Category Archives: Lifestyle

Snapshots of Summer

Snapshots of a photographer's life. Summer in Amagansett, NY

I always have a camera with me, it’s part of fulfilling that need inside to capture the moment: the moment in time, the moment in my life, the way we were that makes me a photographer. I collect photographs in a way of possessing all that is beautiful in the world. If the picture is made, I then have it for always and the stress of the passing moment dissipates, and it is forever with me.

After our Paris trip I took a load of film to the lab collected over the past few months. I love the rediscovery of these moments I photographed, random snapshots of time I had to have live on forever. Oh yes, I remember the feeling of my hair blowing in the wind on the long car rides to Montauk or the way the sun was glowing through the trees in a burst of golden particles on the way to Sag Harbor or how beautifully the boat’s sail danced on a pivot as the rain headed our way. I look at the photographs, like a diary of my life, a fluttering of heartbeats forever trapped in a moment in time.

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Coco Chanel’s Apartment

A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris

It’s hard to imagine walking in the footsteps of a legend… but on this most recent trip to Paris that is exactly where I found myself.  31 Rue Cambon, tucked away on a narrow street is the building Gabrielle Chanel (Coco) purchased in the 1920′s to house her incredibly successful fashion business. The levels of the building are still maintained today as Coco had originally set them up- a shop on the ground floor, haute couture studio on the 1st and her apartment on the 2nd. Walking up the original mirrored staircase was a surreal experience, like being in a toy music box or on a merry-go-round, light reflecting and your angle of perception always on the move. I sat on the infamous 5th step, the number five ever present and repeating itself within her house as she believed it to be a lucky number, and looked at the view Coco herself did so many times. From that angle of mirrored walls you can see how the dress would look on a model at every turn and you could also see the client’s reactions to the collection on the floor below without them being able to see you. Being in the house the day before Chanel’s extravagant spring show allowed me to slip into the fantasy even more, standing on that staircase seeing the models in fittings, running up and down the stairs and all the while watching them in a million reflections, reflections that have not changed in decades.

I found myself throughly surprised when I pushed open the mirrored door to her apartment – the first impression was “ornate oriental”. All of the rooms of Coco’s apartment were lined in 18th century oriental screens in a wallpaper-like fashion. Having been known to hate doors, she had the wooden wall panels cut seamlessly so when closed you would not know a door was there, like a hidden passageway. In the salon she used freestanding screens to obscure the entrance and exists of the room, leaving your eye to seamlessly wonder around and around at her very personal collections.

I was taken by how personal everything was in the space. Either chosen by Coco herself or as a personal gift, there was nothing in place without a story. The side tables – Coco had the marble replaced with black lacquered surfaces (sound like Chanel? yes.). The lions everywhere? Coco was a leo and surrounded herself with her astrological sign. The amazing chandelier in the salon bears both the number 5 and the iconic double crossing C’s. A dinner table for six? Coco preferred later in life more intimate dinner parties with the focus on stimulating conversation, conversations that would be happening with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Marlene Dietrich. She would pick up pieces from all over and mixing high and low without a bother to monetary value surrounding herself in things that meant something to her. On the side table of the salon sat one frog with his mouth open and inside was a piece of crystal. I asked our host why it was there and she said one of Chanel’s more famous guests accidentally broke a crystal off the chandler and hoping Coco would not see, hid the piece in the frog’s mouth… but, Coco did see to which she replied to the guest was a more fitting place for it after all.

My favorite piece in her apartment are the gifts from the Duke of Westminster- silver trinket boxes that sit on the salon’s coffee table and don’t reveal their true value until one opens it and it’s golden interior radiates so bright it feels like a piece of the sun. Coco said after receiving these lavish gifts that this was TRUE luxury: the most valuable aspect hidden from the public eye. This is what inspired her to make fur jackets “inside out”, with the softest part only for you.

She took inspiration from her home- the shape of the mirror in the entryway is the shape of the bottle of Chanel No. 5 as well as the face of many Chanel watches. On the oriental screens lining the walls motifs of camellias danced- another iconic symbol of CHANEL. Most notably, she created her famous quilted bag from the pillows on her 1920′s custom made suede couch. It is quite obvious Coco Chanel had a vision of personal taste, which she let influence her work in the most organic way possible and to that I find her immensely fascinating for she taught me style is everywhere, you just have to see it.

Now imagine this – the owner of this apartment, a woman who set the tone of style for decades, the creator of a fashion house that bears her name and is still so relevant and esteemed today was once just a little girl growing up in poverty simply as Gabrielle…

A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris    A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris    A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris

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Men in This Town

MenInThisTown

I met Giuseppe Santamaria, a men’s street style photographer, back in 2011 covering NYFW together. Since I’ve watched Giuseppe’s career and photography really grow into something very special in the men’s style realm. So special, in fact, that a book of his photographs was published this September called “Men in This Town“.  Giuseppe’s approach to photography, men’s fashion, and street style is quite romantic and not at all trendy or concerned with the “who’s who”. He really shoots from his heart. We sat down at our studio last week to catch up and ask him all about his first book~

Giuseppe_Santamari

Above, a portrait of the photographer photographed on 4×5 black & white film

How did Men in this Town begin?

It started with a tweet. I had photographed my friend’s cookbook cover, and then I started following his publisher on Twitter. One day he said, “Done for 2013 books. Onto next year. Any ideas?” I jokingly tweeted back, “How about a Men in This Town book?” And a year later, it came out.

When did you first start photographing?

By trade I’m a graphic designer. I’ve been working with photos and amazing photographers my entire career. That’s where my eye was trained – not conventionally at all.

How did you learn photography?

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Worth its Weight in Gold

a look at the special pieces of gold jewelry I wear and why

I like for the jewelry I wear to mean something, to have a story when people ask me about it. Yesterday was the start of New York Fashion Week which means lots of photographs, lots of beautiful clothing and lots of chatting with fashion friends I’ve missed over the summer. A woman on the street complimented me on my gold jewelry which meant so much because each piece has a memory sewn into its life with me. The most important being Kevin’s wedding band {above} which was my Grandfather’s and we all know how amazing he was. They could not afford to buy wedding rings when they were married today, September 5th, 1950, so for their one year anniversary my grandmother had saved for months to buy this simple gold band.

When I’m shooting or traveling to more rural parts of the world I also prefer to wear a more simplistic set of jewelry than the beautiful vintage ring that usually lives on my finger (and I still get caught starring in awe at it). Instead I wear another simpler ring that is very special to me. Yesterday we learned about John Hardy’s Greener Every Day initiative with their bamboo collection: when you wear bamboo, you plant bamboo. My bamboo ring is inscribed on the inside “This Planted 7 Bamboos” and reminds me not only to take care of the earth around us but also recalls a life changing journey to Bali with John Hardy and Cuyana.

a look at the special pieces of gold jewelry I wear and why

Around my neck is a long gold chain with two charms dangling off it: the moon & stars with the earth. The Moon & Stars was a gift from a woman photographer & creator of very exclusive heirloom pieces I greatly admire after I photographed her daughters at our studio. The earth was an anniversary gift from my husband to remind me of all the places we’ve been and all the dreams I have to look forward to.

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