On a rainy Saturday in Provence, I awoke to the distant rumbling of thunder sparing with the town’s bell tolls marking the hour to awake. It was market day in my village, I had no choice but to brave the rain and I’m glad I did for it led me to these melon toned roses that set my day on a new path and brought to life the natural curiosities all around me…
Tucked in the valley below Ménerbes, a small hilltop village in the Luberon region of Provence, lies La Bastide de Marie, the most romantic hotel, vineyard, rose garden and restaurant. There is nothing like watching the setting light in the south of France on a cool terrace softly leave highlighted kisses on the tips of velvety roses as the day comes to a close while sipping estate grown wine in the peacefulness that is Provence. The intimate and rustic restaurant at the property is dripping in romance was one of the best meals from our trip. There is no menu, just a seasonal offering that evening with a few items to choose from your server describes to you. The best way, in my opinion, to eat in France.
I think about this place often, in fact, I dream of it.
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.
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.
“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 Continue reading “CHANEL N°5 L’EAU”
When my beautifully botanic friend Shiva Rose launched her non-toxic, chemical free skin care line, which is made in small batches to insure optimal integrity, I knew it was going to have some powerful rose moments. My gateway drug was the Radiant Rosewater spray and now I’m covering my entire body in this lovely line. I am quite sensitive to energy and I have to say, the energy in these products emit positivity and that positivity goes right onto your skin and into your soul.
I’m deeply into skincare these days as I have pared-down my use of makeup, opting for more natural beauty. When you can’t hide your skin behind foundation and powder tricks, you have to make it naturally look as good as you are trying to fake it with the application of makeup. Smooth, even tone, and naturally glowing. It honestly even took me some time to get used to looking at the natural texture of my skin!
I’ve been experimenting with different beauty lines and currently I’ve been focusing on Shiva Rose. Overall, I say these beautiful products are great for the woman who wants mega moisture and natural scents delivered through a bouquet of essential oils and topped off with a lot of happy spirit juju.
The Gentle Cleanser-
Pearl Milk Cleanser might be my favorite of all Shiva Rose’s products. It’s a face wash that doesn’t strip your face bare of it’s natural balance. It feels calming and hydrating to use with a very delicate natural exfoliant from black willow bark and luminizing elixir from the pearl powder, your face comes out clean and radiant. Shiva is not just about the physical aspects of beauty but how it ties to the inner spirit and this gentle fresh scent cleanser really does feel uplifting. Continue reading “Shiva Rose”
I love Roses.
I love to grow them, receive them, smell like them, and photograph them it’s no wonder the rose is considered the “queen” of essential oils. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered Chantecaille’s Rose de Mai line of beauty products made extraordinarily with a very special rose gown in Provence, France which blooms only once a year called Rose de Mai and harvested by hand. I love every morning waking up and applying the Rose de Mai cream which feels as if you are rubbing thousands of rose petals on your skin. What is even more special is that the scent is all natural from the actual roses that make up these products and take care of your face with the power of this floral ingredient.
There is something very calming about the smell of roses. When I’m feeling very stressed from a long day of editing and deadlines or after an intense photoshoot, it’s nice to spray Chantecaille’s Pure Rosewater on my skin not only to re-hydrate it but lift my spirits. Rosewater has an interesting history dating back the the Ancient Romans who not only drank Rosewater but bathed in it… obviously I wish I had more Rosewater baths in my life, right?! Aside from just being incredibly luxurious, Rosewater fights depression, insect bites, inflammation, sunburn, and signs of aging. I guess this is as close as we can get to the “fountain of youth”.
Sometimes we are incredibly fortunate enough to get clients we are personally fans of. Last December we were brought into the Chantecaille offices in Soho and briefed on their top secret newest member to their rose collection, Rose de Mai Face Oil, which was just released a few weeks ago. They asked us to come up with an idea, some visuals, on what the Rose de Mai line means to us and how we would visualize Chantecaille into a body of work. You can imagine, I was beside myself- a total dream job! We got to work right away concepting everything from stills, to videos, to cinemagraphs. Later this spring the work we created will be rolled out around the world in Chantecaille’s in-store displays, website, social media channels and in press such as WWD.
After the creative was signed off on by every member of the Chantecaille family (this is a family run business) we got to work. First step. Find the perfect roses in the middle of winter which we did through Rose Story Farm and had as many as possible shipped overnight. The studio has never smelled so beautiful! There were roses everywhere, in the windowsill, refrigerator, work table, kitchen counters! Over the course of a three day shoot we made beds of roses, flower crowns, flower hats, flower petal showers, you name it. It was a pure delight.
Of course Chantecaille does more that skincare, they also have an amazing line of makeup made most famously by Angelina Jolie when she reapplied their lipgloss not knowingly on camera at the Golden Globes. So I was VERY interested in hanging out at the makeup station for our shoot to pick up any tips / tricks from Chantecaille’s in house makeup artist Eddie Hernandez. My favorite things: their mascara smells like roses (DONE) and this is my FAVORITE makeup tool now.
Here are some of our favorite moments from this very personal collaboration with Chantecaille~
Above~ Red Audra Dress
Below~ Chantecaille’s new Rose de Mai Face Oil
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Above & Cover~ White Audra Top
Below~ Red Audra Dress
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Below~ Delphine Manivet Dress
Above~ Marchesa Top
Above~ Katie Ermilio Bandeau
Below~ Elie Saab Dress
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Above & Cover~ White Audra Top
Below~ Delphine Manivet Dress
Above~ Misha Nonoo Jumpsuit
Below~ Chantecaille Pure Rosewater
Above~ Marchesa Top
Below~ Delphine Manivet Dress
Below~ Misha Nonoo Jumpsuit
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Chantecaille Rose de Mai ||Modeled by Teresa Dilger of Silent Models || Makeup by Eddie Hernandez of Chantecaille || Hair by Fred Van de Bunt from Art Department || Styling by Kelly Framel & Erin Framel of the Glamourai || Manicurist Angel Williams || Flower Artist Tammy Becker
I have a very, very deep love for roses that goes all the way back to my childhood. It first began in with my grandmother’s rose bushes, trimming them, cutting the flowers to take to my elementary school teachers. Growing up in Texas my father would always bring me a dozen yellow roses on special occasions and now from time to time when I come home from New York to visit.
This past summer I put a lot of love and attention on the terrace at the back of our studio in Tribeca. It’s a small urban garden but in a city this compact I feel pretty lucky to have the amount of outdoor space I do. I grew my first rose garden, the flowers in these shots I cut from these bushes. I was so proud every time a new bud would emerge and in the mornings when I sat outside with my coffee I would touch the petals and remember the sweet lingering memories of my childhood.
Tending to a garden, making sure that someone is there to take care of it when you’re traveling or working the hours away was a lesson for me. A lesson in care, patience and pride. I realized, it’s not unlike relationships. If you don’t tend to them, take care of them, they too can wither and die. It’s not much that we need, just some sunlight and water and it’s amazing what things can blossom into and make your life a richer place.
So on this Valentine’s Day I give you roses and I hope your own gardens are full of love.
more natural beauty…
I’ve been so cold recently, so ready for nights out without having to wear tights and boots and jackets and gloves… you get the idea, you’re having the same rages. I’ve tried to make it fun and now I’m starting color therapy, surrounding myself with red. It started by staring at the above image we have as a large print in the kitchen every morning, letting the red warm my blood vessels. That was the 4×5 color film photograph I was working on when Bee came over to interview us for Bal Harbour magazine and I was panicking because I wanted to get the shot before all the ice finished melting. And now I still feel like I’m thinking about the ice melting! So here is the HOTTEST color I could find around the studio and in funny nooks around to get us feeling warm!
Recently I had the pleasure of taking a little crash course in flower arranging with Belle Fleur at the Flower School of New York over sips of Veuve Clicquot Rosé champagne. I’m always photographing flowers here at the studio as a personal project and quite honestly, it’s one of my favorite photographic subjects. I am always in awe of the beauty of a rose, the fold of a tulip, the color of a ranunculus or the smell of a hyacinth. The abstract lines and organic textures become something else though the lens of a camera, allowing each flower to have its own personality, life, expression, and age not unlike the way we are as humans. Since we have beautiful flowers around so often it was really nice to pick up a few tips and tricks on making your own arrangements at home! Read below to find out what I learned…
On arranging: Arrange in your hand. Start with the biggest flower as your “anchor” and build around that. You can cut your flower arrangement to the correct height for your vase by putting the vase at the edge of the counter and holding the arrangement next to it for the desired height and cut. To keep the flowers in the arrangement you created tie a clear rubber band around the stems to hold in place.
On cutting flowers: You do not have to cut under water when you buy quality flowers, but you should put them in water seconds after cutting as a “scab” immediately begins to form over the freshly cut end. Every few days, re-snip the ends of the arrangement to get fresh water into the flower and have it last longer. Cut the ends at an angle so water travels UP!
Is there anything lovelier than receiving a dozen roses?… burying your nose into the classic & romantic fragrance is like hearing a nostalgic love song. A new perfume, “A Drop of Rose” by pureDKNY, allows you to enjoy that delicacy and romance all day. Whereas a bouquet will fade in time and the fragrance will become a distant memory, the perfume will leave you wrapped in pure rose essence.
You love the roses – so do I.
I wish the sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on.
They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet;
and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
–Roses by George Eliot
A Drop of Rose by pureDKNY is available here…
With each curve and drip of color it is unimaginable that anything could be more beautiful than what is created in nature. Through the richness of red and with the softness of pink… these remind me that is there is beauty in the delicacy of life.
Flower arrangement by the magical Amy Merrick
Flowers from the Market…
Loveliness in Southampton
Have a beautiful weekend!