Fashion and the city. Two loves. The art of fashion and the architectural city. Chicago. For the last few years I have presented a monthly visual of the mannequins of high end fashion that grace the streets of Chicago. Oh, Chicago. A few snapshots of my love of the city and the fashionable streets joined together. Fashion is linked with the city it surrounds. To me, the two are entwined.
Like fashion, my life continually changes. Perspective. As I have held firmly to the word “onward” in recent years, in the first month of this New Year I was struck by another word. Prevail. Just as truth prevails, the city prevails. As a word that can be used in several contexts, in this case, fashion and the city that surrounds prevails in continually offering us such a vast array of visual delights. Oh, for the love of the energy of the city, the architectural delights and the changing visual world of timeless and whimsical fashion that awaits behind shiny panes of glass off the streets of a city. Not to mention the sounds of the city. Or the weather itself that changes the city seasonally. On this particular day intense fog rolled in and shrouded the city by afternoon end. Oh, for the love of Chicago in January.
That said, a New Year, a new intent, onward…
Fashion and the city. Architecture and fashion as art.
From behind the lens I offer my perspective which is a personal passion and a love of the city and the world that resides within its realm. A world of fashionable fantasy, architectural history and reality. Onward in appreciation of all of those elements. Life. The world that surrounds us and the joys we find within our realities are gifts. From behind the lens I will continue to capture what inspires. City inspirations, indeed.
Mistletoe green. Hues of deep, rich green that fill interior spaces are sure to delight with nature’s reference. Oh, and in the Winter these hues speak even stronger in velvets and painted walls. For the love of “Mistletoe green”. As a cultural reference being associated with Christmas as a decoration under which a kiss is kindly requested, the hues of mistletoe green gift our interiors with a color that is predominately missing when Winter settles in: Nature’s green. Yet to mimic the pines and the holly that still bear their branches through the winds of Winter’s chill, filling our interior spaces with green brings to life within the grandness of the natural forest green world that awaits its return. Hues of rich delight in emerald deep tones are timeless and classic within the interior. A compilation of striking greens, indeed…
Consider the beauty and simplicity with bold impact of deep green hues. Whether you deem the hues to be emerald green, forest green or the holiday nod to mistletoe green, the varied hues deserve appreciation when boldly gracing the interior. Onward in the richness and luxurious tonesthat nature provides. Hues that embellish our inner spaces with nature’s delight…
“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which it’s loveliness arrives”
The city apartment. For those of us that have or currently dwell in apartments above a city…this collection of images is for you and for those whose aim is to take to the heights with a less-is-more approach to possessions. For me, perhaps reminiscing about one’s early days in the city is a worthwhile recollection. Memories of growth and independence, for certain. Without a doubt, one’s first city apartment surely holds memories of being “young, optimistic and resilient”. Perhaps when one looks back it is with an awareness that happiness was and is certainly not equated with the size of one’s space. Rather, personal style knows no limit by square footage. Personal style can truly begin from the humble first apartments that sit high above and amidst the city surrounds. At least, this was true for me. City havens that find our personality, that inspire our creativity and our inventive spirit to call the four walls we dwell within our personal perfection. The city apartment. High in style within a city and world that surrounds that is constantly moving.
Perhaps there is no other interior space that requires a “Less is more” approach (courtesy of architect Mies van der Rohe) to what surrounds than in the four walls of a city apartment. Of note, Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is more” to describe his “aesthetic of arranging necessary components of a building to create an impression of extreme simplicity. Every element and detail is to serve multiple visual and functional purposes”. Oh, so true when we look to our interiors. Large or small. Especially within the square footage of a city space. Perhaps it can also be said that filling such a space aligns itself as “the art of things chosen well rather than often”. Surrounding oneself with the things that have meaning and purpose and that are part of who we are today. Quality vs. quantity, indeed. Alas, less is more.
“Good style is good editing” – Thomas Jayne
Whether a small studio or a spacious, multi-room apartment with heightened ceilings, personal style pairs with purpose and function, scale and proportion. Each room presenting a clearly defined purpose with careful attention to space planning and arrangement of the furnishings that gain our permission to fill the space. For some, it is minimalism. For others it is filling a space with curated belongings collected through the years. Of course, editing is key in order to allow a space to feel more spacious while giving significance to the items that remain. Significance, the key word. It is said that the best rooms have a refinement of taste and that simplicity is the essence of style. Designer and novelist Edith Wharton (1862-1937) once said that “The supreme excellence is simplicity”. Oh, indeed. That said, the key to any interior is making the space you have work for you. Tailored to suit your lifestyle. Designing each room for maximum use while incorporating elements that reflect your personal interests and style within the space you reside within. Style & taste cannot be defined by the size of a room. Square footage does not matter. We only have the space we have…cheers to living with what is truly important, in stylish and refined form…
Collected images to inspire. May you find inspiration and appreciation for the city apartment. City love and city style, onward…
“A gem of a house may not be its size at all, but its lines are honest and its painting and window curtains in good taste”- Emily Post
Consider with appreciation the city apartment and the stylish spaces that do not require much square footage but simply personal style. Again, Style & taste cannot be defined by the size of a room. So to those that adore the city and the life within it, bravo to creating refined style in smaller spaces. Style cannot be limited by size. Onward in that…with style.
“My space is small. My life is big”.
Reflections….a personal visual homage to my first city apartment. A small studio off Lake Shore Drive in a vintage 3-story apartment building. A homage with a few excerpts of my written words while living in that space:
“It’s morning. The traffic of horns awoke me. The overcast Chicago sky provides enough daylight so that even the details of the tall ceiling with its double edged rim of white crown molding speak of the history, charm and simplicity of this studio of mine. The wood floor surrounding me shines with a golden glow. When my eyes focus on the walls before me and around me, I see the basic designs; the simple display of the pieces the comprise my life, as yet. A table holding a few silver photo frames. A lounge chair that makes a statement all its own. A bed that becomes a day bed by day. A pair of silver candlesticks on the mantle and candles below awaiting a match to alight the beauty of the marble hearth before them. Oh, the outlined form and subdued details of the fireplace in relief forms of dancing cupids outlining it in elegance. The wirework basket holding black and white matted photographs of architecture taken from behind my lens. The bathroom with its stemmed porcelain basin of white, tub and mirrored cabinets. Towels of pure white. The marble window ledge covered with silver bowls filled with lipstick and flanked by bottles of fragrance. Each part of this studio so close to my heart. The kitchen and its black and white checked floor with a wrought iron bistro table. The large window with a view of Lake Michigan and the traffic of Lake Shore Drive. The expansive window ledge where the coffee bodum awaits my morning brew. A simple black and white picture of New York City dotting the wall. Simplicity. Filled with all essential pieces to me. Basic and indispensible. Representing and defining who I am; who I have become. The closet, lined with cotton broadcloth and denim shirts and black blazers in a neat row. Stacks of sweaters, denim jeans and v-neck white tees on the shelf. A stack of books atop the built-in 3 chest drawer filled with essentials. The simple silver pull chain cord above for the closet light. The door. The mirror behind apartment 3G. What will I remember about this studio apartment of mine? It will always live on in spirit. None will be like this. A chapter in my life…” -Kristin Abrahamsen, Chicago 1994
Chicago in March. With March winds and cooler breezes I strutted down the streets of Chicago in search of fashionable inspiration. Yes, inspiration abounds. But seeking the artistic visual presentation of changing fashion behind the glass windows of visual merchandising is a lure for my lens. Changing style. Changing seasons. The fashionable windows of Chicago. A monthly determination to present a photographic compilation of images to inspire…the art of fashion.
Of course, I am enamored with more than merely the fashionable forms that grace the stage of window display. The city itself is always a lure of inspiration. The joy of life. Energy, movement and city life daily inspires. The boats and the river life of Chicago is about to begin…Spring, onward!
As one strolls the streets of a city there is me with my camera. It is typical for passerby’s to stop and glance at the windows I am photographing. Often I see their reflections in the windows that I am photographing as I wait for them to pass. Yet this month, a moment was captured…a woman sees me photographing the striking windows of Neiman Marcus. She pauses briefly, directly in front of my pointed lens. Perhaps reflecting on what my lens is focussed on. Perhaps contemplating. Captured. Life. Cause and effect. A contrast. Life’s moments.
Onward to the fashionable scenes that my lens focussed upon…
Consider with appreciation the visual display and art form of fashion. Changing seasons with changing windows of style. There is inspiration to be found, indeed. Finding a commitment in seeking inspiration is a worthwhile goal. Alas, behind the lens of the camera, onward I move…fashion, and Spring, ONWARD!
Another milestone. 5 Years of a blog that began in January of 2012. 5 Years of sharing. Five years of compiling images. From behind my lens and sourced from the vast world of the internet. All with the continuing goal of delving deeper into creating a greater appreciation of what surrounds. Life is a gift. Attitude is destiny. Appreciation and gratitude is a worthy goal, indeed.
Thank you to each and every one of you that have stumbled upon this blog and have followed along on my journey of sharing and expounding on those things that comprise our world and our lives. With the intent of redefining appreciation for what surrounds us in all aspects of life. Awaiting our focus. Perhaps it is a greater awareness that brings furthered appreciation. For certain, in every moment there is something beautiful to focus on. Something to find appreciation for or merely gain a renewed appreciation upon connecting historical background. Renewed perspective. Life moves swiftly. What better goal in our daily lives than to look at the world closer. Ponder with appreciation what surrounds. Ponder what is beautiful, timeless and enduring…
It was in 2014 that I had deemed the word “Onward” as my mantra. In 2017 that word still holds true. A word that is defined as “In a continuing forward direction; ahead” and “going further than coming to an end or halt; moving forward”. Since 2012 my life has changed vastly. I made personal choices and decisions in 2015 that would change my life forever. Yet change is good. Deciding to make changes, no matter how difficult the journey through them, and actually following through with those decisions, is the key. When you know without any doubts that you are forging in the right direction, it is merely owning the challenges every step of the way. Moving forward. Moving onward. Never doubting yourself. That, therein, is personal growth. Onward, indeed.
So for a blog that covers the world of fashion, interior design, nature, life’s events and city inspirations…onward with the goal of inspiring with ponderings and inspirations of living a beautiful life. Although the blog posts have lessened, the desire to share has not faded. That passion will never fade.
Thank you for being a part of the journey thus far. Onward to inspire…
“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Hardwood flooring. Perhaps there is no other interior flooring that not only imbues floors with color and luster but also adds character, warmth and a spacious, visual appeal. Considered one of the most desired and treasured part of a homes décor, hardwood flooring seems to evoke interior richness with a timeless, classic appeal. If wood floors last a lifetime and gain character with age, for certain the newer hardwood flooring options of distressed and hand-scraped hardwoods also will also offer an appealing timeworn appearance.
Hardwoods can vary from blond to black, depending on the type of wood and the finish. Of course, hardwoods also vary in durability, grain patterns and color. The most common hardwoods for solid wood floors are red oak, white oak and maple. Preferred for their hardness and durability, oak, maple, and cherry are among the most common. However, exotic woods such as mahogany and Brazilian cherry are prized for their distinctive striking appearance over durability. Personal design choices, indeed. Of course then there is the style of the wood flooring. Narrow strips (that seem to create the illusion of space), wide boards (which can impart a rustic appeal) and the distinctive, geometric design of parquet floors (which are often found embellishing more formal interiors). All present different effects within an interior. Choices. For those of use fortunate enough to have original hardwood, with its timeworn appeal, we can merely relish its beauty and appeal within our own personal spaces. In a visual appreciation of hardwood flooring within the interior world, a compilation of collected images awaits…
Consider the beauty of wood flooring. Distinctive and timeless, the natural wood flooring surface will live on in the world of interior design. My personal love affair with wood floors has endured over time and will surely remain my coveted flooring of choice. For those that prefer the underlaying of carpeting, beauty can also be found in quality fibers underfoot. Yet for me it is the glossy and natural appeal of hardwood flooring that seems to present the perfect backdrop, along with the painted walls within an interior, which sets and presents the decoration of a space and personal display at its best. Onward in appreciation of hardwood floors within the interior. Whether old or new, wood endures with timeless distinction…
“Like the walls of a room, the floor is a background: It should not furnish the pattern, but set off whatever is placed upon it” – Edith Wharton
Chicago. On a day that was unusually cooler, given a recent streak of high temperatures, I boarded the train for the Windy City of Chicago. My monthly visual quest for fashionable inspiration. The Fall-like weather that settled in paired with the layer of clouds that hung overhead (which would soon disperse)and certainly brought forth further Fall Fashion excitement. August. The end of Summer and the slow progression towards layers with cooler days and nights that are ahead. And so it was. Another journey to the fashionable streets of Chicago. Camera in hand. From State Street to Michigan Avenue to Oak Street & the Gold Coast. Fashion’s changing force visually presented. Inspiration abounds for those that seek visual appreciation and for those that seek fashionable impulse. Fashion’s appreciation, indeed.
Yet beyond the display that awaits behind the glass panes of fashion is a visual appreciation of the city that surrounds. Chicago and its architecturecontinue to remain a draw from behind the lens of my camera…Appreciation of a city, indeed….
And of the fashionable statements that visual merchandising designers present behind the windows of fashion? Onward into finding inspiration, as always…
Reflections. Part of the appeal….
Consider the world of fashion. The changing world of fashion from behind the windows that line the city streets. Visuals to inspire. Visuals to appreciate. There is an art form that lies behind the reflective panes of glass. Details to appreciate. As always, a constant focus from behind my lens. Summer’s end approaches. Fall lies before us. Fashion, onward, indeed…
The holidays always bring forth bursts of color. But perhaps the natural colors of nature laden upon the wreaths of green found upon the historic streets of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, offer hues of vibrant bounty. What is referred to as “A living-history museum and private foundation presenting part of a historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia”, the historic streets offer a walk through yesteryear and a visual delight to the eyes to behold when swagged and bedecked in Holiday style. Williamsburg style. The festive and natural Holiday wreaths of Colonial Williamsburg seem to inspire a simplicity of elegance. Wreaths and swags reminiscent of yesteryear. The wreaths that grace the historic structures of Colonial Williamsburg are bedecked with all things natural such as festoons of fruit, flowers, boughs of holly, fans of apples, oranges and pomegranates and other natural embellishments of visual delight.
Elements of nature found in the borders and decorative motifs of these wreaths of evergreens hold distinctive and enduring appeal. Historically, the swags of fruited appeal that have decorated America’s front doors and exterior spaces is linked to the beginning of the 20th century. Paired with the significance of Christmas and the Colonial Revival, it is believed that these fruited decorations harkened back to the decorative styles of the eighteenth century. Yet the custom of affixing fruits, vegetables, dried flowers, herbs, and other natural details to evergreen wreaths, swags, and roping has often been referred to as “Colonial Williamsburg Door Decorations”. A practice that was adopted and adapted by Colonial Williamsburg had popularized the fruited and bedecked natural appeal of holiday greens. Designs fashioned from boxwood and magnolia greenery paired with imports by the colonists of pineapples, lemons and oranges from the West Indies, would have longstanding impact on the celebration of Christmas within the Southern state of Virginia and beyond. The mere cause of admiration of these fruit laden wreaths and swags have drawn throngs to view their annual natural display. On a recent holiday in Virginia, I too, was drawn. From behind the lens I was struck with admiration and appreciation at the simplicity of bounties of nature in grand display of elegance and artistic display from nature’s gifts itself.
“Of late years, besides the staple wreaths of plain greens to which we have long been accustomed, the holiday’s emblems have blossomed forth,–or perhaps we should say fruited forth,–with richness of color produced by the use of either natural or artificial fruit as an embellishment. This idea was undoubtedly suggested by the gorgeous Italian carvings and terra cottas of the Renaissance…”
-1926, House Beautiful
The quote from the 1926 magazine issue of House Beautiful is said refer to the fifteenth-century Italian sculptor from Forence, Italy, Luca della Robbia (Luca della Robbia (1399/1400–1482) who became “synonymous with fruit and foliage swags on glazed terracotta roundels”.
Of note, during the 1700‘s Sculptor Grinling Gibbons also produced festoons of fruit and flowers on architectural detailed wood carvings and decorative motifs for English cathedrals and English royalty. Yet it is “della Robbia” that is given the credit for the emulation of fresh fruit laden wreaths that inspired and were popularized in the mid 1930’s within the rich history of Colonial Williamsburg.
In the early years of the Colonial Williamsburg restoration, visuals of these fruited swags and wreaths would spread across the country through images in decorating magazines. Thousands of visitors, fascinated by the imaginative and natural decorations, continue to pay homage every year to the idyllic setting festooned in greens and natural delights of holiday beauty. Interesting, it was 1936 when Colonial Williamsburg first decorated for Christmas. At that time it is said to have been merely the simple greenery of plain wreaths with running cedar (a low growing evergreen) that would adorn the the Governor’s Palace and the Raleigh Tavern. Yet the embellishment of fruited appeal would embark upon the green decorations with longstanding impact. Credit is given to a “Mrs. Louise Fisher”, responsible for the decoration of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg, who is said to have brought pictoral examples from the Library of Congress of English and American decoration styles to guide her in her feat. By 1939 the “della Robbia” wreaths of Mrs. Louise Fischer had deemed the phrase the “Williamsburg Christmas look” and the embellished wreaths of natural appeal was forever launched. What would soon become a serious contest within Colonial Williamsburg, complete with blue ribbons affixed to the houses of five to ten winners, would become the “Christmas Decorations Tour” in 1969. The contest continues. Decades of fruited and natural appeal, indeed.
With appreciation from behind my lens….a visual of natural delight in festive appeal….
Consider with appreciation the festive wreaths and swags of enduring appeal. Graced with fruit and other natural elements, such as holly berries, seed pods, pepper berries, eucalyptus, pine cones, magnolia leaves and other wonders of nature, the decorations offer a visual appreciation of the blessings of nature. Upon the historic structures of Southern architecture and charm, the visuals have impacted since.
And of myself strolling the streets of Colonial Williamsburgyearning to capture the essence of the visuals of exuberant and festive holiday styleembellishing this historic setting? Enamored. With a love for history and architecture paired with an appreciation of the natural and elegant delights that bedecked the surfaces of this quaint historic town, my camera continued to frame and capture. Yet the visuals I set before you, from behind my lens, reflect only a sampling and a mere moment in time within the seasonal surrounds of Colonial Williamsburg. Captivating in the moment, indeed…
The fireplace mantel. Embellished in festive Holiday appeal. The fireplace mantle or mantelpiece is also known as a chimneypiece. Having originated in medieval times as a hood that projected over a grate capturing the smoke that emitted, the term has evolved to include the decorative framework around the fireplace and even the elaborate designs that can extend to the ceiling. The term Mantelpiece is now a broad term for the “jambs, mantel shelf, and external accessories of a fireplace”. I harken the world of centuries past in which the mantel or chimneypiece became the focal point as an ornamental and artistic feature of a room. Appreciation. A fundamental element in the history of western art, holding elements of European sculpture carved in detail in wood, marble and stone, these structures of form and function continue to endure in interior appeal. Design, proportion, and detail. Details of distinction, indeed. Although time itself and interior design changes the form, the appreciation of the fireplace and its mantel deserve a visual bedecked in holiday delight…
Consider with appreciation the distinctive beauty of the fireplace and its mantel. Although personal in style of display and the objects, trimmings, nature’s greens or decorations that may bedeck its horizontal surface, consider with appreciation the mere mantel and its offerings for visual display. A personal homage to the Holidays, for certain. In appreciation of the embellished mantel that enriches our interior spaces as an enduring focal point. It is all in the details. Timeless adornment of festive appeal, indeed…
PS: And for those fortunate to approach decorating in Holiday display upon your own awaiting mantel?
“Decorate with intention”
“I believe in doing the thing you feel is right. If it looks right, it is right”
-Dorothy Draper (American Interior Designer/1889-1969)