East Meets West: Kimonos at New York Fashion Week Fall 2016

 Kimono! 

Versatile, flattering, cozy and chic. I can’t say enough about this Japanese traditional garment that’s making a comeback. In fact, it’s become a staple of almost every well-known fast fashion chain. Yet, what do most people really know about this garment’s history?

This piece, which has so many distinctive features (form, motif, design, fabric and accessories), has an amazing story behind it. The Japanese, following their normal tendency to adopt, adapt, adept, started wearing the orient fashion in the eighth century. Traditionally, they were made from a single fabric bolt. By the 20th century, most Japanese citizens wore Western clothing. Today, kimono manufacturing is on the edge of crisis. Reduction of the kimono market, and the aging of artisans, and lack of their successors are slowly diminishing the once vibrant art.

Hiromi Asai, whose collection “Spirit Of The Earth” captivated me during NYFW, and my genuine curiosity for Japanese culture, inspires me to incorporate the traditional kimono into my wardrobe. Just like the little black dress or white shirt, I believe this should become a staple for all women. Hiromi Asai’s silk kimonos were a breath of fresh air at NYFW. I particularly loved the ones that featured pastel colors and minimal prints. The robe-like, relaxed look was absolutely stunning.

 

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Jewelry Vocabulary: 10 Terms You Want To Know

Fond of fine jewelry? Or just looking for your first piece?
In either case, I’d like to offer some useful terms to help you as you scour the marketplace.

Most fine jewelry is connected to historical meaning, symbols or function.

So, in addition to knowing jewelry basics regarding precious metals (14K, 24K, platinum, palladium, etc.), it’s important to learn design terms and history before you invest in a precious piece. This is especially true if you are shopping for fine jewelry for the first time.

Honestly, I pick up something new daily. Sometimes my customers teach me things. Usually, I’m delving deep into research. There’s always something new to discover!

Below are a few terms that will have you talking like a pro.

1. Lariat necklace

The lariat, a long chain reminiscent of rope, is often worn draped multiple times around the neck. Sometimes this necklace incorporates a loop at one or both ends. This way, it may be worn like a lasso. Or it may be worn doubled over with the ends passed through the loop formed in the middle.

 
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2. Byzantine chain

This metal link chain design incorporates a rope-like texture and intriguing textural features. 


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 3. Mesopotamian Seal pendant 

The earliest civilizations used seals. In archaeology and art history, they had great significance. In ancient Mesopotamia, craftsmen carved or engraved cylinder seals in stone or other materials. These could be rolled along to create an impression on clay. They could be repeated indefinitely. The ancients used them as labels on consignments of trade goods, or for other purposes. They were normally hollow and worn on a string or chain around the neck.

Some featured finely carved images with no writing, while others had both.

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Jean Grisoni Gold Pendant with Ancient Mesopotamian Cylinder Seal with Scene

4. Locket. A locket is a small object that opens to reveal a space, which holds items, usually a photograph. Often, a locket comes as pendant or sometimes is part of a charm bracelet. 

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Edwardian era antique locket

 5. Claddagh ring. This traditional Irish ring is rich in symbolism. The hands represent friendship. The heart is associated with love. The crown signifies loyalty.

 
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6. Figaro chain. This link chain incorporates a pattern of two or three small, circular links with one elongated oval link. The most distinguished figaro chains are manufactured in Italy.

  

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7. Toggle clasp. This two-piece clasp has a bar which fits into a loop. The bar passes through the ring to secure the piece.

 

8. Trade beads. Old glass beads, mostly made around Venice 200 to 400 years ago, are used for trade in Africa and the Orient. In previous centuries, these colorful beads were often used in exchange for slaves, ivory, gold and other items.

 
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9. Mother of pearl or nacre. Some mollusks produce an organic-inorganic composite material as an inner shell layer. It also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong and resilient.

 
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10. Tension set rings. I personally love this type of gemstone setting. Other settings have prongs that hold the stone. They may have a bezel or other mounting. Tension setting uses compression. The metal setting is actually spring-loaded to exert pressure onto the gemstone, and tiny etchings/grooves are added to the metal in order to create a shelf for the gemstone’s edges to rest. The gemstone appears to be floating in the air with nothing holding it in place.

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Tension Set Ring

Farfetch App Review And £400 Voucher Giveaway

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve.

This year was a bit intense for me — full of many changes and great accomplishments. As I’ve mentioned earlier in my blog posts, I work in fine jewelry industry and I enjoy every moment of it. Every day is different and there is always so much to learn! I hope that you, too, are ending a satisfying year and starting to create 2016 goals.

I have exciting news to share!

Farfetch.com , international fashion website, recently contacted me to review their Farfetch Discover app.

The app takes online shopping experience to the next level by showcasing over 300 carefully selected boutiques.

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All boutiques are located everywhere from Tokyo, New York and London to Catania, New Orleans and Buharest, but united in one online shopping destination.

I’ve just discovered Dolci Trame, a hidden gem in the heart of renaissance city, Siena. I adore its wide selection of incredible designers such as Phillip Lim, Clizia Ornato, Akris and Ann Demeulemeester.

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I particularly like the ‘search’ tab that allows you to filter your shopping experience by using key words. More importantly, the tab saves the previously searched words:

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Also, the list of famous and emerging international designers is incredible. Whether you are big fan of Martin Margiela or Haute Hippie, the online boutique will satisfy the most exquisite taste. Notably, some boutiques offers vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces. 

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Finally, the app has an “Add To Wish List” button that allows you to save your favourite items.

My wish list features capes, maxi dresses and knee-high boots. I especially can’t stop thinking about Nicholas Kirkwood ‘Carnaby’ boots: 

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Now here’s the best part: you have the chance to win a £400 voucher and treat yourself to that item or two from your wish list. In order to win, dowload the Discover Farfetch app and  follow @farfetch on social media channels. 

For a chance to win, enter the following link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The competition will close Thursday  Midday December 31st 

ENTER TO WIN!


Product Review: Aladdin Harem Pants

 

Hi everyone!

I hope you all doing well and looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving Day!!

I’ve just received these handcrafted fun knee-length harem pants from One Tribe Apparel. I couldn’t wait to wear them and share my review.

First of all, I absolutely love the attached elastic belt that features a tribal print. I also found that the front pocket is useful for my mobile phone. I don’t have to rummage through my entire “museum-like” purse in order to make a call. The only thing that bothers me a bit is the thin fabric. These pants are probably not the best choice for cold winters. I wish that I could find similar styles in warm, yet light and chic fabrics. Lightweight, silky velvet is the first choice that comes to my mind.

What’s your opinion on these pants? How would you wear them?

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Boots: Vivian

Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs 

Cardigan: Attic and Barn

Sunglasses: Vintage

Pants:  One Tribe Apparel

Hakobu Brand Designer Miho Suenaga Browne on Japanese Design, Work and More

I discovered Suenaga Browne’s stylish handbags online and I knew I had to talk to her. This was a great opportunity. I’ve always admired the natural simplicity and philosophy of Japanese aesthetics. I find this particular designer’s fusion of traditional Japanese and Western cultures quite interesting.

Here is what she revealed about herself and her work:

Tell me more about the function of your products.

The name “Hakobu” comes from the Japanese word “hakobu” or “to carry.” I chose that name because I wanted to make products that people could easily carry with them whenever they left the house. I want people to look and feel stylish with products that are well-designed and easy to use during their daily routines or when they go somewhere special.

Hakobu designs bring together elements from Tokyo, Japan, where I grew up, as well as elements from the US. Combining these elements, I focus on creating unique designs that have a friendly, familiar feel to them. I create designs that are sophisticated and Japanese in their simplicity. And I think one of the true charms of Hakobu is that all of our products are handmade and unique. Each is made only once. That allows our customers the joy of having a one-of-a-kind item, something truly personal they can add to their look.

Describe your creative process.

My creative process for Hakobu involves several steps.

hakobuFirst, in order to design a sewing pattern for a product, I do research and gather lots of information. Hakobu designs involve adding American and European elements to Japanese elements, as well as adding contemporary elements to traditional elements. I therefore spend time researching Japanese and Western traditions and fashions, both online and on paper, to bring those four areas together.

For example, my Azuma bag is a contemporary approach to a way of carrying goods that was used in the Edo period in Japan. And my Hakobu bag is a contemporary approach to kinchaku drawstring bags that were used for personal items also during the Edo period; this I have made into a true handbag. Both meant designing original patterns. And I have altered both types of bags to make them contemporary and easier to use. I have added magnetic snaps, changed sizes and combined Japanese and Western fabrics.

Most Hakobu products are based on traditional Japanese items, while the fabric patterns combine both Japanese and Western elements.

When I select fabrics, I look for different characteristics. When selecting Japanese fabrics, I look for those that are reminiscent of traditional designs and those that convey a sense of the four seasons and Japanese culture. When selecting Western fabrics, I look for things that inspire me, things that remind me of American television shows I watched as a kid, movies, European art and places I have visited.

Bringing Japanese, Western, traditional and contemporary elements together, ideas tend to come to me when looking at fabrics. With the shapes decided, I go from there and create each Hakobu product. This is something that is intuitive and therefore hard to describe… but in the end, Hakobu products represent my personal experiences.

Have you ever danced in the rain?

I have not, though I have been dancing since I was a student! I used to do cheerleading, and I have also learned hula. 

The question reminds me of the film “Singing in the Rain.” Dancing so smoothly and singing “I am dancing and singing in the rain….” I really like that scene.

What is your perfect breakfast?

I love the breakfasts you get at Japanese hot spring ryokan (hotels). Rice, grilled fish, miso soup, seaweed, and Japanese omelets. This is a traditional breakfast in Japan that is so simple and so good.

But honestly, usually I do not have time, so my breakfast is often just coffee and toast.

What question do you hate to answer?

I tend to be rather straightforward, and rarely am I embarrassed or feel the need to hide anything, so no question really bothers me. I don’t like attacking, negative questions, though.

In general, Japanese people are said to be quiet and shy. But personally, I do not think that’s quite accurate. I think that Japanese people tend to say their opinions when appropriate, but also resist being self-assertive when it is not appropriate.

The film you can watch over and over again…

“Roman Holiday.” I feel really drawn to Audrey Hepburn’s character (Princess Ann), who is so beautiful, yet playful and unpretentious. This character embodies the kind of women I admire.

As this is an old romantic comedy, this movie does not have the sexual elements of contemporary movies. This, together with the beautiful streets of Rome, the fashions and expressions of characters, and how it is filmed makes for a beautiful movie. Watching it puts me in a really good mood. I will never get tired of it.

The best piece of career advice someone has given to you is…

That would be “You should open your own store.” My husband, who did something similar with his own artwork, encouraged me to start.

Starting the Hakobu brand was a big decision and required a lot of energy. I had plenty of questions early on: “what kinds of things do people like?;” “how can I explain my products simply so people understand?” etc. I had doubts, too: “Will people buy this?” When I opened Hakobu, it took time before the first product sold, and I felt quite a lot of frustration. But my husband encouraged me to look at it long-term — “make good products and people will come.” And my family and friends have always been there, supporting and cheering me on. I have made it this far because of them.

Having started this brand, it has connected me with websites like this one, with people on social media and has allowed me to see things and meet people I never knew before. I am really glad I decided to take that first step and start.

I want to thank Lena for this opportunity. Truly, thank you!

Currently, the designer resides in Tokyo and continues to develop her brand. If you’d like to learn more about Hakobu and its creations, visit www.hakobubrand.com 

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Sip Your Way to Heaven: Five Smoothies Add–ins I Absolutely Love

smoothie_add_ins_I_love_bloggerHi, everyone,

I hope that you are all doing well and continuing to take care of your spirit and body. Lately, I’ve been going through a lot of changes. In particular, I have become more aware of the food that I consume on a daily basis.

Sometimes, the intense lifestyle affects our food habits in a negative way. In a fast-paced environment, we must be even more aware of what we eat, and unfortunately, we often do the opposite. Under stress, we often overeat, oversnack or worse, barely eat, without caring about food’s nutritional value.

After trying different diets, I’ve realized that some food make me more stress resilient, more focused and, in general, happier. More importantly, it also tastes great! So, I’ve decided to make it part of my lifestyle. My food habits have changed dramatically during the last few months. One major change that I made was that I started consuming smoothies every morning instead of eggs. 

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Not only do I enjoy the flavor of smoothies and how they make me feel, creating new recipes by improvising or experimenting with different fruits and veggies is quite a joy! Personally, I have had a tremendous fear of routine, so the time that I have to make a smoothie is a slice of heaven that indulges my taste, mind, body and spirit.

So, in this post, I’ve decided to share my favorite smoothie add-ins:

  1. Chia seeds. With just a few calories, those seeds are full of nutrients that are beneficial for our minds and bodies. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B and many other minerals, these seeds doesn’t contain much flavor. They make the smoothies very filling. chia_seeds_smoothie
  2. Matcha tea. Did you know that one cup of matcha is as rich in antioxidants as 10 cups of brewed green tea? Click here for more benefits of green tea. Also, matcha tea, as green tea, is rich in L-theanine, which makes you stay focused, yet relaxed.IMG_3365
  3. Goji berries. I’ve found out about them just recently. This fruit is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on earth. They are known for many properties, and one of them is that they are loaded with beta-carotene, which promotes healthy, glowing skin. Another great property is that these gems help to manage weight and boost the immune system.       IMG_3368
  4. Coconut oil. If you are looking for a natural energy booster, look no further than coconut oil. I use this oil for most of my dishes when I cook and I absolutely love it as a beauty product.IMG_3366
  5. Dates. Rich in fiber, these fruits are a natural sweetener and a great source of vitamin B6, which is beneficial for brain power, particularly in regulating the mood and preventing mental fatigue.IMG_3371

What are your favorite smoothie add-ins?

Sweet California – Part 2

The most striking part of Monterey and Carmel Bay is its phenomenal photo-worthy landscapes, filled with mountains and abundant plant life.

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Carmel Bay, is a resort town, just 15 minutes away by car from Monterey. It is a unique natural wonder. The town is also rich in vintage and bohemian boutiques, which will satisfy any shopping connoisseur, who loves the California, laid-back style.

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Galerie Blue Dogn opened by cajun artist,  George Rodrigue in 1991.

Galerie Blue Dog in Carmel-by-the-Sea opened by Cajun artist, George Rodrigue in 1991.

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At the end of the trip, my friend gave me a peach. She added sarcastically, “It’s a good one. California peach; only for California people…The ones that are transported for commercial purposes never taste alike.”

And thanks to my friend, I’ll never forget that taste. I can still taste its melting texture and phenomenally sweet flavor.

Later on, I discovered that the ripe peaches are too delicate and bruise easily. Therefore, they are picked green in order to transport them to different states. So, they end up never ripening well.

And here I am, back in New York, with a longing to visit the West Coast again.

Have you ever experienced the same thing? Do you very often, no matter where you are, want to be where you are not?

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Spice Up Your Outfit with a Thai Bag

Isn’t it the best after a long day at work or school to find something new, fresh, at a great price? Something exquisite made by artisans from the other part of the globe?

I just discovered a fabulous gem on etsy.com store, Thaihandbags. It offers a terrific variety of colorful handbags featuring the traditional craftsmanship of Hmong women artisans from the Northern Thailand Hill Tribes. Hmong means “Human Being” or “Free People” in the Hmong language. A few centuries ago this ethnic group who have origins in Siberia have migrated south. Today the Hmong live in mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

The online store’s selection includes chic iPad cases, beauty bags, hill tribe cushions, yoga bags and many other unique accessories. The pieces feature an exciting splash of color, fun, playful pompoms and exotic embroidery that will spice up any boring outfit.

What is really amazing about this store is that it also offers DIY sewing materials, so you can create your own handbag or design a fantastic gift for your friend or family member.

In case you decide to purchase a purchase a piece from this store, use the coupon ONTHEEDGE to receive 20% discount.

All best,

Lena

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Soak Your Troubles Away

Soak Your Troubles Away