Notebook Pages & Happy Easter!

David Fuller photography 
Easter is such a wonderful holiday to celebrate Spring, don’t you think so? Although the date varies every year, there always seems to be a burst of green on Easter morning, which is why spending the day in nature has almost become a tradition (although I doubt it the weather will permit it this year). This I think originates in my childhood, when Easter was always spent in the countryside, where people would gather for a picnic on the grass in the church yard. That custom is lost unfortunately, but some of my fondest childhood memories are from those days. I will be spending a few quiet days with my family, so I’m wishing you Happy Easter and I’m leaving you with my latest finds and news from style, fashion, film, photography and beautiful living.

• This week’s New Film recommendation: Blood Ties, directed by Guillaume Canet. Set in 1970s New York City, the movie shows an incredible attention to details: the wardrobe, the music, the atmosphere – if I didn’t know it was released in 2014 I would say it was made four decades ago. Marion Cotillard, Clive Owen, James Caan and Billy Crudup star, and even if the plot is not the most original one, it succeded to draw me in, and the ending gave me the satisfaction I expect of this kind of story.
• I’m already curious about Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film, by acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu. I like it when directors challenge actors to do different roles.
• The first Arthur Elgort comprehensive book, The Big Picture, spanning the photographer’s five-decade career, will be out in May.
• I enjoyed reading Manolo Blahnik’s marvelous stories. Diana Vreeland was the seminal woman in his life, he is a classic film buff (I knew that and I like it that he always reminds us) and he says that “I am not so intellectual but I am very curious.” I think you’ll enjoy the article, too.
• During one of my favourite past-times, visiting the book shops, I came across yet another amazing photography book, by Gianni Giansanti, which has found its way to the very top of my very long wish-list.
• I could easily find a place in our recently remodelled living-room for this beautiful art piece.

photo: David Fuller

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Loewe, Linda & Lindbergh

Linda Evangelista Loewe SS 1990 Peter LindberghLinda Loewe ss 1990 
There are so many incredible fashion editorials and adverstisments from the 1980s and ’90s I would like to share here on the blog, that I often end up not publishing any, because I simply can’t choose between two stories. But today is one of those days that seemed right for a reminiscence of the past, with an iconic trio: Loewe, Linda Evangelista and Peter Lindbergh. The entire spring 1990 Loewe campaign is beyond beautiful, but there was something about these two particular shots set side by side that I decided to go with my feeling. The trouser suit and short hair look to the left – so empowering, and that infectious smile, relaxed attitude and summery, soft, all-white outfit to the left – so youthful and insouciant. Facets of the same strong, but delicate and playful woman.

photos: Peter Lindbergh for Loewe Spring/Summer 1990 ad campaign | Linda Evangelista | You can see more of this fashion story here.

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The Makers: Karakter

Classiq_The Makers-Studio Karakter 
For a while now I have been working on a new series concept for Classiq. I appreciate how more and more people have started to show growing interest in individual brands and handmade products, and to affirm their integrity in everyday choices. The Makers aims to showcase talented artists, from Romania and worldwide, their handcrafted goods and their commitment to their métier. It will also offer a glimpse into their studios, presenting you their creative medium, accompanied by the story behind their beautiful work.

Today I am happy to introduce you to my first guest, Romanian multidisciplinary artist Antoaneta Zoltan, amd to her distinctive, handcrafted Karakter jewellery and her studio, where all her designs come to life. She names the city as one of her sources of inspiration, she started designing jewellery when her childhood walnut was cut down and wood has since been her element, she only creates unique pieces and she wishes people appreciated more the simple things and that they would seize the day. I hope you’ll enjoy her story as much as I have.
Classiq-The Makers-Studio Karakter-3

Karakter Jewellery

Karakter jewellery-1 
Who and/or what inspires you? Are there any other artists you look up to?I live in an urban environment, where the city is a constant source of inspiration: complex, disparate, chaotic or bright, generous, open, it is a subject in itself. Moreover, there are things from Nature, if too deformed, because the notion of natural is constantly blurred, subjected to change and reinterpretation. The resulting mix is an artificial environment, built in such a long time that it seems natural.

Yes, I admire many artists from different areas: Tobia Scarpa, Naoto Fukasawa, Arik Levy, Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Jan Ammundsen, Issey Miyake, Ela Bauer. It’s a long list.

What is the story behind Karakter? How did it all start?
I have a background in scenography and painting and I think jewellery design arose from a need for a “different” artistic expression, from the passion for object design; then from the need to imprint materiality with thoughts, feelings, emotions of my own. Karakter appeared in 2012. The walnut from my childhood was cut down, a wonderful tree that brought back touching memories. I wanted to keep a part of it, not to lose it completely. So I got the idea of playing with this new material, combining technique with experiment. I love wood, its natural textures and its colour. Since then I’ve been collecting wood pieces, bark, stones. We waste too much of them. I like turning them into valuable objects.

Continue reading

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The Ivy Look: An Illustrated Pocket Guide

The Ivy Look Classic American Clothing_An Illustrated Pocket Guide 
A pictorial celebration and a well researched introductory guide to the world of the Ivy style, the classic clothing worn in America’s Ivy League university campuses and that dominated the American male dress code in the 1950s and 1960s, The Ivy Look: Classic American Clothing – An Illustrated Pocket Guide, by Graham Marsh and J.P. Gaul, manages to cover all the bases of the preppy elegance. It is not text heavy, but the information it provides is enough to give you a decent grounding in the subject, to get you to know the heritage of the original Ivy brands (from Brooks Brothers, Gant and J Press, to Bass, Converse and Levi’s) and specific pieces which have defined the style, its history and influence throughout the years and around the world, and to learn quite a few sartorial tips. And as with every good style book, image matters, and one of the best parts of this one is the great selection of photos, from vintage advertisments and classic labels, to inspirational photographs of Hollywood actors, like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, of jazz musicians, such as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, and the Kennedy brothers, who have all been great proponents of the Ivy look, elevating it to the rang of cool.

And what makes this guide even more enjoyable to read is the way it ties into mid-century design, jazz, graphic art, architecture, the European culture (Rome, Paris and the French New Wave, the original London mod scene), as well as the continuing obsession with the look in Japan (let’s not forget that it was a Japanese, Teruyoshi Hayashida, who first published a book on the subject, Take Ivy, released in 1965). The book is all the more valuable as it is among the very few print works which have explored the style. It will give you a proper introduction to the Ivy Look, but if you love the classics and have an affinity for the style, like me, it will leave you wanting for more and it would be wonderful to see an extended edition in the future.

photo by me

Posted by classiq in Books, C'est style | | 3 Comments

Jean Stories

Jean Stories 
Jean Stories is “all about denim – who’s wearing it and making it, why we love it and all the ways it reflects our lives and styles”. Need I say more? I will anyway, because it’s worth telling you about. Jane Herman Bishop, former Vogue fashion writer and T Magazine editor, and Florence Kane, former Vogue fashion editor and C Magazine senior editor, co-founded Jean Stories last year. Given my undying love for jeans, it’s not difficult to understand why I consider it one of the best ideas on the fashion scene.

I used almost every break I had last week to peruse the website and indulge in every different feature. I loved finding out why someone likes nothing but the indigo straight cut jeans, why others prefer them as fresh as they can be – brand new, or, quite the opposite – the worn-in look; when white jeans work better than any other type of jeans; how everyone prefers a high, or sometimes a medium-waist (but never a low-rise, which, by the way, I hope to see gone for good); why the skinny is not someone’s sensibility, while somebody else wears anything but; why others swear by the boyfriend shape, or wear nothing but the pure and authentic style – no stretch, no distress, no holes. It was also interesting to read about the 1980s London trend when everyone was wearing only Alaïa bodysuits with oversized men’s 501, and how the name Levi’s pops up so frequently throughout the stories (the brand remains one of my favourites to this day).

There are tips you can learn from every single story presented here, but the best thing is that you realize how everybody loves jeans, but in a completely different way. And everyone is right in their choice. Because there is a different perfect fit for everyone, that fit that works best for you personally. And that’s your own story to tell: that certain style that can work for you and only you, that distinctive way you wear your favourites, that sets you apart and which you should embrace with all the aplomb and personality it requires. This is one of the best proofs of how personal style works.
Jean Stories-Jessica de Ruiter 
How about the blue jeans-white t-shirt look above? I have talked about it here. Yes, I stick by my opinion: nothing looks better than this.

Or how about Vogue fashion editor Tonne Goodman’s immaculate style? She has mastered the art of uniform dressing: white or black straight-leg jeans, turtleneck sweater or button down shirt and flats. She’s the perfect example of how jeans can become the piece your wardrobe revolves around. Classic and unadorned, they can work for any time of day, every day of the week. Furthermore, I loved to read the story behind each one of the photographs she shared.

Jeans seem to be part of everyone’s culture and life, and if you ask the person next to you, it’s likely to tell you with an unbelievable accuracy which was the very first pair of jeans they wore, and, most likely, they also have a great story to go with it. Mine were Levi’s (yes, me too) and I wore them for years until they got that natural worn-in look, before I finally started to tear them off, and then I put patches on them (I didn’t do distressed back then) and continued to wear them religiously for a couple more years. I think I still have them somewhere stacked away. The one pair of Levi’s I still have in my wardrobe is in classic indigo, with a perfect wash look they have acquired in time – my favourite colour for jeans (although the light blue wash is close behind), but I’m not wearing them as much as I’d like (almost every day), because I want to have them just as they are, in that perfect state, for as long as possible. So which was your first pair of jeans?
Jean Stories-Tonne Goodman

Jean Stories_Tonne Goodman by Arthur Elgort

photos via Jean Stories: 1,2-Katrina Dickson (Jessica de Ruiter) / 3-Nicky Vreeland (Tonne Goodman) / 4-Bryant Park for W magazine (Tonne Goodman) / 5-Arthur Elgort, 2000 (Tonne Goodman)

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The Apartment

by guest writer

The Apartment 1960 
The Apartment (1960) marked the second collaboration between Jack Lemmon and director Billy Wilder, after the enormous hit Some Like It Hot (1959). You will first discover the cleverly built screenplay which was achieved through the prolific collaboration between Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) is a clerk in an insurance corporation with no real career opportunities whatsoever. He decides to loan his apartment to the upper management as the perfect hideaway for philandering bosses, with many promises of promotion. He is instead led to a no hush hush life and bound to keep the secrets if he knows ‘what’s best for him’. There is a contradiction of terms within C.C. Baxter as he likes to work late only because he has a busy apartment. His intentions are only controlled by his lust to work his way up the company ladder.

Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), also has corporate company illusions, but of a different kind: she wants to be the boss’ wife, the next Mrs. Sheldrake. She becomes Baxter’s partner in suffering and close friend – they have both almost given up on love. This is one of the finest satiric comedies, different from the formula plot of a romantic comedy (and so refreshing when it comes to Hollywood movies), with that witty, note-perfect closing line that reflects so well the sensible and tough tone of the film. The music by Adolph Deutsch plays a very important role in the mood construction emphasizing the elements of fun and sadness, and Joseph LaShelle’s black and white cinematography is also essential for the bittersweet story.

photo: still from the film | The Mirisch Corporation

Posted by classiq in Classic Film | | 2 Comments