28 May, 2012

Madrid week in review....

It seems like every time I come to Madrid to work and spend quality time with my boyfriend at the same time I neglect posting a little bit cause I try to use every second of our time together wisely as these moments to do simple things like walking around the city together or watching a movie are scarce. We both work and travel a lot so this seems to be the best possible deal for the time being.

 After work and while my boyfriend was at practice or napping I used time to read and get some tan  in front of our building cross-platform app for trading .

For a couple of months now I am promising to bring Monopoly from Croatia and this time I finally did, we played couple of times - first time he totally left me money-less but next couple of times I showed him who's the boss. ;)  

I had the opportunity to watch two of the quarterfinal games after which every time we traditionally go to Mimi's - the best craperia and ice-cream place in Madrid owned and managed by our charming Serbian friend Zoran and his lovely wife Soraya. You can read my post about Mimi's here.

I got this James Dean coffee cup to my boyfriend in Zagreb recently when I was getting some small presents for his parents, it reminded me of him cause he has very similar swag that James Dean had and he has his photo on D&G T-shirts he often wears. The sign on the cup said: A rebel without a cause. - this sentence also nicely describes my boyfriend ;)

Although Zoki and Sona at Mimi's have the most delicious cakes, croissants, ice-cream and salty and sweet Nutella crapes I resisted in the light of my "preparation for bikini shape" and only had a lovely ice-coffee late on the photo higher up.

While at Mimi's where we already feel and behave like at home, we call it our cafe "Cheers", the place everyone knows our name, we peaked at the daily newspaper article about my boyfriend and his best friend from the team Novica.   

Later in the week we finally went to get a tailored made jacket for my boyfriend at Scalpers which one could describe as a Rugby Ralph Lauren meets Abercrombie & Fitch hybrid. They are the only ones who were making and shipping internationally the cotton casual jacket my boyfriend wanted. If you are curious to see how this hybrid looks like you can check it out here.

Seems like this brand is in high demand as Spanish people of upper class definitely strive to look as prep as possible, you know: khakis, button up shirt, navy blazer or a cardigan thrown over the shoulders with some loafers on their feet.

Their women on the other hand look a bit like a desperate housewife's club while daughters are dressed to match mothers and boys identically like fathers - all in all, the scene looks like some Stepford horror movie.

Our friend Zoran from Mimi's took this photo, he said: "I wish my iPhone battery wasn't dead, I would take a photo of you two now!" and Ante passed his iPhone to take this picture. I remember having a short flash back of last year of travel back and forward to Madrid and all we went through in such a short time period and couldn't help noticing that we are slowly making a step progress in our relationship where I's are ever so often replaced with WE's.


21 May, 2012

I SPY: Dubrovnik.

Like all the other events in our relationship, meeting my boyfriend parents was no ordinary event.
One of my boyfriend’s best friends invited us to his wedding which was taking place in Dubrovnik where my boyfriend is from, naturally we were to stay at his parents’ house – so this was a premature meet-the-parents event.

Now, since I was arriving from Zagreb and my boyfriend was flying in from Madrid, I was cutting my attendance at Zagreb’s fashion week one day short to be able to attend this wedding and naturally had to have my hair done as well, so I arrived to Dubrovnik few hours before my boyfriend and his dad picked me up from the airport and I had to met his parents on my own.

When I was still in Zagreb I played it cool, no issue, wasn’t nervous…I purchased small gifts for his parents, I felt ready…but…when I landed to Dubrovnik I was nervous as hell.  Thankfully, the moment I saw his dad (looking just like my boyfriend but with gray hair and older) we went for a coffee, he took me to hairdressers and I was at ease.  His parents are very casual, warm hearted and kind – they made me feel like I was at home right away, I was actually a bit sorry to leave so quickly hehe J

Wedding also went well; my boyfriend was very affectionate and considerate towards me the whole night, knowing I don’t know many people there. Overall I felt comfortable; I met all of his childhood friends and had a lot of fun. We even met two little kids, one was a major fan of my boyfriend and a little girl couldn’t stop playing with my ring and my earrings.

The next morning, again, my boyfriend flew to Madrid early in the day and I stayed until later in the evening alone with his parents. Part of the time I spent with them, as I wanted to get to know them better and part of the time I used to meet a friend in the city and walk around Dubrovnik’s historic old town. 

I bought some sugared almonds, took my camera and went exploring.

 During the walk through the narrow stone covered streets an older guy (the city’s oldest barber) invited me to his barber shop in which he was sitting in and smoking with his two friends and told me the story about his barber shop which is more than 50 years old and about destructions it suffered during the war.

His shop is full of client photos, photos of celebrities who visited, naked girl’s pictures, vintage barber equipment and there were also 4 birdcages with various birds in there. His newest bird was a baby pigeon which fell from the nest. Baby pigeon didn’t have a name, so I named him Koko (the guy refused to name him Papito as I originally suggested, he already has Carlos so he said one Spanish named bird is enough).

Did you do meet – the –parents thing already lovelies? Any cool stories to share? J


20 May, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Elegance" by Kathleen Tessaro

Elegance is a sort of harmony that rather resembles beauty, 
with the difference that the beauty is more often a gift of nature and elegance the result of art. Elegance is rare in the modern world, largely because it requires precision, attention to detail, and the careful development of a delicate taste in all forms of manners and style. In short, it does not come easily to most women and never will.

This is the second book titled Elegance which I read in the last 3 years. My friends often tease me that I have a funny way of picking books (based on the way the cover looks). Ok, it's true that I gravitate towards fancy font, pink colored, girly covers which mostly means that I go for so called chic-lit tittles.

The first book titled Elegance by madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux I purchased on a yard sales when I lived in Towson, Maryland and went to many yard sales with a lovely lady who I babysat for at the time- Mrs.Deb.

When I came home I parked it at the shelf and didn't get to read it until I moved to NYC to work in fashion industry. I can say, without exaggeration that this book positively contributed to my transition from a young lady to a women, in that particularly sensitive age from teen years to twenties. This book is a complete guide for woman who wants to be well and properly dressed for every occasion, it is a true style bible. 

The second book titled Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro is inspired by the original Elegance by French madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux. It is an interesting and witty real life trial and interpretation of Dariaux's style rules from the original book written in the 1960's  by an English lady author Kathleen Tessaro.

I highly recommend you to read this book so I will not tell you how it ends.At first, I felt sorry for the main character Louise Canova, she reminded me very much on a Bridget Jones type of girl, so I had some prejudices as such character is a polar opposite of my own personality. However, as I continued to read, I started feeling as I was her friend, she pulled me into her story and I could relate on many situation she was going through, despite our character differences. I was very proud of her at the end of the book. :)

Here is a short video summary of the book by Kathleen Tessaro herself. 

Next, I would like to share a couple of my favorite quotes and style rules from madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux which I memorized and have continued to ensure myself into as I go through my life adventure, so I hope these help you lovelies as well.

"Being beautiful is no guarantee of happiness in this world. 
Strive instead for elegance, grace and style."

To be elegant is first of all to know oneself, 
and to know oneself well requires a certain amount of reflection and intelligence.

"Refuse to be seduced by anything that isn't first rate!"

"When comfort becomes an end in itself, it is the Public Enemy Number One of elegance."

"Always shop alone. Women who shop with their friends may be popular, 
but elegant they are NOT."

"Underwear. Do not confuse beautiful lingerie, the kind that supports well and remains fresh, with the cheap, vulgar stuff of men's magazines. Fascinating? I'm certain. But elegant it is NOT."


17 May, 2012

Designer quickie: Teo Perić

For a while now I am following your work and the way you showcase it. You are not keen to show at media events and to speak publically, what is the reason behind it?
One of my friends interprets my avoidance of media as a paranormal behavior (even when I do attend a media event) and he saids that paranormal is always IN. I don't have a special reason for not showing up at media events, I do come if I am interested and invited but I am aware that I am perceived as a private and shy person.

Your pieces seem to be made with „real“ everyday women in mind, they are wearable, romantic, seductive, how would you describe your average client? Who is she?
For me, all women are divas! They walk every day over invisible red carpet to work, to pick up their kids at the kindergarten, to meet a friend for a coffee or to go out clubbing at night. My clients are working, urban women who wants to be elegant all day long, but still quite chic when it is appropriate. I nurture retro chic style of designing clothes, I want and try to create timeless pieces or to redesign historically timeless pieces.

Photos: www.moda.hr editorial

In one of your interview I have read that you would like to design shoes. Do you have any concrete plans in that department currently? Which Croatian producer did you have in mind? Would you have your own brand of shoes?
All that I wanted to do so far in life I managed to do, but on a bit different way. However designing shoes has remained my unfulfilled wish unfortunately so far.  I would definitely design my own collection, the only company technically capable to produce a proper shoe in Croatia is Borovo factory in Vukovar.

Footwear is different then clothing, in shoe making millimeters matter, if you make a minor mistake that shoe is no good anymore, it is very hard to make a good quality shoe!

Past March you have presented your 10th collection for local clothing brand Mak. How satisfied are you with this cooperation? Is it more profitable and safer for Croatian designer to build his own brand or to work for an established clothing brand? What are advantages and disadvantages based on your experience?
Based on positive media and client feedback on my last show, which I had on last Cro-a-porter, I am very happy with my long term cooperation with Mak clothing brand. I am very proud that I managed to build up Mak brand with my collections in Croatian market.

To have own clothing brand is an ultimate goal of every fashion designer. I design my own line under the name Teo.P, this brand is idle at the moment. Mak clothing brand collections I sign as Teo Perić.  For a number of seasons now I have in parallel design as a contributor for numerous fashion houses and my own brands (which is 4 collections a year).

To have own line means having your own design style and creative freedom and to take upon all of the responsibility for the results. Designing for other clothing brands means designing within a predetermined frame for already existing customer pool. Creating two totally different collections in style is quite exhausting and demanding, but every real love story hurts a bit, so does this mine fashion love story.

Why do you show your collections at Cro-a-porter? Do you think there are to many fashion events in Croatia?
I have tremendous respect towards the organizer Viktor Drago who started this event 10 years ago and challenged all other local events.  I think Cro-a-porter is very influential in branding of Croatian fashion designers and creating a local fashion market. Thank you Viktor!

You were offered to move and work abroad but you decided to stay in Croatia, why?
I see life as a puzzle which always misses one piece. During 90's I was interested into working abroad, and in 1996. In Seoul I got the offer from Ebenezer Company to stay and work in Korea. However, as I returned back home I got offered a job as a main designer for the local fashion brand  Nebo.

After 6 years working for Nebo I have continued my fashion journey with my own brand, store and a studio in the city center in Zagreb.

Do you think that in today’s economy it is important for a designer to be equally good business man as a talented designer?
It is quite rare that a talented designer is also a capable business man. Designers are usually artists, artists are cheap. In today’s economy, market and in fashion system, a talented fashion team without a good businessman can hardly succeed. A successful international designer brands lie on such designer- businessman collaborations.

Every season you show quite mature, complete, good quality and wearable collections, you don’t follow trends much and many of your pieces could be cold classics which can be worn season in and season out. Do you think that women in Croatia recognize and appreciate well made clothes or are we to focus on trends and name on the label?
Trend factor is a measure of quality for most, producer and a shopper but also for some designer. I don't follow trends, I don't think I make them; I focus on making timeless pieces.

Croatians are very fashion nation, especially women, who very much appreciate and buy good quality fabrics and making. I come from a family of tailors and clothes makers – my biggest role model is my late father who was a tailor. My mother is a true fashionista with an amazing style and my sisters have tought me all about trends, anti-trends, branded and unbranded clothes.

Do you think that Croatian designer made clothes can compete with price and quality with mass produced low end brands like H&M and Zara?
No, but with Croatia entering EU I see more potential of Croatian designers working with local clothing factories on mass factory producing their collections and selling them globally. Current situation in Croatian textile industry is not allowing this to happen.

How do you see the fashion bloggers, social media and street style influencing fashion industry globally? Is this influence positive or negative?
Fashion defines who we are; this is where I think fashion bloggers came from a need to express ourselves, our personality, through clothes we wear. I see this as a positive trend and influence on global fashion industry as they inspire and leave no one ambiguous, which is good for design and industry overall.