Saturday, 28 November 2009

An evening with Maria Luisa Hernandez

Due to the insane amount of traffic and slight malfunction with the Google Maps on my berry I was running quite late getting to Maria Luisa Hernandez’s home/studio for an intimate reception she was having, showcasing some of her recent artwork. But better late than never I always say, and that applied more than ever yesterday evening.
I arrived at Maria’s apartment slightly flustered and feeling a bit disheveled, I was sure I was a mess and was hoping the bathroom was near enough to the front door so I could run in quickly and sort out the mess that was my hair (damn wind!) I wasn’t sure if it was the smell of warm cinnamon that hit my senses as I opened the door or the stunning painting that were in front of me, or the combination of the two but I immediately feel a wave of calmness rush over me and the need to powder my nose is no longer pressing. The glass of champagne put into my hand also helped I’m sure.
I walk around the ground floor feeding my eyes with more of Maria’s amazing work. I recognize some of the pictures from her website and they are even more intense in person. There are some of her oil paintings, either on canvas or linen, from her Ignis, Aqua and Aero collections.
I finally spot the lovely lady herself; whose pictures, I have to say, do not do her any justice: she’s stunning and lovely to chat to. I steal her away from her guests for a few moments and we go upstairs to her studio for a girly chat. Maria slips off her shoes for a moment and we get comfortable on the couch.

We talk about her artwork and what inspires her. Her work has been described as “…
an atmospheric play of colour and light: the two anchors of her work” by the art critic Pedro Labowitz and I ask her how much of a part nature plays in her art. She says that nature and natural beauty inspire her and she talks about the peace she feels when she’s surrounded by nature. “It’s a place that I feel where you can relate with your God” she adds, and the painting of Jesus and the Bible in one corner of her studio is a testament to how religious she is. Some of her other inspirations include the great Michelangelo and Rembrandt.

She goes on to describe painting as the love of her life, “I do it day and night. That’s why I have my studio in my house, it’s important to live with your lover”. However, as much as she loves to paint she is also very disciplined and she notes that “it takes focus, passion, patience and a lot of time”. This seemed like the perfect time to ask her about her recent collaboration with the interior designer Catherine Milner. “She came to me actually. She contacted me through someone who had bought one of my paintings”. They have worked together on a number of luxurious properties for private clients combining unique architecture with stunning artwork, providing an end result that is both functional and artistic. Maria believes her paintings ‘give the soul of the rooms’.

We go on to talk about travelling, a love that we discover we both share and she talks about how the different cultures and cities influence her work. And get this; her favourite city is London, despite the weather! In fact she says the weather helps her as an artist. ‘I think the weather in the UK is suitable for artists, it encourages you to be introspective and find that quiet space inside yourself”. Good to know the crummy weather helps some people, I wish I could find a positive thing to say about cold, wet and windy London… it’ll come to me soon I’m sure… She also loves the boats in England, especially down by Cornwall and ponders if she was a seagull in her past life.

The final question I ask Maria; if she weren’t an artist, could she see herself doing anything else? Laughing she replies, “I am hopeless at everything else! If I was a waitress I’d forget the orders, and I make such a mess in the kitchen I wouldn’t be a great cook. I think I’m better off as an artist”. If I was as good as she was, I’d also struggle to find a Plan B.

Photography: Chun P Lin

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Looking Through and Through

I mentioned in a post a few days ago that I was privy to being at the first ever Connoisseur Magazine photo shoot where I was assisting KK of The Clothes Whisperer, their Fashion Editor. As promised here are some behind the scenes photographs taken by Chun Lin. I also found out today that I will mentioned in the editorial spread as a styling assistant. Yay! So excited. There's this warm feeling I get seeing my name in print... I get all gooey and fuzzy, and it never gets old.

Ok stopping now. I can feel you looking at me as though I might be strange. I promise I'm relatively normal. Except the tiny shoe obsession. Everyone needs a little crazy now and again, right?

Fashion Editor: Kristin Knox
Photographer: Nicholas Elliott
Model: Delphine Hervieu
Looks from DKNY, Armand Basi, Collette Dinnigan and Amanda Wakeley; and shoes from YSL and Manolo Blahnik.
Jewellery: Dean Davidson Designs

Savoury vs Sweet Pannenkoeken

Today was a good day. I had eight hours of sleep and woke up feeling so much more refreshed and ready to tackle my day. After work I met up with some friends from secondary school and we had dinner at My Old Dutch in Holborn for a night of a thousand laughs. Memories and maple syrup kept me in stitches all night. Monday has now been designated 'date night' so we can at least catch up once a week.

To pancakes and great friends.

Wearing top by Topshop, Zara high waist leggings, New Look strappy sandals and Primark necklace and bracelet.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Art of the Trench

Adam in NYC. LOVE the shorts

Lula and Ruby in Glasgow - they make me want twins. Picture taken by Brian Sweeney

Caterina in London

Garance Dore in New York City taken by BF Scott

Francisco in Venice. Such a great shot by The Sartorialist

Jeremy from Berlin. Although I swear he must be Jude Law's twin brother. Such a beautiful man!

I recently went for an interview where I was told that if I didn’t own a Facebook, Twitter or Youtube account, or blogged religiously that I was not a relevant member of the society as it was. Harsh. Very harsh, but true.
The world is getting smaller; people no longer have to send smoke signals or even letters and emails, and instead tweet to get their messages across. So you can see why if you haven’t got at least one, or preferably all of these, you’re considered to be living under a rock. Companies who wish to stay relevant, luxury brands included, have to tap into these resources to remain at the forefront of their customer’s minds.
In that respect, Burberry is doing pretty well. They tick all the boxes: Facebook fan page with over 700,000 fans, check; Youtube account with video coverage and behind the scenes footage from LFW, check; a Twitter page with over 5,000 followers, check; and now a Burberry blog, check check. The Art of the Trench, essentially a communal blog, is a new social networking medium launched by Burberry on the 9th of November. It has over 100 pictures of people all around the world from Berlin to Toronto sporting the famous Burberry trench.
Quite a few of the pictures were taken by Scott Shuman of The Sartorialist, although member of the public can now send in pictures of themselves and the best of the best will be uploaded onto the site. ‘Crowdsourcing’ it’s called – a new term I learned today. Clever, Mr. Bailey. That way people sending their pictures to the ‘blog’ as well as signing in to see if they’ve been picked, as well as their friends logging in via Facebook Connect to give it a thumbs up or make comments significantly increases the traffic to their website.
All in all a very smart move by Burberry, and as far as I know (and I am the Oracle. Ha, I kid), no other luxury brand has a social networking site of this proportion. The Art of the Trench is further enhanced by the fact that the site is very well designed, easy to navigate and you can filter the images according to parameters such as the weather for example.
The site also features some of the greatest ad campaigns over the years as well as a history of the trench from 1910s using photographs and film.

Champage, Couture and Blahniks

I spent my Saturday morning assisting KK at the Connoisseur Magazine photo shoot for the Jan/Feb 2010 issue. The theme of the issue will be Champagne and so we had the shoot at The Commander, a champagne and oyster bar in Notting Hill, surrounded by bottles of Don Perignon and Veuve Clicquot, vintage fur, gowns by Amanda Wakeley, and Blahniks (a girl's best friend!) Will have some behind the scenes pictures to put up soon so watch this space.

I found this amazing print silk blouse in a vintage store in Notting Hill (I bought it last week but didn't get a chance to blog about it). It's by Flora Kung and it's so loud it's almost obnoxious. I love love the shoulder pads - takes it right back to the eighties. Anyone who knows me would tell you how it was as though it was made for me!

Wearing Flora Kung silk blouse, AA skirt, Topshop glitter socks and Fioni shoes. Croc-skin bag by Nine West.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Vogue shoot at SHOWstudio part trois

So I FINALLY got to see a Vogue photo shoot at Somerset House - yay! Although I don't know if it was because I hyped it up so much in my head, or because there were no wild outfit changes but I was a bit bored :( Undoubtedly Lisa Eldridge is amazing and it was great to watch her work, and I was not aware that CD Robin Derrick had photography as one of his many talents, but I still somehow felt it was not as great as the one I missed (Vogue shoot at SHOWstudio part une and part deux)

However it was great to watch these two at work. I wonder if they often work together... hmmm

I only popped in for a bit as I had to get back to work to finish editing (next issue's out in December eek!) but I hope you enjoy the pictures. I'm thinking of taking up photography as well (No. I do not yet have too much I'm doing) so any feedback, good or bad, will be appreciated.

Muchos love

There was a model this time! Look at those cheekbones - such perfection. So exquisite. *sigh*

Lisa Eldridge creates a new look

Testing, testing

Husband-and-wife duo at work

Peek-a-boo...I see you

Lisa preps the next model

Monday, 16 November 2009

Mulberry + Apple = Chemistry 101

Mix three measures of Apple with two measures of Mulberry. Stir gently – mixture is highly explosive.

“Designed by Mulberry, Made for Apple” - a new collaboration between one of Britain’s longest established brands and arguably the largest grossing, most innovative electronics mega brand. If there was ever a ker-ching moment...
Recently I’m loving the new Mulberry, under the direction of their new creative director Emma Hill, who was appointed in Dec 2007. At LFW this September, her third fashion week, they definitely opened with a bang. The theme was funfair and the carousel rides and pastel coloured balloons definitely gave The Claridges Hotel a carnival feel. Mulberry have always been known for its classics; the Mitzy, the Shimmy, and of course, the Bayswater, but their RTW S/S 2010 took a step outwards, it was fun, playful and full of youth. And this season, more than with any of their other collections, I found myself wanting quite a few of the pieces; especially the berry Bayswater clutch with the oversized bow and the deep V back print dress because of its unexpected naughtiness.
It felt like Emma, I say it like we’re on first name basis, was going in a new direction and appealing to a wider market, the younger generations. I mean yes, we love the Bayswater, and we all own, or hope to own, one in our bag closet; but it’s great to have other things to get excited about as well. In the present economic blah blah we found a lot of designers played it safe with their designs showing more wearable pieces. Some designers however, took risks instead; catering to their customers and proving perseverance despite seemingly difficult times.

This recent collaboration with Apple is another example of ways in which Mulberry is thinking outside the box and pulling in another target audience: the nerds (and I say that with no disrespect. After-all a geek with a Mulberry for Apple is quite the fashion-geek-sta). Apple is one of the largest electronic producers with a range of products. Macs are trรจs easy to use and quickly taking over the computer market, the iPhone vs. Blackberry competition shows no sign of declaring a winner anytime soon and iPods are probably the most superior MP3 players. Of course all these users need cases for their precious babies. Enter stage left, Mulberry comes in. By combining the classic looks of the Bayswater and Brynmore, with versatility and usability, they’ve created a product with the same coveted exteriors but enhanced interiors.
Again, ker-ching.
The only sad element about this whole sha-bang is that some idiot stole my MacBook and now I have no Apple to get that Bayswater sleeve for :( Maybe I could buy one anyway and the MacBook will just appear in it. Do you believe in magic?
Pictures are courtesy of My MANy Bags Blog