Chicago in December. Magical. Although my early December trek through the Windy City was not in the full swing and frenzy of the mass of Holiday shoppers as it would be in late December, the streets were certainly filled with those pondering or embarking upon their Christmas and Holiday lists. The holiday season in the great city of Chicago. Excitement always fills the air when one ventures onto the streets of any city. Yet the holidays seem to bring a different festive spirit that is fueled by the festooned buildings and lighted trees bedecked in holiday greens with twinkling lights…city wonderment, indeed…
The embellishment of crimson red and boughs of pine against the backdrop of Chicago was a stunning view to behold. For certain, I adore this city in all seasons.
Oh, how I love and adore this city and the color red…
Of the fashion that filled the windows through the city and on the Magnificent Mile? Delightful. Some more festive than others, but each a representational of holiday flare and style. Fashion and its season’s presented in a visual compilation from behind my lens…
I begin with Holiday fantasy behind the windows of Neiman Marcus…Cheers to the mannequin and the artistry of visual merchandising! “A little bit of fantasy…”, indeed…
A word about the windows of Max Mara. Typically my favorite windows. Yet unexpected was the abstract Holiday window in unexpected hues. Regardless, Holiday-esque it certainly alludes to. And of the white and black topped hats? A love behind my lens, for certain…
Perhaps beyond the Holiday visual, a visual conjured up of an escape to warmer temperatures behind the windows of Chanel on Michigan Avenue…
From behind the lens my eye will never tire to seek and capture a mere visual of the artistry of fashion and its windows that seek to beckon those that pass by. Onward to another year of capturing fashion and a city ahead. For one who has photographed the fashionable windows of Chicago every single month for over 3 years…onward!
Inspiration and fashion, Onward, indeed…
“Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past”- Berenice Abbott
“Thankfulness is the beginning of Happiness” – Anon.
Thanksgiving. Simply stated. Gratitude. Perhaps there is no other moment during the year when we are urged to contemplate and find gratitude. Thankfulness. What a wonderful virtue and focus to find appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness for our life and the gifts within our life. Gratitude really does turn what we have into enough. May your Thanksgiving holiday serve as a reminder to you today, and each and every day, that thankfulness truly is the beginning of happiness. Onward in that. Onward in appreciation, thankfulness and gratitude…
Chicago. Fashionable inspirations behind the windows of fashion. To photograph a city and its windows shortly after a World Series win by the great Chicago Cubs was memorable. After a city celebration and massively attended parade for our World Series champs, the city took on a camaraderie that was moving. The excitement in the air penetrated all those that walked the streets while strutting with Cubs blue, white and red attire. Beyond that, the storefronts proclaimed victory and acknowledgement for the team that Chicago has stood by relentlessly. Faithful for the red, blue and white. An iconic moment in time, indeed….Onward, Chicago Cubs!
Fashion’s windows showcased the winning team with a fashionable nod to the Cubs. “Make some noise”, Chicago did. And the “W” flag? “Fly The W” was everywhere. This moment in time will be marked in my memories as a unique moment to be in Chicago…
Of the windows of fashion in November, hints of the holiday’s arrival filled the storefronts. Layers of warmth and fur lined appeal paired with Fall and Winter’s accessories on stylish display. November brings the Autumnal season to a brisk end as the leaves drop and the bare trees will soon be filled with twinkling holiday lights. The holiday’s are upon us. A compilation of fashion’s presentations from behind the large glass panes awaits. From behind the lens of my camera, onward…
Consider with appreciation the fashionable world, in a moment in time, that surrounds. For certain, inspiration in the visual styling and fashionable statements will endure to gain my appreciation from behind the lens. Season’s change and the windows of fashion embark to entice us with changing style. Timeless or trends, appreciation from the shutter of my camera, always….
Halloween. A nod to the occasion with a fashionable appeal on the day in which we transcend ourselves into a world of mystery and fantasy. For me, it is the beauty that I seek from the masqueraded moment. Thus, Fashion. Models. Intrigue. For certain, even Halloween can offer up a beautiful rendering in which to disappear behind a mask that offers fascination and curiosity. Life can be beautiful at all times. Elegance can certainly prevail. Even on Halloween.
To those that don a masquerade of style, onward into the night when pumpkins glow in the moonlight…A fashionable halloween, onward… Happy Halloween!
“There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow by the moonlight”
Rosemary. Termed “Rosmarinus officials”, rosemary is an aromaticwoody evergreen perennial herb native to the seaside regions of North Africa and the Mediterranean. This fragrant herb presents flat pine needle-like leaves that grow on an evergreen bush. Who knew that rosemary joins the ranks as member of the mint family, Lamiaceae? The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “Sea” (marinus), or “Dew of the Sea”. Of note, the ancient legend that rosemary grows “where one can hear thesea”. The Rosemary plant itself is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word ἄνθος, meaning “flower”. Rosemary is said to resemble lavender when shimmering blue flowers appear in mid-Winter in native climates. The leaves themselves can often appear to be touched with silver. But commonly green and fragrant, this woody citrus offers so much to our world beyond the culinary and herbal health benefits. Beyond its aromatic offerings this fragrant plant that offers us natural beauty when gracing events of our lives and brought within our interior worlds.
However, the past precedes this coveted plant. It is noted that rosemary held a strong association with ancient Greeks and Romans. “As early as the Fifth millenium B.C. references to rosemary were found written in cuneiform”(the earliest system of writing of wedge shaped slash marks) on stone tablets. Ancient appreciation of an herb, indeed. Coveted for what was believed mystical and healing properties, it was the Roman armies who would eventually bring this herb to Britain. From there, this scented herb would travel through Europe and eventually reach the New World…
“As for rosmarine, I lette it runne all over my garden walls,
not onlie because my bees love it,
but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance,
and, therefore to friendship . . .” -Sir Thomas More,(Aka Saint Thomas More, (1478-1535) English lawyer, author and stateman
A “rich crown of stone and pearls set with rosemary in her hair”
-English royalty, Anne of Cleves,King
Henry the Eighth’s fourth wife /1540
Long associated with remembrance of romance and matrimony, rosemary has been used for centuries in courtship and weddings. Oh, the beauty of tradition. In fact, French legend holds that “if a man didn’t like the scent of rosemary, he would be an inferior lover”. Who knew? Empress Josephine is said to have asked Napoleon to wash in rosemary water before entering her bedchamber. The power of an herb, indeed. Interesting that rosemary is said to have been Napoleon’s favorite fragrance. A love affair, indeed.
As for this scented aromatic herb traditionally appearing during the holiday season, perhaps its history can be linked to the entertaining in the Middle ages. It is said that rosemary was spread on the ground so its fragrance would fill the air when guests would walk upon it. The belief was that those would smell rosemary on Christmas Eve would have a year of health and happiness. A tradition of celebration with nature, for certain. It is no wonder that rosemary would continue as a traditional embellishment during the holidays.
In appreciation of the rosemary herb and the adornment of and celebrations of an herb of visual and fragrant delight….
Consider the natural delight of the fragrant and distinctive herb, rosemary. Nature’s bounty offers us the scented delights with which to appreciate. Beyond a mere herb, rosemary will certainly grace our worlds in simplicity with natural beauty. Scented and natural appeal, indeed. Onward to the celebration of life’s moments with the tradition of a fragrant gift of nature…
“There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember”
Gingham. The pattern that never seems to fade. Granted, its appearance and reappearance into fashion proves that it is an enduring classic of crisp and fresh appeal. Fashion evolves and styles change, but the timeless checked pattern of distinction will always thread through fashion’s world. A classic pattern that returns with a fresh, modern spin, once again. Referring to “Striped cotton”, this timeless and classic pattern typically consists of “medium yarns in varying qualities and woven of plan cotton fibers”. Originally, gingham was a bright colored stripe. Who knew? Gingham evolved into the check pattern that has brought it to its iconic and classic status.
Ranging from medium to light weight and from very small to very large checked patterns, The iconic coloring and pattern is a balanced pattern, with no right or wrong side, since the fibers are colored before they are woven together. Gingham is most common in blue and white yet gingham would eventually gain its acclaim as a red and white pattern of delight. Of course, there are other colors that have arrived to the forefront that echo the classic checked style. And of this pattern of checked style? A look to the past…
Perhaps the iconic blue gingham dress worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy from the Wizzard Of Oz remains as the most poignant American link to this checkered blue pattern. Yet this patterned fabric that has endured through time to transcend style that would include the mod 1960’s appeal and beyond, deserves a look back. To appreciate this classic pattern that appears in fashion archives since its inception in the world of textiles, a brief background of the pattern of checks….
During the 16th century gingham fabric was manufactured within the Dutch-colonized Malaysia and Indonesia, which excelled in their use of rich, color fast textile dyes that would produce textiles like gingham that wove bright colors through the fabrics. This checked pattern, known as “Malay ginggang”held the meaning of “With space between, hence striped”. It is believed that the term Gingham was introduced to the English language by both Dutch and French traders in 1615. Yet having claim to the word “Gingham”, evidence links that the Italians and Indonesians may have also had a part in the name that stems from the same root, meaning “Striped”.
During the 17th century this brightly colored textile of striped cotton-weave fabric was widely exported to Europe and colonial USA from India and Indonesia through the East India Trading Company. In the mid-18th Century, England’s textile mills produced the checked gingham cotton fabric using imported cotton and dyes. In fact, Manchester, England was the center of gingham fabric production. It is stated that there were 108 cotton mills in Manchester at the peak of its industrial boom. That is quite a lot of gingham to satisfy the rage of fashion’s call. Fabric of fashionable style, indeed. In America, cotton mills were also established to produce the fabric that was “All the rage” across Europe and in the United States- gingham!
Perhaps Gingham, which has links and symbolism to youth and nostalgia, will continue to evolve in fashion and in style within the 21st Century. What is certain is that although it may appear to go “in and out” of fashion, classics never fade. Always to return, the patterned print of checks will always find its way to fashion’s forefront…
One cannot mention gingham without the mention and visual nod to Brigitte Bardot. In 1959 Bardot married Jacques Charrier in Paris. Donning a wedding dress of pink and whitegingham designed by couturier Jacques Estérel, Bardot made the French Vichy pattern highly fashionable with worldwide appeal. She is even said to have nearly single-handedly brought French glamour to the classic gingham pattern. Of course!
Another nod to the past of checked style…Gingham and Hollywood united and icons and stars such as Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn and other icons of style, such as First Lady Jackie Kennedy, would don the checked pattern of stylish fashionable statements.
Of course, the dapper man bedecked in classic gingham… a visual nod of appreciation, indeed…
The world of entertaining and grand events of life are not without the inclusion of this checked pattern of timeless style. Checked style of celebratory appeal endures…
Of course, a visual appreciation of gingham outside the world of fashion and into the world of the interior. Gingham is certainly a statement of bold appeal when found within the interior. Interior, appeal, for certain…
Consider the classic pattern of checks. Whether it is a modern take on the timeless fabric patternthat adorns our fashionable world, embellishes events and celebrations or boldly proclaims itself within our interiors, gingham is worthy of appreciation. Now a modern classic with a historied past, indeed…
“The fabric of existence weaves itself whole” -Charles Ives
Luck. Luck is termed as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”. In acknowledgment of St. Patrick’s Day, a bit of luck is a good wish for all. Yet to acknowledge luck is to realize that luck can perhaps be an attitude rather than chance…
If our attitude defines us, then perhaps to view the good things in our life as luck is to live in appreciation. That is taking action. For how we view our reality is our choice. Thus, lucky are we if we can focus on the good things in our life with gratitude. Every day is a gift. Onward in that. A bit of luck, onward, indeed!
“When it comes to luck, you make your own” -Bruce Springsteen
“Rose Gold”. A beautiful color hue that varies in tones and is termed to relate to gold rather than as a color itself. In terms of actual gold, pure rose gold does not exist. Of note, gold itself is only one color: yellow. The “colors” found in gold are produced by mixing pure 24K yellow gold with various other metals. Rose gold is actually an alloy of gold and copper. Copper offers a bold pinkish-orange color and the addition of this alloy to gold produces a beautiful pinkish gold color. A lesson in gold, indeed. But oh, the beauty of rose gold found in metallic lighting, appliances, fabrics, paint, and a myriad of interior accessories. Interior delights of visual appeal. And of the rose gold hue enriching life’s poignant celebrations? Oh the sweet elegance that this enchanting hue offers when swathed and layered in celebrations of love and life. A visual appreciation of this appealing and captivating color…
Consider with appreciation the mere beauty of the rose gold hue. For certain, a hue that offers a lovely, sweet appealcan also offer a modern mix of distinction when stylized within the interior. And as a hue that dreamily layers events of wedded bliss? Enchanting and memorable. Enchanting hues of “Rose Gold”, indeed…
“The sunset faded and blended from pink to peach to mango in a smoothie in the sky. For as long as she doesn’t love me, I will love her.”
― Jarod Kintz
The Winter wedding. At a time where snow flakes dance and the world is layered in frozen snow, visions of a Winter white wedding bedecked in blooms of hues of white evoke a pureness of the season itself.
It is interesting to note that the term “White Wedding” refers to a traditional formal or semi-formal wedding originating in Britain. The term itself “originates from the white colour of the wedding dress, which first became popular with Victorian era elites after Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress at her wedding”. Of course the term would evolve to cover the Western wedding traditions (Fashion’s Iconic Dress Of White: The Wedding Dress). The color of white represents purity in its neutrality. Perhaps a sign of a fresh beginning. How befitting, as a New Year and Winter and its effects settle in, to layer a wedding in white blooms. Whether massed in a wedding bouquet with natural elements of Winter, a boutonnière gracing a groom’s lapel or bedecking tables of celebration, blooms of white in the Winter are stunning and striking in their own simplicity and sophistication. Of course, flowers of white and various hues therein are elegant during any season. Yet Winter is white. Visions of white and a Winter wedding are dreamy combinations, for certain. Beautiful and lovely, a visual appreciation of pure white delight…..
Consider the elegance and simplicity of blooms of white. Pure beauty of neutral appeal. Forever a classic visual when paired with a bride swathed in white. Timeless with enduring appeal. Winter white delights, indeed…
“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication”
-Leonardo di Vinci
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…