Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Door to door

In life, it's all about first impressions. We make up our minds about each other on sight, whether we like to admit it or not. So the first sighting had better be a good one. The same can said of our homes, although not everyone cares as deeply about the exterior as I always have. I remember, when I moved to London and was looking to buy my first home, I was appalled by the state of the exteriors of the many buildings I visited. Peeling paint, greying facades, rickety doors and a general feeling of neglect permeated them all. Now, I have to admit that my budget was limited, so that may have had something to do with it, but as a student in Leiden I had lived in some extremely picturesque houses (which perfectly hid the studenty squalor inside!), so I was deeply spoiled. My very proper and rather posh British estate agent pointed out that the exterior simply did not register very highly on the scale of importance. It was all about the interior. In other words, stop wingeing and turn a blind a eye. 

Even in the interiors, however, there was always something missing and I found out what it was much later in life, when we were selecting the doors - both inside and out - for our new home. A great door can really lift a room. It creates a sense of drama, hides what needs to be hidden, or highlights what must be seen. Often ignored as a purely functional element in the home, the door can be a thing of great beauty as the following images perfectly demonstrate. And as you can see, they're not limited to entrances. An armoire or built-in closet can become a piece of extraordinary architecture. Feeling inspired yet? I am!

All images via Pinterest

Monday, November 25, 2013

Slitheringly hot

Despite my absolute terror of snakes (which is truly debilitating), I make an exception for the look of their skins (preferably not the real kind) as a print in fashion. And that's a good thing, because 2014 is proving to be a snaky year! Michael Kors, Lavin and Stella McCartney incorporated a great deal of snakeskin print in their Resort collections, and it looks to me like snakeskin could be replacing leopard as the go-to print for fashionista's. Which do you prefer?

Michael Kors 2014
Lanvin Resort 2014
Stella McCartney Resort 2014

Anna della Russo at Givenchy SS 2014 show - check out those snakeskin booties!!
Anna Wintour


Gucci 2013
Source: Elle Decor
Tiffany Eastman Interiors

OTT? Definitely!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Design Crush: Joseph Dirand

Monsieur Bleu
A few weeks ago, on a quick family visit to Paris, I met up with some great Brazilian friends (who always seem to know the best places to go) with whom I had dinner at the fabulous Monsieur Bleu restaurant. Situated in the Palais de Tokyo, Paris' edgiest contemporary art venue, Monsieur Bleu was designed by the award-winning French architect Joseph Dirand.

Dirand, who is known for his minimalist yet glamorous interiors, took some inspiration from the Art Deco movement in designing Monsieur Bleu. It's there in the velvet green banquettes and in the vert-de-gris upholstered Saarinen chairs, the towering structured walls in burnished bronze, original Lalique glass panels and the cool marble-and-wooden floors. The lofty, over-sized geometric lamps suspended from the ceiling were originally designed by Michel Boyer for the French Embassy in Brazil and are ah-may-zing!!

And then there's the food! The brasserie-style menu includes the most amazing Girolles avec Oeuf I've ever tasted (don't ask me to explain, just try it if you ever visit) as well as great oysters (not a fan myself,  but I've heard it said). Benjamin Masson, formerly of Petrus, is the chef.

Fun fact: although the name Monsieur Bleu is apparently a reference to artist Yves Klein's iconic blue, there isn't a trace of it in the entire restaurant! Go figure!

Monsieur Bleu
Monsieur Bleu
I've also included some shots of Dirand's work for private clients and stores such as Balmain and Pucci. So gorgeous!

Balmain store in Paris

Balmain store in Paris

Pal's restaurant in Paris

Pucci store in New York

Images from Pinterest and Joseph Dirand Architecture

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Style Crush: Ines de la Fressange

She wrote the book on style, both literally and figuratively. Ines de la Fressange is the poster child for and author of Parisian Chic: A Style Guide. And who is more qualified than she to expound the rules of French chic? Her pedigree is faultless: the daughter of a Marquis, a former Chanel model and muse, the brand ambassador for French luxury brand Roger Vivier (you'll catch her wearing his classic flats or carrying his bags in most pictures) and a fashion designer and style consultant in her own right, Ines is by rights the fashion guru.

In my humble opinion, her style is unparalleled. It is preppy chic at its very best, effortless and timeless. You will never catch her following a particular trend, and yet she always looks modern and fresh. And no one accessorizes a classic button down or Lacoste shirt quite like she does. And then there's that hair...I looooove her hair! I want her hair, and if I ever find the time to have a slightly more high-maintenance cut, I will have her hair!

Luckily for us mere mortals without ready access to the top designers, Ines is now joining forces with Japanese fast fashion chain Uniqlo. So, as of next year, her inimitable style will be available to the masses and, personally, I can't wait!