The Fibers That Bind

The Fibers That Bind

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As the holiday’s approach I always think of Paris. The streets are lined with cheerful lights, the shop windows display gift possibilities and lifestyle inspiration, and the people on the streets generally seem merry. It seems that everyone in the city comes together to celebrate. I think it is this togetherness that makes us stronger. It would be easy to think this show of being united only occurs during the holiday’s when we seek out friends and family, often whom we have not seem in awhile. But, I think fashion is about being united. It is about strength as an individual and as a community.

What better place to talk about fashion and united strength than in Paris, a city that has been through its’ trials and tribulations yet remained a tour-de-force throughout it all!

Fashion is fickle but what makes it thrive is a plethora of people, places and inspirations. This gorgeous Valentino dress involved an innumerable number of people to create it. From the creation of individual fibers, the conception, the dying process, the pattern making, the sewing of it, the shipping, the displaying, the selling, the buying and finally me wearing it in Paris. As an individual piece is carries with it a story of integration, and community. When I begin to think of all the people that it took to create this piece of art it is quite awe inspiring. While most do not know each other it is the fibers that bind us together. United we can make and deliver beautiful pieces in this world.

As the holiday’s approach I remind myself of all the people it takes to make one thing, even as simple as a dress, possible. Without relying on others’ and helping others’ the things we surround ourselves with would not be possible. I am grateful for all the people in my life, those I have met and those I have not, who have made this journey possible.

I continue to look forward to the next adventure, all the people I will meet and whom will inspire me through their stories. I only hope I can inspire them too!

 Outfit Details:

Cape: Julio Reis Boutique, Madrid

Dress: Valentino

Shoes: Guiseppe Zanotti

Bag: Olga Berg

Stockings: Target


Photographer Details:

Katie Donnelly

Based in Paris, France

+(33) 6 95 84 36 46

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Down The Rabbit Hole

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Here is the thing about Amsterdam, you feel like you’re falling down the rabbit hole. You can’t go back to being the person you were before arriving. The buildings twist and turn, the colors are muted but startling eye catching, and the lifestyle seems to have its’ own unique rhythm. When finding myself in this type of place I let curiosity be my guide. Amsterdam’s unpredictability is to be embraced and observed at the same time and left me thinking I had just stepped into the world of Wonderland. Was I Alice, or one of the other unique characters all with their own quirks and impossible wisdom?

For the Look on Location I wanted to try and capture this feeling of being a world in which everything and nothing is familiar at the same time. It was important to highlight the colors of the city while embracing its’ storybook characteristics. The unpredictability in weather I thought, would be difficult to work with, but in the end only deepened the surreal feeling the city offers up. The on and off again rain, while not exactly pleasant to shoot in, emphasized the beauty that is Amsterdam and all its’ fascinating intricacies. The entire experience felt surreal.

I chose to wear a dress from Mary Katrantzou. She knows how to dress a woman! The fabric was heavy but gave way to movement, the colors flattering to any skin tone, and the style slightly reminiscent of how one should be dressing for a proper tea party. I will definitely be a repeat customer of hers! The bag, I didn’t realize at the time but only after it was pointed out to me, had Bordeaux detailing matching the Amsterdammertjes’ throughout the city. I love the well thought structured detailing in both gold and bordeaux accents while the keychain adds a bit a whimsey. With the Mary Katrantzou dress and the Sophie Hulme bag I really could have chosen any shoe in any color, but went for comfort and style once again in a pair of Andrew Geller pumps. The blue patten leather with gold detailing shimmered in the rain making them a look unto themselves.

Everything about the Look on Location in Amsterdam was magical and I have yet to decide if I can ever be the same person after the experience. If I take heed to Lewis Carroll’s words I never could be.

Outfit Details

Dress: Mary Katrantzou

Bag: Solphie Hulme

Shoes: Andrew Geller

Jewelry: Nordstrom & Kate Spade

Stockings: Target

Photographer Details

Elena Pasca

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Hemingway Got It Right

Hemingway Got It Right

“To go to bed at night in Madrid marks you as a little queer. For a long time your friends will be a little uncomfortable about it. Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night. Appointments with a friend are habitually made for after midnight at the cafe.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

I think Ernest Hemingway said it right. Bed seems to be a foreign concept in Madrid or it at least appears that way. Having spent my first time in Madrid last month I was not prepared for the daily, or should I say, nightly routines. It is typical to go out for dinner at 10pm only to finish around 2am or so and then stay a bit longer. As long as conversation is flowing and friends are being made there really is no point to going to bed. I have always enjoyed the general European attitude to personal time which I think is greatly lacking in the United States. This idea that family and friends are equally if not more important than work. Madrid highlights this most accurately.

After spending several nights out at dinner and with friends until 3am or later I was too tired to make early morning appointments but made sure to get up and explore the city hoping maybe it would be quiet and I could have it all to myself. I was wrong about this: Madrid never sleeps. All hours of the day cafe’s are filled, business are bustling, shops are frequented, and inspiration can be found everywhere. The buildings, personalities, and conversations match this vibrancy. I loved that the buildings were in various shades ranging from pastels to vibrant oranges and when there was a lack of color graffiti helped to correct that. Even the graffiti was done in bright colors instead of the traditional black and white tagging that is often seen elsewhere. Clothing is equally bright but sensible. Sequins, red glasses, whites, geometric patterns, bright yellows, and everything else invoking a sense of youth and playfulness can be seen throughout the city. In such a creative atmosphere it is no wonder people enjoy every moment of it even late into the night. I know I did!

Overwhelmingly I find myself enjoying the places I am at and forget to take pictures. Thankfully, while in Madrid I took a day to remind myself so that I wouldn’t regret it later. Below are a few highlighting the diverse architecture, clothing styles, and then just a few personal favorites. While I hope you enjoy the photos, Madrid truly is a city to experience, not see, experience! I don’t think pictures can do it justice!

Enjoy 🙂

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Madrid Doesn’t Care

Madrid Doesn’t Care

“After the cafes of Paris with their exquisite wines and creamy fromages, crepes and steak tartare– screaming Adore me!– Madrid was these store-bought hunks of unyielding cheese and brick-hard baguettes, consumed in leafless Buen Retiro Park.ll Madrid, dressed as it was, tasting as it did, prideful as hell, didn’t care what you thought about it on your junior-year backpacking trip. That was your problem.” 

Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

Michael Paterniti said it best: Madrid doesn’t care what you think about it. It’s a city marching to its’ own beat, begging you to join in while at the same time taunting your inability to keep pace. It is a city with a history steeped in opposing forces. While there has been much effort to shed this past, its’ duality is still evident in the attempt to place emphasis on family and friends all while trying to secure itself as a business epicenter. One is left to wonder what is more important? Madrid doesn’t care. It is happy to straddle the line. It will keep you up all night with friends while demanding you innovate at work. One is exhausted just thinking about it.

If Madrid doesn’t care, Malasana doesn’t even notice. It is the creative nerve center of the city, home to artists’ lofts and studios, fashion designers showrooms, PR firms, photographers, and the general hipster. It is the place to see and the place to be seen. This was the backdrop for the Look on Location Madrid. The graffiti walls and varying building shades compliment any fashion which if you take a moment to sit at one of the outside café’s you will see an overwhelming amount. Everything from designer labels to homemade wears looking like they belong on the runway pass through Malasana. If you want to be inspired come here.

I wanted to capture the essence that is Madrid, the dichotomy between industrial yet grounded in personal interest. I also wanted to highlight Malasana and all that it has to offer. It may not have been paying attention to me but I certainly wanted to acknowledge it.

To highlight the hard edges of Madrid I chose to stay mostly with blacks. One of my favorite things about European fashion is the way black is worn in varying shades and styles. Madrid is not immune to this. But, there is more to Madrid and certainly to Malasana so it would have been wrong to stop there. I chose details that were flirty and playful with small pops of color while not overcomplicating things with accessories. In a city that seemed so industrial you only have to look a bit closer, watch a bit longer to realize areas like Malasana offer up their personalities to those who take the time to notice.

This is what I tried to achieve by choosing a BCBG Max Azria shirt that from afar looks structured but on closer look reveals lighthearted feathering with hints of purple against the grey and black. The faux leather skirt is laser cut to reveal feminine details while not adhering to the traditional coyness you would expect. I chose the BCBG shoes because let’s be honest I wanted to be comfortable but, also wanted to keep the same structure going throughout the outfit while giving way to an innovated take on a traditional chunky heel. The Vera Flap bag in Rose patent by Salvatore Ferragamo was just enough to bring the architecture and colors that is Malasana into the forefront.

I hope you enjoy!

Shirt & Shoes: BCBG Max Azria

Skirt: The Limited

Bag: Salvatore Ferragamo Vera Flap in Patent Rose

Sunglasses: Gucci

Watch: Marc Jacobs

Photographs by: Anna Fawcus

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How (Not) To Take It All

How (Not) To Take It All

Packing has to be one of the worst parts of traveling. When I found myself preparing for a month long trip through London, Madrid, Paris, and Amsterdam I thought packing would be the least of my troubles. I was wrong!

Having traveled quite a bit I thought I knew the standards: couple of shirts, skirts, shoes etc. etc. Coordinating outfits, jewelry, makeup alongside with the changing seasons and temperatures in the locations was quite another thing.

Here are a few things I learned:

The Carry-On

  • I have been unfortunate enough to have had my luggage lost on multiple occasions. As a result I started carrying a minimum of one extra set of clothes in my carry-on. This prevents me from feeling desperate when I land. Typical change of clothes includes a pair of jeans, a button down shirt, and a pair of heels. This way no matter what the occasion is (except a black-tie affair) I find I’m ready for it.
  • Only the bare necessities of make-up come with my on the plane. My current obsession is Chanel. This includes the Sublimage L’Essence, La Crème Yeux, La Crème Texture Fine, and CC Cream. I also carry make-up wipes with me and remove all my makeup after getting on the plane and apply my Chanel products. I find my skin feels refreshed instead of dry or greasy from hours of makeup wearing.
  • Electronics: My computer, IPad, Kindle, and IPod are must haves. Without them I think I would go stir crazy after the first hour. Mostly I read but occasionally I do work. I try to limit the amount of work I do while flying in order to just take some time to relax.
  • Other things that are important in my carry-on include my glasses, watch, passport (wouldn’t be going anywhere without that), small notebook, and business cards. Generally speaking everything in my carry-on comes with me day to day minus the change of clothes.

The Suitcase

  • This may be a traveler’s worse nightmare. Trying to fit everything into one small case with a weight limit is daunting. I try to keep to the basics.
  • How to pack is a personal choice. Some people prefer to roll other prefer to fold. I am right in the middle of the debate. Shirts, pants, and skirts: I roll. Dresses and dress shirts: I fold. To help save space I love to use Eagle Creek packing cubes. They come in a variety of sizes and really help keep everything separated, organized, and contained.
  • Choosing what shoes to bring is difficult. I typically want to bring them all but then I would probably need a professional moving company for that. Instead I try to stick to the basics choosing black and browns with an occasional pop of color and prefer flats to heels.
  • The things that take up the most weight are makeup, hair products, and jewelry. I try to limit these as much as possible. Hotels will have blow-dryers and even though they aren’t great it is better than lugging around yours. Makeup gets paired down to the bare necessities and jewelry is carefully coordinated with each outfit to avoid bringing anything extra.

In all honesty I almost always pay overage fees on the way home because I tend to do shopping while I’m traveling. I have avoided this sometimes by shipping stuff home but be careful because this can get pricey quickly. I learned my lesson the hard way!

Other tips

  • I use dryer sheets in between my clothes so everything smells fresh on the road.
  • I carry an absurd amount of band-aids because in the past I find it is the most frequent thing I buy on the road.
  • If you read on the plane make sure you have read at least a chapter of the book before bringing it with you. Too many times I have started a new book only to find I didn’t like it and then had nothing to read for the remaining six hours on the plane.
  • In the Autumn and Winter jackets tend to be the heaviest thing in my suitcase. I try to avoid this by brining one rain coat and one heavy coat
  • I protect all my handbags by filling them with underwear and socks so they can keep their shape and put them in cloth bags to prevent scratching or rubbing on other things in the case.
  • Things I always forget but wish I hadn’t include belts and scarves.

We would love to know your packing tips!

Happy Packing!

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