When it comes to summer beauty, here are a few of my current favorites that I try my best to never leave home without – especially when traveling! My newest addiction, is the Sugar Lip Tinted Treatment in Tulip with SPF 15. This gloss keeps my lips hydrated without being too sticky or greasy. And, for summer, the Tulip tint adds just the right amount of rosy hue that beautifully complements a summer glow. It instantly brightens the face and sometimes it’s all I wear. I highly recommend it! I am still using the W3LL People cosmetic line based in Austin, Texas. This line is clean, non-toxic, and 100% natural. The cosmetics are made in very small batches and there’s an emphasis on organic ingredients that offer a natural benefit to the skin as you wear the makeup. There aren’t any harsh artificial chemicals, preservatives or petroleums included in their makeup line. My favorites from the line right now, are the Altruist Satin Mineral Foundation and the Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara. The Mineral Foundation is light and airy, but seems to effortlessly even out your skin tone with radiance. I have sensitive skin and allergies and can often have trouble finding a mascara that doesn’t aggravate my contact lenses. The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara makes your lashes voluminous and striking while supplementing them with health botanical ingredients. This mascara lengthens AND builds. As for fragrance, summer scents to me should either be powdery light and fresh or beachy. Right now, I’m loving Narciso Rodriguez for her. It’s a soft feminine fragrance with notes like jasmine, pink peony, rose, and lily of the valley that doesn’t seem to be too much for the Texas heat.
I’m all about maxi skirts at the moment. The piece can take you from day to night with a quick change of accessories.This Striped Piece from J.W. Anderson is a great item to pair with the gorgeous pink maxi from Temperley. For the evening, favorites are: Metallic and Leather Mary Jane Pumps from Miu Miu, Rush Mini Clutch Leather Bag from Fendi in Navy, and the Tahiti Sling Ring at Steven Alan. Take all the accessories away and can’t you picture the skirt and top with summer flats for a casual look?
One of my favorite local beauty lines is Dear Clark! I love the scent and the way it keeps my hair clean, healthy, and hydrated. This Thursday, the Dear Clark Hair Studio along with Erica and Trey Kuppin will host an art exhibit featuring pieces from talented at-risk teens who participate in Big Thought’s Creative Solutions Program. The event will be from 7-10 p.m. this week at the Dear Clark Hair Salon at 3317 McKinney Ave. Come enjoy the art show and shop select products available for purchase – all benefiting Big Thought! Big Thought is a non-profit organization that serves the Dallas community and provides youth with access to innovative learning opportunities outside of the classroom setting. We’ll see you there!
What: Dear Clark and Big Thought Art Exhibit and Shopping Event
When: Thursday, August 7th from 7-10 p.m.
Where: Dear Clark, 3317 McKinney Ave. Dallas, TX
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the sneak peek of the new Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted by Laura Bush. This exhibit celebrates five decades of style, a retrospective of Oscar de la Renta’s career. The exhibit features stunning celebrity red carpet gowns, attire worn by First Ladies, one-of-a-kind pieces, and recent runway gowns.
The exhibit will be presented through October 5th. Learn more.
I hope you enjoy a few photos I snapped on my visit!
“We practice slow design, which is the opposite of ‘fast fashion.’ The ‘slow’ philosophy is a direct response to the instant gratification mindset often seen in fashion. We are not interested in creating garments that are cheaply made and meant to last for a season. To the Alabama Chanin standard, a quality garment is designed and constructed to fit into a person’s wardrobe for years, if not decades. We focus on style over trend.”
– Natalie Chanin
One item near the top of my getaway list, is planning a trip to Florence, Alabama to visit the Alabama Chanin studio and café. Several years ago, I was introduced to Alabama Chanin through Colleen Duffley’s Studio B. Since the introduction, I’ve been an avid follower of their work and designs. My excitement intensified with the creation of A. Chanin, their basics collection. These closet staples are an introduction into the extraordinary and thoughtful craftsmanship of the line. With a stunning array of fabrics, colors, and hand embroidered designs, these pieces are treasures that will be enjoyed for years to come.
It’s an honor to feature an interview with the founder and creative director, Natalie Chanin. Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, Time, Town & Country, Garden and Gun, and CBS News – to name a few. Natalie is an author and member of the CFDA.
N/S: What lead to the development of Alabama Chanin? Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
NC: I really began to discover my love of design in college. I studied as part of a Bauhaus-based design program at North Carolina State University. I have worked steadily in design since then. But, I did not have intentions of building my own brand until it happened. I always say that the creation of Alabama Chanin was a happy accident – the perfect combination of people, places, and ideas meeting at just the right time.
N/S: What are your favorite places and things in Florence, AL? Why did you choose this as your home base?
NC: Florence, Alabama, is a place rich with history and full of talented artists. I’m honored to work with and among this community of creatives. When I have visitors, I often take them to a place known as “The Wall,” a mile-long rock wall near my home built by family friend, Tom Hendrix, in honor of his great-great-grandmother, a Yuchi Indian woman. It’s a sacred place for our community and for me, personally. Florence also has a home designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright that you can tour. More and more, visitors are interested in our region’s recording history, so I like to take them to FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio where people like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and the Rolling Stones recorded. Of course, a barbecue sandwich (with hot slaw) from Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q is also a must.
Florence is my hometown – where I grew up. I came back to Alabama for a simple reason: because they have the workforce that understands how to make the things that I want to make – and to make them well. Those skills and the idea of building a strong community are central to Alabama Chanin at its core. Our community has embraced us and I believe them to be one of our strongest resources.
N/S: What inspires new designs and collections from Alabama Chanin?
NC: How does inspiration come to any artist? I’m encouraged by my community, challenged to succeed by my fellow artists, and moved by my love of family. I find great inspiration in books and photographs, as well. Our most recent collection was inspired by Maxine Payne’s upcoming book titled, Making Pictures: Three For A Dime. It catalogues the work of the Massengill family, who worked in the late 30’s and early 40’s as itinerant photographers in rural Arkansas. The photos of farmers, young couples, babies, and the Massengills themselves really capture a specific time and spirit. I wanted to translate that into our work.
N/S: What makes Alabama Chanin designs different from others? They are a higher price point, but how did you know there’d be a need & desire for quality design and embroidery – a return to craft?
NC: We practice slow design, which is the opposite of “fast fashion.” The “slow” philosophy is a direct response to the instant gratification mindset often seen in fashion. We are not interested in creating garments that are cheaply made and meant to last for a season. To the Alabama Chanin standard, a quality garment is designed and constructed to fit into a person’s wardrobe for years, if not decades. We focus on style over trend. Our fabrics are organic and healthy for the wearer. Our artisans and factory employees are paid a fair wage. We have found that quality garments can be created when you combine beautiful, durable materials with good design and ethical practices.
I think that people are generally more interested in knowing how things are made, and by whom. The Slow Food movement established the idea that we should be aware of where our food comes from and we should seek out what is good, fair, and clean. It is not such a large shift to transfer those ideas into other areas of your life. Plus, there is a growth in interest in artisanal crafts and skills. People are now more interested in making connections and creating with their hands than in decades. I hope it is not a trend – but instead is a mindset that is here to stay.
N/S: What lead to the development of the restaurant? How would you explain the café? Who visits it?
NC: I have always loved cooking and I believe it is important to know where my food comes from, who is growing it, and how it is made. The café is an extension of our mission as a company. We approach our ingredients and recipes from a Slow Food ideology. Our intention is to use locally sourced and organic ingredients, whenever possible. I want our customers to feel that they can trust us to source responsibly in the café, just as we do in our collections.
We have been supported and embraced by our community. We post a weekly menu online and there are many customers who visit regularly. But, we also meet new people every day. And those who attend our in-house workshops eat food catered from The Factory café, as well.
N/S: What lead to the development of the basics line? How did it come to be?
NC: We have offered basic versions of our garments since we produced our first collections, years ago. It became evident as we were producing unembellished samples that handmade basic garments would make excellent, versatile wardrobe staples.
Our machine-made line of basics, A.Chanin, was launched last year. It has been part of my vision to produce sustainable, ethical machine-made clothing for quite some time. After years of research and building relationships, we felt that we had a good supply chain that would support this effort. But, there are also plans to incorporate our machine-made garments with our hand embroidery techniques. We are excited about the possibilities.
N/S: What will you be wearing this summer? Any trips planned?
NC: I love wearing skirts and dresses year-round. So, no matter where I go, I will pack our A-Line Dresses, a tunic or two, and my Long Skirts. This summer we have several workshops and events planned, so I will be quite busy. I always try to pencil in a beach trip with my daughter Maggie, so you might catch me sporting an Alabama Chanin sarong with my bathing suit.
N/S: What are a few must-have pieces from Alabama Chanin?
NC: At Alabama Chanin, we want to make pieces that fit into your life, no matter what that life might include. My philosophy is that each person’s “must-have” piece is the one that makes her feel most beautiful.
N/S: Where is Alabama Chanin currently available?
NC: Because Alabama Chanin is a sustainable design company with a goal of zero waste, our collection pieces are available from our online store and a small selection of specialty stores around the world. However, they are made-to-order, whether that order is placed in our Factory store in Florence, online, or at one of our trunk shows across the country.
Our full Alabama Chanin line, including A. Chanin and our DIY kits, can always be purchased from our online store.
N/S: What’s to come this fall from Alabama Chanin?
NC: We have a few sewing workshops on the calendar this fall, as well as a second MAKESHIFT event in New York this October. I’m also busy working on a new collection, collaborations, (and a new book). There is never a dull moment at The Factory.
What’s on the N/S list? The must-have is definitely the Polka Dot Sarong – on sale too!
An artist’s pieces at the top of my wish list are those of Sally King Benedict. Benedict was recently featured in the Summer 2014 issue of Domino magazine. If you haven’t picked this issue up, be sure and do so! I asked the Atlanta based artist a few questions about where she’ll be traveling this summer and the inspiration behind her latest pieces.
N/S: What inspired the “faces” drawings and paintings? They are so beautiful – and there’s a consistency, yet, they are all so different?
SKB: Most of the time, the faces are a combination of features borrowed from real and imaginary people. I have always been drawn to portraiture, but I prefer to create/sculpt the person as I paint rather than painting from life. It’s a fun freedom to have and it helps me with the balance of purely abstract pieces.
N/S: What are some memorable moments from your trip to Sea Island that most certainly influenced your recent drawings?
SKB: Lounging at the beach club on the lawn, basking by the serene adult pool, Mexican dinners at Bubba Garcia’s and spending quiet nights at Julie’s family’s classic cottage 90 that has not been touched since the 70’s…. all with paint and paper in hand, and a heart full of sentimental memories of growing up in my great grandparents’ cottage on 14th.
Sea Palms Study
N/S: How do you decide where your creation will “live” – whether it’s a work on paper or a painting?
SKB: I have so many fleeting thoughts and ideas, making it hard to find homes for them a lot of the time. I don’t carry around a sketchbook (though I know I should), and I am insanely disorganized in the studio, so catching a fleeting thought and putting it somewhere safe is crucial to my creative process. There live my works on paper. They are normally the pieces that I know I need to create quickly in fear that I will lose the idea forever. The canvas pieces are surely more worked and time consuming. They usually take a different level of commitment and sacrifice. There is so much doing and un-doing, messing up and rarely getting it right throughout the process on canvas where on paper, it has to work the first time for me to be content.
N/S: Where are your pieces currently available?
SKB: There is always a good bit of inventory at my home studio in Atlanta. Most available works are also shown on my website…www.sallybenedict.com with a re-launch and “shop” coming soon. I also show with Blue Print in Dallas, Hidell Brooks in Charlotte, and Sandra Morgan in Greenwich. Online, I sell exclusive framed prints through Serena and Lily.
N/S: How will you be spending your summer? What are some of your favorite things to do? Traveling?
SKB: Would not be summer without quality family beach time. We’re going to Charleston, Ponte Vedra, and then hopefully California and New England late summer/early fall.
N/S: What is a “typical day” like for Sally King Benedict?
SKB: I am not a morning person so getting started requires a lot of coffee. The first part of my day I spend time with my husband and 2-year-old son. Around lunchtime, I get into work mode and check in with my right-hand woman, Julie on what needs to be tackled in the studio that day and any other work correspondences. From about 2 pm until dinner, I paint or I get distracted trying to paint.
N/S: What are three of your favorite things?
SKB: Right now: Summer tomatoes and peaches, napping when it’s raining, and seeing my son dance without being provoked.
Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to chat about seersucker. And, who makes some of the best seersucker styles out there? Jolie & Elizabeth of course!
N/S: Has seersucker always been a staple in the Jolie and Elizabeth collection?
J&E: Absolutely! The first dress we ever made was seersucker and our first collection was launched in April 2010 with 4 seersucker dresses and 2 silk dresses. Every season our entire collection is based off of seersucker – our customers and fans have come to expect it from JE.
N/S: What do you think makes seersucker the perfect spring/summer
J&E: When you feel seersucker it automatically puts you in a warm weather state of mind. It’s breathability and lightweight nature makes
you want to spend hours outside on a warm spring or summer day. It’s easy to wash and dries quickly. It is structured yet comfortable.
N/S: What do you think makes it so versatile?
J&E: It is a very universal fabric – you can use it to make a cocktail dress or a casual dress, shirts or a shirt. It can be used for children, women, men. It can be designed to suit any age or style. Southern men and women both feel a certain attachment to the fabric – it reminds them of warm weather and relaxation.
N/S: Where will you be wearing seersucker this summer?
J&E: We find ourselves wearing seersucker just about everywhere.. plenty of weddings, showers and cocktail parties. Our dresses are also extremely easy to travel with because the fabric is wrinkle resistant. Our seersucker dresses will be traveling with us this summer for sure! Cabo, the Caymans and of course to the Alabama and Florida beaches.
N/S: What are some of the new styles in seersucker from Jolie and Elizabeth? Have any returned as “classics”?
J&E: Our current favorites are the Rebecca dress and the Virginia dress. The Rebecca is perfect for any event imaginable in the spring and
summer. It’s a hybrid between a cocktail dress and a day dress – you can wear it to basically any event. The Virginia dress is our favorite LWD. It’s sophisticated and mature while still being comfortable. It’s a dress that any woman would want to wear over and over. We are also loving our Caroline skirt. Throw it on with a tee and some boots or dress it up with heels and a silk blouse. It’s extremely versatile. As far as classics: the Jackie, Adelaide and Kennedy dress have all been in high demand. We have a few classic bodies that our customers can’t get enough of. Our wrap dresses are also flying out the door. There is nothing better than a well fitting, classic dress in seersucker for the summer.
N/S: What will you be wearing this summer? Any fun summer plans?
J&E: We have a busy summer as always with seersucker being in high demand – but we’ve managed to plan a few vacations. We’re also
gearing up for out “10,000th manufactured 10,000 American made dresses – it’s an incredible feeling. And we of course plan on wearing seersucker to that soiree!
N/S: What can we expect this fall from Jolie and Elizabeth?
J&E: This fall we will be offering some of our new and classic bodies in basic silks and a few surprise patterns. We are mainly focused on the premier of our resort 2015 collection. Since seersucker and spring dresses is what we do best we are focusing on earlier deliveries and a strong introduction into spring with our resort collection.
N/S: What are some outfit ideas for summer weddings from Jolie and
J&E: When in doubt for a hot, outdoor wedding grab a seersucker dress, some nude pumps, and a statement necklace and you’re good to go. A lot of times women think it might be hard to match seersucker to accessories but it’s actually quite easy. We’ve seen our dresses paired with vibrant colored heels, bright lipstick and over the top costume jewelry. Since our dresses are classic, it’s easy to make them your own by choosing accessories that suite your personal style.
“Our clothes have been described by the Sunday Times as ‘just the right side of fancy dress –
when wearing Cabbages & Roses I feel as if I am in a film, A Room With A View or Alice in Wonderland’. I think this sums us up pretty well!”
- Christina Strutt
photo: Katy Lawrence
When I interviewed Lucy Guinness of Poplin earlier this year, she shared that one of her favorite brands was Cabbages and Roses. I hadn’t heard of this collection before and immediately checked out the British brand’s website. A whimsical introduction to English countryside and style with original fabrics, this collection for both the home and closet, was refreshingly original. Founded in 2000 and based in Chelsea, I hope you enjoy a q & a today with the brand’s Creative Director and author (seven books!), Christina Strutt for Nonsense & Sensibility.
photo: Katy Lawrence
photo: Katy Lawrence
N/S: How did Cabbages and Roses come to be? How did your design team come together? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
C&R: Cabbages & Roses was born because in the year 2000 there seemed a dearth of the gentle floral prints that we produce and certainly I could not find the type of clothes that I wanted to wear – so in one life changing moment I decided that rather than spend time searching that I would manufacture the fabric and then the clothes that I needed. The design team consisted then, of my partner Brigette Buchanan and I and we created hotch potch collections fulfilling our needs and all that we created seemed to be welcomed by the press and the public alike. Now, the design team consists of Brigette’s daughter Violet and I and we work with Sophie Marsh who is in charge of our Home and Fabric collection. I think I always knew that I wanted to have a creative job, but when I was very young I yearned to be a gardener. Particularly, (a gardener) in Regents Park in London, mostly because it was so beautiful, but also because it was close to the zoo!
N/S: What made you choose your name?
C&R: The name came about when Brigette and I were trying to think of what to call our new company – in a discussion about gardens I had mentioned that my cabbages were exemplary that year and then roses came into the discussion – thinking that the two sounded perfect together we named our little company Cabbages & Roses as it seemed to sum up all the things that we loved.
photo: Christabel Brain
photo: Andrew Beasley
photo: Andrew Beasley
photo: Cabbages & Roses
N/S: Where do you find inspiration for your beautiful fabrics? Are there staples in the collection? About how many do you introduce each year?
C&R: Inspiration comes randomly, from a faded scrap, a piece of patchwork, a doodle – an existing fabric with embellishments taken out or added in. The longest running fabric has not lost its momentum in the 14 years it has been around, the Hatley Rose – it has been re-coloured and put onto many different base cloths and papers. It is only one of the two that I don’t mind being used for clothing as it is so versatile, simple and beautiful – the other is a relatively new fabric called Catherine Rose. Because we are such a small team and because we produce so much across the collections, we don’t particularly introduce new fabric collections every year – for instance this year we are concentrating on introducing more wallpaper to our collection and it would be too much to try and do new fabrics at the same time.
N/S: How are your home and fashion collections connected?
C&R: Now that we have two separate shops, one housing fashion and one housing home, there is no need to try and co ordinate the two elements of C&R although they are interconnected it is not necessary for them to be displayed together. However, because our brand has a look of its own I think that the style is connected by virtue of the fact that they are created by the same team, the same thought process and for the same customer base. Occasionally we use Hatley in the clothes and often use Catherine Rose in garments, they suit our style and sensibilities.
N/S: How would you describe your line to people who hadn’t seen it before?
C&R: Versatile, eclectic, interesting, wearable, gentle, wide ranging, charming. Cabbages & Roses does not take itself too seriously, and humour is important. Our clothes have been described by the Sunday Times as ‘just the right side of fancy dress – when wearing Cabbages & Roses I feel as if I am in a film, A Room With A View or Alice in Wonderland’. I think this sums us up pretty well!
Our fabrics and furnishings are all of the above too – they are very adaptable and suite a country cottage or a stately home, an urban apartment or a shepherds hut – I like to think we are all things to all people.
photo: Hill & Aubrey
photo: Katy Lawrence
photo: Andrew Beasley
N/S: Do you ship to the US? Where is Cabbages and Roses available for purchase?
C&R: Yes, we do indeed ship to the USA. At the moment we do not have an outlet there, but would very much like to – my daughter has recently moved to New York, so am hoping that one day we can open a shop/s there!
I think Cabbages & Roses would fit in terribly well in the States, we have always hankered after a shop in Sag Harbour!
N/S: How would you describe your own personal style?
C&R: I think my personal style has changed little over the years. I am, I hate to admit, a bit flamboyant, I like to wear clothes that are noticed, and Cabbages & Roses clothes are always noticed, we have so many customers who say they are chased up the street by someone loving what they are wearing! My footwear has been the same since I was a teenager – in the summer white old fashioned plimsolls, in the winter Chelsea boots or Wellington boots.
N/S: Where are a few of your favorite places in Chelsea?
C&R: I love the Chelsea Gardener, next door to our shops. They always have beautiful plants which I find hard to resist. The Curzon Cinema is a few steps from my apartment with excellent films and the most comfortable seats in London. Peter Jones in Sloane Square is a wonderful, safe department store, selling anything anyone could wish for. I have been going there since I was about 7 with my mother and three sisters, it was considered a treat on a Saturday morning.
St Luke’s church is a lovely peaceful, simple church where Charles Dickens got married – it is across the road from our office and has a lovely garden attached to it. And, of course our shops, our offices and my apartment all housed in a beautiful old building on Sydney Street.
photo: Christabel Brain
photo: Katy Lawrence
N/S: What are must-visits when visiting London? Any favorite hotels?
C&R: As a Londoner, I don’t often stay in hotels, but before I had an apartment here, my husband used to treat me and the children with an extravagant stay in London. The cosiest was Duke’s Hotel in St James’s we used to stay there before Christmas and there was always a beautiful Christmas tree in the courtyard outside. We also used to stay at the Ritz, which was always good for tea time treats, and the rooms were deliciously old fashioned! I think, though, that they have modernised them since I last stayed there. Fortnum & Mason, where I had my very first job in its Confectionary department, is a beautiful department store epitomizing everything that is English, It is a step back into 19th century England! Egg on Kinnerton Street, is a perfect hidden treasure selling some of the most beautiful clothes I have seen anywhere – it is in Belgravia’s back streets on a charming mews. There is also a pub there called the Nag’s Head – in winter there is a roaring fire in each room and I think it hasn’t been changed for hundreds of years.
N/S: What’s one of your favorite projects you’ve ever worked on?
C&R: When I was working at Vogue magazine, every single project was amazing – our main job was to find beautiful houses to photograph – anything after that has not quite met the mark!
Our project with Uniqlo was pretty exciting, knowing that our designs were going to be in 1,500 stores throughout the world including Russia and China, Japan and 5th Avenue in New York – they were lovely to work with and the whole project worked like a dream. Doing all my books (7) were great fun and I loved that there was a beginning and an end – with my day job everything is ongoing – even when a collection is complete, delivered and sold, we have been working on the next one and the one after that at the same time – there seems to be no closure! It is both thrilling and sad to say goodbye to the last piece of anything that we have created.
photo: Katy Lawrence
photo: Katy Lawrence
N/S: What’s a typical day like for you?
C&R: I don’t think there is a typical day in my life! During the last two weeks I have organised a huge Brocante fair in the garden of my home just outside Bath. We had 25 exhibitors all over the garden and we had to literally stop the traffic – there were about 800 visitors which caused quite a bit of chaos on our little lane. A week after that I had a tour of Japanese garden enthusiasts to my home for lunch and a tour of the garden. Today, I have worked on the Spring Summer 15 knitwear designs and tomorrow I am interviewing a potential new member of our team. I will re-merchandise the shops and visit the press office. Interspersed with meetings with various departments to make sure we are on track for our Autumn/Winter collection.
N/S: How do you relax?
C&R: swim, I garden, I watch films, I sleep. But, never really take my eye of the Cabbages & Roses Ball – it is something I promise myself I will learn to do!
N/S: What are you reading at the moment?
photo: Katy Lawrence
photo: Katy Lawrence
N/S: Who are your own personal style inspirations/icons?
C&R: Sybil Colefax, John Fowler, Tom Parr and Robert Kime for their deliciously comfortable English style in interior decorating. For clothes, Helena Bonham Carter for her eccentric effort in dressing, Comme des Garcons for being surprising, and Maureen Docherty of Egg for her inimitable style.
N/S: A favorite quote or motto?
C&R: HOW HARD CAN IT BE?
NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP
Both have stood me in good stead over the years!
photo: Andrew Beasley
I can’t get enough of the designs from CakeWalk Bake Shop. Owner and cake designer Emily Allen‘s work is pure genius. Whimsical and lovely, each one of her designs is different – from naked cakes, to donuts, macarons, and more, each piece is a work of art. She often works closely with local flower shop, Bows and Arrows. I was thrilled to catch up with Emily and ask her a little bit about her business, cake baking and design classes, and more.
Emily Allen – by Amanda Marie Portraits
Heart Macarons – Amanda Marie Portraits