Oh Tilda!

Tilda Swinton as the 2013 face of Pomellato Jewellery’s Ad Campaigns, she starred in three consecutive collections which were shot by Paolo Roversi. Image POMELLATO JEWELRY

I love Tilda Swinton. Apart from being one of my favourite actresses, I absolutely love her style!

She is a lady who was made for fashion- her unusual but striking looks and unconventional approach to style have made her a trendsetter, never a follower. Her statuesque carriage and her intuitive grasp of glamour have made her a powerful presence in the world of entertainment.

Tilda Swinton in Craig Lawrence, photographed by Craig McDean for the 2009 S/s edition of AnOther Magazine. Image ANOTHER MAGAZINE

With her ability to play a multitude of roles, Tilda Swinton is a force in the acting world, being able to transition seamlessly in everything from the Archangel Gabriel in ‘Constantine‘ to Karen Crowder in ‘Michael Clayton‘ (for which she won a BAFTA and Oscar) and Elizabeth Abbott in the ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘. She is widely recognized for delivering wide and multi-layered portrayals, her career is one any actress can rightfully envy.

Tilda Swinton is flawless.

Tilda Swinton as Eve in a still from the 2013 film “Only Lovers Left Alive.” Image SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

I have loved her in almost every role that she has played, and I admire how she has never strayed far from her art-house film roots- despite stepping into more mainstream roles with the progression of her career.

Tilda Swinton photographed by Tim Walker for W Magazine’s August 2011 cover. Image W MAGAZINE

Fashion wise, Tilda has a simple philosophy- art was her start and is a major interest, so her ensembles are viewed as wearable art. From wearing head-to-toe couture for editorial shoots (something not everyone can do), to her Red Carpet looks and even her street-style, Tilda Swinton has always stayed true to form.

Tilds Swinton as the face of Chanel’s pre-fall 2013 “Paris-Edimbourg” Collection, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld. Image CHANEL

Her style is best described as unorthodox luxury, with androgynous and futuristic elements being frequently incorporated into her overall looks. Her angular features, flawless porcelain skin and edgy pompadour have made her a favourite with designers such as Viktor and Rolf, Jean Paul Gautier and Haider Ackermann. She has been the face of Scottish luxury brand Pringle of Scotland and has starred in Chanel’s 2012-2013 Métiers d’Art Collection.

Tilda Swinton as the face of Pringle of Scotland’s F/w 2010 collection, shot by Ryan McGinley. Image PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND

At 53 she seems almost ageless and her inimitable looks have, if anything, improved with age. Her fierce command of style is a refreshing departure from the typical ultra-sexy, feminine looks that have become the norm in Hollywood today.

Tilda Swinton in the May 2013 edition of W Magazine, photographed by Tim Walker. Image W MAGAZINE

Tilda Swinton, you are perfect. Don’t ever change!

CLD boutique opens!

A look from the F/w 2014/2015 CLD collection. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK

Of ALL weekends to get sick, I was sick this weekend. So, rather than being out and about, toting a hot clutch, I spent the weekend at home, wrapped in a snuggie, hugging a hot cup of tea.

Therefore, I missed the opening of the CLD- Charu Lochan Dass boutique in Port-of-Spain. I’ve been looking forward to this opening for a while- I love her style and would love to own some pieces, however the location of her first boutique in Princes Town (deEEEEep south to me) has been a block to my shopping because I’m one of the embarrassing Trinis who get’s lost passing the Churchill-Roosevelt/Uriah Butler flyover. Shameful, I know.

The opening of her Port-of-Spain boutique on Gallus Street Woodbrook changed all that! I can’t wait to get over this ‘flu, go to this store and shop ’til I drop.

Love: A black jumpsuit from the CLD F/w 2014 collection. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK

Charu Lochan Dass is an incredible designer and hers is a much needed addition to the lineup of the capital’s ateliers. Although her Princes Town boutique has been in operation for some time, she’s new to the local fashion scene, hosting her first runway show in late November 2013 at Aria on ‘the Avenue’. It was a knockout and in that short space of time, the CLD label had risen to the fore-front of new local fashion.

An elegant look from the CLD runway show-NYFW F/w 2014, photographed by Stephen Simmersholm. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK/STEPHEN SIMMERSHOLM

For years, Trinidad and Tobago fashion was stuck in a serious rut of continuous variations of ‘Caribbean Resort’- Khaftans, batik prints on cotton, head ties for all occasions, Bermuda shorts, beach bags…… ugh. We’d literally seen it all before and we’d seen it done better. Then, within the past 3 years or so, things started to change. Several established designers (think Zaad & Eastman and Meiling) and a slew of emerging talents (Adrian Foster, Van De Vlugt, Noor) began to introduce higher quality, MUCH better designed and styled collections, that have reinvigorated T&T fashion. Our industry is now growing in leaps and bounds, and following her 2013 introductory show, Charu Lochan Dass proved she deserved to be regarded among our fashion best.

Gorgeous! A black evening dress by CLD in lace and tulle, photographed by Eustice Dyer. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK/EUSTICE DYER PHOTOGRAPHY

Charu is smart. Here is a designer showing clothing with actual international appeal in its design and construction, but tailored to our unique social and business scene. Her label features structured gowns, dresses, jumpsuits, jackets, and separates… the works! Every single piece I’ve seen is incredibly wearable and the inclusion of chic separates adds a whole new dimension of appeal into her brand- I love how you can basically mix and match every piece! Sophisticated yet edgy, this is a brand that will go far.

A look from the CLD NYFW F/w 2014 collection, photographed by Stephen Simmersholm. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK/STEPHEN SIMMERSHOLM

Since her début she has dressed the First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and has become the first Trinidadian designer to show her collection in New York Fashion Week F/w 2014.

New offerings from CLD’s atalier: even her more ‘tropical’ looks are too fab! Wearable print dresses by CLD, photographed by Calvin French. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK/CALVIN FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHY

The new CLD boutique is located at #55 Gallus Street, Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. You can see the collections on their new website, or on the CLD Facebook page.

A lace-panel gown by CLD. Image CHARU LOCHAN DASS/FACEBOOK

Charu Lochan Dass, you are to fierce! I’ll be stopping by very soon!

Koko Karibi Designs

A Koko Karibi necklace used in a Trinidad Fashion Coda photoshoot. Image KOKO KARIBI DESIGNS/TRINIDAD FASHION CODA/FACEBOOK

After my Van Cleef and Arpels post over the weekend, I’m still coming down from a major jewelry high. So, I was very glad when I got a Facebook update from one of my favorite local jewelry designers- Koko Karibi Designs!

Koko Karibi green adventurine and gold-plated bangles. Image KOKO KARIBI DESIGNS/FACEBOOK

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Koko Karibi is a Trinidadian jewelry company that produces handmade limited-edition and one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories. They utilize semi- precious stones, brass, gilded metals and beautiful wood and crystals to make eye catching gems that are offered for accessible, yet competitive prices. The company was started in 2009 by Jacqueline Charles and is based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, W.I.

An eye-catching gold plated Koko Karibi necklace. Image KOKO KARIBI DESIGNS/FACEBOOK

Their designs are uniquely minimalist (thank God), a far-cry from the chunky, oversized pieces that have become the norm in Trinidadian jewelry. You can wear Koko Karibi jewels with and for anything; even layering on multiples of their more delicate pieces in the middle of the day without looking overdone. Yet its with sleek evening wear, a good bag and killer heels that Koko Karibi jewelry shines… literally. There are very few jewelry pieces in their price range that glimmer as richly to accentuate all your beauty- from candle to club light- as well as those of Koko Karibi.

A pair of Koko Karibi coin pearl and gold-plated earrings. Image KOKO KARIBI DESIGNS/FACEBOOK

You can purchase Koko Karibi jewelry directly from their Belmont, Port-of-Spain workshop (#27 Jerningham Ave, Belmont, T&T) or you can order via their website, email (kokokaribidesigns@gmail.com) or by visiting their Facebook page. Local fashionistas- keep an eye out for their pop-up shop!

A Koko Karibi gold-plated wire “dreamcatcher” necklace. Image KOKO KARIBI DESIGNS/FACEBOOK

If you’re living abroad and would like to order some fabulous jewelry, look no further! Just remember that (unless specifically told otherwise) the prices quoted should be divided by 6.4 if you’re living in the US, by 5.9 if you’re from Canada, 10.75 if you’re in the UK and by 8.85 if you are a part of the EU.

A Koko Karibi hammered gold-plated metal and pyrite cuff bracelet. Image KOKO KARIBI DESIGNS/FACEBOOK

Trinis, let’s help move the Trinidadian fashion scene forward- support local designers!

Van Cleef and Arpels: Imagination and Opulence

Van Cleef and Arpels “Pierres du Caractere Variations” High Jewelry Collection S/s 2013 Campaign features models Du Juan and Bonnie Chen, photographed by Richard Ramos. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

I love jewelry. I have loved jewelry ever since I was a little girl and now it’s one of my favourite things to collect. I may have mentioned a few posts ago that I love flipping through magazines to look at the jewelry advertisements- and one jewelry house whose ads I particularly look out for is Van Cleef and Arpels.

The Van Cleef and Arpels ‘Pongal’ ring in yellow gold from the 2005 ‘Pierres de Caractère’ Collection is studded with rubies and diamonds and features a 27.81-carat Colombian emerald. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

Van Cleef and Arpels is a French design house specializing in jewelry, watches and perfumes. It was originally founded in 1896 as a company specializing in precious stones by Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law Salomon Arpels. In 1906 it became primarily a jewelry design house when, following Salomon’s death, Alfred Van Cleef was joined by his brothers-in-law Salomon and Julien Arpels.

The company has become famous for its intricate and whimsical gems, its particular expertise in precious stones and its use of the groundbreaking gem-setting procedure known as the “Mystery Setting”. Their designs often feature flowers, animals, fairies, dancers and mythological creatures and their collections draw inspiration from literature, ballet and nature.

Van Cleef and Arpels bird clip (1963) in platinum and yellow gold, set with turquoise, sapphires, white diamonds and coral. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS/BOWERS MUSEUM

Van Cleef and Arpels’ first store opened in 1906 at 22 Place Vendôme, Paris, across from the Hotel Ritz. Place Vendôme was a symbol of Parisian luxury and elegance and attracted international businessmen and aristocrats. The business grew quickly and Van Cleef and Arpels opened boutiques in resorts such as Deauville, Nice, Monte-Carlo, Le Touquet and Vichy.

The Van Cleef and Arpels flagship store in Palace Vendôme, Paris. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

The Van Cleef and Arpels company continued to grow in fame and prestige as they opened stores in Geneva, Milan, and Germany, eventually becoming the first Parisian jewelry brand to open boutiques in Japan and China. There are now standalone boutiques in major international cities worldwide such as Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo and Berlin. There are also boutiques within shopping centres and major department stores worldwide, as well as a seasonal store in Aspen, Colorado in the US. The company today holds a major international presence, stemming from a long history of producing fantastic jewelery, commissioned by prominent international luminaries. Van Cleef and Arpels has created jewelry for royalty, public figures and celebrities, with their pieces having been worn by style icons like Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Jaqueline Kennedy-Onassis.

Actress Eva Mendes wore the Van Cleef and Arpels yellow gold and platinum ‘Panka’ necklace to the 2009 Golden Globe Awards (her gown is Dior). The necklace is set with turquoise and diamonds and was produced in 1974, it is in the company’s private collection. Image STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE

In 1978 Van CLeef and Arpels forayed into the fragrance market with their premier scent ‘First for Women.’ ‘First’ quickly became a best-seller and remains as a popular scent today. The continuing success of ‘First’ (1978 – present) has paved the way for other fragrances such as ‘Gem’ (1987), ‘Féerie’ (2008), ‘Oriens’ (2010), as well as their scent collections ‘Collection Extraordinaire’ (2009), ‘Collection Les Saisons’ (2004). The house’s best-selling colognes include “Tsar” (1984), ‘Zanzibar’ (2001) and ‘Midnight in Paris'(2012).

The 2013 Van Cleef and Arpels Haute Parfumerie Campaign for the scent ‘Fèerie Spring Blossom.’ Image Van Cleef and Arpels

Yet, Van Cleef and Arpels’ claim to fame has and will be for for its stunning jewelry. The company has produced many innovative pieces such as the ‘Passe Portout’ (Take-me-anywhere) convertible bracelet (1939), the ‘Zip’ necklace (1950); which can be open and closed like a zip and can be converted into a bracelet, the iconic ‘Alhambra’ necklace (and subsequent design motif-1968) and the ‘between-the-fingers’ collection of rings which was launched in 2001 with the ‘Lotus’ ring.

The Van Cleef and Arpels ‘Zip” necklace (1950) in yellow gold is set with white diamonds, rubies and pearls. Shown here in it’s semi-zipped necklace and it’s fully-zipped bracelet forms. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

The company has also been producing jeweled timepieces since the 1920s, but it was not until the 1936 release of the ‘Cadenas’ (Padlock) wristwatch bracelet, that Van Cleef and Arpels garnered notable acclaim for its inventive watches. The ‘Cadenas’ was followed by the ‘Tourniquet’ bracelet watch in 1937 and 1939’s ‘Montre Clipfleur’ timepiece; a brooch with a small watch mounted beneath a jeweled cover. Jeweled ladies’ watches and chronographs have since been included in the company’s seasonal jewelry collection.

In celebration of it’s centenary in 2006, the company released it’s first full collection of haute horlogerie, ‘Quantième de Saison,’ a compilation of limited-edition watches designed specifically for women. These gorgeous timepieces featured details such as beautifully enameled watch-faces, moving bejeweled watch hands and mechanical movements that tracked the passage of the seasons. This collection was such an enormous success that new editions are now produced each year under the label of ‘Complication des Amoureux Poetic’ (Poetic Complications).

Examples of the 2006 Van Cleef and Arpels ‘Quantième de Saison’ Ladies watches: (from left) The Lady Arpels Centenary, the Tourbillon Cadran Unique Colbri and the Lady Arpels Fèerie. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

Another notable Van Cleef and Arpels innovation is the 1930 introduction of the Minaudière, a small precious box or handbag, originally made of precious materials and just large enough to fit in a woman’s palm on a night out. Apart from these small handbags and boxes, the company’s Minaudières also include jeweled money clips, pill boxes, lipstick cases and compact mirrors.

The 1926 Van Cleef and Arpels ‘Roses Minaudière’ precious box. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

The company’s perfection of the Mystery Setting, a ground-breaking technique for mounting gems, is an achievement considered to be design evolution. The Mystery Setting involves individual stones being hand-grooved onto a mesh form of gold or platinum wire and results in the stones being set without any visible prongs. While this method was introduced by Parisian Jeweler Chaumet in 1904, it was perfected by Van Cleef and Arpels in the 1930s, and it is now used with propriety ownership by the company.

An example of the Mystery Setting is seen in this clip from the Van Cleef and Arpels 2010 ‘Papillions’ Collection; it is platinum and set with rubies and diamonds with a hanging baroque pearl. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

Van Cleef and Arpels has grown into one of the world’s most successful and prestigious jewelry companies with more than 40 stores worldwide and and huge international revenues (it’s 2010/2011 sales revenue was estimated to total €500 million). It was formerly managed by different members of the Arpels family until being acquired in 1999 by Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A., a luxury-holdings group based in Switzerland.

A carved ivory and yellow gold bangle set with rubies, emeralds and white diamonds from the Van Cleef and Arpels 2005 ‘Pierres de Caractère’ Collection. Image VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

Stunning. Here’s to many more years of fabulous jewelry!