Category Archives: Fashion Reportage

Protagonist

I recently discovered Protagonist though the tightly curated site The Line that always seems to find the coolest yet most understated items in fashion, beauty and home decor. Offline their retail store is done through a living editorial moment by putting the shopping experience inside the dream Soho loft, known as “The Apartment by The Line“. Whenever I pop in I am always inspired either by the chic curation for the woman I dream to be in New York (think minimal, confident, quality) or through discovery of new designers whom all seem to have an affinity toward elevated wardrobe essentials, the kind of pieces you invest in because they will never go out of style.

Protagonist, under the direction of Georgia Lazzaro, formally of Narciso Rodriguez and Calvin Klein, is a delicious study in simplicity and quality. The Line, known mostly for their shirting, has stolen my heart for their black and white basics, especially in the realm of the LBD. I stopped by their NYFW presentation hosted at The Apartment in Soho to see what direction they are going in and how much I need to save to become a Protagonist woman.

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Mercado Global

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When Mercado Global emailed to see if I would be interested in visiting the communities of their local artisans in Guatemala, I knew it would allow me to gain a greater knowledge as to what goes into their products. Opening yourself up to experiences like these means the world around you changes. Your association with products is affected by sentimental value but goes beyond sales and trends when you understand the craftsmanship that goes into a product: like when I watched how they painstakingly make CHANEL couture or viewed the tiny delicate details of Chopard’s high jewelry making. Once you peek at the process behind the curtain, you understand how important craftsmanship and expertise is.

These women are experts in the traditional Mayan weaving process, an age-old tradition passed down through generations. What Mercado Global helps them achieve is not only preservation of an ancient artistry, but a partnership that empowers women to break the cycle of poverty by helping them run their own independent business. This opportunity creates sustainable livelihoods for their families and can help turn around entire communities.

One woman I spoke with said her husband was in an accident and was unable to work. Being the only source of income, she had to find a way to support her family. Though the business model set up by Mercado Global, she was able to buy a loom and begin producing fabrics such as the ones you see here which are then purchased by Mercado Global. The artisans do not work exclusively with Mercado Global; once they own the loom they can sell their designs to a newly available international market they once had no access to. On her single income, this woman we spoke to was able to pay for all seven of her children to go to school. On average, these Mayan artisans make three times the national average wage of Guatemalans. These women are changing the culture by being business owners and major contributors to their local community, which gives them the power and tools to fight against major issues like female violence, malnutrition, and illiteracy. Mercado Global not only sets these women up for a viable future but also goes into the communities with programs to educate them on financial management, heath and wellness, and nutrition.

There is now a network of over 400 women artisans in over 40 cooperatives throughout the rural highlands of Guatemala. Below are images from the small town of Comolapa we visited, watching as the artisans worked in a weaving cooperative on floor looms, making fabric by hand that would ultimately become the perfect market tote or evening clutch… but this time, with a story of change. I love carrying mine around the city, feeling the fabric under my fingers and the spirit of these women inspiring me to take control of life while being an expert in my artistry.

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Cartier Etourdissant dazzles in Miami

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It was a perfect night. The air, so warm and sticky the way summers on the east coast play back like flickering memories of an old movie scene. Cartier had come to Miami to unveil the newest precious pieces of their high jewelry collection “Cartier Etourdissant” along with priceless vintage creations of years past and dazzling standards of this modern era.

Being invited to galas such as these are always personal princess moments. An armed guard, not unlike a fairy godmother, shows up and adorns you in diamonds for the evening leaving you swanning around the room as if you were floating in a glass of champagne. I don’t know what it is about diamonds at night, which sparkle off our warm bodies so alive with breath and wonderment, but I just always feel as if they look like someone caught the twinkling stars and wrapped them around us in a cloak of fairy dust.

This collection is especially sentimental to me. Not only for the history of Cartier, who most notably made the setting for the Hope Diamond and adorned the heads of Royalty for some of their biggest moments in history, but because it was inspired by the French Riviera, one of my favorite places on earth. There is nothing like the light and artistic inspirations of France and in the designs of these pieces they transform light like a quiet afternoon dancing in the sun along the Côte d’Azur. I could stare into the pieces forever remember the best moments in life and dreaming of all the ones I desire for the future.

It was glamorous. Hosted at the new Faena Saxony Hotel in Miami along the turquoise sea it felt like a modern reenactment of a Jay Gatsby party which must have been the inspiration for director Baz Luhrmann when he designed the interior of the hotel.  Faena Miami has been waiting for this moment to be brought to life, to be filled with the sounds of champagne bottles popping, distant laughter, models poised in priceless jewels, jazz music and the salty taste of caviar. Maybe it was the setting that made me feel so nostalgic or the glittering private crowd there mirroring the moonlight off the ocean but I looked around the room wondered how could anything bad ever happen in a world that can create this much beauty out of human vision and love.

In a red Dior dress I watched the room ebb and flow and thought of that line from The Great Gatsby: “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” and smiled, for I can always go back to this memory on a cold winter day and recall that life can really sparkle if we open our eyes.

Below, I invite you to experience some of my favorite moments and unforgettable pieces from the gala by Cartier~

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MICAM

MICAM, Milan, Italy When I think of Milan I think of luxury leather goods. I knew visiting this fashion capital to attend the MICAM International Trade Show for shoes would be a learning experience thick in Italian culture. Much like the trade shows in the United States you wander from isle to isle to an endless stream of ideas, inspiration and innovation. It’s here where Italy’s top accessory designers showcase not only craftsmanship but how they are bringing new technologies into our footwear and will shape the way we walk, manufacture and desire shoes. It’s also here where buyers from major department stores to small boutiques come to see the shoes and place the orders that will arrive in store six months from now.

It’s an endless steam of beauty covering every design you could ever imagine.  Broken up into five adult categories: luxury such as Alberto Gozzi, urban like Franceschetti, contemporary such as Apepazza,  cosmopolitan like designer Andra Morelli, and international with brands like United Nude.

It’s impossible to imagine how these buyers ever narrow down the choices from the vast options of brands showing. Of course as I roamed the pavilions I started noticing trends in shoes. What it looks like to me is a future of highly designed fashion sneakers and an updated playful version of the Birkenstock. Neither of which are my style personally, but below are a few shoe moments from MICAM where I wish I could have bought the shoes right then and now from these new Italian designers welcomed into my world.

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