Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fashionable Food and Drink is Haute!

"Le Rituel" Box Set: The Ultimate Glass Slipper Combo

Red haute sole shoe-maker Christian Louboutin revisits a famous ritual from the 1880’s that’s "symbolic of European living with no limits in mind—to sip out of a woman’s stiletto!" Louboutin created a pump with a very high glass heel accompanied by a bottle of Piper Heidsieck’s exclusive bubbly. The ultimate glass slipper is available in a limited edition Heidsieck x Christian Louboutin Le Rituel Box Set. Available through Parisian boutique, Collette for € 350.00 VAT included. Cheers!

Louby and Laduree: A Tasty and Fashionable Pair

ooOOhh la la! Luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin and French bakery Laduree team up for a sweet treat! When I’m in Paris, I make it a point to visit my fave haute spot right on the Champs Elysees. It’s a must-stop for dessert and tea tasting… using your pinky curl. But when I heard about this decadent fashion fix, I was thrilled! Louby designed three gift boxes displaying his exclusive red sole shoes and handbags for Laduree’s world famous macaroons. I wonder did they create a matching shopping bag? After all, you don’t walk down the Champs—you stroll with bags in hand! The boxes are available just in time for Christmas! Prices are about € 9.80 for six. Paris anyone?

London’s Fashion Scene is Good Enough to Eat

In London, The Berkeley Hotel puts a fashion spin on “High Tea.” Designer items turned into cakes, mousses and biscuits can be found in the heart of London’s fashion scene. The Berkeley launched the Prêt-a-Portea collection in celebration of London Fashion Week’s 25th anniversary along with the return of Burberry to the catwalk. You’ll find a collection of tempting treats like the Louis Vuitton pink bunny ears on a bed of chestnut and pomegranate mousse, Burberry’s classic trench in the form of a cinnamon biscuit with caramel icing and Roger Vivier’s chocolate over-the-knee boot biscuit! The fashion crowd is going WOW! Prices for Prêt-a-Portea begin at $40 per person

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Journey into the Land of Red Haute Soles

I remember my first visit to the Christian Louboutin boutique in Paris. The year was 2007 and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the shoe of all shoes. My friend Carole, who lives in Paris and loves all things fashionable, and I ventured to the original flagship store in the Passage Vero-Dodat area. As I made my way to the small French storefront, I remember rounding each corner with girly anticipation that I would soon be surrounded by a sea of red soles.
Upon entering this magical little shop, my eyes dazzled at the display of shoes surrounding me. I was greeted with a friendly “bonjour” by the shop keeper. I responded in kind and began browsing the selection. I must have tried on 20 pair of Loubous and yet each one reminded me of a work of art inspired by the ultimate jewelry collection. Each shoe is handmade with at least 10 pairs of hands leaving no sparkling crystal unturned. Every red haute sole is cut piece by piece and hand sewn to perfection. “The creative process is like being on a trapeze. It’s like dreaming, I feel totally outside myself when I am flying” explains Christian Louboutin, Designer.
So how did the red soles come about, I wondered? "I did not really choose the red sole. It’s more like the red sole came to me and had to stay with me,” explains Louboutin. “It started as a happy accident, which I kept. I was very inspired by pop art so all my drawings were really full of colors.” And thanks to his assistant who decided to paint her nails with red polish… Louboutin had an ahha moment. “Thank God I had this girl with me who was painting her nails. Grabbed her nail polish - thank you to Chanel for that! I grabbed the nail polish and I painted the sole.”
It’s true, “Every little girl going into womanhood dreams of the Cinderella shoe.” I was no different… only I had to dream of the perfect work shoe, social event shoe and weekend style find. I’ve learned to dream bigger thanks to Oprah! It’s all about the “Art of the foot and the sexiness of the arch,” says Louboutin. So true, so true, I often say to myself to justify the cost of my Loubous. Although, I have learned a shopping secret—Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue sales with an extra 25-30% off! I still have to back away from the shoe and talk it out of my hand until such time.
Before I left the store with Loubous in hand, I thought to myself, this must be a dream. I waved goodbye to the red soles adorning the walls and tables in front of the window. A smile crossed my face and then the feeling hit me... I could just dance my way right out the door back to the nearest Metro station. These shoes represent drama in all of its glittering form. After all, “Nobody wears shoes like a dancer on stage” says Louboutin. Putting on a pair of these beautiful red soles is like performing for the world. As I stepped off the curb, I thought… this is just the beginning of my red sole obsession.
Fast Facts About Christian Louboutin:
Louboutin has trained with Charles Jourdan and freelanced for Chanel, Maud Frison, and Yves St. Laurent.  In 1998, Louboutin worked with the great shoe designer Roger Vivier and helped him organize an exhibition of Vivier's work.

In 1992, Louboutin opened his own shop in the Passage Vero-Dodat in Paris. The Louboutin brand and the famous red soles were born. Today, Louboutin's creations adorn the feet of royals and famous celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, and Catherine Zeta Jones.
For More Info:

From the Oprah Show:
The Face Behind the Name: Christian Louboutin
Do you have a red sole story?

Monday, November 16, 2009

That's Haute! The Swaby Store Opens In Chicago

Project Runway Canada contestant Shernett Swaby opens a boutique in Chicago at 1933 North Damen. Swaby moved to the windy city from Toronto and a few months later her namesake was born giving the trendy Bucktown area a taste of “runway reality.” The Swaby Store has an elegant yet romantic feel offering a great backdrop for her innovative creations inspired by the starlets of the past turned modern day film sirens. Delicate lace, ruffles and sumptuous silk blouses are staples in her collection. You’ll also find tailored pants and blazers. But the attention is very much in the details. Cocktail dresses and evening gowns are made just for you since Swaby sews each garment by hand in a backroom studio. Couture pieces can set you back about $5,000. But you can find selections starting at just $700. And if that’s still too much try the model 29 line of affordably priced items for $29. And don’t forget to pick up her a signature Swaby bag for the city girl on the go!

Find out about monthly shopping parties at The Swaby Store by visiting

Where is your favorite boutique?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Haute Stuff! Finding My Soul Purpose

Going green means more than just recycling old newspapers and water bottles to keep our planet clean. It’s also about organic beauty and wellness practices for better health. In my search for eco-friendly products designed to cleanse and nourish my skin, I discovered Soul Purpose, a wonderful line of nature-based body, beauty and lifestyle products created by Nadine Thompson, former co-founder of Warm Spirit.

Thompson has a unique knack for creating product lines that offer amazing health benefits. Her bath gels and body lotions contain a mix of ingredients with cancer-fighting antioxidants found in berries like the Amazon’s Acai, blended with red wine, green tea, and Oregan grape to moisturize and soften the skin. Gospel recording artists Mary Mary and Grammy Award-winner John Legend are also singing the praises of Soul Purpose. So I decided to try the bath and shower gel.

As the seasons begin to change, it always brings about a change in my skincare regimen. This time of year, my skin becomes dry and needs lots of moisture. After a recent trip to Brazil, I became familiar with the healing properties found in plants located in South American rainforests. I’m also inspired by the beauty of people of Portuguese and African decent who have the most amazing skin.

I decided to retreat to my private bathroom one Sunday afternoon for a Brazilian Jackfruit bubble bath to cleanse my mind, body and soul. As I began to massage the Soul Purpose moisturizing gel into my skin, I also embarked on a journey of aromatherapy. The fresh, clean, fruity smell made for a relaxing and therapeutic escape. And I was soon experiencing the benefits of the healing powers of Aloe Vera, Vitamins A&D, Rosemary and Chamomile. Talk about an organic floral and herbal infusion coming to life… Thai water lily was also added to the mix along with polyphenols from red wine said to aid in reducing inflammation also key to anti-aging, and lowering levels of free radicals. My favorite oils like sweet almond and apricot were also listed among the essential oils and plant extracts suddenly being absorbed into my skin. My bathroom was infused with top notes of exotic fruits, mandarin orange, apple and soft floral notes. It was like stepping into the Brazilian Rainforest for the ultimate eco-friendly awakening.

As my hour came to an end, I stepped outside the tub, leaving one foot in just to grab the last drop of this luxurious soak, but it was time to add the final touch. I applied the body lotion to my damp skin using long, circular stokes. It’s non-greasy and absorbs quickly leaving no sign of residue. I absolutely love the fact that this product protects against environmental dangers like pollution and sun exposure. My skin looked healthy and felt incredibly soft and supple… I’m thinking it must be the shea butter from Ghana, I could hear it whispering to me to lather it on generously. Feeling, refreshed and pampered, it was time to open the door and step back into the world around me. Just think… in little more than an hour, my skin took a trip around the world in search of anti-aging products designed to condition, protect and heal. As Thompson would say Soul Purpose is a state of mind that begins deep within your soul. After my hour of bliss, I found my purpose, passion and love in a bottle!

To learn more about Soul Purpose and get free samples click here

Have you found your purpose?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Exclusivity of Paris Designer Kate Mack

In a world where fashion trends reign supreme, 38-year-old French designer, Kate Mack prefers exclusivity. She describes her collection as “feminine and elegant with a funky edge blending modern appeal with classic romanticism.” Many of her avant-garde designs are reminiscent of the Victorian era, but they are nothing short of fierce.

“I try to define the femme fatal, the glamorous and sexy woman and her different moods, desires and needs,” explains Mack. Her signature cowl-neck sweaters, A-line coats and hooded gowns in sensual, colorful fabrics and three-dimensional concepts expose her deepest thoughts. “I create what I feel. I don’t draw any of my designs; they are the fruits of visualization.”

Although Mack, a woman of French-West Indian heritage, says she doesn’t follow fashion trends, everything seems to inspire her. “The language of fabric, pop culture and women on the street dictate what I do—they are the starting points for everything,” she says. “I love fashion, it’s a fabulous means to assert one’s personality and seduce others, while expressing yourself.”

Mack was born in Paris and educated at the Sorbonne, but turned to hair and makeup to express her creativity. Her collections are like poetry in motion blending feminine edgy concepts into romantic and wearable art. “Anything can push me into creating,” explains Mack. “I came up with the idea of using synthetic hair on dresses, coats and accessories. It came naturally to me because I could sew braided hair on anything.”

Inspired by a lack of original creations while spending summers in the Caribbean, Mack’s passion was born. The self-taught designer says her aunts introduced sewing to her as a teenager. They also sold her garments in their shops giving birth to designer "Kate Mack." Since 2002, Mack’s designs have been seen all over the world, including her 2006 debut during Paris Fashion Week. Her clients range from entertainers to lawyers… singers Les Nubians have been added to her roster of celebrity clients along with TV host Linda Lacoste.

As she sifts through samples of her designs in her small boutique, in the heart of Paris, Mack whispers, “I feel very close to designers like Versace, Roberto Cavalli and Azzedine Alaia because of the way I see women.” While not comparing her work to anyone else, she is quick to say, “I’m just doing my thing, trying to show that multiplicity is a richness. I’m a mixture of cultures; my vision is eclectic, plural and tolerant.”

Who is your favorite designer?
Watch a Kate Mack Fashion Show