Monday, January 31, 2011

powerful pennies

I don't know why, but I've been glued to the latest news regarding the protests and uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, and on smaller scales in Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria. I can't imagine how the young people must feel, having worked so hard to attend and graduate college, only to find a jobless reality and incredibly corrupt governments with exorbitantly priced daily necessities. Frustrating to say the least.

It's understandable for those of us out of the region to feel helpless. But our pennies are powerful. Here are some fabulous finds. Let our pocketbooks send a message - we support those who want to support themselves through education, hard work, and peace.

Azza Fahmy
- Known to be the leading jewelery designer in the Arab World, Ms. Fahmy has more than 40 years experience leading her company with the most amazing Egyptian design influence. Her pieces can be found from London to Cairo and are simply stunning.

Williams-Sonoma - The purveyor of all things cooking, the kitchen giant currently features a Tunisian tagine, hand-painted by a single artist. This earthenware dish can be used for traditional North African dishes, as well as couscous and rice dishes. If you've never cooked with a tagine - the cone shape makes for incredibly moist foods. This version features food-safe paints and glazes, is made of hand-thrown clay to retain heat, is perfect for cooking and serving, and is oven and microwave safe.

Eau de Sisley 2, one of my favourite fragrances, features Jasmine from Egypt. The sultry mix of delicate florals and strong organic notes is incredibly intoxicating.

Sometimes when our voices can't be heard, our dollars can make sense.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

discounted bliss

I love their products, and have written about Bliss several times now. And, through midnight tonight (eastern standard time) - you can save 25% off your purchase with promotional code basics25, and enjoy complimentary shipping when you spend US$50 or more (which is not hard to do).

I really love their blood orange + white pepper collection, the fabulous foaming face wash, and a host of others.

What can be better than discounted bliss?!

Friday, January 28, 2011

fashion + passion = down under

As each day progresses, our global economy is becoming smaller and more dependent on the economic climate and model of others. When the price of crude oil increases in the Middle East, the price of corn in rural America increases, and the price of an apple in London increases, and the price of a train ticket in Sao Paolo increases, and the price of fish in Norway increases. We're all in this together. As China and other countries are developing into strong economic forces, I've been watching how the luxury fashion industry has responded. Observations included: Burberry creating a collection exclusively for the Japanese market called Burberry Black Label. Hermes opened an exclusively Chinese centered company called Shang Xia.

We've also seen a huge increase in corporate philanthropies. Computer pioneer Microsoft saw CEO Bill Gates leave to start his own incredibly well-funded foundation. Power players from across many segments of industries are seen with (Product) RED - from Giorgio Armani to The Gap to Motorola to Apple.

There's an Australian department store called David Jones that I've been following for a few years now.

DJ is not just Australia's oldest department store -it's the longest running department store, operating under the same name, the whole world over! Mr. Jones immigrated to Australia from Wales and opened his lavish store, with the promise of selling the best the world has to offer, with a focus on providing the everyday wants of today's shopper.

DJ has always been a future-minded business. Taking the accolade as the country's first department store, to bringing the "European Department Store" concept to the land down under, to installing Sydney's first hydraullic elevator. At the turn of the 20th century, DJ broke from the dependence on foreign imports by opening their own factory, Marlborough Street, which just hapepned to be the largest of its kind in Australia. Here, they manufactured a huge variety of goods from clothing to cabin trunks. In the 1920s, Charles Lloyd Jones moved his grandfather's company even more into the future when he purchased an entire city block in, what was preceived to be at the time, a remote area on Elizabeth Street. The now landmark location, which has been DJ's flagship since opening in 1927, single handedly changed the landscape of Hyde Park and moved the focus on fashion, literally and physically.

During World War II, DJ weathered the stormy economy and social environment. Converting part of a store into a club for soldiers and military personnel, and evening housing the Ministry of Munitions in their Market Street store. And in fabulous fashion, just as the war was ending, DJ was the first purveyor to show the New Look collection of Mr. Christian Dior - the very first to see the collection outside of Paris.

And now, DJ has struck the power of pink. I always take into special account when businesses of any industry, but especially my beloved luxury fashion industry, intertwine philanthropy into their core values.

Listed under their typical menu of services, including corporate accounts, gift registries, gift cards, and price matching, is the atypical "Rose Clinic". Since 2003, DJ has partnered with BreastScreen NSW and BreastScreen VIC to provide services at their incredibly unique on-site Breast Screen Clinic for women at their Elizabeth Street flagship.

The Rose Clinic provides a range of health services for women: mammography, blood pressure monitoring, blood tests and heel ultrasound screening to assist in the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

The aim of the The Rose Clinic is to make these vital health screens more accessible for women. The environment is welcoming and comfortable, and the services are absolutely free. All women are welcome, especially if you are aged between 50 and 69.

Our partners in The Rose Clinic are experts in their fields. The government-funded BreastScreen NSW provides free screening mammograms to help with the early detection of breast cancer. The Royal Hospital for Women is the only specialist women’s hospital in New South Wales, and has an outstanding reputation for care.

I couldn't imagine a more suited partnership - fashion + passion = David Jones.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Stupid Philosophy

I can't get enough. I have always loved the jeans. I know this campaign is old. But I don't care.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

incredible design, incredible access

When you think of clothes and accessories that are designed with incredible precision, passion, attention to detail, and overloaded with luxury and style, you probably think of outrageous price tags, selfish and stuffy designers, and exclusivity so intense and out of reach that you never get a glimpse of the designer or even the design process, let alone be able to buy any of the items.

Now take a look at Marc Jacobs. He is the creative genius behind Louis Vuitton, and his own brands Marc by Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs collection. His designers are not only sought after, they're coveted for their brilliant designs, durability, comfort, and overall bad-ass existence. From the fabric selection to the cut to way the garment drapes, down to the threads and zippers - everything is chosen for a reason. That reason is in the name of perfection. From basic t-shirts to the most intricate handbags, Marc Jacobs knows fashion. And now, you can know Marc.

His latest philanthropic effort is a book called The Men + Women of Marc Jacobs. It features a collection of stunning photographs of employees from around the world, dressed in none other than Marc Jacobs, and also includes photographs of those behind the scenes, behind the cash registers, and behind the business desk of the powerful brand: including Marc, business guru Robert Duffy (who I lovingly refer to as RDuff) and assistant Reese. The pictures weren't really planned. It all started when photographer Brian Bowen Smith was traveling with MJ and Co. around the world for store openings and business meetings. During down town, Brian started taking pictures of the staff. And before you know it, an entire collection of incredibly creative, vivacious photographs had amassed and BAM! the book was reality. And the pictures aren't even the best part - the proceeds benefit Breast Cancer research and advocacy. (In 2006 MJ featured an entire skin cancer campaign, featuring naked celebrities on tshirts, also photographed by BBS).

So now, business trips are turning into "book parties", giving even more access to customers, and giving more opportunity for shoppers to actually live the idea of the brand. Marc Jacobs isn't just a designer. His empire is a lifestyle. From his clothing and accessories shops, to his bookstores (playfully named bookmarc) to the next best creative outlet we don't even expect, everything Marc touches is magnetic and marvelous.

So here's a glimpse into one of the book signing parties recently from Europe.

And as if communicating directly with customers and fans through social media wasn't awesome enough (you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other media channels. It wouldn't surprise me if we started seeing designer messenger pigeons, if that's what it takes to spread the message of style and fashion and love!). MJ and Co. are constantly updating fans on what's happening behind the brand - from fabric selection to travel plans. Recently RDuff posted a photographic of a prototype messenger bag for men and invited followers to comment; after overwhelming responses, the bag is now off the future production schedule.

When I think about other designers I love, there's a mystery and disconnect that seems to work for them. Maison Martin Margiela will always be one of my favourite designs, and he will always be the most evasive, unknown person. It's said that The Men + Women of Marc Jacobs isn't just a collection of beautiful photographs of beautiful employees of a global fashion powerhouse - to those who work with the brand - it's a family photo album.

Marc Jacobs isn't just changing the world of fashion. He's changing the world of people. One tweet at a time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Luxe Looks and Loves

Shirts and ties with vneck sweaters. Flip your cuff up just a little to expose some color and continuity from your collar. Looks great with your favourite denim and luxe loafers for a casually elegant night out.

I don't know why, but I love designer sneakers. Dior Homme always have the most desired metallics, and Dolce & Gabbana constantly play it cool.

Love sailing or yachting inspired outerwear. And in frigid winter weather, you'll appreciate those water resistant techno fabrics, Velcro tab cuffs, and double layered collars with hoods. Protect yourself in style.

Vintage accessories are back and bolder than ever before. Slim, but not skinny, knit ties. Vintage with a story and real character are all the rage - think of your Grandfather's cuff links or your Mother's favorite necklace. Ralph Lauren catalogue's the most storied pieces at his RRL stores. Catherine in West Hollywood's store will guide you tissues the Rolex officer's pocket watches from the 30s and 40s.

Speaking of watches, I can't get enough of the Bottega Veneta unisex BVX watch. 41mm of fabulosity and extreme luxury, everything about it screams timeless sexiness.

When the smartcar came to the states, it definitely made me nostalgic for Europe, but not enough to buy. The Mini Cooper got me actually seeing myself in the British classic. But I still didn't jump. But Fiat's 500? I think I'm ready to line up. Especially if my favourite Italian denim range Diesel brings their limited edition. Come se dice "style and class on the freeway"?!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cruise to Spring

Dreams + Drama + Design = style. Make it happen.
White white white is the absolute hottest, with orange, gray, and random pops of color. Crisp and clean and kickass cool is the name of the game.
Flowing silhouettes that are figure flattering and totally fun.
Unexpected, contrasting colour. Winter is dull and dead, so think like spring and sprinkle in some florals and flowers to your closet.
Bold belts, strong shapes, and juxtaposed textures - pairing voluminous tops with tailored bottoms, smooth leathers with fluffy furs, fun feathers, and fantasy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

fashion + film

My buddy just sent this to me. I've followed Scott's work for years now. I had no idea that he has been such an influence on my life, until watching him reflect on his own life, in his own words. I am shocked. He could be describing me...

I only hope I can be as edited, calculated, and respectfully restrained as Scott. His point of view is simply well done.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

proper vintage

Steve McQueen is undeniably a style icon. Guys wanted to be him, women wanted to be with him. Masculine. Athletic. Tailored. Street chic. Effortless. Qualities all the best designers aim to incorporate.

I can't get enough of this Barbour jacket from J.Crew. I've always loved pieces with character, where authentic vintage inspiration is done properly with a modern twist.

Rugged enough for the British Royal Army and cool enough for Steve McQueen, the International was first designed back in 1936 and has been worn by serious motorcyclists and easy riders ever since. Now, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, the original is back, faithfully replicated in the authentic A7 block with the original coloring and 8-ounce Sylkoil waxed cotton, designed to protect against foul weather and high winds, no matter what your speed. True-to-tradition details include an authentically distressed finish, aged snaps, a Union Jack-team embroidered badge and an enamel pin, as well as a full ancient tartan lining for a warm and easy fit. Available in extremely limited numbers, and you'll only find it here at J.Crew. Standing collar with buckle closure. Snap closure. Removable self belt. Front and back patch pockets. Adjustable snaps at cuffs. A Collector's Item. Made in England. Spot clean. $US 849.

Paired with your favourite denim and tshirt for a quick drink, or over gray wool trousers and a button down dress shirt, this jacket emits serious style.