Henri Cartier-Bresson; the man, and the moment…

      As a photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work has always been an incredible inspiration, at once both honest and artistic. His mastery of this craft and the intuitive way Henri has told stories with his lens have earned him an iconic reputation, and rightfully so; his images are those that we have all come to know, without perhaps, even knowing it.  What makes Cartier-Bresson so marvelous is not merely his craft, however; the magic in countless photographs through eight decades of working and seeing lies in his connectedness, his generosity, and his delight in art and human nature.

      Through Henri’s lens we see through his eyes, and with shared empathy and vision come to see people or places, in a moment, differently. I’ve taken to heart and mind a good amount of advice on both craft and art from Henri and his life for a good many years now.  But twice in the last week this video below has been shared (coincidentally) with me, and each time I have taken the same new, clear thought from it; “Life is once… forever,” Henri says, in his gentle voice. And he’s right.  Whether we have a lens in hand or not- life is once… forever.  Be in the moment, be intuitive; listen, watch, invest. In your surroundings, and each other.

 

Henri Cartier-Bresson – The Decisive Moment from bt465.

 

From my house and heart to yours, all!

 

Racy Ladies of Tatler…

 

What do your lucky eyes see when Tatler teams up with dynamic fashion photographer Kristian Schuller, models Sacha Blue, Elena Sudakova, and Jessica Stenebo, all tantalizingly showing off the most delicious fashion and accessories? MAGIC! Pure magic. Sophisticated and elegant, I am in love with these looks! I’d say it’s time to end the Eternal Slouch trend; time to hold our heads high instead and have some fun!

On left, above: blue linen dress by Fendi, silk and velvet headpieces by Pip Hackett On right, organza-detailed dress, jacket, and gloves by Paule Ka.

 

 

On left, above: cotton and beaded top by Lela Rose, skirt and coat by Reem Acra, calf leather clutch by Smythson. Right: silk dress and nylon slip by Emporio Armani. Suede and patent shoes by Manolo Blahnik, jewelry by Gillian Horsup, and Erickson Beamon.

 

 

Left to right, above: taffeta dress by Luisa Beccaria, crêpe de chine and silk organza dress by Oscar de la Renta, and silk dress by Monique L’Huillier.

 

 

On left, above: dress by Stella McCartney, leather sandals by Charlotte Olympia, straw and goose feather headpiece by Jane Taylor Millinery, leather bag by Prada. Center: silk and lace jacket and skirt, and satin camisole all by Dolce & Gabbana, crêpe de chine kitten heels by Charlotte Olympia, silk and lace headband by Philip Treacy, leather bag by Prada. Right: cotton dress by Erdem, satin kitten heels by Charlotte Olympia, leather bag by Valextra. All jewelry by Amrapali, Gillian Horsup, and Erickson Beamon.

 

 

On left, above: cotton dress by Roland Mouret. Right: silk crêpe dress by Burberry Gloves by Sermoneta, and jewelry by Susan Caplan Vintage Collection and Amrapali.

 

 

Silk coat, above, by Gianfranco Ferrè, satin headpiece with silk and velvet roses by Olivia Roat, satin slingbakcs by Manolo Blahnik, brooch by Erickson Beamon.

 

 

On left, above: dress by Naeem Khan. Center: cotton and jacquard dress by Raplh Lauren Collection, gilt metal and pearl headband by Louis Mariette, gloves by Paule Ka. On right: silk, crêpe, and lace dress by Versace, brooch (worn in hair) by Gillian Horsup. Jewelry by Erickson Beamon, Susan Caplan Vintage Collection, and Atelier Mayer.

 

 

Silk dress, above, by Christian Dior, silk flower headpiece by Cozmo Jenks, necklace by Susan Caplan Vintage Collection, ring by Piaget.

 

This mega-dose of fashion lovely brought to you by:

Kristian Schuller- photographer

Anna Bromilow- stylist

Tomohiro Kono- hair stylist

Ashley Ward- makeup artist

Alice Sheppard Fidler- prop stylist

Alice Holland- producer

 

Swaths of luscious silk, elegant chignons, kitten heels, jewels, and perfectly-tailored shapes… this is a welcome return to femininity, isn’t it? I hope you’re even half as in love with these photos and looks as I am- and as inspired!

Fashionably yours,

 

Stars and Stripes, and the Single-Solutioners…

 

      If you do not yet know the incredibly talented and most gracious Mary Douglas Drysdale, you must! She approaches interior design and architecture with artist’s eyes and a classicist’s heart, and along with vivaciousness and an inquisitive nature she creates spaces that are deceptively complex, elegantly rich, and so very inviting. As for this view through to the stairs, well, I couldn’t love it any more than I already do! The balance of color, pattern, and texture is quietly masterful, and I love the way the dark railing seems to punctuate the stairway and hall.

 

 

     What I love most about Mary’s work is that it is at once timeless and modern; of a particular moment in time, but somehow for the ages. A number of months ago Mary wrote,

“Design is the art of narrowing constraints until one solution remains…..”

     Reading this was an “aha!” moment for me, and an affirmation of the way I’ve always regarded art, in a broad sense; “…until a single solution remains” is exactly the barometer by which a piece of art or design of any kind or genre might be judged “timeless”. (Though I told Mary that I’d endeavor to specify “good design”!) A work whose individual parts, strokes, cuts, or ingredients could not possibly unto themselves be any other way, nor the sum of its parts. A single solution that speaks both to inspiration and genius. A lesser educated, under-inspired, or poorly executed work of art or design sees a plethora of alternate- and preferable- solutions.

     That innate absoluteness; the understanding of a work of art or design’s incapacity to ever be anything other than what it is, brings me to tears. It’s when you know and feel that brush with greatness and it’s exhilarating! Communication with a gesture that connects us through generations is such a joy.

     And thus, per Mary’s first elegant thought, was born my new term. I count myself a lucky woman that I have so many around me, with so much talent, who might be called… The Single-Solutioners.

     Please stay tuned, because more Single-Solutioners are soon to make personal appearances here, and I couldn’t be more excited!

 

Taking a lunch break in wine country…

(I am totally over the moon for the framed pieces on the wall here, but my obsession with illustrated French alphabetical prints will have to wait for another post!)

 

      Yes kids, it’s that time again… time for all of us here on the left coast to get our warmer-weather grooves back on. And the easiest way to do that most definitely includes some quick trips up to wine country for tasty vittles, pretty exceptional wine, and laid-back but elegant interiors that dare you to ever leave.

      One of the loveliest places to indulge in all the above is at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville, just east of Sonoma. Last week, my friend Victoria Card, of Pacific Heights Place in San Fransisco, gave many of us further south here in California a visual reminder of what we’re currently missing. Today? With my windows wide open and a cool breeze blowing in, I am daydreaming about the fabulous atmosphere not too far north of me. Of a long, lazy, late lunch in wine country… Soon!

 

 

      Eating organically and locally is the name of the game in the area, and my culinary preference is to always keep it simple. Beautiful- but simple. How delicious does this look? (Yum!)

 

 

      With the sun shining, the perfect temperate breeze, and a friend or five, this spot is absolute perfection!

 

Happy birthday, Mom!

      My very beautiful mother turns 60 today, and she’s lookin’ fabulous, if I do say so myself! (No bias here!)

      Through the entirety of this last year, as I realized my professional renaissance, so to speak, it was most often my mother on the other end of the phone… “I’m not sure- what do you think of this phrasing?”… “Are you able to see on your side what I see on my screen?”… I’m not happy with the alignment here, thoughts?”… I need a catchier name for that, and I’m stuck, do you have a sec to brainstorm with me?”… “MOOOOOOO-OOOOOOOOOOOM! I’m so frustrated. Wah. I’m tired, I ache, and I want to whine…”

 

 

      Mom took it all; good moods, bad moods, elation, dejection, and minor victory speeches. She gave me a good deal of her expertise as a writer, and opinions as someone who’s seen all of my creative moves from Day One. My laptop might well have gotten tossed out a window, my arms fitted into a straightjacket, and my spirit permanently bruised were it not for her patience enough to pick up my phone calls- every last ring-a-ding-ding.

      It is for these reasons that I mention her birthday on my blog today; the first day of my real posting, and the official start to this next chapter of both my personal and professional life.

 

 

Happy birthday, Mom! Love you.

 

Parlez-vous… adorable?

EF – Live The Language – Paris from Albin Holmqvist on Vimeo.

      No matter, mes amis… you will certainly speak the language of cute after watching this!

      It was two months ago that I spotted this on Chocolate and Zucchini (go and have a yummy look if you haven’t familiarized yourself already!), and when I caught a Twitter mention of this vidéo trés charmant from the lovelies over at Matchbook Mag (they’re on a gorgeous Issue Numéro Deux, puh-lease go, look, and admire!), I knew I needed to post this… I. Love. Everything. About. This. Vid. The visuals, the cute-but-serious intent of the quick leçons, l’atmosphère (achieved, in large part, by filming in Chocolate and Zucchini’s neighboorhood- it’s all so lovely!

      Happily, I suppose, I am easily enchanted. I hope you are, too.

Enjoy!

 

If your first step includes Eddie and Jaithan…

      How exactly could a girl lose? Simple answer, really…

 

(Group self-portrait, Take 1.)

 

      She couldn’t! I am more thrilled than words could possibly convey to finally unveil this labor of love- my blog- today. In my wildest dreams it will serve as a venue that brings together some of the greatest talents in all areas of the arts beyond just interior design… from photography and printmaking, to music of many genres, to all things on this earth so tantalizingly palate-pleasing, to sculpture and fine art, and so far beyond; to places and towards talents yet to be discovered. With my every hope, this blog will celebrate creativity, the inspired voice, the engaging, exciting, the gracious and philanthropic. And what I know beyond all else is that with every post, every day, you’ll get to know the passions that drive my life; those which continue to inspire, uplift, and motivate me to share and champion the art and efforts I love by the talents that strive to make the world around us more beautiful, more thoughtful, and more dynamic.

      It was at Westweek nearly a year ago that I bumped into and met the super-talented and very dapper Eddie and Jaithan, as we were all leaving to grab our afternoon coffee, after a full day of design talk at the PDC. Imagine my excitement in being able to tell messieurs Ross and Kochar in person that I was starting a blog; that my taking on the endeavor at all was due in very large part to their heretofore unsuspecting and unfortunately remote influence and tutelage, and that my blog would, with no doubt, be fully functional and ready for me to exuberantly post in a week’s time… Hooray! Eureka! I felt like the interiors version of Charlie, and that I indeed had a Golden Ticket. (In-person “thank you”s are so gratifying!)

 

(Group self-portrait, Take 2, titled “Almost”.)

 

      I skipped home after bidding my new friends adieu. (Yes, completely embarassing!) But I was inspired to get back to my desk and figure out the art of the self-hosted WordPress blog- I mean, how hard could it be? Jaithan (he’s a tech guru, not merely a handsome face!) just told me there were an infinite amount of options of which I might make use, and easy ways to customize the blog to “me”. Fabulous!

      Hmm… Wait just a minute…

      But: I’m still pondering and designing “me”, I’ve only just dipped my hesitant toes into HTML and code, and I really have no idea how to navigate through the positively labyrinthian nature of WordPressland through the eyes of a newbie!

      Fast-forward almost one year. A subtantially re-realized business plan, much loftier goals, so much gained code knowledge I can go head-to-head with my website-building peers, huge amounts of frustration and tears, too many cups of coffee to count, cursing a blue streak so dynamically that it’d make a sailor flinch, total sleeplessness, and holding tightly still to that initial excitement and those skipped steps home later (Phew!)…

      I have an entire online world to share with you. And I am enormously proud of what I’ve accomplished! Being able to get to know new friends, and creating (hopefully!) a community from this corner is the goal. So, please- won’t you make yourself comfortable and introduce yourself? I can’t wait to get this conversation started!

      To Eddie and Jaithan- thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou, gentlemen! You’ve- both individually and together- been such an inspiration to me as fellow flea-ers and as bloggers for what feels like many moons now, and I want you to know how much your strength in leading by example has meant to, and done for, me. And lastly- beyond the boundless amount of creativity that comes from your household, it is your graciousness that sets you apart from the rest… it is a thing to behold, and so valuable- I’m happy to now be a firsthand witness to such a beautiful thing! Much love, you two. xoxox