Oooooh Paris. In the middle (I don’t dare say end…it would tempt the fates) of this long and frigid winter here in Montreal, I was looking to bring a bit of colour into my life by means of a Christian Dior Just One… selection. Those pinks! With burgundy! divine. Those shots of colour were just …
When I kicked off the Just One… series over a year ago, the idea was to build a dream closet by selecting one look from each Fashion Week. Just One…out of all collections presented in each city. And for the most part, everything I’ve selected has been pretty practical. I’ve filled this closet of mine …
London has been on my mind a lot lately. I haven’t been in years and sort of have the itch to explore the city again – pubs, markets and tea…can’t go wrong! Whenever I revisit a place I haven’t been in a while, I can appreciate the usual sights, but am always thrilled to discover …
I have to admit – Fashion Month totally snuck up on me. You see, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. A work funk – missing my mojo when it comes to taking care of business and getting s*** done. A life funk – taking winter hibernation to a whole new level and …
I used to read a lot of the Man Repeller. Leandra’s irreverent take on fashion, and her kooky outfits were a bright spot in an industry (fashion blogging) where everyone tends to i) look the same and ii) take themselves far too seriously. I stopped reading her site a few months ago when I found it hard to reconcile the shift away from her voice to that of contributors, and the ever-increasing commercialization of the site. (I get it, bloggers need to make a living too, but how many special features on hair product can I be expected to take?)
That said, the best takeaway from my time as a ManRepeller-ite is having started to read the Paris Review.
When I’m at the magazine store, I usually drift between fashion and home décor. Perhaps a pit stop in the political and international newspaper sections. Rarely do I hunker down to the floor level to look through the tiny rack of literary journals where the Paris Review resides. And boy, had I ever been missing out!
There’s a great mix of poems, art, short stories and interviews. Some of the names are well-known, and others are just getting their start in the literary world. It’s a great sample pack of all sorts of very well curated written work, and I’ve never been disappointed by an issue.
As a plus, it’s even a great publication physically. Trade paperback size, on nice thick paper, ever-changing cover art and a well-chosen font and design. It just feels plain good to carry and read the Paris Review. Which scores it major points from a non-Kindle fan like myself.
There is a downside though…I end up wanting to read more from each author featured, and there’s simply not enough time in the day to delve into their bodies of work. I’ll just have to trust that the best bits have been brought into my life by the Paris Review.
What books have you been dipping into lately? Ever read the Paris Review? Is it weird that I was kind of upset that it was New York based…not Paris based? Does George Plimpton make you swoon too?
“If you are happy, pleasant, and unselfish in your behaviour towards others, obstacles will shrink.
If you are miserly with your emotions and judgmental in your mind, obstacles will grow.”
– BKS Iyengar, Light On Life
In both life and business, I think that Iyengar’s words serve as a reminder that we’re best served when:
We come from a place of Yes
(there’s always a solution within your negotiation that will meet the parties’ needs)
We come from a place of abundance instead of famine
(Time, money, energy…we’ve got more of it than we think)
We prioritize generosity and service instead of isolation and short term thinking.
(Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture in either your business or life. The obstacles being put up will either make us stronger in conquering them, or send us on a new path.)
What does this conjure up for your life? Your business? Has there been a time when a shift in attitude brought something amazing?
I love it when I’m looking at a piece of art, and though I’m thoroughly enjoying it for its beauty or depth, I’m also struck by a connection to a modern theme.
In this case, I loved seeing Tissot’s two takes on the same dress. He used the same white ruffled/yellow bowed dress in two paintings, two years apart – and with very different effect.
The portrait of Miss Lloyd is quite proper.
While his interpretation on ‘Spring’ is more relaxed, playful and evokes the warmth that the change in seasons brings.
Through a modern lens, I get a kick out of the fact that even famous artists re-use the same outfits once in a while. It’s not all about getting new clothes – changing how you style them makes all the difference in the look and feel of your ensemble. So, if ‘one dress, two ways’ is good enough for Tissot – it’s good enough for me!
When in Paris, there’s a pretty standard “hit list” of museums that everyone goes to see…
The Louvre (celebrity pieces and lots of variety)
Musée d’Orsay (wonderful repurposed train station and great impressionist collection)
Centre Pompidou (views of the city and mind-bending modern art can’t be beat)
But after a few visits, they grow old. (I can’t believe I just said that…but it’s true) The Ville de Paris supports a variety of museums that are open to visitors free of charge – and are more than worth trekking a bit off the beaten path to visit.
One of my discovered gems is the Musée Bourdelle in the 15th arrondissement.
I first visited on a cool but sunny fall day, and loved the way Bourdelle’s sculptures were presented in both interior and exterior settings. That the museum was also Bourdelle’s studio during his years in Paris adds a certain air of excitement – knowing that you’re know viewing the work in the setting and light where it was conceived and created.
A particularly unique feature is the tactile room, where you can actually touch various bronzes and learn about the process of taking a sculpture from drawing, to clay, to wax – and eventually to the bronze forms. Even though touching the pieces in this room is encouraged, I always feel a bit like a little kid, looking over my shoulder to see if I’m going to get ‘caught’.
The next time you’re in Paris – I highly recommend spending an hour or two with Bourdelle’s sculptures.
18, rue Antoine Bourdelle
Métro : Montparnasse – Bienvenüe / Falguière
Bus : n°28, 48, 58, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96
Station vélib : 26, avenue du Maine, 138 rue du Cherche Midi
Autolib’ : 4 avenue du Maine, 16 rue de l’Arrivée, 20 boulevard de Vaugirard
Le musée est ouvert du mardi au dimanche de 10h à 18h.
Fermeture du musée les lundis et les jours fériés.
“C’est dimanche, donc on n’est pas les esclaves de beauté.”
“It’s Sunday – so we’re not slaves to beauty.”
Fall is here, Winter is coming, and I’m feeling hibernation mode hitting in a big way.
There’s something about this turn in the weather that inspired me to pull out the cozy sweaters, the big scarves and abandon more stylish options. And every once in a while, that’s ok.
I heard a woman on the street here in Montreal saying this to a friend and it’s become my Sunday mantra ever since – yoga pants on, hair in a top knot and perhaps a colourful scarf – definitely not a slave to beauty, but a beauty nonetheless.
What’s your go-to Sunday look? Does leaving the house without the full ‘look’ leave you flustered? Want to share your weekend mantra?
Image: La Lecture – Georges Croegaert
The Museum at FIT is a must-see every time I’m in New York. I love that the museum is small, well-curated, and I’m always discovering something new. As an added bonus, FIT also showcases the work of their graduating students, and this year I had the chance to see the MFA Illustration work in the ‘Cloud’ exhibit.
A stand-out for me was Aida Pinhas’ “Fashionably Superstitious” project, which combines textile design and illustration of the signs of the zodiac.
Evocative of each sign, but without being too literal or heavy-handed in the inspiration, Aida’s work really impressed me. Very much looking forward to seeing what’s next for this FIT grad.
Images via Aida Pinhas/Behance.net
You can find more of Aida’s work at art & design by Aida
I was fortunate to be in Paris during Fashion Week this year. No, no, no coveted show invites or VIP parties for me – just a normal gal in the town seeing the sights (and keeping her eyes open for fashion-types…I saw Claude Montana rue Saint-Honoré! A thrill to see such an industry legend.)
But between watching models eat nutella crepes (fact. spotted with my own eyes) and noting a far greater number of adventurous fashion choices about town, I still had an eye on the show coverage.
That said, I must admit that I fell in love with a look from the shows before the shows even officially started. You see, there was some pre-fashion week coverage via WWD and the moment I saw this behind-the-scenes snapshot from the Dries Van Noten preparations, I knew I’d found my Just One…
I’m inspired to pull out the sewing machine when I get back to Montreal and make my own sleek gold lace skirt. I’d love to dress it down during the day with a blouse or sweater, and then play up the glam factor for post-work drinks. Spring Summer 2014 – can hardly wait!
Did Paris Fashion Week bring you love at first sight? Any styling tips for wearing gold lace during the day? Do you think anyone at PFW was able to top Dries’ collection (or Rick Owens’ presentation?)
True to reputation, the shows in Milan were notably sexier than those in New York and London…something about the city seems to make hemlines climb and climb (and necklines drop and drop).
The look I fell in love with is by Dolce & Gabbana. And that I’m selecting it shows that I’ve made major progress when it comes to embracing patterns. I’m usually not a fan of graphic prints, (Recall the creepiness of the Mary Katrantzou shoe prints from London. Those gave me the heebie-jeebies) but I really enjoyed the architectural images being featured in the D&G collection.
Though perhaps a full camisole is required before I break this number out at the office…I think it’s a very refined, ladylike AND undoubtedly sexy look.
What do you think of the look? Did you have a favourite from the Milan shows? Do you work at an office where a lace top + bra is dress-code appropriate? Are you hiring?
I felt my inner Devil rising to the surface as I viewed the coverage of the shows in London…
Spring Summer 2014 Ready To Wear…pretty evident.
I heard Miranda Priestley’s voice deliver the scathing commentary:
“Florals, for Spring. Groundbreaking”
I’m not much for florals. Or pastels. Or floral pastel lace. So the London shows were a bit disappointing for me. However, Temperley of London came through with something I’d actually adore having in my closet!
As the temperature creeps up next Spring, and I’m looking for something glamourous for a Friday night out with the girls, this will be the look I reach for. Perfectly accessorized with a glass of champagne I think.
Are you in a fluster about florals for SS14? Ready for the head-to-toe lace look? Were Mary Katrantzou’s running shoe graphics cool? or creepy?
I think it’s safe to say that September is amongst my favourite months of the year. As a kid, I was always very excited for back to school (I
was am a bit of a keener, could you tell?) and especially loved getting to pick out a few new sweaters – sweater weather is the best, and late September here in Canada is usually a lovely mix of warm sun and chilly breezes.
As an adult, the thrill hasn’t worn off, and I’ve got my sights set on filling my Dream Month with a mix of fashion, history and music – and let’s not forget a dash of girl power.
Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John. F. Kennedy
Dallas Museum of Art
Until September 15th, 2013
Photo from JFK Library, Dallas Motorcade
I’ve never been to The Big D – but I’ve heard good things (and seen just how stylish it can be thanks to Law of Fashion‘s recent relocation) and in my Dream September would like to explore the Dallas Museum of Art, and their exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. Not simply a collection of works evocative of the President, these are the actual paintings that were curated to decorate the Kennedy’s rooms at the Hotel Texas during their stay in November 1963.
Lakmé – Opera de Montreal
September 21st, 24th, 26th & 28th
Photo from Opera de Montréal
Of course, the downside to being in Paris and attending lectures at the Panthéon (yes, there actually is a downside to that…) is that I’ll have to miss the Opera de Montréal’s production of Lakmé back at home. As evidenced by the promotional image above, the Montreal opera productions are quite stylish, and in my Dream Month I’d have the chance to see how such a classic opera is transformed into ‘a sparkling production, bathed in the colours of Bollywood’. Chances are, even if the opera isn’t ringing any bells, you’ll recognize the Flower Duet.
…Paris & Washington D.C. …
One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is wandering around a museum, pausing in front of my favourite pieces and allowing myself to daydream a bit.
This daydreaming comes much easier to be when the work is portraiture – rather than landscape.
Post-Impressionist French artist Paul Cezanne is one of the ‘greats’ and over the years I’ve been almost programmed to think of him as only a landscape artist. So I’m always impressed (and surprised) when I find myself in front of one of his portraits.
The colours in the ‘Young Italian Girl’ below are so vibrant – and I can almost hear her sighing as she takes a well-deserved break from her work.
In contrast, Cezanne’s ‘Man With Crossed Arms’ is dark and broody. When I look at him I start wondering who he’s giving the side-eye to…and how he’s going to handle what must be a wee bit of animosity.
And the work that surprises me most of all is ‘Achille Emperaire’. For me, it evokes the work of Otto Dix – the strong features, the rather odd proportions and the Poe-esque hair all draw me in.
Are you a portrait or a landscape fan? Is there one of Cezanne’s pieces above that speak to you? What do you imagine their story is?
As I explored the Jacques-Émile Blanche exhibit at the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent last year in Paris, Sir Coleridge Kennard wasn’t the only character I was drawn to. Wandering the rooms of the gallery, I was amazed at Blanche’s ability to capture mood and personality in his work.
Anna de Noailles pulled me in.
Comtesse de Noailles was born in Paris, and started her career as a poetess in the early 1900s. She was part of Blanche’s social circle – calling Cocteau, Colette and Proust amongst her friends.
There’s lots of wonderful information, along with translations of her poems at annadenoailles.org
Usually, in my Dream Month posts I conjure up an itinerary that takes me around the world to all sorts of events – most of which (both cities and events) I will likely never be able to see. But for August – I’m mixing it up.
You see, I’m one of those people who likes to take my vacations in the early fall. Taking a holiday in the summer just makes no sense to me – why pay peak season pricing, deal with crowds and miss out on the easy commute traffic back home while every one else is on vacation? The downside of this is that I usually spend my last month of the summer wishing the days away and daydreaming about finally stepping onto that jet plane for my annual escape. I don’t enjoy all that my city – Montreal – has to offer.
But I want that to change this year – so here are 4 things in Montreal that I’m excited to do or see before the summer is up.
The Festival de Loto Quebec is an annual firework festival held at Montreal’s amusement park, La Ronde. About once a week during the summer, I’ve sat at my desk at home listening to the booms and bams coming from the festival…but haven’t actually gone. Even without purchasing a ticket, there’s a great vantage point from the top of the Jacques Cartier Bridge – they close it to traffic on the nights of the shows, so pedestrians can gather to see the lights. The grande finale is tomorrow – a tribute to U2 via fireworks…and this time I want to be right up there on the bridge, instead of at home.
2) Ripples Ice Cream
On ‘The Main’ (St. Laurent), Ripples has the best ice cream I’ve ever tried. Picking a flavour is difficult (so I usually end up sticking with the chai tea one – divine, just like a frozen chai latte) …
When you decide to visit l’Institut du monde Arabe in Paris, you expect to see artifacts and cultural objects. Maybe even some art. But what you don’t expect is to find amazing textile art.
With the Bokja Project, Beirut designers Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri used the traditional craftsmanship of bokja – the detailed textiles that are traditionally used to wrap the dowry of brides – to tell the story of the Arab Spring.
Being able to get up close to the pieces was a treat, and knowing that each item was handcrafted adds to the emotion of the story being told. Unfortunately, the exhibit has since closed, but the good news is that Bokja’s work continues with the designers home decor.
Outside of gallery walls, Bokja creates home furnishings that mix tradition with modernity seamlessly. The pieces exude the authenticity that retailers like Anthropologie and Crate & Barrel attempt to replicate – but can never match.
Check out Bokja at their site - bokja.wordpress.com
Finding ways to combine corporate techniques with a creative perspective is my thing (Especially when it comes to negotiations). But doing this isn’t always easy – you need to have confidence in the value of your technical abilities, but also be strong enough in your creative vision to not be intimidated by applying a process or tweaking your techniques to be slightly more inside – rather than outside – the box.
No matter what your field of work is as a creative entrepreneur, here are 3 tips for adopting business practices in a way that lets you hold onto the value of your creative process – but also build upon it.
1. Make It Seamless. It can be disorienting for your clients and customers if you end up with a Jekyll and Hyde persona when it comes to how you conduct business. Are they working with a purely creative spirit? Or a strict and by-the-spreadsheet business person? Work on finding a combination between the two that allows you to naturally flow from one to the other so that your customers don’t sense the change – they just sense that they’re dealing with YOU.
2. Add Your Twist. There’s no need to apply textbook business solutions to your business just because an ‘expert’ says so. What you need to do is apply the business solution – but with your own creative twist. For example, invoicing customers is an important practice – it helps you collect your payment and track your revenues/accounts payable. But who says that invoicing needs to be boring? Create a template that matches your aesthetic: your logo, your colour scheme and your vocabulary. Take the core concept of “sending a notification to someone to let them know a payment is due” and use your creative skills to change its form.
3. Benchmark. This is a big, jargony, corporate word for saying that you should look around at others in your industry/field/metier and see what’s working best for them…and then figure out how you can blend their best practices into your work. Start the journey by sending an email to someone you admire and ask for their advice! You reap the double benefit of networking AND helping your business. Just be sure not to get overwhelmed by benchmarking professionals toooo far ahead of where you are – just a step or two ahead so that the lessons you learn are do-able, but still aspirational.
Are you working to find your mix of creative flare and corporate process? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? If there were one person you’d like to reach out to for advice on how they’re making it work – who are they?