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Cartier’s Garden



I try to spend my life photographing beauty. It is what brings me the greatest joy and to that which I want cast my gaze upon for eternity. Of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in the world, nothing will ever outshine what nature gives to us. How she makes woman with delicate skin and blushing cheeks, the colors of an exploding flower at the height of its bloom and that exceptional gift of gemstones and diamonds like stars that have fallen from the heavens to earth.

Recently we had lunch with Cartier at The Modern where we were first introduced to to their Étourdissant collection, a beautiful french word for “splendid”. The high jewelry collection is Cartier’s showcase of the most extraordinary, one of a kind pieces that can take the Maison years to create with the finest precious stones in the word. A collection so spectacular it is dizzying, like life itself if we watch with our eyes wide open. As we talked about the collection I was enchanted with the source of inspiration: the south of France, the Côte d’Azur, light and shadows, radiance and hues and the painters from France that created such vibrant works of beauty as a window into a world of natural wonders.

This thought of natural beauty stuck to me and I let images flood my mind and take me into an afternoon reverie. I became engrossed with the idea of creating Renoir’s garden.  A place of dappled color, untamed beauty, a young girl with iridescent paper-like skin dreaming of all to come in life lost in her thoughts as she whiles away the afternoon. She is innate beauty nestled in a bouquet of nature’s glorious shimmering colors. We watch her, with all the luxury of time, her jewels that seem to float off her delicate skin and glitter in the warm, late afternoon light. She lives in a world of splendor changed only be the gentle breeze that sweeps through kissing her cheeks and carrying her thoughts away.

The house of Cartier has reminded me that we must celebrate beauty, treasure color, create contrasts and seek character for it is the explosion of these things that make the world étourdissant.


Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, platinum, diamonds & pink chiffon gown with flower aplique by Marchesa

Renoir_Garden_Cartier_02 “Art is about emotion; if art needs to be explained it is no longer art.”– Pierre-Auguste Renoir Renoir_Garden_Cartier_03

Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, sapphires, diamonds & a light blue chiffon and sheer lace gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.


“You come to nature with all your theories, and she knocks them all flat.”- Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Étourdissant Cartier Collection ring, 18k yellow gold, opal, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds with vintage Gucci grey silk chiffon gown from Cloak Wardrobe under a rainbow pastel chiffon skirt by Marchesa. Renoir_Garden_Cartier_06

Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, 18k yellow gold, 55.91 carat peridot, onyx, diamonds with emerald green silk chiffon gown by Naeem Khan.


“The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Renoir_Garden_Cartier_08 Renoir_Garden_Cartier_09

Étourdissant Cartier Collection ring, 18k white gold, pink diamonds, brown diamonds, white diamonds in a vintage baby pink silk gown by John Galliano from Cloak Wardrobe.


“I look at a nude. There are myriads of tiny tints. I must find the ones that will make the flesh on my canvas live and quiver.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, 18k yellow gold, imperial topazes, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds along with an Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k yellow gold, onyx, diamonds and nude silk chiffon gown by vintage Alexander McQueen from Cloak Wardrobe.


“I like a painting which makes me want to stroll in it.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Étourdissant Cartier Collection necklace, platinum, diamonds and pink silk chiffon gown by YSL from Cloak Wardrobe


“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, sapphires, diamonds & a light blue chiffon and sheer lace gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.


“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” 
– Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Cartier Étourdissant collection shot at Jack Studios in New York City || Modeled by Emma Bartlett || Styled by Krisana Sotelo || Floral Set Design by Putnam & Putnam || Prop Stylist by Zio & Sons || Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier || Hair by Michael Thomas Lollo || Nails by Angel Williams

Some of the Pierre-Auguste Renoir paintings that inspired this story:

Femme avec parasol dans un jardin || Girl with Daises || The Bathers || La Promenade || The Lovers || Dance at Bougival || By the Seashore || Nude 1910 || In the Garden || Young Girl Bathing || Reclining Nude || In the Meadow || Young Woman Seated || The fisherman


Renoir the Film

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It’s hard not to think about Paris when thinking about CHANEL. It’s an entangled marriage that has withstood the hands of time that withers away most relationships. For this shoot I wanted to bring to life the Paris I feel and see when I think of CHANEL. Her perfectly monochromatic glow, silvery reflections of long casted shadows carrying the sound of clicking heels mysteriously descending from rue en rue, the dusty ashtrays at the night’s end as the last dance of smoke from a cigarette disappears into darkness.  This is my Paris. Black and white and smudged with history.

As I write this I am looking out at the rooftops of Paris from my suite at the Le Bristol Hotel pondering this wonderful moment in time. Time is a recurring constant in my life. As a photographer I count in tenths of a second and, as an artist, I try to pause it.

CHANEL released a new timepiece this season inspired by Coco Chanel’s nature to draw inspiration from the masculine wardrobe which has come to be an emblematic style of CHANEL. Coco was famed for her many boyfriends which, not surprisingly, inspired many of her creations and shaped the course of her life. It is then fitting the watch is named Boy.Friend – balancing both the iconic CHANEL watch shape but with a more masculine over-sized face, manual mechanical movement and ardillon buckle.

So we put the three together, my smokey silver city of lights, her mysterious fashion muse CHANEL and in the shadows the spirit of the woman who continues to inspire us all, Madame Coco.


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Meeting Cindy Ko


I was recently introduced to Cindy Ko, a Hong Kong based fashion blogger, through a mutual friend. Knowing nothing about her or her life half a world away I wondered what it is like to be her… who is Cindy Ko? She is so beautiful… this exotic orchid of a flower. I loved her face, its sultry sophistication. I asked if I could photograph her on the rooftop terrace of the Gramercy Park Hotel where she was staying while in the city. I liked to pretend each time I brought my camera up I was watching one of those old sexy Shanghai movies where the beautiful heroine communicates through her eyes and body movements in a struggle for what she wants. It brings to mind a quote from In the Mood for Love:

“It is a restless moment. She has kept her head lowered… to give him a chance to come closer. But he could not, for lack of courage. She turns and walks away.”


Why did you choose fashion blogging as a career?

I kind of just stumbled upon fashion blogging. I used to blog almost everyday on Xanga, I’d write about everything from day to day life to the random thoughts I’d have. It wasn’t until I saw a feature in vogue about fashion bloggers (six years ago) that I decided to specialize in one topic. Fashion. Now travel and lifestyle as well.  (more…)

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Portrait of a Lady


Doing a beauty video for Elle and Clarins had me thinking a lot about French beauty. In particular, how effortless and tasteful they are when it comes to skincare and how you makeup your face for the world to see. Every time I am in Paris I feel so inspired about the celebrated form of beauty French women have. To me, they are the most beautiful women in the world which I like to think goes beyond lucky genetics and has something to do with yummy french beauty products.

Kelly and I wanted to do a shoot for her sister Erin Framel on her birthday to mark this time in her life and celebrate all our collaborations. Many people go into behind the scenes to make a photo-shoot happen and Erin has produced, styled, and even modeled in many of our editorials and commercial shoots as a way to say thanks. With French beauty and one of my favorite fashion photography books, Woman in the Mirror, as inspiration we capture Erin in this timeless moment.

We let Elle & Clarins on set to see how we work and play together and here are the final images from this day of beauty….

Cover images~ Pamella Roland Gown || As29 Earrings



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