It’s funny how much your style can change in just a few years.
I’m coming up on my four year anniversary with New York City. I moved here six months after I graduated from college in Minnesota. During a recent spring cleaning adventure, I came across some of the pieces I was wearing non-stop when I first arrived here: paisley print silk dresses, flouncy black skirts, things with bows. When I look at these things now, I can’t believe I ever wore them. My style is a lot more simplified now. I don’t wear many patterns, I rotate between white, grey, black and olive on top, I don’t often wear dresses and the only embellishments are the buttons on my jacket. Every once in a while I see myself gravitating back towards one of those things from my past style life, like yesterday when I sent my best friend a link to a tie-dye dress from Isabel Marant and asked her if I should get it. Her response? “That thing is so unlike you, I’m having an identity crisis. Can you please tell me what your brain is doing?” I’ve started to wonder what caused this change in my style. Is it New York? Working in fashion? Or just a change in taste? Have you had a style evolution?]]>
Ok, I didn’t know who Sigmar Polke was before I saw his work on Instagram…
But please don’t judge! The point is, it peaked my interest. That image had such incredible colors that I had to have more. He is known for giving pop art a sharp political edge. He was a painter, photographer, and printmaker and one of the founders of the Capitalist Realist movement in the 1960s. Lucky for me, there is a Sigmar Polke retrospective happening at the MoMA! I know where I’ll be this Saturday: taking in some German art inspiration! Sigmar Polke, April 19-August 3, 2014, MoMA 11 W 53rd Street, New York]]>
You know about the myriads of lakes surrounding Berlin, hidden in wondrous forests, they invite you to extended walks and sooner than later (this year) to take a refreshing dive. Past Easter weekend, we drove out of the city and headed North towards Ruppiner Schweiz (you know, the habit of Germans calling hilly forest regions “something something Switzerland”, there’s also Märkische Schweiz, Sächsische Schweiz and who knows what other Schweizes…). And we found a beautiful lake, Tornowsee, which was already praised by Theodor Fontane in his Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg and a pretty restaurant called Boltenmühle. They have donkeys there. You can pet them, they’re very friendly.
We parked our car just next to the restaurant and headed for a walk – we didn’t finish the whole tour surrounding the lake (appr. 8km ), since the dog was just too excited to go swimming and we stopped multiple times to enjoy the view on the lake. But nevertheless the forests were very enjoyable, offering innumerous detours and idyllic clearings to take a break. (And soon, go swimming ourselves!) Besides swimming, we saw many people using the lake, which is connected to other lakes by smaller canals, for canoeing and other paddling – an activity that seems very recommendable for hot summer days. The water was surprisingly clear, despite it being used by ferries and the canal waters passing through. After you’ve done your share of outdoor exercise, head to the restaurant at the Northern shore of the lake, to reward yourself with some ice cream.
The Boltenmühle was built in 1718 as a watermill and used as a tourist location since the 1930s, it was an Ausflug favorite in the GDR, managed by the Konsum cooperative. Out of unknown reasons, the building burned down in 1992 and was re-build in 1994 and has been used as restaurant ever since. Of course it features the obnoxious tourist-decors like bright-yellow cloth napkins neatly arranged in circles and dusty artificial flowers made from polyester, still the terrace is furnished with bulky wooden tables and benches (instead of the annoying plastic versions) and is decorated with fresh flowers. The food is surprisingly good and overall reasonably priced. Surprisingly I say, because oftentimes restaurants benefiting from a secluded location with a nice view don’t bother serving tasty and fresh food.
These days, their focus is, of course, white asparagus, served plain with potatoes and sauce hollandaise, or topped with Schnitzel, ham or salmon. But they adapted to the needs of their urban guests and feature a small selection of organic dishes like baked potatoes or even organic veal liver. Even vegans are addressed with a vegetable rice dish. However, we went for the classic, asparagus, as this is what you do when the asparagus-season is on. It was better than at many Ausflugslokale you find up and down the Havel (although not as delicious as the one I had at 3 Minutes sur Mer a day later…) A perfect summer’s day would certainly be a canoeing tour on Tornowsee, some leisurely swimming, all finished with an chocolate ice cream bowl at the Mühle before heading back to the city.
If you don’t have a car, you can get there by train to Neuruppin (1,5hrs) and then take a boat heading directly towards Boltenmühle (additional 2hrs). Or take your bike and head to the lake, the restaurant is about 18km from Neuruppin.]]>
Ever since I stopped using water on my face, my skin is doing much better. My routine is simple: I use nothing but micellar water — I’ve even stocked up on several different kinds to test out! But most of the girls around me wash their faces with water. It’s usually because they feel like they need water on their skin to feel clean, and I can understand that. It took me months to get used to not feeling that splash on my face. Alex, for example washes her face with water everyday, so we thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about cleansing with water. To each her own, right? - Garance — I love to wash my face (I’m proud to tell you that I’ve been sticking with my 2014 Beauty Resolution of washing my face and taking off my makeup at night! It feels pretty good not having mascara marks all over my pillowcases). I love that clean feeling and when I wash my face, I use water and sometimes I even use one of those cleansing gadgets (I know, it goes against everything Garance does… maybe it’s because I’m American?). Anyway, I realize that despite loving to wash my face, I’m not a pro. For those of you that might need more of a helping hand in the face washing department, I went to facialist Joanna Vargas. She already gave you some tips for tips for in-flight skincare (which I follow, religiously) and here she breaks down everything you need to know about having a clean face…
Let’s start with the basics: what temperature should the water be for washing your face? The temperature should really be tepid. You don’t want it to be too hot or too cold. Extreme water temperatures tend to dry out the skin or could cause an eczema type reaction, especially in the winter. You want to keep it mild. Is there ever a time when washing your face with water should be avoided? There are a lot of times when people travel and the water might be harder in other countries, that could make your skin breakout. In those situations skipping water on the face it totally appropriate. Garance doesn’t wash her face with water. Her dermatologist said it would be better for her if she didn’t use water because it was breaking down her natural defenses and she was producing more sebum. What is your opinion of this? Can you get too clean, resulting in stripping your skin too much of oil? You can definitely overstrip the skin in many ways. You can over wash your face by washing it too many times a day. If you use water that is too hot you can also strip the skin of its natural oils, but very few people have a water sensitivity, so I would first make sure you weren’t doing these things first. When should you be exfoliating? Exfoliation is the key to having great skin. Spring, summer and fall, you should be doing it twice a week. In winter, just once a week. Use a circular motion, when you are exfoliation you’re applying more pressure than when you just cleanse. I like it when people use an exfoliant that is both a physical exfoliant, so it has some sort of a scrub, plus something that has enzymes and lactic acid. The dual method of exfoliation is really amazing for skin. You can resurface the skin and also slough off the dead skin cells and really wash them away. What’s the biggest difference between washing your face with dry skin versus breakout prone skin? It depends on the type of skin that you have. If your skin breaks out, washing your face twice a day is really important. If your skin is very dry, you’re not really going to want to wash your face in the morning because it is just going to dry out your skin more. Splashing water on your face is perfectly fine for super dry skin. For dry skin, I would wash my face in an upward, circular motion because it will bring more nutrients and circulation to the skin. If you have skin that tends to break out, I would wash my face in a downward motion, with downward circles. It will help your skin take away all of the waste. Lymphatic drainage is the process that brings nutrients and carries away waste. If you have blocked lymph nodes in the face or the neck, you’re going to have kind of chalky, dry skin or skin that breaks out. The chalky, dry skin means that the part of the system that is bringing nutrients is blocked. If you have skin that breaks out, the part that carries away waste isn’t working properly. What do you think of cleansing gadgets? [Editor Note: This has been a big debate here on the blog-- remember this post?] It depends on the gadget, but yes they will give a better cleans. It’s really a great way of keeping your pores cleaner, you get a little bit of exfoliation when you use the devices. I like it for everyday because it helps products penetrate better. How do you know you’ve gotten everything off, that your face is really clean? I always encourage clients to consider themselves the best judge of products and how they work. If your face doesn’t feel clean to you, it probably isn’t. For me, most clients prefer a foaming face wash because it does make the skin feel squeaky clean, it gets off makeup really easily. My foaming face wash contains an exfoliant in it as well. It doesn’t have granules or beads, but has an exfoliating agent to keep the pores nice and clean and to feel like you’re washing away fine lines. What’s the best step to take after you are done cleansing, what should you apply first? I love applying a serum. Serums are great because you can really customize them for your skin type and especially moving into warmer weather, you want something really concentrated that delivers great nutrients to the skin without it feeling like the skin is suffocating. I’m a big fan of serum and then a SPF. What’s the biggest mistake people make when it comes to washing their face? I think that people don’t really get that it’s a very important step, so people don’t do it for long enough or they have nights when they skip it. Cleansing your skin before bed is absolutely, 100% necessary. If you don’t wash your face before you go to sleep, you’re not giving your body a fair chance to repair itself while you rest. Your skin is your defense system against sun damage, against pollution, you need to cleanse in order for your skin to do it’s job properly. Spending a few extra seconds working cleanser into your eye area, so you get all your makeup off is important. You only really need to cleanse your skin for two minutes. I think most people average around 10 seconds. If you really spend a good two minutes, really working the cleanser into your skin and taking extra time rinsing at the end, you’d be surprised at how much healthier your skin would be. What are some key ingredients to look for in a cleanser? Across the board, I like a cleanser that includes some sort of exfoliating agent in it. I have an ingredient in my cleanser called Galactoarabinan which is a natural ingredient derived from the larch tree. Not only does it cause more cell turnover than a lactic or glycolic acid but is also an anti-inflammatory ingredient. You’re getting a lot of cell turnover without making the skin super red or sensitive, so it’s safe for all skin types. I like things that have anti-inflammatories because it becomes more universal. I think it’s a bit tedious to think of skincare in terms of this is for acne, this for dry. In general, everyone needs good exfoliation and good cell turnover on a daily basis. How do you wash your face? Do you use water? A gadget? Ready to wash? I tried (and love) these: Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash, Bobbi Brown Extra Balm Rinse, One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser, Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser, Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash and ESPA Balancing Foam Cleanser]]>
Chiara Ferragni, style blogger at The Blonde Salad. She is wearing Moschino bag, Equipment shirt, Stefanel trousers, Louis Vuitton coat, Prada shoes and MSGM furry gloves.]]>
There were so many great comments on last week’s Shopperz post…
I thought the conversation about how the creation of department stores (Le Bon Marche started it all!) changed the role of women in society… “Le shopping a commencé à exister avec la création des grands magasins. Le premier, c’est “Au bon Marché”, construit par Eiffel s’il vous plait. Le modèle a été ensuite copié partout dans le monde Les femmes ont pu sortir de chez elles, seules, sans chaperons, et trouver dans un seul lieu des articles totalement différents. Boucicaut (le proprio du Bon Marché) avait même installé des toilettes dans son magasin, (une vraie révolution). Toutes les classes sociales se retrouvaient dans ce premier temple de la consommation La maladie du shopping est arrivée à la fin du 19 eme siecle en même temps que la révolution industrielle. Les femmes sont sorties de leur domesticité, et ont commencé à se battre pour leur droit, les suffragettes avaient le soutien d’un grand magasin anglais qui faisait de la pub dans leurs journaux ! Allez, je ne suis pas loin de dire que c’est LE SHOPPING qui a émancipé les femmes !” - Nath “Grâce à notre ami arte: le shopping est une activité crée par monsieur boucicaut le créateur du bon marché.il avait pour ambition de créer un vaste magasin ou la consommation féminine serait à son comble……en gros il a offert le premier lieu ou les femmes avaient le choix, elles se sont détacher de leurs maris…bref ambition, féminisme…” - Zaelle “Un bon documentaire sur les débuts du shopping dans les grands magasins parisiens est celui sur le bon marché, c’est réalisé par arte et on y comprend comment les femmes se sont mises à sortir de chez elle et passer leur journées à se balader dans le bon marché en faisant du shopping.” - Chloe]]>
I love the way Christine layers her long sleeve blouse under a tee. I don’t know why this layering style seems like the toughest to master– all the bulk underneath with the buttons, the pockets, the collar… Anyway, she’s inspired me to give it another go!]]>
Riding a bike in New York City took some adjusting….
…. it was near nauseating riding in a taxi when I first moved here. I’ve since decided I would ride along side them and their unpredictable driving, not to mention the pedestrians walking as they please. But now that I’ve got the swing of things, I really love it! Like live for riding my bike. Here* I can ride my bike to work! To the movies! To dinner! To the flea market! To the Neue Gallery. I can even ride my bike to Barney’s. Last week was the real start to spring and my bike has thanked me everyday since (all but those pesky rainy days that sneak in and leave my bike chained inside). There is something so relaxing and at the same exuberayting about riding your bike through the city. You get to really check people out for starters, “Oh, hey cute boys hanging outside the coffee shop, oh did I just hit a red light and have to stop for a minute while I fix my hair?” Plus you are inevitably going to pull up next to someone in the bike lane you know and get a quick chat in. So really, riding your bike is like a social event you don’t even have to put in your calendar. And let’s not forget that riding your bike also counts for exercise! Hello toned legs for the summer… — *I’m from California where my entire life was situated in the backseat (a beach towel because you can always end up at the beach in CA, sneakers, snacks, a Cranberries CD, an outfit for going out in, a coat for the beach, water bottles…)]]>
It’s hard not to love Nicolas. Not only is he a talented calligrapher, but his warmth, generosity, and sunny personality just make people want to be around him. That’s one of the things that struck me the most — his ability to meet people and let himself be guided and inspired by those encounters. That’s kind of the story of my own life, as well — after spending a year studying literature in college, I realized all my friends were artists, and that helped me understand who I was and to make the right choices. I’m also really touched by his passion for an art that’s been somewhat overlooked, kind of like illustration, which used to be all over magazines in the past, and is so rare today. Plus, we both come from similar backgrounds, and if there’s one thing that means a lot to me, it’s being able to say that no matter where you come from, or where you started, there are no limits when you follow your passions. Now I’ll let you read the interview with Nicolas! What was your dream job as a child? When I was a child, I wanted to be a butcher. I don’t know why exactly.
Where does your family come from? Where did you grow up? I was born into a middle class family. My father is from Algeria, he was born in the mountains. My mother comes from the South of France, in the Pyrenees. They are both mountain people and they left their families at a very young age to settle in Paris, which was really hard at the time. So I was born into a little family in Oberkampf. Now, it’s a super trendy neighborhood in Paris, but before it was not like that at all. I went to a private school, but I started doing graffiti and things like that around that time. What do your parents do? My mother works in administration and my father is a locksmith. But I always had an artistic upbringing because my parents love cinema and theater. They learned everything completely on their own. They were never part of the intellectual crowd–they just read all the time. We always visited galleries and museums together. Were you a good student? I was a good student at school because I didn’t play with the others kids that much. I was kind of lonely. I went to religious private schools. My parents would let me do anything as long as I had good grades. I graduated from high school, then went to business school because I didn’t know what else to do. I did an internship at a bank, but finance didn’t suit me. That’s why I decided to start working at a gallery–because it had always intrigued me. So that’s what I did. I met César Pape, a big collector with a lot of money. We opened our own gallery right behind the Académie Francaise, and that’s how I started to meet people, like Pierre Bergé, for instance. I was in my twenties at the time. Before that, I didn’t know anyone in the art world. What did your parents think about that change? My parents trust me completely. For them, if you start something on your own, if it’s your choice, then you should make it work. And if you’re not happy, it’s your fault because it was your choice in the first place. What exactly did you do at the gallery? At the César Pape gallery, I managed all of the financial aspects of the gallery; I was the businessman. I made lists of all the collectors I was meeting; I created a system for managing the stock. All of the art we displayed was by artists who were already dead, and we had some real estate property as well. So, were you always interested in art? How did you learn about art and art history? I knew the sculptures at the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and was familiar with New Realism and the major schools of art because I used to go there often with my parents and that’s what interested me. I got that culture from my parents. After that, I developed my own culture by meeting people at the gallery. Why didn’t you stay at the gallery? The problem is that big collectors have a hard time separating themselves from their things, so I started to realize that I was working in a museum rather than a gallery. Since I was the one who had organized everything from the start, I decided to leave and do something else. That’s when I met Jean-Gabriel Mitterand, the owner of JGM Gallery. There, all of the artists were still alive and I was able to meet all of them. I could see how they progressed in their studios; I was able to organize exhibitions internationally. With all of these exhibitions, the gallery started to gain recognition, and we were able to move into a hôtel particulier. I met aristocrats, politicians, usually at private dinners. It was important to me to find collectors with totally different backgrounds and experiences. And I always felt like we were bad at welcoming them. That’s how it all started. It clicked when I went to an Andy Warhol show, one of the first ones organized in Paris. There were a lot of drawings of shoes. I was waiting for a meeting and I started copying everything I saw in the prints and labels in front of me. I was on the phone, and I started writing things down on envelopes—I’ve always had nice handwriting. And I thought, “This just took me 5 seconds to write and it looks really good.” So that night I decided to spend the night at the gallery alone, with a bottle of wine and music, and I wrote out the entire list for our next show. What I didn’t realize was that the guest list had 1,800 people on it. I loved it. I left around 4am, I decided to walk back home and all along the way I felt so happy. I said to myself, “Fuck, I love this.” The next day, we sent all the invitations and 98% of the guests showed up to the opening. Within an hour, everything was sold.. A week later, we organized a dinner to thank everyone for coming and I did the same thing. I had never received illustrations done by a calligrapher before, but Jean-Gabriel had. I had never even thought about doing it before. How did you start to become known for your work? It was mostly word-of-mouth. People were asking Jean-Gabriel who was writing his envelopes. I started to make seating cards for dinners with different lettering for each guest. I realized that everyone was taking the cards with them when they left. It was awesome. I thought that it was something special. After that, we noticed that people were coming to openings with their invitations. Usually you don’t bring it with you, it’s just there to give you the information you need. At the gallery, I met the artist Nikki de Saint Phalle. We became really close friends because I went to visit her in her studio in Guadalajara quite a few times. I was so impressed by her handcrafted work. I decided to go to Brazil and left the gallery. I didn’t know what to do with my life anymore. I was fine, but I was working way too much. I was making a good living, things were going really well…it was like a teenage crisis, I guess. I met a lot of people there, but I spent all my money in 2 weeks–shopping, partying, taking samba classes… I was totally broke, so I called my parents and asked them to buy me a plane ticket back, but they told me to figure it out on my own. So I stayed and became a French teacher at the Alliance Française to pay for my room. In Brazil, I met the rich and famous director of Les Enfants du Coeur, a children’s foundation. She invited me to dinner at her house, and that’s where I met Patricia Carta, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Brazil at the time. I worked as her production assistant, then in PR, because I was trying to work on projects on the side to see if there were any opportunities with big brands. Then I met Dominique Borromei, an incredible painter. She was totally insane and fascinating. We shared an apartment in Rio and she taught me how to draw, with her craziness and alcoholism, and how to use a paintbrush, She taught me how to express everything I had inside of me. I was really sad, but I couldn’t express my emotions and feelings because I was too shy. When she died of cancer, it was heartbreaking. On her deathbed, she made me promise to keep making lines and rhythms; she told me that that was my work. So I had to keep my promise. How did you end up back in Paris? I went back to Brazil, and started working again, but Pia de Brandt (a friend of mine who was involved with the JGM Gallery) and Jean-Gabriel asked me to come back to Paris because they needed an in-house calligrapher and couldn’t find anyone who wanted to do the job in Paris. What really excited me was finding a specific lettering for a specific person, and to look at what the person loved. I liked trying to create lines that corresponded to a person, a personality, that’s what I found exciting about the art of writing. So I went back to Paris after spending more than a year in Brazil. I met up with Pia, and we started working together the very next day. She was very reassuring and told me that we would take our time, because I didn’t know anything about calligraphy. Zero. I didn’t know anything about it, but I had always been interested in typography. That always interests me whenever I travel. And I write constantly. Soon after, Pia put me in charge of writing out 250 invitations for a wedding she was organizing at the Chateau de Versailles. Who else was doing calligraphy in Paris at the time? At the time there was only one woman doing calligraphy, and she only did three types of writing: English, gothic, and manuscript. Very simple. There was also another company who made invitations, as well. But that was it. So the trend of sending calligraphy invitations started with you? Yes, the trend started 7 or 8 years ago. Before then, it was all printed or on labels. I first remember you from the Rick Owens show…how did you get involved with fashion brands? After doing the Rick Owens logos, I started building my business one step at a time; it came naturally. I started with Prada. Madame Prada and I decided to create handwriting for Prada–a sort of college, British boarding school type of writing–very simple, very clear. I loved the idea of creating our own world with brands and people. That’s how it happened. What is involved in your work, exactly? I do everything that has to do with calligraphy. I can do embroidery or engravings on precious stones with an architect, with lots of sentences. I also work with the State a lot because they have institutions that need inscriptions like “No Smoking”. I work a lot with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and with jewelers such as JAR, doing calligraphy on the inside of the actual diamonds. I also enjoy working with designers in the new digital world. I love that they ask me to work with them even though I am a calligrapher—it’s pretty incredible. People working with digital really want to move toward something timeless and to be able to give people something they will always need. What do you work on the most? Invitations, fashion weeks? I only do invitations for fashion shows during Fashion Week. It’s a big season, very intense, very commercial. But the majority of my work is very diverse. I conceptualize logos, I recreate logos to make them more modern, I do tattoos, rebranding for companies, museums. All of this is based on calligraphy. And what does your work as a brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton or Mont Blanc entail? I am a consultant, so every time they want to launch a product, they ask for my opinion. For example, right now they are releasing the “calligraphy trunk” and I’ll be there to provide support when dealing with the press. I like the idea of bringing heritage back to life, and making it more modern, understandable today. As a calligrapher, it’s hard to have credibility. A lot of people don’t know that Steve Jobs was a calligrapher, for example. I’m an ambassador Where do you find your inspiration? I take photos of everything. I have a really good memory, even when it comes to things that you don’t want to remember. I love reading–I have huge libraries of books. I do a lot of research. One day I gave this lecture at a graphic design school and I told the students that for me, calligraphy is a way of life more than a thing to do. Like a ballet dancer, over time, you get better. You have to practice, 8 hours a day, even. It’s not like riding a bicycle; it doesn’t come back just like that. Do you teach? What I really like is interacting with people. I love when I can learn from someone else, but especially if it goes both ways. If I’m in dialogue with someone, I will obviously give a lot in return. I’m very disappointed by the idea that people have of calligraphy, which is very negative. They see it as something dusty, antique. It’s hard to change people’s minds, so I decide to show them instead of trying to convince them. I was an Arts teacher every Wednesday for children in 1st grade. Children are a big part of my inspiration. They have this sweet craziness; they have no control over what they do. When a child takes a pen, when he looks with his big eyes, he creates things he doesn’t necessarily understand, with no preconceived ideas. I really like that. So I include children in my work very often. I also work with people with physical handicaps, people with Autism, and people with Down’s Syndrome. We work on the specific emotions that create particular lines. It’s really motivating and emotional because they never thought they could do it. They also don’t have any limits, and that creates a really strong connection. Did you ever train or work as an apprentice? No, not really, other than 7 years ago when the owner of the pen company Bic asked me to do a collaborate with a Chinese calligrapher who was 102 years old and create a sort of happening together. I went to China to meet this incredible man, and I was super impressed. I watched him work, his posture, his breathing, everything was fascinating. I taught him how to use my instruments, my pens. We exchanged brushes and now I bring the one he gave me everywhere I go. When I used his brush for the first time, I immediately knew how to use it by instinct. Instead of staying 3 days, I stayed for 3 weeks, I lived with him and we exchanged without talking. The only form of communication we had was through calligraphy. That’s the only intense training I had. I would wake up early in the morning and work all day, without eating anything. He taught me how to take up space when you want to produce something on paper. He taught me how to open each vertebra so that your movement comes out exactly the way you want it to. He taught me how to try to work without leaving anything to chance. When he works, he is either on his knees or standing up. He also taught me how to make my own materials and ink. But it was all a collaboration, we learned from one another. That was what he wanted before his death. It was really beautiful. Do you work alone? I started alone but now I have a team. It’s like a movie director, you have the ideas but you need a team to assist you. I’m currently training two young girls who are making very promising work. I really believe in them. I have a few assistants that help my work to be more fluid. They take care of administrative tasks: they pick things up for me, etc., so that I can focus on my writing. My graphic designer lives in Haute-Savoie and she takes care of scanning for me and imagines a whole world around all of my projects. We are in constant dialogue with each other. She has an eye for things. It’s a real work of deconstruction. She sees all the little details and faults. You need to capture everything in the scans, the texture, the layers—all of the subtleties…or else there’s no balance. Sometimes I call upon architects, home designers, because I need to consult with them on colors, trends, etc. All these people help me, provide me with feedback, and see what I don’t see. Even though you have a team now, do you still consider your work to be solitary? First of all, when I come up with an idea, there are only a few people who can understand the functionality behind it. The conversations I have with my team are very important. The people around me give me their opinion of my work, I ask them what they think. But yes, solitude is an integral part of calligraphy. I have to be in my own world. I can stay in my studio for months. There are things that I have a hard time getting out. I lose all sense of time. Even though I’m surrounded by people who love me, I will always have this inner solitude. I can be totally disconnected. How did the team form? These are all people that I met by chance, on trips, like when I met Elodie in Corsica. She has a singer with tattoos all over her body and I immediately liked her. David Giroire, my press agent, is my best friend. I’ve known him for 15 years. Alexis Le Tan, my agent–I didn’t even know he was an agent because we met at a party—he’s a musician. We became friends and one day he asked to represent me. It was so spontaneous and natural, so I said yes. I’m all about family. I really like having my team, my cocoon. Kind of like you, actually. I like when I can have discussions, when I have direct contact with others. How do you handle criticism of your work? I really accept criticism because it’s super important in the construction of my work, even though most of the time I don’t change a lot of things. I listen a lot to what people have to say. What is the most exciting part is seeing people’s reactions after they receive the final product, seeing the experience that they are going to have with it. What do you think of the evolution of technology and the internet. How did it impact your work? I like it because it’s immediate. It’s nice for me to be able to show my ideas to people right away so they can get an idea right from the start. Because you immediately have an opinion of someone when you see them write. It worked pretty well for me. Now I’m a calligrapher! Do you think calligraphy will disappear because of technology? It’s true that I had this moment when I told myself that yes, calligraphy is beautiful, but you don’t need anything to do it. Because to make a logo, an image, you need a lot of materials. I was in India 3 years ago when L’Officiel Hommes commissioned me to do some illustrations for their special edition on aristocratic families and I was able to make some ink with water and soil. I cut a reed in half and wrote with it. I had this old notebook, so I erased everything I had written previously and I basically started doing calligraphy with dirty soil. I said to myself, “You can’t send a photo, you don’t have wifi.” Instead, I sent the notebook through the post office. Simple as that. I’m saying all this not because I want to show off or show myself but because I want to show that calligraphy is necessary. We will always have to write. For example, when a child has to correct his mistakes after writing it down on a paper, he has to do it by hand. He has to think before writing. He has to get to know himself in order to avoid making the same mistake again. I hate that we don’t teach kids how to write on paper anymore. They learn on a computer right away. Yes, now kids are learning how to use a computer or iPad… Yes, but I’m sure that’s going to change. It’s all going to come back one day. We can’t do without the world of pens because writing things by hand brings out our imperfections. If you grow up without seeing your mistakes, you won’t know how to handle failure. All these mood boards, Tumblr pages etc. today don’t really belong to anyone in the end, there is no longer a sense of property. Whereas writing shows who you truly are. You need to know yourself in order to take a pen and put your feelings down on paper. There are difficult phases in every lifetime and I think it’s important to take the time to sit down and be alone sometimes. Would you consider calligraphy to be a kind of sport, a physical activity? Yes, but when I am sore it means that I forgot about my posture, I forgot myself. Good posture is mandatory. Also, I shouldn’t overdo it. During Fashion Weeks, I’m used to it now and I’m an insomniac, so it works out, but 3 hours of sleep per day for 2 weeks really isn’t good. I can see that my work towards the end is less beautiful. How do you train yourself? I write 8 hours every day. With calligraphy, you are eternally unsatisfied. The idea is to not write anything and everything. You get an idea, you start over, you change it. You create a path for yourself that comes from within. Like sport, it can demanding and requires endurance. Do you take care of your hands? Yes, I get a lot of massages, I love it. It reminds me of vacation. When you’re on vacation, what happens if you don’t write everyday? Oh, I have to. Even on vacation, I still work on my calligraphy. I’m always writing, I have notebooks everywhere. There are words that I like for their meaning, and they’ll move me to find a line that represents the rhythm of the word and its meaning. Or sometimes it’s the opposite. If I I’m trying to think of something, in order for it to be clear,I need to write it down. I need a pen. It’s really like an extension of yourself… Exactly, it’s my second language. Are you sometimes scared of being in an accident? I know that I stopped snowboarding, for example. Yes, absolutely. I love to snowboard too, but I can’t do it anymore. I have contracts for important projects; people are counting on me. My hands are fully insured, in fact. What can’t you do? Snowboarding, skiing, even though my parents live right next to a ski slope. So now we go to the beach, where it’s sunny. Last time I was in New York, I don’t know what got into me but I wanted to rollerblade. I rollerbladed until I was exhausted, but I was super cautious, and didn’t push myself too hard. I’m careful. I knock on wood. When I get pins and needles in my hands, and my hand feels numb, I get really scared. My worst nightmare is when I sleep on my arm and it falls asleep. It’s horrible. What kinds of instruments would you advise young calligraphers to start with? A pen you feel really comfortable with. It could be a Bic, a fountain pen, the tip of a compass. That’s what calligraphy is all about. Other than that, I recommend starting with a paintbrush; it’s so delicate that it teaches you balance. After that, you can go straight to working with a fountain pen. There’s no specific technique. The only technique you need is to tell yourself that anything is possible. What do you dream of doing in the future? I have a few specific wishes. I love the Woolworth building in New York, for example, and the other day while looking at it I had this idea to create a metallic embroidery using calligraphy. I like the idea of working metal into the concept of heritage. I would like to work with Plexiglas or glass more and try to make them just as important as a diamond. Everything I do is a constant work in progress. Right now I’m working on a conceptual piece involving ceramics and I won’t give up until I’ve found a way to create exactly what I want. I’m very stubborn. What would be your best advice to pass along to aspiring calligraphers? There are people who have helped me throughout my life, and I am grateful to them every time I work. And when I have to make a decision, I always ask myself if this is going to keep me moving forward, if it’s going to make me travel… Check out other career posts: Ann-Sofie Johansson, Design Director, H&M Tim Goodman, Art Director Jennifer Vitagliano, Restaurateur Kristy Hurt, Human Resources Consultant Nina Garcia, Creative Director, Marie Claire]]>
Just as I thought I did my fair share of Kantstraßen-exploring and covered all things worthwhile, I discover something so exciting, I couldn’t stop talking about it for days. I think I found the best Vietnamese food in Berlin, I repeated to my friends over and over again. But it’s true, I had the best Vietnamese lunch in Berlin ever. And yes, I’ve been to Dong Xuan Center and ate at numerous restaurants there. But none of them was as fresh and flavorful as the Súp Rau I had at Saigon Green. Some over motivated guides to Berlin call Kantstraße the Chinatown of Berlin, and this is certainly an exaggeration, offensive to all “real” Chinatowns of the world. And also quite short sighted, since this long and rather ugly road starting at Bahnhof Zoo and leading all the way to ICC, is featuring more than Chinese restaurants, but a great choice of Thai and Japanese as well. And this Vietnamese gem, I would’ve never entered, if not Luisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef once told me this was her favorite.
The outer appearance doesn’t promise much – the place looks nice and clean but also oozes this 90s lounge vibe too many Vietnamese places choose as interior style. I visited during lunch time, the place was well visited, yet not overcrowded and enough waiters seemed to handle orders and dishes quite fine and quick. The menu made me even more excited, it featured a smaller choice for lunch but a big selection of fresh juices, lemonades and shakes. Like an iced tea with fresh lime juise, hibiskus blossoms, ginger and basil seeds. Or a shake made of fresh mint and pineapple. I went for the homemade lemonade with fresh lime juice and cane sugar, and chose Saigon Rolls (3,50 Euro), vegetarian summer rolls with tofu and fresh herbs as a starter. They came with a dipping sauce so delicious I asked for refill to finish the second roll. Súp Rau – You had me at vegetables, neatly arranged in a circle. And then the soup, advertised as a traditional Vietnamese soup or Súp Rau (7 Euro), with the first view being already so mouthwatering, I was flushed with happiness: fresh vegetables were arranged in a circle around a bed of glass noodles topped with tofu and filled up with a broth so delicious and hearty. I enjoyed it so much, I hoped I’d never finish this perfect mixture of crispy broccoli, zucchini and carrots with soft noodles, aromatic herbs and rich broth. Well, of course this was only lunch (where most dishes are a Euro off) – what made me even more excited to come back, was their choice of small dishes they offer after 16:00. For 3,50 Euro each you get delicacies like lotus stem salad, duck with hoisin-sauce rolled in pancakes or homemade buns filled with pork and much more. And then for dessert they’ve got black sticky rice with mango. I love sticky rice. And I love Saigon Green. Can’t wait to go back.]]>
I write for 8 hours everyday…
Calligraphy makes you eternally unsatisfied. -Nicolas Ouchenir, Calligrapher PS: We’ll be posting Nicolas’ career interview tomorrow!]]>
It’s already been established that I will bring every beauty product I own with me on a trip.
This means I have to check a bag because there is no way that my gold liquid eyeliner (“You can’t do Las Vegas without gold eyeliner.”- Me), thermal water, makeup setting spray, sunscreen, primer, foundation, perfume, toothpaste, nail polish, serum, exfoliator, shampoo, etc, etc are all going to fit in that silly liquids bag that has to be in my carry-on luggage. Part of this problem is that I don’t have travel size versions of most of my products because they don’t exist (okay, maybe they exist and I just haven’t found them). So, my question for you: How do you make it all fit in that little, basically microscopic, bag? Do you buy travel size versions of all your products? Do you put everything into smaller containers for travel? And no, I’m not leaving behind the gold liner…]]>
I love mirrored glasses. They immediately make it feel like a summer vacation – even in the middle of New York City!
So, we decided to give you a tour through our lenses. Click on the arrows to see all the images!]]>
A late sunday inspiration but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share some photos from blogger Peony Lim. I love her eclectic style. Make sure to visit her blog.]]>
We are working on the next design of the blog…
And are super excited about it! We want to know what you want to see in the next version. What do you like? What do you dislike? What should we change? How do you share posts and how often do you share? How do you get to the blog? Do you use a blog reader or click links from our Twitter? How often do you check the blog from a phone or tablet? Do you use the search tool to find old content or navigate using the top menu? Let us know in the comments! Thank you!! xo The Studio]]>
From the studio of Anna Karlin]]>
Sara is wearing skirt and shoes from Topshop, Celine bag, vintage denim jacket, Karen Walker sunnies, and Zara top. Zara has a really nice blog, Collage Vintage, where you can follow here daily outfits, streetstyle shots and fashion inspiration.]]>