Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Way We Wore: Black Style Then

I was recently given the opportunity to review a really amazing book called The Way We Wore: Black Style Then by Michael McCollom, published by Glitterati Incorporated, with a foreword by renowned culturist Geoffrey Holder. Michael McCollom is a designer and professional photographer. He was named by Vogue magazine as a designer to watch in 1990 and has worked with a celebrity clientele which includes Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Julia Roberts.

The Way We Wore: Black Style Then by Michael McCollom,
published by Glitterati Incorporated,

Author: Michael McCollom

McCollom's book chronicles African-American fashion and style from the 1940s to more recent times, in a collection of photographs that is a visual feast for the eyes. The book is filled with men, women, and children who are dressed to the nines and the pages are filled with great style moments. There are photographs of  people such as Oprah Winfrey, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and James Baldwin, among many others, including the author's family and many friends. 

1980, New York City.
Angelo Ellerbee, Publicist

1950, Hal Frederick, Actor
1960s, Riverside Park, NewJersey.
Tom Keetz, Account Executive
I've found that I keep revisiting the book in order to take it all in because there is so much cultural style history presented. I love the way in which the reader is given a slice of many lives as we see brides or fashionable women or young men dressed in their sharpest clothes. We are allowed the opportunity to relive a moment in each person's life as they pose for the camera at different points in their lives. This struck me as a universal experience. Whenever any of us are photographed, it freezes that moment in time and it gives the viewer a chance to look back and get a sense of a moment in our lives. That is why I think that this is such an amazing book, because it celebrates style and it celebrates life.

1969, New York City.
Veronica Jones,
Boutique Owner

The Way We Wore: Black Style Then beautifully chronicles the style contributions of African-Americans and how that style has influenced international fashion culture. There are numerous styles presented in terms of hair, accessories, and clothes of virtually every form. There are servicemen in their uniforms and women in fabulous gowns presented alongside those dressed in their Sunday best or in their prom finery. The reader is also shown people who are just in their regular clothes, which are anything but regular because they are expressing a truly individual style. As I looked at all of these beautiful photographs I couldn't help but think about my own collection of family photographs through the decades. I was reminded of how we're all telling a story of our lives through the pictures that we take and the style that we express to the world. Enjoying this book from cover to cover was a pure joy!

Throughout the book there are descriptions to accompany the various photographs along with quotes from different people of note. The quotes beautifully embellish the pages of the book and add yet another layer of expression.  
May 1960, New York City.
Arlene Hawkins,
Owner of Arlene Hawkins Cosmetics

Michael McCollom has given us a chance to come along with him on this journey through African-American style and culture as he presents a sense of heritage and history with his book. We are transported from earlier in the 20th century into the era of hip hop style influences in the latter part of the century. The innovative African-American style is celebrated throughout this time in history in all of its full glory.

1968, New York City.
Renee Hunter, Entrepreneur
There is an elegance and a beauty to The Way We Wore: Black Style Then and I know that this book will be a favorite for years to come. It is a book that I highly recommend and I am so pleased that I was given the chance to have the experience found in these pages.

The Way We Wore: Black Style Then can be purchased here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bringing Some Sunlight

I was looking back at some old photos from last year and this one made me happy. I took this last May and it was a day when the sun was shining after a lot of days of rain. I remember how it made me feel at that time when I saw the sunlight hit the daffodils. It's a grey day today, so looking back at these brings back the sunshine :-)
Have a good day wherever you are!

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Thoughts on The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Recently I wrote a post telling about what I've been reading. You can find it here. And I promised to come back with my thoughts on this classic book. Well, here's a review repost from my other blog Labyrinthus XXI, about this great book by Mr. Wilde.

Today it's my turn to bring you the next instalment of our monthly book review. My pick for this month is a book that I've been wanting to read for a long time, but have never gotten around to reading. I bought a copy quite a while back, sometime last year and put it into my pile of books that I was planning on reading once I finished the degree that I was working on. Well, once I finally finished with my degree, I realized that my pile of books had grown quite a bit. So one day I just closed my eyes and picked one from the pile and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde was the lucky one.

I enjoyed the book from the very beginning and it seems that the story doesn't take long to get going which is always a plus for me. We meet Dorian Gray quite early on after the initial conversation about him between Lord Henry Wotton and the artist Basil Hallward.

I don't want to give away any spoilers for those of you who haven't read it, so I have to be careful here. First of all, it's definitely an excellent book and is a cautionary tale that makes me think that we must be careful what we wish for. Dorian Gray is a handsome young man and desires to stay as young and handsome as he is in the portrait that Basil paints. He wants the portrait to take on the signs of aging instead of him. He gets his wish. The portrait takes on all the harshness of life whilst Dorian does all manner of things and remains unspoiled on the outside.

The book goes on to explore this interesting plot and it really makes you think about what beauty really is. I won't go any further so that I won't spoil the book for those who haven't read it. I really enjoyed this classic novel by Oscar Wilde. It lived up to my expectations and that doesn't happen all the time with books that you've heard so much about. I will give it 4 and a half stars out of 5!

Sprucing Up The Bathroom

Recently, I decided that I wanted to update our bathroom and give it a makeover of sorts. I thought that a good place to start was to replace the taps on the sink and the bath taps in the tub. We had one hot and one cold tap which didn't mix together so it was hard to control the temperature of the water in the sink. I ended up burning myself several times before I got used to it. Back home I was used to what is called a mixer tap where you can mix the hot and cold water into one stream and make the water roughly the temperature that you want.

I was never crazy about our non-mixing tap, but we put up with it for a time. We decided to replace the separate taps in the sink and it's been such a simple but wonderful change. Isn't it funny how a simple change like this can make things overall seem renewed? It's really nice to have brand new taps in both the sink and the bathtub.

It was fun to get the chance to choose the taps that we actually liked which reflected our style and preferences. It was great to get the chance to go for something a bit more contemporary also, which spruced up the bathroom a lot.

Your home is a direct expression of what you like, so when we choose what we like, it makes our homes more enjoyable. Choosing brand new taps for our bathroom was a fun way to brighten things up. Each time I wash my hands now, I never forget how I used to burn my hands on occasion which makes the new tap selection even more appreciated. It's all about those simple pleasures in life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

heidi klein: Resort - Summer 2014 Collection

Heidi Gosman
Pictured: Heidi Gosman
Recently I was given the special opportunity to interview Heidi Gosman, designer and co-owner of heidi klein swim and beachwear, which has become renowned as the one-stop shop for the perfect holiday wardrobe and has two iconic boutiques located in London's Chelsea and Westbourne Grove.

At the Westbourne Grove boutique, pre-tanning sessions are offered at the in-store salon. The heidi klein swim and beachwear collection is also available at many other department stores, boutiques and resort locations across the world. They have many of the things that customers need in order to get ready for a wonderful holiday.

Heidi Klein swimwear

Heidi Klein swimwear

Have a look at this recent photo shoot of the Resort - Summer 2014 collection by videographer Jonathan Glynn-Smith, and featuring top model Le Call.

Without further ado, here is my interview with designer and co-owner of heidi klein, Heidi Gosman. She gives us some background on the brand and tells us where her inspiration comes from.

What was your inspiration in creating your swimwear collection? Are you inspired by your travels or perhaps things in nature? 

The inspiration for our one-stop beach shop came when my business partner Penny Klein and I were out shopping for swimwear in winter.  We noticed that department stores don’t stock much swimwear out of season.  So, we opened our first shop in Chelsea in 2002 and the Notting Hill store a few years later.

The inspiration for each story in the collections comes from our travels to beautiful places around the world, and also for those places we have yet to visit. Also, for fit and styles much of our feedback comes from our customers in the stores.  Our customers are our best focus groups, so we always listen to them to find out what is working, and what is not.

What can women expect from your SS14 collection?

Heidi Klein swimwearThe current  SS14 collection embraces a modern twist feel this season, with sharp contrasts and bold colour harmonies running across both swim and cover ups. Geometric patterns flatter the female form suggesting dimensions and textures, earth tones are timelessly elegant whilst the mix and match swimwear lifts the collection with playful candy colours. The key geographical trend of the season is represented with luxury fabrics in restrained colours seen in the urban opulence of the steel grey VAMIZI. The fashion forward BELIZE with its clever geometric print sits perfectly with the chic mix of black and white in the CAP d’AIL and MONTEROSSO ranges. Exotic prints featuring feathers and animal skins are ever present this season, from the rich chocolate snake print of PERSIA to the shimmering jewelled topaz print of JUMBY BAY. The digital feather printed CAICOS with wood hardware is inspired by nature, whilst the intricate boho crochet of SEVILLE is a perfect foil to tanned skin. The vibrant brilliance of RIO DE JANEIRO perfectly sums up the energy of Brazil in its theatrical vivid fabric. The hot orange of ISTANBUL can be worn alone or mixed with the raspberry colours of JAIPUR inspired by the pink architecture of the City. The signature heidi klein collection ABACO BEACH is a youthful interpretation of the nautical trend with its new shaped boy pant and sporty nautical eyelets with white rope. For a modern sophisticated look turn to SETE with its horizontal stripes and gold accessories. Clever new shapes appear across the Swim Resort collections; the cross back padded BELIZE one piece is super flattering, as are the cheeky chic French boy pants of ABACO BEACH. Cover-ups feature a new jumpsuit in the gorgeous JUMBY BAY and the gorgeous handkerchief dresses in RIO.

Your collection makes us all think of going on holiday. What is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Italy is my favourite country to visit and I love Portofino.  I also love Ibiza and St Tropez.

If you were giving advice to a friend, what would you say are the essentials to pack when going on a beach holiday? 

A few mix and match bikinis, a couple of lightweight cover ups, and a big hat and fabulous pair of glasses.

5) What can we expect next from heidi klein swimwear?

Moving forward heidi klein will be available in more countries worldwide, especially in department stores in New York.  Also, we will be venturing into men’s and children’s wear.


Heidi Klein swimwear

It's been a pleasure to feature heidi klein swim and beachwear here. The pieces are beautiful and have such a carefree look to them. The collection definitely makes me think of going on holiday as we go into the spring and summer months. Here's to a great summer for us all!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

What I'm Reading

Now that I'm back to my regular blogging, I thought that I'd share what I'm reading right now. As you can see it's The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This classic has been on my list of books to read for a while, but I haven't gotten around to reading it until now. I bought it a good while ago when I was still working on my degree and it joined a pile of books that I intended on reading once I was finished with my university work. It's been a few months, but now I'm finally ready to dive into reading for enjoyment again after reading so much for school. It was enjoyable to read for school, but it came with the pressure of having to write a long paper about each book. So it's nice now to just read something with no after bit to worry about. Yay! :-) 

I'll let you know how I liked it. And if you like, please share what you've been reading.
Side note: Even though I'm enjoying the book, I think that the next book I read will be something beautifully trashy just for the fun of it ;-)  It's nice to flex my pleasurable reading muscles after so long.
Until next time...

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Six Years Plus One Day

I wanted to share this wonderful flag that my friend Val made for me to celebrate the sixth anniversary of my blog. Isn't it lovely?

As some of you may know, Val and I collaborate on the blog Labyrinthus XXI.

Thank you so much Val!

Celebrating six years yesterday was a wonderful milestone for me and now I look forward to continuing this journey. I hope that you'll all come along with me! :-)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Happy Sixth Anniversary

Today is the sixth anniversary of the day that I started this blog. It seems like a thousand years ago and it also seems like just yesterday. What is it about time that makes it stretch and twist in such a way that it can seem so short and long at the same time?

Six! I know that it's not ten or fifteen or some other double digit number like that, but I'm proud of sticking with my blogging, so six years is good enough for me :-) 

A lot has changed in my life since that first day six years ago and yet some things remain the same. When I started this blog I was in a phase of struggle as I tried to find my place in a new country. It was a thrilling prospect to get the chance to live in a different country than that of my birth, and yet it was a bit scary to change my life so significantly. As I mentioned in my very first post, I was experiencing all of the big life changes at the same time and the thing that capped it off was losing my mom right before I planned to come to England. My life was in disarray, but slowly I found my footing again.

Over the past six years that I've been writing this blog I've gone to various concerts, seen many places and things, and I've continued my education. One of the very finest moments that I've experienced over these six years happened to me rather recently. Back in September of 2013, I graduated and received my Bachelor of Arts degree after leaving university study some years ago. I knew that it was time to go back and finish what I started. I felt it in my soul and even though it was very challenging, I knew this time that I wouldn't leave until I finished. Here's a link to my post about my graduation weekend in case you missed it :-)

As I've been thinking about writing this post, so many things have crossed my mind. I've been going back and reading old posts here and it's been so enjoyable to revisit moments in my life as if it were a scrapbook. In a way, that's what it feels like when I go back. Looking back has been therapeutic for my blogging. I saw how candid my posts were back then and I could feel the joy and the sorrow in my words. I was able to go back and see the world again through my eyes at that time, through my words and the photos that I shared. I hadn't realized how much of me I had etched into this blog.

So as I go forward past this six year milestone, I want to return to the spirit of the writing that I used to do. I want to get back to sharing more about my experiences and I want to share more of my photos, from the place that I stand at this time in my life. I haven't been blogging in this way for a while and I want to get back to it. Now is the time! :-) I still am in love with taking pictures so I have a lot to share. Some are just simple photos and some feature some of the beautiful places that I've seen.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, things have changed in some ways over these six years and some things remain the same. In the end, I'm still Dori  :-)  This blog has brought such joy to my life and I appreciate all of the support over the years!


I hope that you'll come back and join me as I go onward towards my seventh year and beyond. We have a lot of catching up to do!  ;-)