Social icons

John Singer Sargent, meeting the worlds of Art, Fashion and History

Sunday, 28 February 2016
John Singer Sargent is a painter from a world apart. First of all, he is American, which is enough rare when you study Art History to be highlighted. Only few of them became well-known in the European Art History, where we basically find 19th and 20th centuries painters from France, Italy and United Kingdom. But Sargent has been admitted in the European Art History, by chance. The young man quickly left Italy where he was born to go back to United States with his parents when he was only a child. But growing up he started painting, and quickly understands that he has to go there to become someone. From British's coasts to Paris, where he'll meet the most influent artists of the end of 19th century, being a part of the born of Impressionism, arriving at the right tome to live a big turn in Art History. Claude Monet will only be one of the many people he was lucky to meet in Europe, but the reason why he came to the old continent was way more personal. He was there to become famous, and since he arrived in London in 1885 he putted all his efforts to achieve his goal: to become an influent portraitist. But the way we see this artist today is far from the one people of 1880's did. Criticized for his portrait representing all of the figure, with women with way too pale skin color, as well too sensual, too tall, not enough in the details, too blurred, well, everything was out of people's tastes. But from the distance, many paintings and studies later, and after several decades, everybody has to admit that he's a true master in his field. But more than this, with all of his works, he also left archives of the past, many information concerning fashion, History, lifestyle, and nouveaux riches. Meet the portraits of an American painter who knew how to link different worlds: Art, Fashion, and History. 

John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Lady Helen Vincent, Viscountess D'Abernon, 
huile sur toile, 1904, Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama

    Portrait gender has always been more than just art, it had a social utility. Actually, lords, popes, kings, rich people, or even artists, were represented in painting to show themselves to others, to present there rank and their activity. Portrait is like a mirror, showing those important people to a curious audience, so the one painted has to be represented in the most advantageous way, his gesture and his outfit has to show who they are, letting know in an obvious way to show someone's place in the society. By a dress, an attitude, you can define the activity of somebody, and also if we talk about rich or poor people. It's at the same time something that tells us about somebody, but as well about a specific time in History. And Sargent helps us today to know about people of his time, and to learn about the lifestyle of those years. 

     Joshua Reynolds, Mrs Richard Crofts,                                                              John Singer Sargent, Violet, oil on
     oil on canvas, 1775, Dixon Art Gallery                                                           canvas, 1886, Private Collection

    A lot of artists of all periods of time practiced this gender, which is very popular, especially in the United Kingdom where portrait is considered as the most important art. Mostly because painters were able to realize portraits of very important men and women, as clergy men. At the end of the 19th century, Sargent arrived in the United Kingdom and distinguished himself with his works from out of the crowd, influenced by the new-born impressionism movement. I'd rather talk properly about Sargent's works, but before I have to show you some technical aspects of his art, just as you can understand in a better way what he tried to achieve. When he arrived in the UK, people criticized many part of his technical work: his paintbrush was too fast, his lines too strong, and above all, his portraits were way too technical, and it wasn't what was expected from a portrait in those times. It has been a long and tough road to be recognized as an influent portraitist, but time has helped him to change his way of painting, and going more and more clearly in the impressionism path he finally convinced the audience that he was an American painter worth the European ones. After the first critics recognized his talent, everybody started to see Sargent as a painter with a smart and elegant style. He focuses all of his attention on the face, trying to paint the more details he can, working on the facial expression, but also on the outfits' detail. But the back of the canvas is always quickly painted, with a dark color, and visible paintbrush marks, and in is that way he is able to make the most of the figure, who is the only element on the canvas, and so it is the only thing audience focuses on. By choosing the full-length portrait, far from the traditional paintings with hunting dogs in front of a massive house like Joshua Reynolds did, he succeeded in becoming the one who revolutionized portrait style. Thanks to his popular clients, he has been put under the spotlight and his work became more and more well-known by European artists and critics. The new thing that he brought in portrait style was the primacy of the figure, only element of the canvas. Sargent puts all is attention on the face, his expression, outfit's details, but also a realistic point of view concerning the body that he tries to represent as true as possible, far from idealistic representations. The precise touch lets him focus on the facial expression that is more than just an emotion, he can represent women's sensibility, or men's strictness and harshness, he's able to show their character, and clothes help him to do so. Sargent created a dialog between art and fashion to met is meet a personality hereafter the figure. Face introduces us to the man or woman's character, clothes complete the portrait with social and personal information, as one's tastes. Working in partnership those two elements lead to historical and biographical paintings, telling us about a lifestyle, but also a period of time, a society, and also fashion and social classes. John Singer Sargent is way more than a painter, he is a historian of ones lives.
I've decided to talk about some portraits to illustrate what I said, some canvas where we can find the elements we mentioned before, art, fashion, and History. The first painting that I would like to talk about is a portrait in bust representing Mrs. Charles E. Inches (Louise Pomeroy), painted in 1887, in Boston. 

John Singer Sargent, Mrs Charles E Inches (Louise Pomeroy), oil on canvas,
1887, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    In my view, this art work is surely one of the most representative of what I try to explain, that does mean the link between art, History and fashion. Sargent's style is easy to recognize, with a figure just under the spotlight, luminous, with pale skin in front of a dark back quickly painted. The painter wants the viewer to only see the woman, whose beauty is her principal asset. Let's admit it, it's not that far from the standard portrait style, but the American painter choose subtlety instead of an obvious message. First of all, we can clearly see the social rank of the woman, especially thanks to her jewels, a diamonds necklace and a brooch, and also her skin color, very pale - tanned skin was peasants' skin color because they worked in the fields, so rich had ti have white skin to show they weren't working outside - which shows us that it's a rich woman that Sargent has painted. As we can see, details are more in the face than in any other place of the painting, but another point tells us about her social rank, combined with her jewels, her dress. John Singer Sargent has an interesting relationship with fashion. I can't say if he was personally interested in fashion, but as a real portrait painter he tried to know better this world to represent fashion in the right way. Like today's fashion photographers, he had to know what he was representing, to know how to make it look beautiful. Louise Pomeroy is here wearing a dress inspired by the one designed by the French designer Worth. And the fact that historians have been able to recognize his style shows us that the painter perfectly knew how to represent fashion of one moment in time, and also of one country. The amount of work on the dress is not as important as the one on the face, as we can see we can't really see what is the fabric of the dress, and on the other side, popes' portraits of the 16th century are way more detailed concerning their red outfit, so detailed that we're able to distinguish silk from velvet. Sargent hasn't put that much importance in those details, he only gives us information, show us the limits of the dress and the figure, gives only a detail, the bow on the arme, uses the dress to show Louise's slim-waist, but don't go very much further. And we could ask ourselves, why? An artist interested in fashion, always dealing with people living fashion of their time, why did he hasn't gone further with the dress? There is only one answer, even if the dress is important, nothing is more important than the model's face. He only wants to put all of our attention on her serene face, showing thanks to this part of her body way more than fashion codes, but her character, her feelings, whom are way more interesting than the dresse that we see only after we've noticed every single point of Louise's personality.
    Now I would like to talk about another painting executed by Sargent, the portrait of Alice Vanderbilt Shepard. I choose this one only because it is one of my favorite, and so in my view, one of his best work. I know why I love it, it's because of the girl's face, her determined expression, and that is what caught my eye, what the painter has been able to don how he painted her character that is what impressed me here in this portrait. Her pale face seems to have been blushed by her determination and strong temperament, and si it is even more apparent thanks to her hair tied in a braid and the black background. Dark lips, frowning eyebrows, a hard and childish face at the same time, here Sargent completely confused me and I didn't know what to think about this portrait. I couldn't say a thing about her character, I was troubled, and I didn't know  what I should conclude on she really was, unable to choose between ardor and coldness. Her face was a mystery, but thanks to her outfit I finally understood who she really was. A tuxedo with a Garibaldi shirt, hands in pockets, frowning face with a fiery smile. I was finally sure of myself, Alice Vanderbilt Shepard was an impertinent and careless young woman, I couldn't see her in a different way. Here Sargent confused the viewer who doesn't know what to think about this 16 years old girl, with a determined eye, a fiery expression and her so special outfit, sketched and detailed at the very same time. His work is like a mirror with a legend which tell us everything that we want to know about this young American girl. Once more, the clothes are only sketched, but it is enough to show us that it's not about a night dress or a luxurious one, not even a deep neck, but a strict and feminine shirt, added to a tuxedo jacket replay austere, actually what a man could have wore in those times, more than teenage girls were used to wear. On an historical point of view, the outfit is as well really interesting. We learn that Italian fashion has made its way to United States in 1888, and added to that, we know that women adapted those clothes to their personal looks. In this painting, we've reached John Singer Sargent's work's paroxysm. We learn about an historical fact, we confirm that an outfit is an open door to someone's personality, and finally we understand that in portrait art, details are beautiful, but never as important and as mesmerizing as the character of the one painted. You can watch this work for hours, because every second you will feel like you'll learn more and more about that girl, Alice Vanderbilt Shepard. 

John Singer Sargent, Alice Vanderbilt Shepard, oil on canvas,
1888, Private Collection

    By studying Sargent's works one after another, I've quickly realized that every single one was partly blurred, on the body part, and that the face had to inspire feelings, emotion, and learn us about the character of the person represented. And the fact that the blurred part is always the body, outfit part, confirms what I was trying to say: like a fashion designer, Sargent uses clothes to enhance the woman who's wearing it, and not to hide her behind an impressive dress. Outfit is here, worked, great, like in the portrait of Mrs. Wilton Phipps, with massive brushstrokes, but as well many details, just sketched, as the bow on the arm, or the flower in the corset, but the dress even if it's detailed, doesn't capture all of the attention. Perfectly painted, dresses let us travel to another time and let us know more about fashion at the end of 1880's, giving us the codes of the high-society thanks to a balance between figure and face. And I think it is thanks to its balance that Sargent can be qualified as one of the most important fashion painter in Art History. Contrary to realistic painters, to precedent centuries, to the British school, he puts all of our focus on the woman in the dress, and not on the woman and the dress. Like a fashion designer, it could be either Christian Dior or Raf Simons, Sargent worked to make her feel good and pretty, until she becomes naturally elegant with her face, combined with personality. Those portraits can be compared to the numerous mirrors used by Yves Saint Laurent, they reflect fashion, clothes, but above all they set free l'élégance de Coeur - "elegance of heart" - of women, their feelings, because without them, outfit has no matter, elegance disappears and fashion looses all interest. By revolutionizing portrait stye John Singer Sargent did more than entering in the Impressionism world with his blurred lines, he has changed how we saw people in portraits, and he snubbed fashion and history right where they were supposed to be in portrait, that does mean after emotion, feelings and characters, which are the work of art of every single man and woman.  

John Singer Sargent, Mrs Wilton Phipps, oil on canvas,
1884, Private Collection

Devil wears Prada

Tuesday, 23 February 2016
     More than a simple movie, this is basically a legend. I think we can all agreed on that point. I know it is not a recent movie, but there are some, without being real chef-d'oeuvre, whom left their mark on a generation, and Devil wears Prada is one of them. It all started with Lauren Weisberger's personal story and proper experience which inspired her to write this funny book, full of emotions and scathing sentences. To read it has been a real pleasure for me, I have been completely overwhelmed by the story, unable to close the book, and finally I finished the novel way quicker than I had imagined. But the movie adaptation didn't exactly follow the book's path, like it does in most of the adaptation, they made some massive changes to put it in a film. Nevertheless, who hadn't watch this movie a hundred times, with at the end always the same sensation as the one you got when you eat sugary treats? Obviously we can't really see ourselves in those characters living in a luxury and sprinkled world, but which sixteen years old girl hasn't watch this movie while dreaming to suffer as much as Andy to have her life? Well, a lot did, I guess. Fashion world has fascinates for decades, whatever the generation, and this movie achieved to perfectly show in a film this universe made of cheap shots, mean words and uncomfortable outfits. But the story itself stays kind of faithful to the book plot, we see how a job can completely change you and who you are, especially in this world, but also how fashion universe is such a world apart in so many different ways. Andy's sufferings are mainly turned on her self-confidence, and finally it is her private life that is completely destroyed, only because of a mean and insensitive boss.

     Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway are facing each other in a violent and stylish fight in New York's streets, fill of those marvelous creatures on high-heels. I fell in love with the book, then the movie, for the story but also its characters, so perfectly played on screen. And there is as well the way they show us how fashion industry and feminine press can have an impact on everybody's life, and so it makes of this story something way more meaningful. Some moments in the movie make us dream of that life, for example when Andy walks around New York with stylish and classy outfits, and in the background we can here Madonna's song, Vogue. But others scenes are way more dramatic, when characters take off their mask we realize that behind all those beautiful and expensive outfits there are feelings. With a book and that movie, we dream one more time about fashion world, but it finally gives us a kick in the butt to bring us back to reality. Classic, timeless, effective. 

A day in poetry

Thursday, 18 February 2016

You are so special to me you know, 

I'm just not quite sure. 
Is it the right time to talk about your insecurities and stuffs
you know?
Maybe later. 
Cause you're so special to me and I want to be here for you
honey, you know?
But not now.

You are so special to me, 

When will you stop crying? 
I mean, it is okay to cry sometimes.
But don't you think it is time to stop now?

You are so special to me,

You know, I'll never be that guy who can deal with everything
from you. 
Take care of yourself, and maybe we'll meet later?
Don't you think you need to pick up your pieces?

You are so special to me, 

Time will fly, and one day I'll break your heart.
And you're such a fragile thing I am afraid you'll never stop bleeding.
You understand me?
I'll break your heart like that day I've broke this bottle of red
Cause you were driving me crazy.
The pieces of glass will be like your body.
And the running wine will then be your heart's blood.
And you don't want that right?
You don't want to break like this bottle, right baby?

You are so special to me,

Maybe we should split now.
Before we break. Before you bleed.

You were so special to me,

I wanted to tell you goodbye before I go.


I was so special to you,

You drank me like a bottle of red wine.
Until there was nothing left of me.
Nothing left of my feelings.
Nothing left of my soul.
Just aching love. 

I was so special to you,

You broke me against the wall like this bottle of wine.
And left me there.
To pieces.
Pretending your goodbye was also so special to me.


You are so special to you.
You couldn't have someone like me.
Right, my beloved?
Was it too hard to love someone like me?
What happened?
Oh, I get it.
You disappeared, is that right?
I was too shiny.
And you were a shadow, with no soul.

I am so special to me,

Even the broken pieces of the bottle of wine are still shining,
in the middle of the running blood.

I am still shinning.
No matter how special to you I was.
So special to me, 
I'm still.

Pancakes craziness

Friday, 12 February 2016
What do you eat for breakfast? Personally I always make it easy, eating what may come my way, wether it is bread with jam or a bowl of cereals, because I don't really want to start cooking right after I wake up. Yes, I am a lazy girl, and I don't even wake up early, 9 a.m, I know I don't have any excuse. But I'm still lazy. Sorry. Well, shame on me, all this things, ok we got it now. But the other day something pretty impressive happened. First, I woke up earlier and I went for...a run. Ok, nothing to do with food. But be patient. I ran, I was sweating as never before, I also thought I would die - yes I know, my body condition is a complete disaster - and when I went home, after a shower almost 12 hours long - I know, not ecologic at all sorry, I'll go to hell, that is for sure - I cooked pancakes! Yeah, some days in our lives are just miracles. For me it happened on a Wednesday in February 2016. Almost in time for new year's resolution right? And to be completely honest, I can assure you, they were the best pancakes I have ever made. And since I am a pretty nice girl, I'm going to give you the recipe and some toping ideas. No it's ok, no need to say thank you.

Instagram, Where the pancakes are®
- 175g of flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tea spoon of sugar (but it's ok, not so sugary! Still kind of healthy!)
- 2 big eggs
- 15cl of milk
- 3 tea spoons of baking powder
- 1 tea spoon of vanilla extract
- oil or butter for the frying pan

Recipe, or we could say, where serious things start
A. Mix flour with sugar and salt in a first bowl. In another one beat your two eggs with a fork and then add the milk. When this is done, and the mixture is uniform, add the flour's bowl and mix while trying to avoid lumps and obtain an elastic and smooth paste. If everything went right the paste should be quite thick. And then don't forget to add the baking powder, cause if you do your pancakes will look more like flat crêpes, and this is not about crêpes here. You can cook your paste just after you've finished it, but if you would like to keep it for later just cover it with a plastic film and put it in the fridge.

B. Time to cook it now! Before all, heat your oil in an anti-adhesive pan, and make sure it is hot enough. Obviously, you don't need to put your hand directly on it to assure that, it has been demonstrated quite a few times that it is not a good idea at all, so just put your hand over it and if it's ok you'll feel the heat. Mix the paste one more time, and then with a ladle pour a little amount of paste on the pan, enough to obtain the desired size. Pancakes' pan isn't like crêpes' pan, it won't sprayed all over it, you have to define the size yourself. Pancakes are ready when the side not already cooked makes bubbles, so you can turn the pancake and then wait for approximately 3 minutes to obtain a perfect gilded color.

Serious things now, toppings
The awesome thing with pancakes is that we can it them with almost everything, you can adapt them to your tastes, because everything is good with it! Apple sirup is for sure the most famous topping, mais there are a hundred ways to it them. For me the ideal topping is for sure to cook a vanilla custard on pour it all over your pancakes, then you can add white chocolate chips - yeah, here it is no more healthy - and red berries.
Something else? Try the greek yogurt with flaked almonds, a sliced banana and red berries again. For chocolate lovers, you can add melted chocolate praline which will taste perfect with banana.
Ricotta is also a great topping for pancakes, you can flavored it with lemon juice and eat it with either redcurrant or pomegranate for a tart taste.   
But you can also go for something simple but effective, icing sugar all over your pancakes. Still so good.

Well, you might have get it now, there are so many ways to eat pancakes, it is only up to you now to find your own!

Mademoiselle Coco Chanel

Wednesday, 10 February 2016
What an emblematic word, known all around the world to talk about only one woman, Gabrielle Chanel. There's only one girl, one legend, one lady, one Coco Chanel. At the origin of a real fashion revolution, this hard-headed woman, with sure and strong tastes, left her permanent mark on the fashion world. Her creations are like painted master pieces, with emblematic outfits, legendary accessories, paired with the way she wanted to put the woman on another level in the society. All those things put Mademoiselle Chanel at the same level that Watteau occupies on the world of Art History: she has to be always remembered. Roland Barthes said of Coco Chanel's work: "there is an eternal beauty of the woman whom the image would be translated by Art History". He has understood it all. Her intimal relationship with art, her love for artists, but as well the innovation, like grand masters of Art History did. To put int in a nutshell, she revolutionized fashion. Meet Mademoiselle. 

    If we want to talk about fashion, at some point, we'll have to talk about Coco Chanel. Of course we can mention other designers, like Jeanne Lanvin and Christian Dior, but why does this mysterious lady became such a legend? Actually it all started with her temper. Without her strong personality, Coco Chanel may have never became the one she has been. Staying always busy and lively, aware of what was going on in her century, and knowing how to live with her time, being thanks to her acts, she spent her lifetime building her work. Real fighter, the lady knew how to take her chances, but above all she has imposed her tastes in a strong way, never afraid to be at the origin of a shock in the fashion world at the start of 20th century. Gabrielle Chanel also built her work thanks to an open mind, especially with eh art world, but her best asset was for sure her character. She never gave up, always believed on her own tastes, and acting that way she has been able to become someone in a world mostly leaded by men. The first half of the twentieth century was the time of women's reborn. The birth of their emancipation which had to appear in their style, leaving behind them al the old traditions that made them look like dolls. 

    Living in a magic world, she has the luck and the privilege to access to the art world, getting to know a to of important artists of the cubist period, as Georges Braques and Pablo Picasso. Her relationship with this filed had a massive influence on her work. In fact, she introduced patterns such as geometric lines, simple, straight and plain straight out of cubists paints. Plus, even in the shape of the clothes, we can see a clear rigor. Chanel admitted herself that cubism and her artists friends left a mark on her work and on the way she saw clothes at the start of this modernist period. Her relationships were also an asset when it came to put her work in new horizons, like comedy and cinema. She created all the dresses for plays like Orphée written by a friend of her, Cocteau, or the outfits destined to the American actress, star of the 20th century, Romy Schneider, who wore Chanel's clothes in front of the camera as well in her day to day looks. Through meetings with new people Gabrielle Chanel made up her mind about fashion and the world, but above all she created clothes for herself. She was her clothes. The lady always wore her outfits, starting by sewing her own dresses, because she didn't feel comfortable in those clothes with too many glitters, accessories and there more was always more. She wanted to choose minimalism, like in cubism, less was more. Her goal? To create clothes adapted to her lifestyle - she sew for herself a sport outfit, one which let her free of her movements - and her tastes, but also adapted to the changes in the modern society she was living in. For her, fashion was outdated, it was time to create the 20th century fashion, something modern, showing how woman has grown in society, what was her new role. 
    By enforcing this new vision, Coco Chanel has been able to create her fashion house which reigned on the entire world, creating at the same time a true myth around her personality. She simply ha revolutionized fashion codes of her time, and was encouraged and congratulated by the most influent persons of the fashion world, like magazines, such as the emblematic Vogue. Her trademark, simplicity. The complete contrary of the clothes society created for women. But her goal wasn't to shock, or to attract all eyes on here to be considered as an "avant-gardiste". No, she simply wanted to get rid off what she didn't like in fashion. Take off all the trivialities, femininity pushed to the limits, when the woman was more ridiculous than elegant. She decided to create against the too glamorous, the too much, making the woman beautiful with simple clothes, highlighting just few parts of the figure, rather showing a mysterious back than a low neckline saying too much. Balzac used an expression to talk about Chanel's style, he said that she has created "the luxury of simplicity". Black, white, geometric and straight lines, using frequently friends and dresses open on the back, she is at the origin of the suits and boleros' reborn which can be adapted from day to night. All of the are emblematic pieces which were made to create Coco Chanel's legend, the mademoiselle of the elegance. All around the world, everybody praises the simplicity of her new codes, the prettiness of the fabric that she uses, like crêpe de soie for evening dresses, with a short tail added on the back and few flounces on the front, or the even more popular tweed used on the suits. Her outfits were always mean to be comfortable, easy to wear and always elegant. 

  We know that Coco Chanel is at the origin of many emblematic basics, still nowadays, but the fact that she had classical tastes wasn't a problem for her to go with her time. He tastes and ideas were always in movement, she knew how to move on and go further. But always, in the moving, she kept her basis to make them evolve. Staying true to herself and at the same time going with the flow. Simplicity and elegance had to be a part of her work, whatever fashion asked. For example, in 1927, dresses with low waist was the new thing everybody was asking for. So Coco decided to follow the flow, and introduced this emblematic shape of the 20's in her collection. But, in her own way. Actually, she kept the figure, but added crossed draperies on the chest or her famous fringes. She knew how to make herself every shape, to make the clothes according to fashion, but keep going with her own style, whom prevail with elegance and beauty of the fabrics. And she made no mistakes with it. Vogue US wrote about her, "she has the talent to never go wrong". Infallible legend? Maybe not. World War II had been a rough time for every field, and afterwards, it wasn't that easy to go back in business and know how to please women who had change their way of living. During the war, Chanel decided to stop her activities. She thought that it was out of context to continue fashion in such a difficult period. Only her perfumes and accessories store stayed open during war? And she'll be back only in 1947, with in mind the idea to adapt herself to History women's new state of mind. In 1949, ready-made clothes were born. A more accessible fashion, whom democratize, down in the streets, and based on the simplicity and classical pieces trying to adapt themselves  to modernity. Most of what Gabrielle Chanel did during all her career. She tries to keep going, but in 1954, after a couple of tough years in this new world, mademoiselle has to face a defeat. A show which has "completely failed'. European fashion is disappointed, and inly the U.S kept supporting her, by adopting her strict style centered on suits and austere but still elegant pieces. The legend had some difficulties to reborn after war.     
   Nevertheless, mademoiselle refused to give up and decided to go on forgetting about the critics. One more time, her strong character had save her, giving her the strength and motivation needed to take a fresh start. She'll be back in 1957, with an amazing collection whom amazed everybody. This year as the one of the creation of emblematic pieces whom still must-have today, like the suit, the black dress, or the low heels in black and beige, and finally the quilted bag with a golden chain, a true legend. 1957 was also the year she received her Fashion Howard in Dallas, highpoint of her impressive career. Her legend was set in the fashion world and meant to survive time. Nevertheless, we shouldn't forget about the woman behind the name, no matter the designers who took care of her brand after her death, Gabrielle Chanel still the master of the house by creating her clothes and making her personal tastes legendary in the whole world. She passed on the 10th of January 1971, after a life full of success, fashion, stars, dresses, bags, and above all, women. The timeless mademoiselle keeps for sure this idyllic image of the designer whom created true fashion, but don't forget the woman behind it. Someone who spent her life on her own, unable to keep love in her life, loosing all of her artist friends one after another in tragic situations, and also that woman who fell in love with a German man during war, then finding a shelter in Switzerland, in Lausanne, on the rives of the Leman Lake, where she rests today. Without her sensitive, her story, her loves and friends, without the war and the critics, Coco Chanel would have only been a fashion designer with a name going through years but wearing out with time. However, the story of this woman and the story of Women made out of her a legend who will always win against time, against others designers, against tragedies and changing. The timeless mademoiselle. 

Politness, Attitude & Elegance

Saturday, 6 February 2016
The Art of living in society. As I write I feel like I'm about to copy the guide of the usual life by countess of Rothschild. How to handle your fork, how to salute a Russian eminence, how to dress for a charity gala. But actually not, I don't want to talk about any of those points. Here we will only talk about personal behavior, how to act in front of other people, but also how to be elegant for ourselves. How to be agreeable, how to show to somebody you are talking to that you respect them, how to act in your everyday life, at work, on the street, at the bakery, to look like the most agreeable and elegant person that anybody have ever met. Well, learning to act that way will surely be a way to be appreciated, respected, maybe even admired. But it will most of all help you with your own relationships, learning to respect, to avoid words whom could offend your speaker, and then you can have the opportunity to meet awesome people just by being polite and careful. All of that with an elegant attitude which could valorise you, to others, but most of all to yourself. So here we go with an attitude lesson. 

    What is elegance? It is the way you talk? Or the way you move? Is it to let someone go before you at the grocery shop, or to leave your sit for someone on the bus? To be well-dressed? To smile whatever happens? To write thank you notes? To have a trim every two weeks? The answer to all of those questions is universal, elegance is an attitude and a way of life. To wear a Dior tuxedo and a haircut costing 200$ with an angry face, a tong which can't say thank you, it is not what elegance is. But to get dressed at H&M, having a smile on your face, always being thankful and to look people in the eyes when you say hello, that is elegant. It all remains on a combination of things which have to find the perfect balance between appearance and behavior. And you can learn how to do this with few simple rules. First of all, when you talk to somebody, please, look them in the eyes. It is the first step to politeness. Then you can show that you care about what he or she is saying, that you replay do listen, you truly find interest in that they say. Even id it's not that true. Just to fake can make the day of that woman or man. To be elegant is as you can see the complete contrary of being selfish. To leave your sit to a pregnant woman on the bus, to hold the door for that man with all the shopping bags he handles, well, in a word, to try to make the best around you to make someone's day better. Just to care about little things. It doesn't ask for so much, just to say hello is sometimes enough, when you come in a shop, or to say sorry when you accidentally jostle someone. It is all about care, to care about people around you in your everyday life. Neil de Grasse Tyson said "For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you". Se here is the key to a peaceful life if we trust him, but in my vie it is also the way to live an elegant life. Because to be elegant is also to want to learn more, not only to be smarter, but to be opened to others, to what they know, to their culture, to themselves, to learn to know them better to respect them in the best way. 

    We can't always communicate thanks to oral language, and it is also because of that point that body language has to do with elegance and politeness. Once more, we are back with the attitude issue. How to stand right? How to talk with our body? I think the answers to those questions aren't all made up, but just come to us thanks to our experiences, in a nature way. You can travel to any country where nobody speaks your language, and you don't have a clue about their, and then you will see how your body would be useful to be understood. As much as your facial expression, you attitude and politeness will be actually necessary. Because without those things, you can't go anywhere. When you're in Vietnam's country side you can't say to a man who can't understand what you want "oh f*** you then !", like some Parisians would say to each other. And here we come to a very important step, necessary in all situations if you want to be an elegant person, the smile. It doesn't ask for much, with or without the teeth it's all your case, but in any way, it will be so pleasant to see for people around you. Whether it is the butcher, bus driver or your colleague when you arrive at work in the morning, it will always make of  you the most agreeable and elegant person on earth. And just because you will show to people around you that you estimate them enough, whatever the hierarchy gap between you and them, to respect them. And for yourself, there won't be any other way to make out of you the elegant one on the street, just like the music says, "you're never fully dressed without a smile".
     But there are not only politeness and our behavior to others that make out of us elegant people, there is also our relationship with ourselves. You have ti estimate yourself to know how to respect others. Be elegant with your outfit, take care of yourself, of you haircut, your makeup, everything related to appearance, because elegance is always related at first to the way you dress and look. And no matter your clothes' brand, from Hermès or a second hand chop, it is only up to you to bring them to life and to valorise them, not the contrary. And never forget, an elegant woman stands up straight, shoulder-blades almost touching each other, with a smile on her face and she walks with a determined step. 
    Attitude creates elegance, we always go back to the same idea. But don't forget to say hello is not enough to be elegant, you have to think it, to feel it, to stand up straight, and to have your mind guiding your acts. Classy outfits is required, ok, but if you just say hello to act like an elegant woman, a polite one, and to prove to others your elegance, you haven't understood anything. Elegance is above all a state of mind. It comes to life only after you have managed those little things, which are not so much in the end: self confidence and self esteem, respect of others, and will to always learn more and never close yourself to strangers. Like Yves Saint Laurent said, it is "l'élégance de coeur", it does mean "elegance of heart", which have to be the same on the inside and the outside. Your outfit has to reflect your state of mind. So be a true elegant person, because this quality is so rare in today's world that it will only make out of you someone even more precious.  

Chloé's Dream

Friday, 5 February 2016
Some bags are just dream bags. You want them, you need them, you crave for them, but what the hell, more than 1000€? You just can't afford them when you're a broke student, that's why I call them "dream bags", only in your dreams, dear. And one brand is really good at dream bags, Chloé. 

Garance Doré®

   Have you ever seen so many it-bags, must haven cute purse and enjoyable colors and shapes? Never I guess, because only Chloé can do that. I've discovered this brand thanks to Vogue and others fashion magazines and websites of course, but Instagram finished the work and made me fell in love with that brand. Chloe seems to be more than a brand actually, it is a state of mind, Chloe's girls state of mind. This fashion house is not that old, born in the 1950's - 1952 exactly - designers seemed to have always kept in mind a mid 50's 60's style, kind of hippie, cool, casual and elegant and classy at the same time. You can see it with the dresses, long and light, the flare trousers, the sunglasses, huge and round, the models, blond tall and nordic with wild hair and blue eyes, but also with the bags. Rounded shapes are dominant in the collections, with quite small bags, on the shoulder, and with some specific patterns that shows up the influence of the year of the brand's creation. Fringes, perforated leather, bucket shape and brown colors are some of the iconic symbols  of the brand. Today, Chloé is the brand for young and it-girls, bloggers of the young generation. Thanks to this particular style, bags can be related to casual looks as well to classy ones, with for example the Faye, a modern shape with a classic side thanks to the leather worked to look older, and the sophisticated clasp, but also the Drew bag, a best-seller. 

Song of Style®

   This Drew bag is for sure my favorite one of the brand. But let's be honest, it was a hard choice between this one and the Faye. Anyway! Small, cute, not that much practical, but so fashion. The strength of this model is for sure the possibility to choose the color and the leather for each part of the bag, as Céline did with the Trapèze. The gold chain reminds us of the iconic Chanel bags, and adds an unexpected jewelry touch that perfectly balances the simplicity of the shape. Adapted for day and night, this is a true girly bag, with the golden clasp which is a true originality, locking your bag like it was Pandora's box. Chloé has been really smart deciding to create two sizes, medium and small, and nit just because we want both of them, but because the size will change a look.  The small one will be perfect for a classy night out, either with a long dress or a tuxedo, it can only add elegance and femininity in a discrete and sophisticated way. On the other side, the medium one, will be your daytime friend. A bit more space for a bit more stuffs, and the bigger size will be perfect to combine with jeans and shirt, or a big coat in winter. Not too small, whatever the outfit, it will be seen, and as a real handbag, not a purse created for the night and wore with shorts and sneakers. Well, actually we could talk about a lot more of furnitures from Chloé but this bad is for sure the most emblematic piece of the brand. It's their showcase, the piece everybody knows and thinks, "oh, this is Chloé". To have that special piece is very important for a brand, like the Alexa for Mulberry, or the Boy bu Chanel. It's iconic, it's a must, well, it's a dream bag. 

Song of Style®

The Moonflower Vine

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Moonflower Vine, Jetta Carleton

Some books can change your life. I believe it. And The Moonflower Vine is one of those books. Not a crazy story, no amazing turn in the history, just life and her lot of beauty and ugliness. Jetta Carleton tels us the story of a family in the early 20th century, living in a farm in the Missouri, the story of Callie, Matthew and their four daughters. Every chapter of the book tells the personal story of one of them, speaking with their proper voice one important moment in their life, a moment which changed life of every member of the family. Impossible loves, running away, cheating, deceptions, mistakes, death, happiness, and beauty of everyday life and nature. This author, of that unique novel, helps us traveling in a world at the same time real and marvelous. The incredible fluidity of the narration will make you read the book faster than you could have thought and pleasure will always be present, in every line you will read. Banal mixed destinies of a normal family, to read that novel will actually be like reading the most beautiful poetry. Jetta Carleton tells us about nature, life on the countryside, loves which come and go, but most of all about the indestructible strings of a family broken by life. Why "The Moonflower Vine"? Simply because it is there, around those moon flowers, that family gathers, united for the better and the worth, while those flowers bloom. The beauty of nature is stronger than the fleeting ugliness of life. This book will make you cry, then make you smile the page after with a mesmerizing facility. You will discover that even if life seems simple, beauty is everywhere, in nature, but also in everyone of us. You will learn that forgiveness and regrets are part of everyday, but that sometimes you have ti forget them just to remember how lucky we are to be a part of the spectacle of life, simply by taking time to watch the bloom of the moonflowers. 

"Suddenly it seemed to me that I looked back from a great distance on that smile and saw it all again - the smile and the day, the whole sunny, sad, funny, wonderful day and all the days that we had spent here together. What was I going to do when such days came no more? There could not be many; for we were a family growing old. And how would I learn to live without these people? I who needed them so little that I could stay away all year - what should I do without them?"

Look into my eyes

Veronique Braquinho

  My eyes have always been what I liked most about myself. I like the fact that they are big without being bulging or bovine, filled with long and black lashes, but most of all, blue. So when I do my makeup I always try to focus all the attention on them, even if I must admit it is hard for me sometimes to go light on the eyes when I am in love with eccentric and dark lipsticks. But I have to calme down on the eye part. And in my view, you don"t need a smoky eye or four eye shadow of different shades to attract all eyes on yours. I only wear two kind of eye makeup because I am a lazy snail wear a lot of different eye makeup, and of course I wear eye shadow and try smoky eyes, but what I like above all is a simple look: only dark and bold mascara on my top lashes, and a lighter mascara for the bottom ones, still dark but way lighter and dryer. Another of my favorite look is the cat eye. I am just in love with it. The eyeliner brings sexy, just being large at the end and thin in the inside corner of the eye. For me it is the sexiest look ever, irresistible and bringing all eyes on yours. 

   Well, you might have understood it now, I love it when people looks me in the eyes. So Veronique Braquinho Spring / Summer 2016 show completely shocked me. On every models, there was a thin veil me of tulle, black or white, slightly transparent, yes, but what the hell, we couldn't see their eyes! At first I thought "MURDER!", but then I calmed down. The designer achieved to focus all regards on the eyes zone, without showing them, which does lead to a mysterious and genuine result! Focusing all eyes on a body part by hiding it, this is an original idea we don't think about that often. The romantic figures of the collection became instantly darker and mysterious, making of the makeup something useless. And if the key to bring attention was to hide what is best in our appearance to attract looks and make people want to discover what's under cover? For sure, this rule doesn't apply ti lingerie, girls know that. The sexy panties with nothing on the back - see what I mean? - always win against girls' best friend white-cotton-unsexy-covering-comfy panty that does hide what should technically be hidden. Anyway. Personally, I am not sure I am ready yet to leave my Dior mascara for a tule veil, but maybe one day it could be the solution to look like the girl who hides her eye bags a mysterious and sexy girl as hell. 

Let me introduce myself

      We can't always get what we want in life. For example, sometimes we crave for love, but it is not the right moment, and it just can't happen. Or we want a Chanel bag, and we are basically broke. Maybe sometimes we apply for a job, but we know it won't happen, because we do not fill the requirements. Well, sometimes we just have to go with the flow, and admit that we can't get what we crave for. But in other times, you have to work to get what you want. For example, JC Wyatt, in the movie Baby Boom. A mother can't be the boss of an investments company? Anyway, she leaves and goes away to achieve her goals in her own way. She gets what she wants because she creates it. But sometimes the thing you wan't is really concrete, material. For me, it was a magazine. I wanted to create one. It all started because I couldn't find in magazines that I was looking for, the publication I dreamt of didn't exist, and it is only because nobody is the same, and nobody has the ideas and creativity as I do. There's only one YOU in the world. You may like some stuffs, and dislike others, you can enjoy some photographs, or there are some writing types that you would prefer, and others that will disgust you. Anyway, tastes are personal, and you are unique. And so, sometimes, when what you like doesn't exist, you have to create it. 
     I understood what I wanted this year when I stopped my studies to follow my boyfriend in a city which couldn't offer me anything, I faced issues and I had to find something to do. There was no job, no school, no family, nothing but him in this Swiss town. This choice was hard to take, and this sacrifice hasn't been that easy day by day, but I decided to turn it into something positive and to stop being pessimistic. So I had this idea of a magazine, which was actually something I've been thinking of for a very long time, but never been brave enough to start it. It has to talk about everything that I like, art, literature, fashion, cinema, music, lifestyle, food, decoration, well you know, like a massive Tumblr account. So I dedicated my year to this magazine, to the idea of the perfect one I had. And this blog is the best way I have to share it with everybody. I would like to thanks my boyfriend, thank you for loosing us in this tow, to made me brave enough to realize my project that I always craved for but never tried to achieve. Thank you for your critics, your time, and all the musics you forced me to listen to and which finally became my writing playlist. 
     I know I said everybody was different, nobody has the perfect match with someone else's tastes, but I hope that with this online magazine, this blog, you will find some matching points with me and what I like. With what made me happy yo get up in the morning and work even if nobody was waiting for me to achieve anything this year. And now I wonder, and I hope, we'll have some common tastes whom make you read my articles and think, "what a cool online magazine!".