African Art Re-Imagined

There’s a hot new designer in Italy that’s changing the world of African style. Her name is Stella Jean and she’s a half Italian, half Haitian former model who’s managed to merge her two cultures with a namesake line. Using her “Wax and Stripes” philosophy, Stella creates clothing with traditional bold prints (“wax”) and sharp tailoring from her Italian roots (which she refers to as the “stripes”). Her unique body of work has even garnered the attention of Giorgio Armani, who lent Stella his space to showcase her Spring 2014 collection- a first for the legendary designer.

The allure of Stella Jean lies in the new conversation it’s created for what African fashion can be. The introduction of tailoring and standout silhouettes is extremely refreshing, bringing in new customers who may never have thought of rocking African prints. A tea length A-line frock is a hit at an art gallery opening, while a printed trench and striped skirt is the perfect casual-cool ensemble. Since it’s debut, Stella Jean has been flying off the shelves.

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Essential Architecture

Rectangles and Squares: Corners, Lines and Design

At an art fair last week, I saw a portrait of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. I didn’t notice at first, but a second look revealed that Dorothy’s hair and features were entirely composed of squares and rectangles – she was a girl made of cubes, but an unmistakable one nonetheless. I didn’t buy it, but it struck me as an interesting statement on the post-modern, pop culture-focused, digitized reality we live in.  On a related note, tattoos inked in pixilated-style  are increasingly cropping up on my Pinterest feed.

As citizens of the industrialized, computerized world, the rectangle is the basic structure of our lives – it’s the shape of the homes and offices we inhabit, and it’s the shape of the smallest components (pixels) of the images that travel across the screens we stare into.

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Our saturated exposure to this four-sided shape affects our perception in ways we aren’t even aware of. Take for instance this optical illusion:

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Which line is longer? Researchers discovered that typically Americans perceive the line with the ends pointed out as longer than the one with two arrowheads. This is because we live in spaces with linear construction, and that influences the way we perceive angles, i.e. this is how we usually perceive those lines:

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Interior Design: Looking Ahead

More 2014 Trends: Fabulous Floral

Nowadays, trends come and go at the speed of a good broadband connection. Thanks to our ever-expanding Internet connectedness – especially with the explosion of meme culture and aggregators like Pinterest – it keeps getting harder to predict which trends will carry through the coming year. Twelve whole months?! Try twelve minutes.

There are plenty of forecasting pieces floating around right now (a good round up of interior predictions can be found here. But one trend I believe will continue to have real impact in the new year is a giant crop of flowers – I’m talking big ones – on furniture, walls and textiles.

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There was no shortage of pretty petals this fall at the spring 2014 runway shows. And where interiors are concerned, don’t expect your grandma’s boring floral armchair: Giant flowers can be very, very cool.

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A huge bloom on a dark background would seem like a loud statement, but I love the muted beauty of this and the sense of quiet it evokes – perfect for a bedroom.

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Fashion and Interior Design: An Artsy Touch

The first time I visited The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit in San Francisco, I was so amazed by the beautiful visuals that I had to go again the very next day. This Fall, the masterpiece has made it’s way to New York’s Brooklyn Museum. A friend invited me to the opening night, where Gaultier himself gave a talk on fashion. The multimedia exhibit is made up of 140 haute couture and pret-a-porter ensembles organized around seven themes tracing influences of Gaultier’s over 40 year history – “from the streets of Paris to the cinema.” Custom mannequins greet you as you enter and from then on, it’s a feast for the eyes. Everything from intricate gowns to fantastical photographs by one of the most innovative fashion designers of our time. Even Gaultier’s old stuffed teddy bear (on which he designed his first-ever cone bra) makes an appearance. Amongst the standout fashion, you’ll find behind the scenes images of Gaultier fitting Madonna for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour. There’s literally too many amazing instances in this exhibit to count. I left once again inspired by the unique way Gaultier creates art through fashion.

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Fellow style blogger, Aimee Song of Songofstyle is known as much for her apartment decor as her stellar style. The interior designer’s LA home is filled to the brim with color, texture and inspiration. Starting with the living room, Aimee uses a custom cobalt blue couch as a bold statement piece and continues the theme with a chic animal print rug, ink painting and tiled mirror. Bronze and gold pillows add ample color to the space. In the hallway there’s a gold table of art books and beautiful candle holders. A painting hangs above featuring a woman in colorful African attire amidst a black and white background. It’s a simple yet striking set up. Aimee’s “midnight blue” bedroom is serene sprinkled with fresh flowers and pretty plum accents. Off to the right peaks a textured beige rug. In the closet, Aimee color codes her clothing, which is a more artsy than neurotic habit as the grouped hues add dimension to the wardrobe. It’s a home that’s exciting and insanely unique. The space is artsy without being stuffy which makes for one perfectly lived-in home.

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Fashion and Interiors: Easy Elegance

For those who enjoy a sophisticated, minimal style, you will surely fall in love with Valentina Kova. Valentina started off as a jewelry designer in 2011 and for the Fall 2013/2014 season, she expanded her brand to include a womenswear collection, made entirely of Italian leather and silk. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valentina studied classical art before moving to the states to attend Parsons. She then went on to study at La Cambre in Brussels before moving to Paris, where she worked closely with jewelry designer Natalia Brilli. After a three year stint teaching at Parsons in New York, Valentina decided to put her innovative ideas to work and start her own line. Her designs are for the woman who is confident and classy, with a bit of spunk. Valentina’s clean aesthetic is a breath of fresh air: classic silhouettes mixed with new-age flair. I had the chance to both view and try on the new Spring 2014 collection, housed at premier pr agency, The Collective (founded by Alex Dickerson and Erin Kelly). I was immediately struck by the line’s craftsmanship and luxurious feel.  Pieces on my must-have list include a long silk trench in cobalt blue, a sleek black leather skirt with sheer cutouts and the Spring/Summer staple: an fiery cutout silk maxi dress. The collection is pure luxury and the world has taken notice. Valentina’s work has been featured in Nylon, Harper’s Bazar Russia and Glamour Mexico, among others. Lady Gaga was spotted in a silk lipstick red jumpsuit, looking more sophisticated than I’ve ever seen her.

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Floored

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I like to think I have a bold confident approach to designing interiors. But then I see icons of the industry such as Mary McDonald, Alex Papachristidis and Miles Redd wowing us with custom painted floors –  and I am humbled. Truly humbled. Although the origins of painting designs onto floors are from less than glamorous reasons, modern interpretations of the art form have elevated it to unimaginable heights. Faux marble inlay? Tasteful herringbone patterns? Intricate geometric patterns that connect adjacent rooms? All of these are possible when you unleash the imagination of top tier design talent and their artisan partners in crime.

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Color 2014 Radiant Orchid: Ideas and Inspiration for Next Year’s “It” Color

Radiant Orchid

International color guru Pantone declared next year’s “it” color Radiant Orchid, a bold blend of purple, pink and fuchsia.

Pantone’s influence is such that you can expect to see this color on catwalks, at design expos, in showrooms and beyond. Pantone’s experts considered a wide range of factors in selecting this pretty, pink-tinted purple – everything from art, film, economics, technology and global events have influence, according to their website.

While last year’s pick (emerald) referenced revitalization and growth, radiant orchid evokes creative energy and original thinking.

Purple is a powerful color. Before the new year arrives, here’s a look at how prescient designers have incorporated various shades, from deep violet to delightful mauve, into awesome rooms.

HGTVVia: HGTV 

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Minimal Meets Adorned: 2 Handbag Designers Changing The Game

Sometimes we just need a bag that will make our outfits soar. The sartorial icing on the cake. Enter Khirma Eliazov and Lili Radu, handbag designers who are changing the game with every clutch. These two women have totally different styles: Lili is sleek and minimal, while Khirma is known for her standout details. But both share a passion for creating gorgeous bags that are instant conversation starters. I consider myself a lucky gal since I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both women and subsequently falling in love with their bags. Here’s my takeaway.

The Statement Maker: Khirma Eliazov

I first met Khirma (a former freelance accessories editor for Vogue) in 2010 at Henri Bendel, about a year after her launch. We spoke that day and I was immediately intrigued with her unique aesthetic and clever detailing, many of which were inspired by her family. Plus, I loved that she named her bags after close friends! Khirma’s trademark lies in her head-turning statement clutches and bags, each made of exotic skins and beautiful stingray. It wasn’t long before I became hooked, steadily featuring her clutches and bags on my blog, JoyLovesFashion. Here are my favorites:

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The Herzog Maxi

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The Lindsay Clutch

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Bold but Wise: Five Steps to Inspired Design

How can we make outstanding, boundary-bursting design decisions while simultaneously resting assured that we aren’t going overboard?

It’s not easy, but keeping the following in mind can safeguard against creating something that will seem prematurely dated in years to come.

Know Thyself

I loved the mint-colored runway looks of spring 2012, but that pastel green wasn’t a longstanding favorite of mine, so it would’ve been a mistake to entirely redo my wardrobe with it. The same goes for interiors. Don’t get talked into a color or aesthetic trend because it’s hot now if you weren’t previously drawn to it.

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These violet kitchen accents paired with sharp structural lines are absolutely electrifying, but I assume the choice was a deeply personal one – no one else could tell someone this was the right decision for him or her.

Know the History

Cost, materials and quality are obviously crucial information for big purchases, but digging deeper, knowing a bit about the biography of a furniture piece or textile will ensure better decision-making. Plus, an item that has already stood the test of time is unlikely to look tired in the near future.

pantonVia: Eternamente Flaneur 

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Antique Tulu Rugs

Tulu means long haired in Turkish. These rugs were made in the past for the purpose of getting warmth and for sleeping. They are soft, usually have vibrant colors and are very shiny. Antique Tulu rugs are some of the most beautiful textile creations in the entire world. They can be identified by their artistic details and luscious texture. These rugs were made by hand knotting with the Ghiordes knotting style. Tulu rug patterns are unique but they are mostly based on flowery or vinery designs with something solid or plain for a centerpiece. Tulu rugs are usually woven with a combination of vibrant and earthy tones for balance.

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Our collection of Tulu rugs is specially selected from Anatolia, the home of the Tulu rugs as well as other parts around it with a rich heritage of Tulu rug weaving. We guarantee great quality antique Tulu rugs no matter your choice. Every Tulu rug has a history, a story that it carries in its threads. Tulu rugs are woven in the city of Karapinar, which lies east of Konya. It is home to a lot of mountains and plains. At least 100 years ago, the people of the village could not grow plants or tend livestock because of the conditions at the time. As a result, they started doing Tulu weaving (long–haired) and producing Tulu – rugs. Most of these rugs are 70–100 years old. They begin weaving these Tulus to keep themselves warm in the blistering cold up in the mountains. Commercial Tulu rug weaving only started recently to help them make a living for themselves.

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Some Tulu rugs show regional geography and terrain, hence, the flowery and vinery centerpieces and designs. Some Tulu rugs exist with oatmeal fields (centers) and more solid edges. This depicts the plains of the Karapinar and the mountains depict the solid edges that give some balance to the city of Karapinar.

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Owning one of these Antiques mean owning a beautiful, soft and luscious piece of history. It’s worth it.

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