Monday, 31 December 2012

Shoe of the week - Louboutin

The saying goes you should wear something red on New Year's eve. Red lingerie. But this year, this just feels a little bit... well, boring. To heck with tradition, why not start a new one and ring in 2013 with something... red-soled for a change? Like, say, a beautiful pair of Christian Louboutin Decollete Strass in silver with a 10 cm heel.

They're festive, they're fabulous, a little bit flamboyant and, on the whole, completely exciting. Not to mention that they're the perfect accessory for a new beginning - a little bit of red for passion, a little bit of sparkle for love and a little bit of height for you to reach even your highest dreams. Have a beautiful celebration tonight and soak in all the magic.

Monthly loves - December 2012 edition

  • Loved to dress... for a schizophrenic personality. Skinny black jeans, snug knits in neutral colours of grey and beige and biker boots. And, though not at the same time, elegant silk blouses in duchess cream with pencil skirts with golden iridescences. 
  • Loved to shop... for Christmas presents for loved ones, despite the madness of shopping at the same time with thousands of other people. Favourite gems uncovered? Cashmere scarf in navy blue and burgundy for my husband, dusty pink pearl earrings for my mother and many colourful toys for little boys (ok, just one boy, but there were very many toys).
  • Loved Internet discovery... was A collection of inspirational examples of interior design and decorations. Currently thinking how to redecorate the house (not even 2 months after the last round of changes... crazy, anyone?)
  • Loved designer... Oscar de la Renta. Mythical, feminine, stylish and glamorous. Plus all that sparkle. The dream indulgence for the holiday season.
  • Loved beauty products... included cozy old favourites like the Lancome Teint Miracle and OPI "Tasmanian devil made me do it". New finds like the Apivita Aquavita 24h moisturizing cream with chaste tree and honey - light and fresh on the skin, delicious to smell.
  • Loved at home... to have candles, candles and more candles. In the absence of a fireplace, they are the best way to create that half-quiet, half-romantic atmosphere of a soft Christmas. Well-kept secret: Voluspa French Bourbon Vanilla and a fresh Christmas tree equals the most delicious scent you could wish for winter.
  • Loved to listen... to jazz carols and the soothing voice of Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Loved to read... The lover's dictionary, by David Levithan. A creative account of a love story, unfolding itself in front of your eyes in alphabetical order. It felt like a puzzle - you didn't get the whole picture until you got through to the last piece. Beautiful and impossible to put down.
  • Loved to watch... Pride and Prejudice. The 1995 BBC version. Meaning the best version. A Christmas tradition for ten years now. If a dapper Mr. Darcy with Colin Firth's smooth voice murmuring "You have bewitched me, body and soul" is not the perfect Christmas present, I don't know what is.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Guilty pleasure of the day - Brian Atwood jewelry

Brian Atwood is hot. Himself, his shoes, his campaigns. Brian Atwood is not afraid of controversy. About himself, his shoes, his campaigns. Brian Atwood sells... sex. In a sensual, beautiful, confident and straightforward way that you cannot help but love. And now, Brian Atwood also sells jewelry. Jewelry that bears the same sexy, yet aesthetically refined signature we've come to recognize so well.

The six-piece collection includes wrap bracelets, sleek choker necklaces, and architectural cuffs done in gold, leather, hematite, and python skin, and is a must-have. Elegant and modern, they can complete any outfit. 

The inspiration? What if else if not "the sexy shape of a stiletto heel", says the master himself. And the lookbook? Simple and sophisticated, just like the jewelry. And, if I may say so, with a very Tom Ford-ish feel (which is always a good thing in my book).

Feast your eyes!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Magic night

As a child, the New Year night was just magic - not only because I got to stay up late without having to receive a sermon from my parents, but because of that holiday atmosphere, of celebration, of champagne, fireworks and well wishes. As I counted down to midnight, I would always try to catch the fleeting moment when the year morphed into a new one, the one spark that signaled it. Needless to say, I never did :) 

What I did do, however, was to keep that feeling of out-of-ordinariness even when I was no longer so impressed by the simple change of a number in the calendar. Therefore, little by little, I took it and transformed it into my favourite kind of magic - the wardrobe kind. Now, New Year's is that one night of the year when I give myself carte blanche to dress as outrageously, as surprisingly or as glamorously as I want. This year, I am dreaming of all out va-va-voom. A dress that takes my breath away. A dress of the kind that Badgley Mischka, my old loves, make. And this year, there's an e-shop to get it from - their very own :)

The news right before Christmas was that the duo had just launched their own e-commerce platform which features everything from gowns to their bridal collection (major eye candy) and accessories. A massive step into the modern, digital age and opening new markets for the designers, the platform includes just the right amount of features to capture our attention (and keep it there) with a Tumblr-esque collection of Badgley Mischka red carpet looks and video with the latest collections. 

If it's true that the designers themselves had to be reminded that they needed to prepare their upcoming show this February after getting too caught up in the launch, imagine what sort of haute couture hole we're likely to fall into. And enjoy it all the way.

PS: How about this for a gown? Magic enough?

Friday, 28 December 2012

Guilty pleasure of the week - metamorphosis

Christmas may be over, but that should not stop us from getting presents or, at least, of dreaming of them. And, with the New Year right around the corner, I'm sure many of us are already trying to figure out new ways of reinventing ourselves in time for the beginning of 2013. After all, there seems to be nothing more momentous than a new year looming ahead to help us with our metamorphosis, a metamorphosis we need from time to time just to be happy.

And metamorphosis is exactly the first word that sprung to mind when I discovered Mattia Cielo earlier this week. The second was "ohmygodthisisbreathtakinglybeautifulandinteresting" - yes, that was one word, because it took just one breath to say it.

A Vicenza, Italy based jeweler, the creation of Mattia Cielo himself and artist-designer Massimiliano Bonoli, it completely redefines and redraws the lines and limits of jewelry making, pushing it well into the third millennium. It draws on Italian traditions of art and craft, but distills them into an industrial-meets-sophistication line. But, more importantly, the brand is defined by movement - the constant movement and changing of elements to create the most visually impacting jewelry I have seen in a long while. All done with the most "classic" precious materials which only enhance the concept and artful design behind them.

Proof in movement? The video below, starting from minute 4:43.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Shoe of the week - Sophia Webster

Yes, call me crazy if you will, but this is how my mind works... one day (like, say, yesterday) I'm enjoying the Christmas atmosphere with a nice, big cup of hot chocolate in front of the tree and the next, I'm dreaming about summer and wearing my favourite red dress (light as a feather) for a walk in a blooming park. Yes, it's wishful thinking. Or day-dreaming. Or inconsistency. Or plain crazy thinking. Take your pick (by the way, I blame it on the sun this morning which was shining so beautifully through the window...). 

So, if it's summer in my mind, it's all about fun, summery shoes. And today, that means Sophia Webster. Former Nicholas Kirkwood assistant Sophia Webster. More specifically, Yayoi patent-leather and suede sandals in bright pink, yellow and orange, or the colour of candy and bubble gum, carnivals and happy days at the beach. They are fun, they are feminine, they are flirty, they are a statement piece, but still so playful. They are just what's missing in even the most serious of wardrobes.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Alice in a Christmas Wonderland

In my mind, as a child, Christmas and fairytales intertwined to create a magical world where everything was possible and beautiful, where I could dream and invent and just let my imagination run wild. While I did grow up, some things never change and this is one of them. Whenever Christmas comes about, I relax and turn to my favourite books and movies to get that feeling of magic once more. Or, like this year, I turn to Dior :)

More specifically, to Dior's new presentation (in photo and film) of the latest designs of the still fresh Raf Simons, entitled "An Exceptional Christmas". Sure enough, the designs are exceptional and so is the fantasy land of Alice in Wonderland with handbags floating through the air, geese walking around and giant blossoms growing gracefully through architectural wonders. Dutch model Nimue Smit gives life to this new reinterpretation of my favourite childhood heroine and creates a diaphanous and magical atmosphere before the lens of Koto Bolofo.

Just the thing to get you dreaming on a quiet day like today.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas is a time for love

Beyond all the little mundane things of life, some beautiful, others dark, Christmas comes to remind us to smile and enjoy what is truly important - family, friends and the love you give them. And that, is after all, the best gift we can give anyone, our love and smiles. So this Christmas, I hope you found many presents under the tree, but, above all, I hope that you were gifted with the warmth of a few days spent with your loved ones. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree, how Katranztou you are

You haven't decorated your Christmas tree? You really should hurry, or Santa will not know where to leave all those beautiful presents he's got for you :) And, just in case you've run out of decoration ideas, here's one inspiration for the fashionista in you - the exceptionally beautiful Christmas Tree the acclaimed Greek-born, London-based fashion designer Mary Katranztou style for the Design Museum this season.

Ok, so tree may be a bit of an overstatement - it's actually a 2-dimensional projection on the Museum’s outer wall, a vision of Katrantzou’s kaleidoscopic fall/winter collection prints – formal garden photographs and repeating designs from mazes, in this case adorned in virtual Lesage embroidery and Swarovski crystals. 

Catch it "live" until January 9th or try to recreate the look in your house. This year, be creative and a little bit crazy and decorate your best Christmas tree yet. The perfect background for the most beautiful memories yet :)

Sunday, 23 December 2012


At 14, girls dream of princes charming, beautiful dresses, magic in their lives, sparkle and glamour. At 14, this is how they imagine their life story to be. But Elle Fanning, at 14, is living it. A modern day fairytale. Now complete with the best of the fall collections from Chanel, Christopher Kane, Valentino and Proenza Schouler and some truly surreal images. Plus the cover of Bullett Magazine. Shot by Pierre Debusschere. A true fantastic fairytale before Christmas. Enjoy and dream away :)

Saturday, 22 December 2012

She's got the look

Despite her legendary career, things were looking a little dodgy for Kate Moss recently: she'd been ousted from her Mango by Victoria's Secret Angel Miranda Kerr, who brought her accessible, but very sexy and sassy style to both the press at the new campaign's launch,  as well as to the pictures released so far, leaving Moss' stint as the face of the brand looking rather limp by comparison. But if fashion history has taught us anything, it is that nobody puts Kate in a corner. This is why, at 38 (!), she set out to prove she may well still be the world's greatest model and secured two major campaigns in just a matter of days.

First, a campaign for footwear heavyweight Stuart Weitzman, for which she's replaced Natalia Vodianova. Shot by her good friend Mario Testino (and what a team they make!), Kate needs no artifice, no colours, no distractions - the black and white images show Moss wearing little to distract from the statement footwear thanks to natural make-up and her signature mussed-up do.

Second, Moss has just been announced as the face of the Givenchy Spring/Summer 2013 campaign, surprisingly, the first time she's ever collaborated with the brand. Although we have to wait until January to get a glimpse, it's only fair to say the images will be well worth the wait - they've been shot by Mert and Marcus and styled by Carine Roitfeld. And that sounds amazing already.

With the release of her book Kate: The Kate Moss Book only recently and a documentary in the works, seems like Moss is not going anywhere.

Gift for the sophisticated romantic

Looking for a gift that's a little bit practical, a little bit luxurious, a little bit indulgent and a little bit beautiful? Dreaming of that movie-like atmosphere which feels sensuous, yet warm? And, most importantly, do you love the flickering of lights in a darkened room to truly unwind from a busy day? If yes, candles may be just the gift for you. And for others. The catch? We're not talking about just any candles.

Deliciously scented candles are one of those frivolous luxuries that feel more like a lifestyle necessity. More so when they come from Voluspa, a niche producer of candles in striking packaging and extraordinarily good scents and an absolute staple of late in the homes of Hollywood's elite. Try one of the classics, such as the Voluspa French Bourbon Vanille (a warmer, deeper scent than your typical vanilla aroma) or one of my personal favourites, the Voluspa Champagne Rose, a light, delicate and luxurious scent based on the crisp blend of whit rose petals and tart cassis berries in a bubbling bath of brut rose champagne. Other options include Pomegranate Patchouli, Black Figue & Chypre and Ambre Lumiere. Completely decadent, incredibly elegant and evidently desirable. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Soft spot - Carla Bruni Sarkozy

I've loved her from the days when I used to admire her on the pages of fashion magazines as I was growing up.

I am oblivious to the scandals and gossip surrounding her, paying attention only to her unique look.

I missed her when she disappeared from public view.

I was surprised to learn that she had turned to music and even more surprised to find that she wasn't half bad.

I was stunned to see her marry the President of France and pained to see her reduced to wearing those kitten heels and matronly outfits that failed to reflect her personality.

I was relieved to see that, even in this formal wear, she was still interesting.

I was happy for her when her pregnancy was announced.

And, finally, I was delighted to see her as guest editor and guest star on the cover of the December '12/ January '13 edition of Vogue Paris. With beautiful photography inside that shows a return of her former self and offers a glimpse of her melancholic beauty.

So yes, I confess - I have a soft spot. Can you blame me?

Goodbye to an era. The Gossip Girl era

Gossip Girl, the show that, for six seasons, chronicled the modern day troubles, the contemporary love fairytales and the Machiavellian scheming of a group of Upper East Side rich kids finally came to close this week. And, as any self-respecting show known as much for its extravagant and trend-setting fashion as for its increasingly hard-to-believe story lines, it went out with a bang. The season finale was seasoned (sic!) with not one, but two weddings and two amazing and unconventional wedding dresses - pale blue Elie Saab for old-school glamour Blair Waldorf and an over-the-top white and gold Georges Chakra for ultimate IT Girl Serena van der Woodsen. The perfect accessories for that fairytale endings we'd all been holding our fingers crossed for. 

Considered a worthy descendant of "Sex and the City" (and it makes sense that the person responsible for all the fabulosity was, before coming on board, the man who assisted the legendary Patricia Field on the SATC costume design), Gossip Girl created fashion trends and influenced an entire generation, bringing high-end designers back to the forefront of young dreams and fashion desires. Jewelled headbands, bow ties, bedhead hair and plaid shirts are all items familiar to the pop landscape these days. They all also have something else in common: their origins on the set of Gossip Girl. Yves Saint Laurent, Louboutin, Chanel and Oscar de la Renta were regular mentions on the show, handbag price tags were usually in the range of the thousands of dollars, designers like Tory Burch and Vera Wang made cameos, while Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman were the equivalent of the normal girl's heartbreak mending go-to: chocolate ice cream. Not to mention Harry Winston, that god of all jewelry and the provider of the legendary engagement ring that Chuck offered Blair.

From the early days of uniform-wearing, fashion-conscious teenage brats to a outrageously chic set of twenty-somethings, we watched these Upper East Side characters develop their personality and style and moving on to become style icons:

Serena, the rebel with the sexy, body-conscious, edgy and modern look;

Blair of the old-money feminine silhouettes and glamour accents;

Chuck, the preppy look perfection;

Dan, with his tormented European artist look;

and Nate, the ultimate East Coast golden boy.

They all changed the fashion world for good. Now that it's over, we can only reminisce the good fashion times we've spent together and, of course, be on the lookout for the next show that will take our breath away. And, perhaps, gear up for a Gossip Girl marathon? :)

Gift for soaking in warm water

All I want for Christmas is ... a bath. 

Do you know how, in the movies, the stars seem to plot their future best while soaking in a bathtub of overflowing bubbles in romantic candlelight and sipping champagne? This used to seem like a total cliche for me, as well as a waste of time - sure, it felt nice, but why spend an hour in the bathtub, I used to wonder.

As a mother of a small boy who's got a lot of energy to burn, I've come to realize that having an hour just for myself in the bathroom is pretty much the most exciting thing that could happen. Ever. I'm sure I'm not the only one to think so. And, since Christmas means not only good food and good fun with loved ones, but also some well-deserved time off, a bath may be on many a wishlist. So why not make the whole experience all the more enjoyable and, dare I say, luxurious with some nice complements to the bath?

The best soakers around? Ahead by a mile, of course, we have Lush. Made from organic fruits and vegetables combined with the finest oils, Lush bath products are healthy, creative and completely delicious. Whatever your pick, it's bound to strike just the right chord. And if you want to go all out, choose "All I Want for Christmas" - a holiday special package with 19 different bath time creations to enjoy well into the New Year. 

Second, there's always Sephora which, this season, is offering the most adorable limited edition collection of bath accessories, from the lovely assortment of bubble-making hearts to chic checkered candles and a cube of bath capsule. Chic and practical, these gift will make an impression on anyone you are offering them to this year. 

Looking for a more high-end option? Look no further than the gorgeous selection of oils from Aromatherapy Associates. Their Ultimate Bath & Shower Collection is a limited Christmas edition which rounds up nine different aromatic oils to complement any mood or time of day. 

Last, but certainly not least, if you're searching for something on the funny side, there's no better answer for you than Anatomicals. This is one company that has managed to bring the fun back to bath time by manufacturing what must be some of the coolest and funkiest (is this a word?) toiletry items the world has ever seen. Gift suggestions? Anything from "Your taps are going to be so turned on fruity bath foam" to "I should be so mucky (mucky, mucky, mucky) body cleanser". Warning: you may feel badly tempted to order some for yourself to. My advice? Give in to that temptation, you will not regret it. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Gift for an empty wall

Five years ago, I was not much into reading blogs until I found one that was special. It was witty, it was funny, it had gorgeous illustrations, it talked fashion, life and everything in between. I was hooked. I kept reading every post of that blog and saw its author rise to fully-earned international fame. Today, Garance Dore is one of those whose name is known to fashionistas everywhere. And, while her blog has evolved to feature amazing style photography to illustrate her charming posts, the illustrations are still one of the main things that make her blog so unique. 

If you have a friend who's just as passionate about fashion as Garance herself or who's been secretly hoping to cop a bit of that uniqueness for herself, rejoice: the Dore signature illustrations are available in a limited edition of posters (retailing at $40) and art prints ($400). And, just in case you're not yet convinced that these things of beauty belong under the tree this year, you'd be interested to know that they have been, in fact, intended to serve as gift. As Dore herself told WWD, she wanted to offer  "something you can buy for a present and not be too crazy.” Crazy they may not be, but seriously chic yes, they sure are :)

Come January, quiet is the new way to shop

Shopping in the days before Christmas is, to put it mildly, quite the adventure for your nerves, ears and all around stress levels. Just as you're waiting for the holidays to finish so you can finally enjoy some quality retail therapy, January brings about sales season - a not-to-miss event for everyone. Which is why literally everyone hits stores again and, in the hustle and bustle, you may be left feeling drained of energy and in no mood to spend your hard-earned money. The solution to make shopping relaxing again? According to London's most popular department store Selfridges, it's a "No Noise"shopping area. 

Apparently inspired by an idea founder Harry Gordon Selfridge had back in 1909 (is nobody else wondering why it took 100+ years to implement it?!), the store's Ultralounge will feature, starting January, a silent shopping area. According to Selfridges creative director Alannah Weston, the room 'invites customers to find a moment of peace in a world where we are bombarded by a cacophony of information and stimulation', WWD reports. True that. Who could ever want to be stimulated on a shopping spree?

Shoppers here will be kindly asked to leave their mobile phones and shoes at the door (be sure to wear your best pair of socks if you're planning a visit) in order to be allowed access to this relaxing environment. Some of the perks inside? Meditation spaces (so thankful I won't be needing to carry my yoga mat with me anymore when I go shopping), headspace pods and a Quiet Shop, selling de-branded products to promote considered shopping (can anyone translate this into plain English for me? Please?), as well as an edit of pieces from spring ready-to-wear collections, including Zen-driven labels such as Acne, Jil Sander or Ann Demeulemeester (which are, apparently, too important to shed their labels).

The only thing I'm wondering? Will I still be able to chat with my friends as I shop or should I be frozen in a reverent vow of silence? I guess I'll be able to find out next month.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Beckham. Romeo Beckham

If your parents are David and Victoria Beckham, good looks and style are undoubtedly in your genes.  And if, on top of that, your name is Romeo, it becomes obvious that you're destined for big things. Such as starring in a Burberry campaign at the tender age of 10 :)

Yes, you've got it - Romeo Beckham made his modelling debut in full force, starring in the new Spring/ Summer 2013 Burberry campaign alongside returning British favourites Edie Campbell and Cara Delevigne. Shot by Mario Testino, the campaign features a mixture of Burberry Prorsum, Burberry London and Burberry Brit clothing - with a focus on the brand's iconic trench and heritage outerwear. A limited number of images have so far been released, but more are sure to follow later in the season. From what I've seen so far, I can only say two things: 1) the kid is majorly adorable and completely cheeky and 2) I would be surprised if this was his last campaign, he's such a natural. I think we've rather just witnessed the birth of a new star!

Guilty pleasure of the day

If I were living in a film, I'd probably be the the girl with the nasty comments and somewhat stuck-up attitude that you love to hate and who, yet, feels strangely familiar. Why? Just because, this morning, as I was musing over which of my secret "oh-I-wish-I-could-have-this-NOW" things to showcase, I caught myself thinking, in all seriousness, "I have expensive taste. Good for me." Told you - stuck-up :)

So, just to prove that it's not so bad, I decided on featuring a little guilty pleasure that is more accessible - an exclusive range of jewellery designed by Scott Wilson for Aqua.

Scott Wilson has to have one of the most impressive jewellery resume around. Over the years, he's worked with the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Givenchy and Thierry Mugler, his pieces appeared on the catwalk for Peter Pilloto, Matthew Williamson and Burberry and in the world's top glossies. These are the kind of guilty pleasures that remain slightly out of reach for most of us. But his collection for Aqua is just the way to snap up some of his impressive work without breaking our piggy bank and leaving us out to dry.

The capsule takes its cue on Wilson's already well-known Modernist aesthetic, making each piece deliciously faceted and interesting. Inspired by New York's 1980s club scene when glamazons Jerry Hall, Bianca Jagger and Grace Jones ruled the roost and, as Wilson puts it, "really knew how to wear their jewellery," these sexy, sassy pieces are guaranteed to look good on the dancefloor. And anywhere else for that matter. Available on Asos.