Snapshots from Savannah

If you know anything about me you probably know my affinity for Savannah. I fell in love with this city years ago and have not stopped going back since. My Guide to Savannah is  updated each time I discover something new.

It’s pretty incredible to see the changes that have come to this very small historical town just inland from the coast of Georgia. Of course, the stately mansions and proud city parks stand as beautiful reminder unchanged of visions to a formality of life it seems all but lost. I like to think when James Oglethorpe designed Savannah in 1733 he set out to make a city so charming it would never fall to ruin. And aside from a few unfortunate parking lots, it has managed to do just that. Not only in the preservation of her patinated beauty but in her ability to continue to reinvent herself. Now it’s home to the Savannah College of Art and Design which brings in the most talented young artists from around the world bringing a new breath of life to sweep youthful magic in. You will find incredible restaurants with a focus on locally sourced seasonal organic food (This & This are my favorite) and a bustling shopping scene from antiques stacked floor to ceiling high in old southern mansions to places that celebrate a lifestyle I feel right at home in.

I’m proud of this city. I love her in a way that feels like home. I love the smell of her sweet sticky air, how people say good mornin’ to you on a stroll through town, and that I know she will always be there waiting for me with a good drink and nice porch view.

Savannah, Georgia Savannah, Georgia (more…)

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Snapshots from Savannah

A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall.

Looking back on a few days off where I looked forward to what is in store for 2015. We are already planning shoots in Palm Springs, Paris, and Argentina so this year, though just born a week ago, is already full of dreamy promises. Doing what you love most for a living means you’re willing to commit more time to it than a typical job so it’s not often I take a day off or have a moment to reflect on all we’ve done and the amazing people we’ve met.

After spending Christmas in Texas with my family, I found myself in Savannah, a place I call home – my adopted home. Like New York and Paris, I am at my best self here, but unlike the two metropolitan cities, in Savannah I come to relax. To walk her beautiful parks at dusk, to feel the damp southern air kiss my skin under an umbrella of enchanting moss hanging from live oak trees. We eat, we drink, we spend afternoons whittling away the hours on big southern porches while we outline our dreams for another year but always leaving much open to new directions we could never anticipate.

*PS- An update on my Savannah recommendations – I love walking Whitaker street from Gaston to Broughton and popping into little hidden boutiques and amazing home decor shops. One Fish Two Fish led me to score two amazing new bedside lamps.

Of course the food scene in the south is one of the biggest draws. Now added to my “MUST EAT” list is The Florence for dinner and for lunch Green Truck Pub has the best burgers IN THE WORLD. I called it.

The only thing that could make Savannah even more dreamy is having the utmost pleasure of staying at SCAD’s Magnolia Hall. The southern mansion of my dreams that sits atop Forsyth Park (see the view from the front porch on a foggy night above). In 2014 I had the great honor of working with SCAD, covering their Savannah campus that makes the word “impressive” a tremendous understatement. Remember when we went to Lacoste after that?… it only gets better. Thank you SCAD for the southern hospitality and adopting me into your family, it’s an inspiring group of people.

A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall. A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall. A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall.

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Savannah College of Art & Design ~ Lacoste

SCAD Lacoste France

Remember how we fell in love with SCAD in Savannah, Georgia? How we figured out how to put the pieces in place so that all our creative dreams could have a greater chance of coming true…. well, I found out they had a campus in the south of France which is just a totally unfair to those of us NOT in school anymore, and wildly romantic and inspiring for these students who are or will be to nurture their creative talent in a place so famous for the arts (ok, THIS and THAT and ooooo, THIS)

Many students arrive on the Savannah College of Art & Design Lacoste campus and immediately start singing songs from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast… I mean, how can you not, it’s a medieval town with blue shutters on all the windows, lace curtains, flowers everywhere and whose residents number only in the hundreds. So, first question. How does an art school end up in a tiny village made of stone on top of a hill?

Bernard Pfriem, a Texan painter and sculptor, fell in love with Lacoste after he bought a home there, and founded Lacoste School of the Arts in 1970. After Pfriem’s death in 1996, the school lost its champion and began to fall into disrepair. Several colleges traded partnership with the school, but it was a chance encounter with one of SCAD’s historic preservationists that eventually led to SCAD taking control in 2002 and doing what SCAD does best… saving, renovating, and turning it into one of the greatest creative institutions.

Today, an intimate number of 80 selected students can study abroad at SCAD Lacoste in four different sessions of the year, though the classes work on a rotating schedule. When we came to visit earlier this summer, there were courses in fashion, screenwriting, photography, animation, documentary film, art history, and printmaking. Walking around the campus, which reaches from Cafe de Sade at the bottom of the hill to the famous Château de Lacoste at the top, it’s easy to see why anyone would want to study the arts here. Away from the noise and distractions of city life, you can focus in on your thoughts, dreams, talents all the while having the tools and top notch technology provided to you by SCAD.

Some may be surprised that people choose to study in a small medieval village, but for these students, there’s not much better than this provincial life of making memories and art as bright as the fields of sunflowers.

MAISON BASSE

First let’s set the scene…(brace yourself for jealousy)

Maison Basse began as a one-room farmhouse built on top of 13th century Roman ruins in the valley between Lacoste and Bonnieux. If that’s not a beginning, I don’t know what is. Since then, it has lived many lives – as a silkworm farm, an inn, and a guesthouse and gambling space for the de Sade family. After SCAD had successfully saved a 13th century Roman wall, back to the whole champions of historic preservation thing, they ended up with a new project on their hands, that of Maison Basse took many years of work and perseverance to complete and now sits proudly in view down in the valley from any window up on the hill of Lacoste where the rest of the campus classrooms live.

Below you will see how it functions as student housing, classrooms, art studios, and a community shared living space taking this historic building from old farmhouse to the future of art…

SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France    SCAD Lacoste France

 Students can wait for car rides from the main campus to Maison Basse, but on nice days, most of them opt to take the ancient Roman road which winds through gorgeous forest as it travels from the farmhouse back up to the village…

SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France

Below~ looking back on Maison Basse in the valley from within the walls of Lacoste. 

SCAD Lacoste France

FASHION

The fashion students were huddled over sketchbooks in the bright natural lit studio, working on their creations for Advanced Fashion Sketching. Taught the use of croquis – a quick, sketchy drawing – and body proportions for fashion drawing, the girls quickly infuse their images with their own personal style and vibe. Many of the images involved different mediums – some students using pens and pencils, others, watercolors or collage. By the end of the eight week course, the students will have a portfolio to expand upon in their continuing studies back at SCAD and ultimately their own fashion collection.

SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France SCAD Lacoste France (more…)

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Savannah College of Art and Design

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So you want to be a designer… an illustrator… a jewelry maker… an animator… you want to be a buyer for SAKS, animate characters for Pixar or make jewelry for Tiffany & Co… but how does one begin? What is that first step on the road to forever? Enter SCAD.

I don’t have a lot of regrets; I find it a waste of energy to regret something, and yet… I regret I did not go to school at Savannah College of Art and Design. I have toured the campus twice, that’s how impressed I am with it. I’ve made friends throughout the years with SCAD graduates and know many colleagues who have SCAD alumni working with them. I hear their name in the creative industry more than any other!

Let’s talk about the campus – first off, there are SCAD campuses not only in Savannah, but in Atlanta, Lacoste, France, and Hong Kong (um, amazing). But the main campus in Savannah is so beautiful I just can’t help but admire it…nestled in historic downtown Savannah, Georgia (you *know* how I feel about that) SCAD has saved and renovated / restored / preserved 70% of the historic buildings. I’m always one for subtle inspiration and I find that a college interlacing perfectly into a city, tucked away behind plaster moulding from the 1800s and beautiful old wooden floors, to be beyond inspiring. The Fashion Marketing building was so beautiful and so whimsically decorated with its wall of eclectic paintings and research room with a fireplace and bookshelf of artifacts that I told our guide it was just rude the students get to have such beauty.

So here we are in my beloved Savannah; let me take you on a tour of one of the most impressive creative institutions I know…

ADMISSIONS

Before we “go to class”, let’s talk about first impressions – they say that’s everything, right?

While we were down in Savannah, everyone was abuzz about SCADstyle, a campuses-wide event happening April 14th-17th which brings together luminaries from the worlds of fashion, jewelry, interior design and other fields for a series of discussions and lectures about the state of design and fashion. This time guests include fashion designer Alexander Wang, renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, and Domenico De Sole, Chairman at Tom Ford. I want to go back just to hear the digital content panel with Sally Singer, Quentin Jones, Cass Bird (OBSESSED), Sara Moonves and Arnaud Boutin! Even our friends from Dannijo will be speaking!

I’m sure all of these people will walk through SCAD’s main admissions building and why would they not?… it’s GORGEOUS.

The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck

One of my *favorite* things about SCAD is how they fill the buildings, halls, shops, restaurants, and town with student and alumni work. The piece I always take a moment to look at each time we are in Savannah is in the admissions building; it is a sculpture of a bee which I find amazing and here is why:

Bees should be extinct.

Natural selection should have eradicated them centuries ago, scientists say. Their bodies are too big for their wings. This is SCAD’s mascot; so chosen because it was widely held that the bee should not be able to aerodynamically fly, yet it does; the school was not expected to do well when it started 35 years ago and yet…it does. The principle the college was founded upon was to give students with interest and passion a chance…to fly…even if they weren’t yet aerodynamically prepared.

The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck

FASHION

A couple of years ago I was sitting at Prabal Gurung’s show and I met the man sitting next to me – he was charming and intelligent, and by the end of the conversation I learned that he was Michael Fink, the Dean of Fashion at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Fast forward and here we are, talking about the fashion program of SCAD and reminiscing about that first day we met. He was formerly the Women’s Fashion Director at SAKS for 15 years and now he talks about his student’s work with as much passion as if he just saw a Jason Wu runway show. One of the points he made I found incredibly compelling was that he sees each senior fashion design student’s collection three times throughout the year to advise them and help ultimately guide their success. I asked him where students go on to work after they graduate from the program and as he begin to rattle off a list of the most famous U.S. designers and brands I cut him off and said, “So… basically there are SCAD fashion design alumni everywhere.” and he laughed and said yes.

The fashion design program in Savannah has 400 students in classes that cover fashion illustration, design and accessories. Senior students make six looks for a collection by hand, which they submit to a juried show. Twenty industry professionals narrow the total submissions down to 20 students who are invited to show their collections in a runway show that is well attended by both the local community and recruiters from top fashion houses.

The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck

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