Archive for the ‘Dimensions’ Category

Death and meaning…

Posted by Winifred on June 12th, 2014  •  No Comments »

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Death has been much on our mind lately. Famirie Wikkeling has suffered much loss. There was Tante Olga, Neef Andro then Tante Joke, Nicht Cisca, Oom Charles and now Nicht Jennie. The deaths of our aunts and uncle made us reflect on the rich lives they had lived and loving children they have left behind. They all lived long lives surrounded by family and many friends who cared for them. What troubled us was the feeling that their stories, family history, was taken away with them too.

The passing of our cousins was more difficult to understand. We were lost somewhere between fog, confusion, numbness, waiting for a light to shine. It made us question our expectations for life and longevity. How were we supposed to accept death and what was the perspective that would allow us to do that?

We considered a viewpoint of life that is about fulfilling a purpose and not necessarily staying on beyond that. Perhaps the ones we lost had completed this part of their journey and it was okay for them to go on to the next one. They had all been parents who loved and cared for their children as best they could. They had all had an impact on their community of friends and their family and we would remember them for that.

We wanted to stop seeing death negatively, stop with the mourning and the sadness and move toward more of a celebration. Especially where there had been a release from illness which was the case for all three. Why do we feel we know the proper time line for life anyway?

These thoughts presented themselves again with Lady Sings the Blues. What a film; and such chemistry between Billy Dee Williams and Diana Ross, still magic. The way we were, and may never be again…Prior screenings of Lady Sings the Blues always left us sad, always the word “tragic,” stamped in our minds. This time we had an entirely different view.

First we were just amazed at the ability of a people to face each day filled with hardship, oppression, inequality, indecency, prey for all manner of injustice. How did we, under these circumstances and duress, maintain our faith, raise children lovingly, still have laughter and find joy in so little? How did Billy Holiday, portrayed by Diana Ross, fight to leave behind poverty and prostitution and use her gifts to create music?

What makes more sense to us now is that her pain was so deep she had to escape to be able to survive it. An escape into drugs and death at a young age seemed not so tragic this time. Rather it seems the only way. Why, when she was not able to gain licenses to perform where she wanted and when her talents were going to go to waste, why live a long life full of regret and resentment and ugly memories of rape, abuse, racism and a life incomplete?

Now we feel Billy Holiday did not die tragically, but that she was released when she could face no more pain. Her burdens taken away when she could no longer manage to carry them. And how magnificent that in her short life, she did leave us her gift that 50 years later still survives and inspires and is admired. We want to celebrate that. Maybe it’s not about the time spent on earth, but it’s what you leave behind…

Posted in : Dimensions, We digress  •  Tags: , , , , , , ,

Reaching for the Moon…

Posted by Winifred on May 30th, 2014  •  No Comments »

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For fans of design, we rather belatedly came across a lovely little treat in the way of the film, Reaching for the Moon, based on Carmen L. de Oliveira’s book Rare and Commonplaces Flowers. The film is about the life of American Poet Elizabeth Bishop, and specifically, the 15 years she spent in Brazil beginning in the 1950s. The film imagines her life in Brazil and is lush with 1950s fashion, dinner parties with politicians, artists, designers and of course great architecture, as Elizabeth meets and falls in love with Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares.

Brilliant views of Samambia, outside of Rio, by Cinematographer Mauro Pinheiro Jr., as well as the Oscar Niemeyer designed house as a stand in for the one Lota designed herself, are worth the time spent on the film alone. There is also marvelously imagined interior design for the Niemeyer home as well as Lota’s apartment in the city. And then, of course, there is the story, Elizabeth making what was to be a short trip to Brazil to visit her college friend, Mary, who is in a long term relationship with Lota. Though they initially clashed, Lota soon falls for Elizabeth and Mary is out.

But Lota, a lesbian in 1950s Brazil and a self trained architect is quite used to having what she wants. What she wants is for Mary to stay and adopt a child while she proceeds to also have a relationship with Elizabeth. No room for the conventional in this story. The three live together somewhat harmoniously for 15 years, during which time Elizabeth writes poetry, wins a Pulitzer Prize and deals with severe alcoholism. There is plenty of melodrama and sad backstory, but the film was quite beautiful to us, both for all of its glamour, as well as the pacing and formidable acting of Miranda Otto as Elizabeth. With generous layering of Ms. Bishop’s poetry throughout the story, the film is feels like a tiny hideaway for artists and enthusiasts of all kinds.

A bit like knowing something chocolate and rich is awaiting us, we look forward to indulging ourselves again and hope to inspire you to do the same, by leaving you with this…

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One Art
BY ELIZABETH BISHOP

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Posted in : Dimensions, On Style, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rainy day at the museum…

Posted by Winifred on May 28th, 2014  •  No Comments »

Mr. K suggested we take a look at the Black Eye exhibit curated by Nicola Vassell, an exploration of the black experience as well as the mark that experience leaves behind.

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We really liked Derrick Adams, Head #12, a collage of different materials including foil. It best conveyed the exhibition’s theme we thought…

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Perspective, experience, and the different marks that leaves behind. Man, colored by all of his experiences. The image felt uplifting; regal, wise, complex, layered, and ultimately a thing of beauty.

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We particularly loved the shine and smoothness of the material used for the hair. Such a contrast to the mass of devastation that became our head after a long stroll in the rain.

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Our colorful Tracy Reese skirt sullied by a floppy straw hat that did little to save formerly smooth curls, from exploding into a frizzy, puffy mass of the undefined.

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But then that is but a temporary mark left by a day filled with laughter, stolen glances at how handsome Mr. K looked in his suit and the discovery of something new…

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Posted in : Dimensions, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Things to look forward to for Summer…

Posted by Winifred on May 21st, 2014  •  No Comments »

Unlike most here on the East, we never complained during the long Winter. There was that one day when the puddles of melted snow almost sank our Fiorentini and Baker biker boots and had our poor toes, though not wet, quite frozen. But for the rest we paid it no never mind. We can always stay in sweaters and coats, ear muffs, and woven hats. Besides, what is more romantic than being wrapped around Mr. K while watching glorious fat snow flakes floating down on a sea of blanketed trees and roofs? We can stay entirely in the moment, even when that moments stretches on for months.

But when the sun begins to shine and warm balmy days finally happen, we really light up. We waste no time becoming ever present on the roof deck, finding the open air and sunlight compatible to most anything we might do in a day; meditation, guitar sessions, reading, stretching, cocktails, all meals, even sleeping.

We’ll use Memorial Day Weekend to start off a long delicious season of communing with nature…

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Working on our a mixologist credentials and

earning reasons to own a

Buster and Punch Rockstar Bar,

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We will start with

Whiskey Ginger’s,

sipping them overlooking the city,

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They will give us the courage to rock out

as if we were Nik West,

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In a jumpsuit of course,

we might need another,

like this one by Maria Grachvogel,

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We really never stop wearing a scarf, in Winter under a fedora,

in Summer tied through our hair,

nonchalantly falling over our shoulders,

at least thats how Diana and we do…

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But the most heavenly of all,

is lounging languorous and sweet,

basking with contentment and harmony,

in all of our blessings,

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A refined, passionate, meditative peace

that sings,

can you feel the brand new day?

Images Via ShrimptonCouture, BusterandPunch, NYTimes, Pinterest

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Classic Films, Dimensions, Looks we Love, Objects of Our Desire, On Style, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hudson Valley Wine Tasting…Who Knew?

Posted by Winifred on May 8th, 2014  •  No Comments »

There was a time, one we hardly recognize now, many lifetimes past, when we lived in San Francisco. The guitar playing, nature loving, hemp milk drinking, reiki practitioner in us that we have fiercely protected and stayed committed to even while in New York, often yearns for the beauty of California and the many experiences it offered us. The ability to travel up or down the coast and within a 1 to 2 hour drive be in the most stunning surroundings – Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Sonoma, Point Reyes. On a moment’s notice, as you leisurely roll out of bed on a Saturday morning, one could pick a glorious getaway that required little advance planning or time. Any direction guaranteed traveling along mesmerizing scenic beauty, making the specific destination irrelevant.

We always crave California; there is an empty space waiting to be fulfilled by the unparalleled beauty of its coast line and a way of life that melds health, fitness, purpose and meaning. Rest and inner harmony instead of busyness, repetition, uninventive and even harmful ways of avoiding oneself. So on days when we tire of living a life parallel to the one we were meant to, we try to merge what we have with that which is to come. California by way of New York. Runs along the East River, imagining it as Santa Monica, store bought hemp in lieu of the fresh milk of Brentwood Market, and drives up the Hudson that will eventually lead to Napa.

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Mr. K and us began our tour of the Hudson Valley in Millbrook, at the Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.

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The tasting was rather quick and since we had not eaten much before our drinking, we were happy to spend more of our time at the picnic area by the water.

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As the restaurant was not yet open, we were relieved to have brought along our own snacks. Mr. K is slowly coming around to our port infused chicken liver pate, and was hungry enough to even go along with the pumpkin, oat, chia bread.

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The smoked Gouda made him a bit happier – honestly, we wish stores would carry aged Gouda instead. Its sharpness cannot be anymore of an acquired taste than the unnatural smoked version. Smoked Gouda is a bit like sweet and sour chicken.

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A complete fabrication, a perversion of a cuisine that the natives it is attributed to, do not claim. We never once ate smoked Gouda in Spijkenisse….

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But as this is our parallel life, we nevertheless were happy to coat our stomachs and to venture to Glorie Vineyards next.

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A rustic, unassuming barn with the tasting room situated to take perfect advantage of sweeping views of the Valley. We immediately felt calm and peaceful. Fully focused on wine and valley views, even the toddler allowed to run around in circles, stomping his feet and giggling loudly, over and over and over, could not break our zen. This was not the case for the poor host.

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We were most proud of Mr. K for while we were traveling along rolling hills and admiring this unusual situation of a water fall running through a house, he not only avoided the turtle crossing the road,

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But he picked it up with a shovel and gently carried it to the other side.

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Our most fun was had at Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery, the first New York distillery since 1933. We were so impressed with this marvelous story of a climber who wanted to buy property near the Shawangunk Mountains for a resting place after climbing. The distillery was an old mill where grains were ground and after his request for a bed and breakfast was turned down by the zoning board, he cleverly decided to open a distillery instead.

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With a fantastic tour guide telling a great American story of entrepreneurship and innovation, a band playing early Appalachian Folk music, and an introduction to our first Manhattan, we fully expect to return to Tuthilltown quite a few times…Us checking a newly hand filled, hand labeled, and hand topped bottle of bourbon for sediment and perfect filtering!

Posted in : Dimensions, In an Ideal World..., Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Love Sonnets to Laura

Posted by Winifred on April 29th, 2014  •  No Comments »

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It was the day the sun’s ray had
Turned pale
With pity for the suffering of his Maker
When I was caught, and I put up no
Fight,
My lady, for your lovely eyes had
Bound me.

It seemed no time to be on guard
Against
Love’s blows; therefore, I went my way
Secure and fearless – so, all my
Misfortunes
Began in midst of universal woe.

Love found me all disarmed and found
The way
Was clear to reach my heart down
Through the eyes
Which have become the halls and
Doors of tears

It seems to me it did him little honour
To wound me with his arrow in my state
and to you, armed, not show his bow
At all.

Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374)

Image Via Noupe

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Dimensions  •  Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Isabella or The Pot of Basil

Posted by Winifred on April 23rd, 2014  •  No Comments »

Though we are disturbingly late in acknowledging April as National Poetry Month there are many favorites we would love to share. It seems fitting to start with this one – an excerpt from the first poem we shared with Mr. K…

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‘Love! thou art leading me from wintry cold,
‘Lady! thou leadest me to summer clime,
‘And I must taste the blossoms that unfold
‘In its ripe warmth this gracious morning time.’
So said, his erewhile timid lips grew bold,
And poesied with hers in dewy rhyme:
Great bliss was with them, and great happiness
Grew, like a lusty flower in June’s caress.

~John Keats (1795-1821)

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Cosmos: The Glamour of Science…

Posted by Winifred on April 21st, 2014  •  No Comments »

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In our prior life, we had once upon a time majored in Mathematics in college, receiving one of two degrees therein. We were never what one might call a nerd (not outwardly anyway) but we do find ourselves excited by numbers and certain technical feats like architecture. We could wax poetic about the building of the Birdsnest stadium in Beijing by Herzog & de Meuron. So when we heard that Seth Macfarlane had remade the 1980 Carl Sagan series Cosmos, we were more than a little curious. Last night’s episode had us quite giddy, we thought we should share.

First, can we say kudos to Neil deGrasse Tyson for hosting this show and for the little anecdote he shared about meeting Carl Sagan. He talked about being a young kid interested in science who got to spend an afternoon with Carl Sagan, and was transformed to set out on the path to become an astrophysicist and the Director of the Hayden Planetarium. His enthusiasm for science is infectious and he gives us back that awe of being, of living in this amazing space, as well admiration for people like him, who have given their lives to the research and discovery of the cosmos and how it all came to be.

Last night Neil taught us that the age of Earth was only established in 1953 by Clair Patterson, a geochemist with the California Institute of Technology. He did this through measuring lead in meteorite particles called zircon. He established that earth was 4.6 billion years old. But then we get into an even more interesting story. The story of lead.

Ancient Romans had used lead in pipes to carry water, to line their baths and cooking vats and many other things even while they knew it to be poisonous and cause brain damage, violent behavior and death. This did not keep them from using lead as those who were in closest contact with it, the builders, the slaves, were not deemed important enough to keep safe from its harms. America in the 1950s worked much the same way. Leaded gasoline was known to cause deaths and to be especially harmful in children, yet the factory workers who most closely handled it were not seen as valuable enough by the oil industry to potentially stem their profits.

But as Clair Patterson learned the age of Earth through lead his research also showed that contrary to what we had been told, high concentrations of lead in the environment were a recent phenomenon and thus not a natural occurrence. In fact the oceans and our cities everywhere were being poisoned through the use of leaded gasoline. For 20 years he battled to have lead banned in products like paint and toys and of course gasoline. It is because of Clair Patterson that the levels of lead found in children dropped by 75%.

We love this unexpected and little known story, we love this series, we love that science is being presented in such a glamorous way – the pictures and special effects are not just exciting for kids. We love a chance to get back to our own curiosity. We look forward to sharing more…

Image Via National Geographic TV

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Spotlight Suriname – Clarence Seedorf

Posted by Winifred on February 21st, 2014  •  No Comments »

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In our private life, we are all the time talking about Suriname, what it means to be Surinaams, our Surinaams ways of thinking, our glorious culture, cuisine and sounds. We want our readers to also know this side of us, and we want to create a fuller picture of the country that we love and that lives in our hearts and soul. One way to do this, is to introduce you to other Surinamers who represent the diversity of our land, our way of life, our passions, and our diaspora to different parts of the world. The timing is also perfect, as our featured Surinamer, Clarence Seedorf, already with an illustrious career behind him, just achieved another significant milestone in his life which we are pleased to celebrate.

Clarence Seedorf was born on April 1, 1976, in Paramaribo, Suriname, and like many Surinamers moved to the Netherlands in his youth. Suriname, captured by the Dutch in the 1600s, became an independent sovereign state on November 25, 1975, but starting in the 1960s, many Surinamers including our parents, immigrated to The Netherlands. Seedorf, reached his first major milestone when at 16 he became the youngest soccer player ever to debut for the Dutch club Ajax. After Ajax, Seedorf played for Sampdoria in Italy, Real Madrid in Spain, and finally Milan, again in Italy. Seedorf won the Champions League and the World Cup, 4 times with 3 different clubs, the first player ever to do so. As a Dutch player, he also distinguished himself, by playing the highest amount of European Club matches of all time. Seedorf has been cited as one of the top 125 best soccer players alive and nominated for the golden ball, an honor for being one the best players in all of Europe’s matches.

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The accolades are plenty, respect and admiration for his skills and achievements unanimous. Clarence Seedorf had more honors than many of his peers could hope for at the end of a career. We’re kind of blushing when we say that, yet there is more. On January 16, 2014, Clarence Seedorf became head coach for the Italian Soccer Club AC Milan, the most successful club in the world of soccer with 18 FIFA titles. He is the first Surinamer to coach Milan and the first Nederlander. If you do not follow voetbal (soccer) or know the meaning or status of these clubs, we might best compare it to Jason Kidd’s appointment to coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Now imagine if the team were the Miami Heat. So yeah, we are blushing not just for the pride of a Surinamer in this role, but also for the exceptional way Clarence Seedorf has lived his life. Clarence Seedorf is a proud Surinamer whose works for his country have earned him the Commandeur in de Ere-Orde van de Gele Ster, and the Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau, the highest decorations of Suriname and The Netherlands respectively, for service to one’s country. Seedorf’s commitment to Suriname has come from among other things, his foundation, Champions for Children, which contributes to many charitable causes.

It should also be noted that Seedorf had the greatest desire to contribute to and strengthen the SVB, the Surinaams voetbal league, with a pledge for several million dollars. His only request was oversight and accountability of the distribution of funds. (Any business/foundation can attest to the importance of such requirements, the list of failed celebrity charities due to the lack of involvement by its founders is long.) Seedorf’s requirements were rebuffed. Seedorf will instead contribute his management, experience and team building to Milan. We do not begrudge him this, his reach will always be to Suriname. Congratulations Clarence Seedorf for making history, for making us proud, for standing true to our country hymn…

Eri libi, te na dede
Wi sa feti gi Sranan!

(All our lives, until death, we will fight for Suriname)…

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Who we are and why we are what we are….

Posted by Winifred on August 26th, 2013  •  No Comments »

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We have been talking to you for some time now about the things that warrant our attention. Delightful distractions that go on our mood board and keep us creating A World Refined. We realize that we have not yet shared much about us. We have not given you a foundation for all of these inspirations or signs for the journey on which we are taking you. Today, we would like to introduce ourselves and give you a peek at Winifred’s world.

We remember as a little girl watching our mother prepare for entertaining or an evening out.  In her bedroom was a vanity, her place for transformation. She would sit on a satin cushioned chair and use the vanity’s oval shaped mirror to apply her make-up.  The vanity is where she kept her lipsticks and perfume bottles; our favorite was a crystal dish with a body powder in it. Our mother would apply the powder to her décolletage with a lovely sky blue powder puff.  We still recall its scent and the sensuous act of her delicate hands ever so lightly dabbing the powder, with a careful press or two against her skin.  She would emerge in her heels, perfumed, painted, coiffed – a lady.  It was a glamorous time filled with ritual, ceremony and beautiful things crafted towards a woman’s enhancement.

This has continued to inspire our tastes and influence our outlook on life.  Refinement, ritual, the art of beauty. It is this we want to share with you. A World Refined is more than a website, it is a portal that is transporting and takes our readers to another time and other cultures – to a place of elegance. A World Refined offers beauty, creativity, revelation and surprise. Our website is a salon, a beautifully styled space, where we envision our style icons might gather.  Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich would all feel at home in this space and the conversation would flows effortlessly, gracefully. There is always something new, an unexpected detail, a unique point of view.

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A World Refined makes the simple, decadent, stays away from the obvious and predictable - that which lacks grace. A World Refined is a transformation to elegance that is, for now, our site. As such, you will find that there are themes and people we continually come back to:

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Our Style icons ~ Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Bianca Jagger. Our Style Point of View ~ the glamour, jet-setting, rocker chick style of the 70s and the decadent, more is more Art Deco style of the 1930s. Our Style Quirk ~ We never leave home without our gold necklace with an ogrie ai, black tourmaline (Provenance, Suriname) a Red Jasper Stone in the shape of a foot (Provenance, Spain) and gold snake bangles (Provenance, Suriname). Story to follow soon! Jewelry we covet ~ Cartier Love bracelet in rose gold & platinum, de Grisogono Sensual ring. Perfume ~ JAR Lightning. Necessary Extravagance ~ Flying first class on Arab Emirates Airlines Airbus 380, a return to the chic, exclusivity and service of air travel in the 60s. Style fetish we try to keep secret ~ We adore Gothic Victoriana, particularly as executed by Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci. In the event of a fire we would save ~ Jardins de Nouvelle Angleterre scarf (Hermes), gold bell sleeved maxie dress (vintage, early 1970s), chocolate brown & creme cloche hat (vintage, early 1970s), monogram trunk (Louis Vuitton).

Images Via Coco+Kelly, Sassysistah

Posted in : Dimensions, We digress  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,