Images of a Weekend

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For all the horror that winter brings in Manhattan, she certainly makes up for it in June. The city is happy, the energy is good, and behind every turn awaits an explosions of flowers, artists, farmers market harvests, and the sparkling sunlight. The Hudson glitters like a canary diamond and, for once, even the garbage trucks seem to hum quietly to themselves while lovers quarrels are called to a truce in place of strolls through the park in all the quiet pleasures of life.

I went to the farmers market, I walked Riverside Park, I explored Gotham Market and learned that rice crispy treat ice cream is a thing and it’s amazing. I started watching the 2nd season of Chef’s Table (one of my all time favorite food shows) and enjoyed my new Diptyque candle that smells of home cooked Madeleines. This I photographed {above} with my Monica Rich Kosann locket and a memento from one of the sweetest moments of the weekend — when I stumbled upon a poet writing poems for donation which he bases on any theme you told him. I asked him to make me a poem on Provence and this is what he wrote…

The image need not be imagine

it’s beautiful as it is

The people need not be questioned

they’ve an honest way to live

Give to the land and in return

the land gives back to you

It’s funny how we go so far

to learn the truth

-Lynn Gentry

“Provence”

Riverside Park

June 11th, 2016

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La Vie en Rose with Chanel

Run through the fields of roses with me for CHANEL N° 5 L’EAU in Grasse, France

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CHANEL N°5 L’EAU

When I think of CHANEL, naturally I think of France and, more specifically, I think of Paris with her white walls and perfectly designed boulevards. But CHANEL is more than one place. It’s more than a fashion house, it’s a lifestyle. If you could live CHANEL, what kind of woman would you be?

You’d probably be the kind of woman who understands heritage, craftsmanship, quality, and artistry. You are confident and current, timeless and unforgettable, you possess a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’… You definitely possess a bottle of CHANEL N° 5 (and so did your mother, and possibly her mother). Perfume, like memories, can thread together our lives, taking us to places like a mystical time traveling fairy. I know, one day, the smell of fresh garden roses will remind my children and my grandchildren of me long after I’m gone. I hope those memories bring back love.

As all things CHANEL does, its perfume is created to perfection, with the highest quality ingredients, and is, of course, made in France. There is no place better in the world to manufacture perfume than on the beautiful French Riviera in Grasse, the cradle of French Perfumery since the 17th century. For over 170 years the fields you see depicted in this story have been owned by the same family, who have passed down knowledge from generation to generation; grandfathers working side by side with sons and grandsons. You can feel the heritage and deep rooted love walking the lanes of endless roses. For the past 30 years CHANEL has had a sole partnership with this family estate. It is here where they recently brought us to experience the 5th interpretation of CHANEL N° 5 called L’EAU, or water in French. According to CHANEL,N°5 L’EAU is not a cologne. Nor is it a diluted version of the original fragrance for, at CHANEL, each variation is a genuine olfactory creation. N°5 L’EAU is the N°5 of today. A composition under the banner of modernity, with freshness as its leitmotif. L’EAU, for water is essential. L’EAU, in praise of simplicity.”

When I arrived to the property I was struck with the overwhelming scent of roses. It was truly the most intoxicating smell I’ve ever experienced. Pure, intense, lovely; it completely wrapped around you, like being covered in nature’s kisses. Nothing will ever compare to the scent of those fields. I walked for hours among the rows of pink roses at different stages in their delicately blooming life span, the perfectly French light dancing warm and golden set against a blue sky. It was ideal bliss. Off in the distance, the chateau sits, proud and historic, like a fairytale from my childhood storybooks. I was, to put it simply, in heaven… even the photos can’t do it justice this time.

The new fragrance is wonderful. It’s timeless like the original N° 5 but modernized perfectly. Less musky, more vibrant. Less suited, more feminine. It’s all I wore while on my journey through Provence, and what I wear at home to travel back to this place… my heaven on earth.

Something that my friend, artist, and archaeologist Jean Pierre Soalhat said to me on my recent visit to Provence, “Our future is inside of our past.”  I believe this quote truly represents the heritage of Chanel’s brand, their perfumes, and certainly the driving force behind behind L’EAU, modernity guided by tradition. The memories that a perfect scent creates, reflect moments in our lives, the lives of our loved ones, memories that lead into our future and last forever.

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The May Bloom: Rose de Mai

40-50 tons of roses are produced in a season, handpicked by farmers. The blooms begin the last week of April and throughout the month of May.  At first light, every morning at 7am the buds will begin to bloom, two days after they have opened up their beautiful petals, they must be picked. The lifespan of one rose bush is 15-20 years.

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“And then, like a second wind, you can already hear the rustle of flowers. It sounds like the whisper of trembling tulle. Rose melds with oxygenated jasmine and a new fraction of ylang ylang, more modern than ever. You are plunged into the heart of the bouquet with a delectable dizziness that gives the impression of contact with each petal, its velvety touch, its fleshiness, its delicate lace, its changing shape.” -The house of CHANEL CHANEL_No_5_LEAU_05 (more…)

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Musée Renoir

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Ever since researching the artist Pierre Auguste Renoir for our Renoir’s Garden shoot I dreamed about what it would be like to walk the grounds of his estate in the South of France where he spent the last 12 years of his life up until his death in 1919.

In a foreword from the book “Renoir’s Garden” written by the artist’s great-grandson Jacques Renoir, he describes the painter’s approach to the land; “Renoir, on the other hand, sought to envelop himself in an aura of peace and tranquility, to preserve things much as they were, to keep a traditional working farm of ancient olive and orange groves and a market garden, and to grow flowers to paint. At Les Collettes he cherished the old farmhouse both as a symbol of a vanishing way of life and as a landscape feature.”

Walking the grounds you can see how the dancing light through the ancient olive trees would have pleased a painter. Even the view from the dining room window of the main house, the trees bend and blend as if they were painted by Renoir himself… perhaps his spirit lingered on here, creating art and beauty for generations to continue to escape into. It was an incredible experience to stand where the painter once was, looking at the views, such as in the image above, which he so masterfully immortalized. The Musée Renoir houses 14 original paintings including one of my favorites, The Bathers.

Here is a walk through Renoir’s world on Impossible SX-70 film

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“When he bought Les Collettes… he had in his grasp a world where he could imagine that the ancient pagan gods might come back to earth.” -John House  (more…)



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