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It’s Leap Day today

February 29, 2012

If you are a “leapling” or “leap year baby”, this is to you! A little Louboutin love to help you celebrate a very special and elusive birthday.

Pink Shoe from the Christian Louboutin Spring Summer 2011 Collection photographed by Nguyen Kyong
Shoe by Christian Louboutin, photography by Khuong Nguyen
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It’s Carnival time!

February 23, 2012

It’s Carnival season again, a time to eat, drink and be merry!

Pink Carnival Carnival
Via Flickr

Yes it’s Carnival season again and we are crazy busy prepping the house for our traditional Costume Party this coming weekend. It’s the 4th time we are hosting it and I can’t believe how busy it’s getting: eighty guests confirmed so far and counting! To be honest, I break a sweat every now and then just thinking about a possible overflow especially with this nightly chilly weather, but what’s really keeping me awake is my costume preparation. You see the stakes are high and competition is tough!

Over the years, we’ve had a pretty amazing turnout starting with a knock-out Cleopatra with her suitor Marc Antony; a distinguished Marquis de la Fayette, a few prohibition gangsters, the last remaining punks on the planet and a Disco queen or two. Imagination is paramount but my creative juices aren’t exactly flowing lately, thus the stress.

To try and find some much needed inspiration I decided to flip thru pictures of major Carnivals around the world. It turns out I found some 50+ Carnivals worldwide and I mean Carnivals as in celebrations held before Lent every year! Speaking of which, do you know that some scholars believe the word ‘carnival’ comes from the Latin expression ‘Carne vale’ meaning ‘farewell to meat’ while others say it comes from an Italian phrase ‘Carne levare’ meaning ‘remove meat’. Traditionally the Lenten period in the Church calendar (the forty days before Easter) was a time of fasting and penance when no rich foods or celebrations were allowed. So the whole community would get together right before the beginning of Lent to party one last time, drink and eat all the meat, dairy, fats and sugar that had to be disposed of. Because the Italian word ‘carne’ can also be translated as ‘flesh’, some say that Carnival was also a time to bid ‘farewell to the flesh’ meaning to let go of your everyday self, thus the wearing of masks, which allowed people to remain anonymous and mingle freely regardless of their social background.

But enough said; here are the pictures I selected as possible inspirations for my party costume. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Samba dancer with pink and multicolored feather headdress at the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Felipe Dana/AP via www.greenwichtime.com

Contender #1 is this colorful, sparkling, and amazingly skimpy parade costume, straight from the Sambadrome at the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro the “greatest show on earth”. Just looking at the outfit, I started humming “shake, shake, shake, shake your booty” but then I figured with an outside temperature of 25F it might not be such a great idea after all. Besides I am only half way done with my P90X program so I think I’ll just save the look for next year.

Party-goer with pink baroque wig at Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans
Photo: Krista Rossow via www.nationalgeographic.com

Contender #2 is this sweet, whimsical Marie-Antoinette outfit spotted at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I love the pink baroque wig, the cheerful brocade dress complete with the string of beads –a tradition in New Orleans since the late 19th century and the feathered hat which reads “Laissez le Bon Temps Roulez” (let the good times roll in Cajun) a reminder that the celebration of Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers in the 1700s. This is a serious contender!

Pair of costumed and masked party-goers at the Carnival of Venice
Via Flickr

The final option is this pair of colorful costumed and masked party-goers photographed at the Carnival of Venice. I love the richness and bright hues of both outfits. I am not a less-is-more type of person so the flowers, the ribbons, the neckpieces, the jewels, the gloves, well… they all do it for me. The traditional masks with the almond-shaped eyes, and no mouth also add a touch of mystery that I found irresistible.

So what do you think? Any preference? I’d love to hear from you but hurry, my party is right around the corner!

Life is Beautiful

February 20, 2012
Life is Beautiful Billie Holliday with Pink flower in the hair by Pop artist Mr.Brainwash
Life is Beautiful by Pop artist Mr Brainwash

Barbie at NY Fashion Week

February 16, 2012
Barbie with pink hair Model with Barbie pink hair Barbie doll with a Barbie pink coat
Images (from left to right): Pink-haired doll via Trendland.net, Model Natalia Vodianova photographed by Craig McDean via Fashiongonerogue.com and Barbie doll via Flickr

It’s Fashion week in New York right now and guess who’s stealing the show this time? Barbie of all people! Yes, Barbie as in Barbie the doll! How? Well… the A-list marketing team of Mattel –maker of the Barbie doll had this brilliant idea of hosting a party at the Lincoln Center to showcase and celebrate the amazing wardrobe of their fashion icon. The party complete with DJ, drinks and real-life models trotting around dressed in Barbie outfits was a major hit amongst Fashionistas of all ages and is now the talk of the town. How genius is that?

When reading the news, not only did I applaud the Marketing tour-de-force, but I also got really curious about Barbie and, anxious to get to know her better. You see I was never into dolls while growing-up. I know it’s hard to believe, especially considering the look of this Blog but truly I’ve always been a Lego-type of girl. So this one time was my opportunity at finally connecting with a doll and truly Barbie is no short of amazing!

For one, she is a fantastically proportioned image of womanhood that makes more money than Action man; no kidding. Three Barbie dolls are sold every second worldwide, isn’t that something? The story of her life is quite enlightening too. She was invented in the late 1950’s by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel as a toy that would empower little girls and make them dream about what they wanted to be when they grew up, thus the doll’s perfect femininity and the 80+ careers that she’s embraced so far from paleontologist to medic sergeant in the US Army!

Barbie doll wearing a dress with stripes BLond Barbie with Panda
Barbie doll wearing a bright pink and orange coat
Images (clockwise from top left): 1 and 2 via Society6.com, 3 via Trendland.net

But Barbie is first and foremost a design and fashion icon. She had her very own Malibu mansion decorated in 2009 by Jonathan Adler himself. She has a signature color, the “Barbie Pink” Pantone color and last but not least, she has sported over the years some 75 different fashion outfits created by real-life Couture designers including the late Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Versace to name just a few. Now that’s a true Fashionista!

Speaking of which, here are two outfits that caught my eye this week, fresh from the Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2012 runway show or was it from some Fairytale Wonderland?

Pink dress with pink Pilgrim shoes at Marc Jacobs Fall winter 2012 Runway Show at NY Fashion Week Pink jacket at Marc Jacobs Fall Winter 2012 Runway Show at NY Fashion Week
Pink Pilgrim shoes with rhinestoned buckle

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2012
Thank you all for the cheerful comments!
Neon pink sign with a heart
Image via coolchaser.com

Rosa Mexicano

February 7, 2012
Rosa Mexicano or Mexican Pink
via Flickr

I am a strong believer that some if not most of our life-long interests and tastes -turned passion at times, are often rooted in our childhood memories and experiences. As for me, I have no doubt that my keen interest in visual arts and my unrelenting passion for color are intimately connected to my upbringing in sunny Mexico in a house that was packed to the rafters with vibrant artwork from Latin-American artists and local crafts. And Mexico truly is colorful!

Everywhere you look, there is a burst of vibrant hues: sun-drenched almost radiating blue skies, turquoise waters, weathered red and orange hacienda walls surrounded by lush green gardens, bright pink bougainvillea… Not to mention the multicolored traditional textiles or the colorful mouth-watering fruits on the markets.

But to me, the one color that embodies the Mexican color palette best is the vivid “Rosa Mexicano”. This pink hue is so bright and spirited that it makes you heart race and your feet dance. It always reminds me of Speedy Gonzales’ rallying cry: “¡Ándele! ¡Ándele! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!” Go figure! “Rosa Mexicano” is a color quite difficult to describe though and, as we all know a picture is worth a thousand words, so without further ado here is a selection of images that radiate that explosive hue.

Pink bougainvillea flower Mexican pink traditional blanket
Traditional Mexican dancers Rosa Mexicano traditional Mexican crafts
Pink cover of the book Mexican Style by Peter Aprahamian

Images (clockwise from top left): 1. Flickr , 2. and  3. BaXar Hotel , 4. Amazon , 5. Flickr

I have always been crazy about “Rosa Mexicano” but I never really knew why the color was called that. Well, it turns out that’s a story in itself!

Back in the 1940’s, the concept of national identity was a hot topic among the Mexican society. At the time, a debate was raging in particular among the top three fashion designers of the country –Armando Valdez Peza, Ramón Valdiosera and Henri de Chatillon as to whether there was a fashion that could be singularly identified as Mexican. Unlike his peers, Ramón Valdiosera, a native from Veracruz and a columnist turned fashion designer strongly believed and advocated for a true Mexican fashion that was rooted in the country’s history and traditions. As a columnist, Valdiosera had travelled extensively throughout Mexico in search of inspiration while collecting many traditional outfits that would later sparkle his passion for fashion design.

Drawing of a Mexican regional dress by Ramon Valdiosera Sketch of a traditional outfit for Poza Rica by Ramon Valdiosera
via Ramón Valdiosera Blog via Expresion sin limite

When Miguel Alemán, also a native from Veracruz was elected President of Mexico in 1946, he encouraged Valdiosera to promote his true Mexican fashion abroad, thus helping position Mexico as a highly creative, forward-looking nation attractive to foreign investors. In 1951 Valdiosera presented a collection of bright pink dresses at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. When asked about the color, the fashion designer explained that it was a pink hue very popular in the Mexican culture, commonly used in traditional textiles, Mexican sweets and vernacular architecture. “… so it is a Mexican Pink” concluded a journalist:  “Rosa Mexicano” was born.

Today Rosa Mexicano is definitely part of the Mexican identity. A national color of sorts often featured in the works of renowned Mexican architects such as Luis Barragán, Ricardo Legorreta and Diego Villaseñor. I love it, don’t you?

Pink wall in the Casa La Lagartija designed by architect Diego Villasenor Pink accent in a private residence designed by architect Luis Barragán in Mexico
Pink accent wall in the courtyard of the Camino Real Hotel in Mexico

Images (clockwise from top left): Casa La Lagartija by architect Diego Villaseñor , Private residence by Luis Barragán and Hotel Camino Real by architect Ricardo Legorreta.

The Year of the Dragon

February 6, 2012

According to the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Dragon has just started. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is a symbol of good fortune and I am a Dragon myself so I figured it was a good omen to finally get started on this new Blog.

I honestly didn’t know anything about the Chinese zodiac –or any other zodiac for that matter, until I decided to write this post. And truth be told, I never anticipated this zodiac thing to be so darn complicated. It turns out that the Chinese zodiac (actually widely popular in many East-Asian countries) relates each year to an animal and its reputed characteristics, according to a 12-year cycle. Basically what it means is that we all have an “animal” year based on the year we were born and that every twelve years, we meet our birth sign again.

The twelve Chinese zodiac signs are in order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, each associated with specific attributes. Chinese people believe that a sign is an abbreviated way of characterizing an individual’s personality.

Now, here comes the tricky part. The Chinese New Year is determined by a lunisolar calendar (a calendar where a date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year) so it falls on different dates each year. The date is sometime between January 21 and February 20 of the Western calendar. Interesting, isn’t it? Anyways, the New Year of the Dragon officially started on January 23, 2012.

So what’s so special about the Dragon? Well for one, it is the only legendary animal of the Chinese zodiac. It is considered as a divine beast, symbol of power, energy and good fortune rather than as a threatening evil like in the western world. According to Chinese astrology, a dragon person is mostly innovative, enterprising, passionate but also tactless and quick-tempered. And in all modesty, I must say that it sounds very much like me, especially the quick-tempered part.

But wait, there is more! The main characteristics of the Dragon sign are indeed tempered by one of the five Chinese elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth) overlaying a 5-year cycle of characteristics onto the original 12-year cycle. Now if that is not complicated, I truly don’t know what is! So I’ll leave it to this: I am a Wood Dragon, I am supposed to appreciate art and creativity and have the ability to build a happy life.

So to honor my Wood Dragon person and welcome in style the luckiest year of the Chinese zodiac, here are some inspiring pictures of vivid pink and emerald green. Pink because it is my happy color and green as a symbol of abundance, prosperity, hope and life.

Green Foo Dogs with a bright pink wall in the background Pink Dragon Fruit also called Pitaya
Home of interior designer Christophe d'Aboville in Paris with bright pink walls and green doors Vintage pink and green necklace by Sora Designs on Etsy
Bright pink blouse with green pendant Home of fashion designer Matthew Williamson with green walls and bright pink doors


Images (clockwise from top left):
Foo dogs via The Vintage Laundress, Dragon fruit via Flickr, Necklace by Soradesigns, London home of fashion designer Matthew Williamson via This is Love Forever, Bright pink blouse with green pendant via Gary Pepper Vintage, Paris home of interior designer Christophe d’Aboville via The Apartment Therapy

Happy New Year to you all!