stay tuned for part 3!

Have you missed part 1, click on the link to read Seoul visual diary: Cheonggyeong Palace and Daeonsil.


The post Seoul visual diary: Bukchon and Samcheongdong, part 2 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

Hawaii diary

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Photographic diary of my five days in one of the most beautiful island I’ve ever visited: Kauai.

Diario fotografico dei cinque giorni passati in una delle isole più belle che io abbia mai visitato: Kauai.

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KAUAI, 24th-28th October 2014

Seoul visual diary: Changgyeonggung and Daeonsil, part 1

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

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Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

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Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

Changgyeonggung - Seoul

A long-overdue blog post and (drum roll, please)… I’m very excited to share my visual diary from Seoul, I can’t believe it has taken 5 months to slap the photos on the blog, my, I really do take my time there.  It was my second visit to Seoul in the last 5 years, previously my Korean cultural experience was so-so.  This time I asked my younger brother Ken of popular blog Seoul State of Mind (he lives in Gwangju province) to spend 2.5 days with me in Seoul, I haven’t seen Ken since our sister’s wedding 2 years ago so it was a good time for some catch-up, plus he acted as my private tour guide!  He knows every nook and cranny in Seoul, and he can speak Korean, daebak!

We visited Changgyeong Palace (창경궁) in Waryong Park, Jongno district, a 10 minute walk from Hyehwa subway station, on the Seoul Subway Line 4. Let me tell you something, the palace grounds were massive, it was like a forbidden city with numerous residential quarters to house the king, queen, concubines, queen mother, attendants eunuchs, maids, and officials.  Along with ornate pavilions, gates, shrines, Daeonsil (the Great Greenhouse), and countless numbers of halls for different purposes.  To step foot in the old 15th Century palace from Joseon Dynasty was quite surreal, I was in awe of everything, having been a big fan of Korean period dramas since I first watched Dae Jang Geum in 2004, I was mesmerised by its ancient culture – the food, costumes, etiquette, beauty, and the beautiful language. I was hooked!

We couldn’t leave the palace without visiting the Great Greenhouse ‘Daeonsil’, a stunning enclosed botanical garden built in 1909, a perfect place to escape from the burning heat and torrential downpour, or even for a romantic cuddle.


Address: Changgyeonggung, 185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 185.

Admission fees varies by season, click HERE for more info.

Wardrobe: Lace dress – courtesy of Dahlia, mesh jacket – courtesy of Stills Atelier, shoes from Kurt Geiger, sunglasses from Topshop, vinyl bag – courtesy of GoldenLane.


The post Seoul visual diary: Changgyeonggung and Daeonsil, part 1 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow

I’m generally not the biggest fan of motivational quotes.  You know, the sort that flood social media updates and get people nodding along and saying “Wow, so true!”.  Can people’s complex, multi-layered and situational problems be uplifted and solved with a a snappy, cliche-ridden (and often nonsensical) statement written in a cool Sans Serif font, accompanied by a generic stock image?  The Nike Women’s showcase for S/S 15 in New York was exactly the type of event, from which said motivational statements are borne.  “Just Do It” is arguably the godfather of these sentiments.  They were dotted everywhere at the event and in their line of communication.    Mark Parker, CEO and president of Nike, took to the stage to kick off the showcase last week and said things like “We know how much crossing the finishing line matters but so does the collective joy of that journey.”

Except at Nike, I allow myself to drink all this proverbial kool aid because by physically going from couch potato/sitting lemon to running 5-10k, these are exactly the sort of sentiments that pump through your head whether you want them to or not.  Parker stated some facts that have vast significance to how women at large are changing their lifestyle and why statements like the ones below resonate increasingly.  For the first time, women outnumber men in gym memberships.  Health and fitness apps have grown faster than any other app category.  Nike’s women’s apparel is now worth $5 billion in revenue with a view to growing it to $7 billion by 2017.  With Nike alone, 65 million women engage through social media.  Women have downloaded the Nike+ Training Club app 16 million times.  The Just Do It slogan, which was originally rendered in a blocky heavy font in 1988 – on the occasion of this special showcase dedicated to women, was all brush-stroky and without wanting to give fonts sexual identities, more feminine.

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And so we got a lot of “she” power that was bound to psyche even the hardiest of cynics.  27 powerful and inspiring sportswomen to be precise, which included the likes of marathon legends Paula Radcliffe and Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympics gold medalists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ,and Allyson Felix and tennis star Li Na.  More importantly it was also a multi-generational line-up that asserted Nike’s position in the women’s activewear – they’ve been doing this for years and they’ll carry on doing it bigger and better than anyone else was the main missive.  It was interesting that I arrived in New York to hear Alexander Wang talk about performance and a lifestyle where gym merges into nightclub and that a woman is ultimately more active today and then towards the end of my trip, Nike were declaring the same.  Only their product has a conviction that is hard to fault.  The fashion world may be trying to get a slice of the fitness pie but how do you gain a woman’s trust when it comes to apparel and footwear that need to support, perform and also look good?

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The looking good was answered with a fashion show – a bit of a surprise move from Nike.  When I interviewed Parker at the event, he once again asserted that fashion is never the primary goal and that it’s the subsidiary effect.  “Often times we solve problems in unique ways that could become fashionable.  It’s not the purpose or the intent to create a fashion statement.  Performance solutions have interesting aesthetic outcomes.”  To debut a collaboration with Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço in women’s training, both female athletes and models walked the catwalk amongst flora and fauna and new Nike campaign star Karlie Kloss (who admittedly is a bona fide runner, ballet dancer and yoga aficionado) descended from the ceiling on a platform with Joan Smalls, Damaris Lewis and Jeneil Williams behind her.  This was significant on more than one accounts.  There’s much to be said for enticing the female customer with the format of fashion – a show, the models and an editorial worthy campaign.  In this instance though, Nike have worked with Kloss for her fitness credentials though as opposed to her aesthetic ones, which rings true.  If fashion has been co-opting the surface of performance and sportswear without the technological prowess, then Nike can surely flip reverse that and borrow a few things from the fashion world, without compromising what is at the core of their product which is innovation gained from athlete interaction.  “Performance is our foundation ultimately,” said Parker.  “We had 27 athletes today – they’re 27 out of of hundreds, and really out of of millions.  From world class to everyday athletes, we have the ability with them and dig out insights that fuel the innovation.”

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0E5A9715The 1994 Nike Women “Statistics Lie” campaign (which was accompanied by a picture of Marilyn Monroe at the time)

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0E5A9731A showcase of all of Nike’s past achievements with female athletes from Paula Radcliffe’s record breaking marathon time to Cathy Freeman’s hooded “Swift Suit”

Nike’s new womenswear collaborations was the big story of the day but we were also presented with an overview of  S/S 15 product where once again aesthetics took centre stage.  Or to be more specific, the idea that aesthetics and performance can be combined so that you can wear these clothes and go from the gym out to wherever you’re going afterwards.   The printed “tights” (not sure why Nike shirk from calling them leggings) equipped with waistbands and pockets for runners and jazzed up with saturated digital prints that are placed strategically on the body, took centre stage in a myriad of patterns.

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Nike’s Flyknit, three years after its groundbreaking debut is getting wilder in colour palette and being applied to an increasing number of styles such as the popular Roshe (I’m a recent Roshe convert…).  Parker hinted at Flyknit’s yet-to-be-tapped potential for the future.  “The advancement in the type of knitting that we can do in one shoe and to o see where it’s going is incredibly exciting.  It’s in the infancy stage really.  We’ll be able to scan your foot, knit right to your foot… and you’ll see printing and digital technology come together so that the ability to customise will be very exciting.”  Like Apple, people will look to Nike expecting the next big thing, but for Parker, what is “big” to him is to evolve what he already has and move it forward into new realms.  Flyknit’s possibilities within apparel for instance is still something that I personally get excited about.  Watch this Flyknitted space…

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The main “fashion-focused” takeaway from the day would have been Nike’s collaboration with Lourenço, which will soon be available online and is currently in Nike Lab stores now.  One of my questions to Parker was how he chooses collaborators for Nike and more to the point, why doesn’t he go for the obvious (as in the biggest designer likely to generate hype) – “It’s less the name and more the approach to what they do,” he said simply.  Lourenço seems like an idiosyncratic choice from the outside but when he met with Nike, both parties found they had a common interest in innovation and technology.  “I wanted to add a sense of luxury to work out gear and I had always in mind a collection that you could merge elements from two different worlds,” said Lourenço.  Parker is equally effusive.  “In the case of Pedro Lourenço, he comes from a more luxury standpoint.  There is an awareness of performance and to function but he’ll interpret it in a way that makes it more appropriate for moving the clothes into a lifestyle mode.”  Whilst this young Brazilian designer is rethinking the way he presents his own mainline, with Nike he has come up with a beautiful collection that combines his aesthetic with Nike’s technological aspects.  You wouldn’t expect to see nude and black as a colour combo at Nike, leggings with an attached skirt across the front or flocked pixel dots on mesh but Lourenço and Nike collectively came up with a combination detailing and silhouettes that reflect both parties.  This synergy is best seen in a croc embossed neoprene jacket, originally based on a 1960s croc jacket that Lourenço had found, which Nike have transformed into a performance piece.   “Sportswear feels like such a luxury – today, it’s a luxury to being able to test new ways to manufacture clothes and to find function to find new aesthetics,”  The process of working with Nike has also made Lourenço think about the current state of fashion’s manufacture and stagnation.   “As the industry develops itself, it’s a great move for fashion to incorporate more of these elements that I’ve seen at Nike.” said Lourenço.  “Ideally for me, if I think about how fashion is established today, pret-a-porter should become something like high-tech haute couture, mixing the old and the new.  The contemporary market is what people buy and pret-a-porter should be pushing things forward.”  He wasn’t the only one to pass similar comment.  A British fashion journalist, who had never been to a Nike media trip, wondered why the fashion world doesn’t borrow more from a company like Nike.  That points to a bigger discussion about innovation within the industry, which perhaps Nike is instigating.

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unnamedThe entirely reflective outer of Pedro Lourenço’s Nike shoe

Another collaboration that was partially unveiled was even more left field than the one with Lourenço.  Try Googling Joanna F.  Schneider.  You’ll find little about this German designer who has worked for numerous sportswear and activewear brands over the years.  Schneider also works out heavily with a regular regime that means she has developed personal needs and requirements for her clothes.  This is essentially a personal collection of modular pieces that Schneider is connected with, offering something different to the world of women’s training from fold-up capes that can be worn as a warm-up piece to loose culottes with air vents.  We only got a sneak preview here of a few pieces but the full collection will drop in different stages in February and April.  It’s an interesting collaboration to get your teeth into as you wonder why it is Nike would choose to work with someone who is essentially a behind-the-scenes designer.  Basically though, Schneider knows what she’s talking about as someone who regularly works out and wears performance gear and her insight as a designer is more valuable to Nike than having a razzle dazzle profile.  It goes back to this idea of authenticity that Nike emphasises time and time again.

On the subject of collaboration, Parker’s words reveal more about why he chooses the collaborators that he does and why the projects are normally so specific and not in the fashion-norm of going for market-driven hype.  “The most important collaboration is obviously with the athlete but in terms of with fashion and industrial design – you get different perspectives which you might not have gotten on your own, which I love.  We don’t have pre-conceived notions of where things should go when we collaborate.  We don’t try to brief collaborators.  I love this kind of cross-pollination of ideas.  It’s not that the result is something we couldn’t have done but that we might not have done it.”

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Once we had gone around and done our media duties interviewing and taking notes, it was time to move.  I mean, really move.  Truth be told, I had been lagging in a couch potato mode following my New York tech disaster where I basically sat in my hotel room bed, scanning and trying to recover SD cards, watching SATC E! channel marathons and ordering too much room service.  I was desperate to break into a neuron-driven sweat.  Cue a mass collective of 300 media folk participating in a high intensity NTC Live class held at the Cunard Building, a venue that I’m familiar with because I’m normally there attending fashion shows.  This beautiful space was transformed into a church of work-out where you’d look up to see a neon-clad motivators moving atop a digital cube, flanked by more neon-clad work-out instructors.  This is where all that “fitspiration” came in handy, like the one I’ve used as the title of this post, which @NikeWomen tweeted me with.  I did emerge sore and yes, I felt stronger the next day.  Mainly because I hadn’t spent the day wallowing in my bed eating an odd combo of room service fries and longans from Chinatown.  But also because it does strengthen and empower you to see a massive group of people high-fiving each other throughout the session, cheering each other on and yes, feel some vague feeling of sisterhood.  It didn’t matter that we couldn’t follow the instructors’ moves with precision and pace.  It wasn’t about competing with each other or doing this to attain a level of physical perfection that defines who we are.  It’s about doing it for self-gratification and moving to feel good.  Here comes a quote to better summarise the experience.   And it’s a believable one courtesy of basketball star Skylar Diggins.  “It’s not about being the best.  It’s about being your best.”

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To feel that extra bit of soreness that surely means strength is on its way, kitted out in our new Pedro Lourenco pieces and in a more intimate environment, we did an intense modelFIT class.  Dubbed the class in New York that trains Victoria’s Secret models, this class was less about pace but more about stretching out those muscles you never knew you had to sculpt, tone and work on your core strength.  Being a complete newbie to such a class, neon rubber bands, light weights and sliding discs were all a novelty to me.  And my muscles are feeling the pain benefit as we speak.  I’m surprisingly keen to do it again or find something similar in London, to compliment my lonesome runs to M83.  Can you tell that the kool-aid has gone right to my head?  You’ll soon see “Strong alone, unstoppable together” popping up on my Instagram.  Accompanied by a blurry picture of a female group hug of course.

0E5A0111modelFIT – where you work out to the scent of Diptyque candles… 

0E5A0063Lou Stoppard of SHOWstudio wearing her new Pedro Lourenço x Nike jacket well

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P.S. Last time I posted about Nike, a few commenters had a LOT to say about their CSR and sustainability policy.  I have an interesting follow-up as I briefly interviewed Hannah Jones, vice president of sustainable business & innovation at Nike, aka my new favourite person because everything she said at the Nike event and in our interview was so salient and inspiring.  It will make for an interesting follow-up to my own take on “Half-Arsed Ethics”.

Silver girl

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I was wearing:

SAINT LAURENT GLITTER BOOTS
SAINT LAURENT BAG
CELINE + CARTIER BRACELETS

Photos by Andrew Arthur