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After spending a lovely, extended holiday this past summer on Grand Cayman, the idea of heading back to the temperate zone just wasn't appealing. So my little family and I packed our bags, took a flight to Jamaica, from there to Antigua & Barbuda, and onwards to Barbados before eventually landing in Trinidad & Tobago a few days ago.
In theory, it seemed like a fantastic idea; spoilt on months of warm weather, tropical fruits, and balmy night's out on the town, I knew I would be more prepared for a brisk winter come January 2014 if I extended my stay in the Caribbean a little longer. In reality, however, it meant that my meagre collection of basics had to see me through more months on the road than I had planned.
For the original Grand Cayman trip I packed five swimsuits, a pair of Birkenstock sandals, five Oxford shirts, a pencil skirt or two, a jeans (which I wore to travel) a pair of heels and a leather loafer, a wrap dress, some plain tees, and my ever-faithful headscarf, with some extras and cosmetics thrown in for good measure. Of course, as I went to the beach most days, the swimsuits got a heavy workout whilst the other items remained neatly rolled up in my suitcase.
With this unplanned Trinidad trip being well underway, I'm now required to test out my ability to mix-and-match from a very slim set of pieces; I'm sure to wear everything at least three times over the coming months and there will be nothing left all 'neatly rolled up in my suitcase' to talk about. Indeed, this extended bit of Caribbean travel is already making me look forward with anticipation to the winter (and to choosing from a wider range of favourites).
The upside is that Trinidad is an unusual island, full of grit and a boundless, frenetic energy that either makes you want to announce your presence with the most bold and trendiest ensemble you could throw together, or take a calmer stance. I've always felt more comfortable with the latter route, so my most basic of basics will be perfect as a refreshing counter to the familiar bustle of Port of Spain, which can border on being a visually jarring, sometimes crazy city.
For me, the shirts are a must - did I mention how hot Trinidad can be? The midday heat can easily rise past 35°C, and an Oxford's the easiest thing to stay cool in. I keep it unbuttoned at the chest, untucked, and rolled-up by the sleeves. Everything else in my standard look is as simple as it gets; the skirt could easily be swapped out for shorts, a jeans in the evening, or that one pencil skirt that I have tucked away somewhere.
As for makeup? I always go with a bare face, a touch of mascara and a swipe of MAC Russian Red. Because anything more than that is sure to melt away the instant you step outdoors, and it's just not worth the hassle of constantly wiping away makeup-tinged sweat with a grubby old kerchief.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to becoming reacquainted with my home and to sharing a bit about my time in Trinidad & Tobago as the weeks go by. In fact, I've already started posting a few snaps like the above shots of Port-of-Spain and the Eastern Main Road via Au Courant on VSCO Grid and will be writing more about good ol' T&T across on Distilled and for MY/CG - do enjoy!
Oxford Shirt - Alexander Wang; Clubmaster-style sunglasses - Asos; Bracelet Watch - Casio; Leather Sandals - Birkenstocks; Lipstick - MAC Russian Red; Duffel Bag - Saint Laurent; Mini Skirt - T by Alexander Wang.
NB Images Courtesy Au Courant VSCO Grid
Yves Klein is one of my all-time, favourite artists for two unlikely reasons: he epitomized 'art speak' and 'art think' in a very off-beat, yet delightful manner, and in pictures, he always seemed to have a tiny, impudent smile lurking around the corners of his lips.
Perhaps he thought he was pulling the proverbial wool over our collective eyes with his largely genre-breaking work. Or maybe he was just a guy who didn't like smiling much. Either way, there's something about Yves Klein himself that's quite interesting to consider.
This is not to say I don't appreciate his landmark, Nouveau Réalisme works. In fact, Klein Blue is a beloved shade of mine, and his version of the Winged Victory of Samonthrace could pretty much beat the original in a smackdown.
Otherwise, Klein's Anthropométries series from the mid-1900s (seen above, and where paint-covered female models were applied to the canvas like 'living brushes') contains pieces that are rather novel, even in this era where artists use everything from bodily fluids to refuse in their work in a manner that is often gratuitous.
But still, because he did things like host an exhibition of what was essentially, nothing, created works and exhibitions with titles like, Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility, and once wrote a manifesto proclaiming his, "deep feeling[s] that there exists in the very essence of bad taste a power capable of creating those things situated far beyond what is traditionally termed "The Work of Art"," Yves Klein will always be a favourite of mine.
PS, what is it with 20th c. artists and their love of a manifesto?
NB Images Courtesy Yves Klein Archives
Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag of M/M does the kind of bold graphic work that definitely catches the eye, but I like how their personal branding is a bit more pared-down.
This simplicity extends to the project created by the pair in conversation with Toshiki Japan, under the banner of 'A Hundred Bags Full of Surprises.'
Containing a rare - and I suppose, random - item or document from the M/M archives along with a copy of their monograph, M/M Paris from M to M, and a numbered certificate, the piece is essentially a 'lucky dip' for the creative set.
The bag itself is something special, too. Made from vinyl and mounted on suede handles with natural leather pieces, this isn't the kind of tote you'd want to drag around till its threadbare; it can fit right in with your weekend essentials, particularly if your already a tote-carrying kind of woman.
NB Images Courtesy M/M Paris
If I make it to Vienna anytime in the near future, this is where I want to stay. Hotel Daniel, the chic spot focused on smart, restrained luxury, outfitted this 1952 Airstream trailer with most everything a weary traveler might need for a stay.
Using reflective surfaces, nested accommodations, and scaled-down fittings throughout the space, Hotel Daniel has managed to create a unique lodging experience with nary a trace of the cramped feeling one tends to associate with RV's trailers. Located in the hotel's garden area, the trailer also features the standard Hotel Daniel commodities - there's free WiFi, a flat screen TV, heating and A/C...
It's essentially the shiny, slicked up godfather of all trailers.
How did they fit a full-size bathtub in one corner of an Airstream? I don't know, but it definitely works.
NB: Images Courtesy Remodelista/My Style Vacation
Of all the senses, I find olfactory perception the most difficult to describe as words simply fail to capture the complexities and multilayered elements of a scent. But perhaps I am just deficient in my descriptive abilities when it comes to sniffing things out, as Byredo seems to have no problem capturing an essence in a bottle, then distilling its notes into common terms for all to understand.
Case in point?
Their new fragrance, created in partnership with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Based on an image created by the pair and by the aesthetic of the photographer's themselves, 1996 is set in custom box decorated with a copy of the fragrance's inspiration, the 'Kirsten 1996' image.
According to Byredo, the fragrance is complete, "with the icy, deep green beauty of juniper berries... transports the wearer to another plane and, like the image, combines polar opposites, as the Northern Hemisphere gives way to creamy orris and soft, slightly flirtatious violets. The soul of this fragrance is a warm, almost viscous black amber, it’s deep cognac rapture envelops the wearer and time stands still for just a moment until the journey concludes in the softly-sensual leather and patchouli of the orient."
A simple list of the fragrance notes - the heart, for instance, includes leather accord - would have sufficed, but instead we are given this alluring bit from Byredo. Which is, by far, the most captivating description of a scent I've ever encountered.
NB Images Courtesy Byredo