Art Of Couture

Galerie Edwynn Houk is presenting an exhibition of photographs by the extraordinary, fashion-meets-fine-art Paris-based photographer Cathleen Naundorf on view now through 16 May, 2015.

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Cathleen Naundorf, La fille en plâtre’ in Dior Couture 2007 © Cathleen Naundorf /Hamiltons Gallery London.

Following her photographic training in Munich, working for renowned publishing houses around the world, Cathleen Naundorf traveled to Siberia, Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, and the Amazon headwaters in Brazil to shoot native cultures; however, today she is better known for her fashion photography. Through her mentor Horst P. Horst’s tutelage and guidance, she began taking backstage photographs at Paris Fashion Week for Condé Nast in the late 90’s, and since 2005 has been working on her ‘Haute Couture’ series called “Un rêve de mode,” for which she has been granted access to the archives of Dior, Chanel, Gaultier, Lacroix, Elie Saab, and Valentino.

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Cathleen Naundorf, La Manée d’Orée, Haute Couture, Lacroix, Collection Winter 2007 © Cathleen Naundorf /Hamiltons Gallery London.

Because of her extensive knowledge and understanding of the garments, she has been able to personally select gowns from the couturiers’ archives, and with her team of models, assistants, make-up artists, and hairdressers, she constructs elaborate and almost cinematic settings for her photographs, capturing the grace, grandeur, and remarkable beauty of the clothes.

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Cathleen Naundorf, My little darling, Dior Haute Couture Winter 2006 -n°30, 2009 © Cathleen Naundorf/ Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York & Zurich.

For nearly 15 years, Naundorf has been using large format cameras with Polaroid film. After shooting the image, she then transfers the film onto a special paper -often watercolor paper. Using various techniques and manipulations directly on the transfer, she creates unique surface particularities, visible on the final chromogenic prints -the bleeding and blurring of the images and the pooling of color. An alternative printing technique that works perfectly with her imagery. For the black and white photos, also shot on Polaroid film, each is reworked and retouched by hand.

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Cathleen Naundorf, A Midnight Summer Dream I, Valentino Haute Couture 1993, 2012 © Cathleen Naundorf/ Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York & Zurich.

In all of her photos, the various marks, distortions, and reworkings give the effect of the passing of time to a long ago grand age of elegance and beauty. Timeless classic scenarios which have a day-dreamlike quality, in which models merge with moody and artistic, carefully curated landscapes and interiors. Naundorf’s style of photography combines a poetic sensibility and painterly approach with theatrical presentation of Haute Couture, taking into account the traditional lines of classic glamour photography. A highly individual pictorial language, unique in the world of fashion photography.

About

Naundorf has exhibited extensively in Europe and in America, and her work is frequently published in various fashion and lifestyle magazines including Harpers Bazaar and Elle. Since 2011 she has been working privately with Mr. Valentino Garavani on several projects such as “An Italian Story” and “The NY City Ballet.” The book Haute Couture: the Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf was published in 2012 in a limited edition by Prestel. Naundorf lives and works in Paris.

Naundorf_BookHaute Couture: The Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf, by Ira Stehmann (Editor), Hardcover, 180 pgs, Prestel Publishing, 2012.

Featuring stunning couture images, this book presents renowned fashion photographer Cathleen Naundorf’s work with Polaroid photography from the past decade. Whether the incredible pieces of haute couture were designed by Chanel, Dior, Gaultier, Lacroix, Elie Saab, Philip Treacy, or Valentino, their beauty is preserved in the gorgeous images captured with a large-format camera using Polaroid material by Cathleen Naundorf and collected in this book. Her well-honed technique, inspired by her mentor Horst P. Horst, which combines instant film’s distinctive colors and shadow with the artist’s remarkable instinct, results in photographs that resemble paintings -haunting, muted, and raw. A testament to the talents of this artist who has forged a formidable reputation in the fashion world.

Rose Petal Sugar Scrub

Spring is widely referred to as a time of re-awakening. As the flowers start to bloom and the temperatures rise, we shed the stagnation and layers of Winter -both literally and figuratively, and begin to feel naturally lighter and more energised. As we peel off the layers of clothing, we do the same with skin. For radiant skin, try this simple homemade treatment to rejuvenate Winter skin and usher in Spring. Pamper yourself with a Coconut Rose Petal Sugar Scrub that is natural, fragrant, exfoliating and ultra-hydrating.

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Rose Petal Sugar Scrub, Oh the sweet, smell of Roses! The fragrance and the romance surrounding them is legendary. Now you can capture it in this lovely beauty recipe that truly delivers. Not only will this decadent treatment slough away Winter’s dry skin, but it will also nourish the new skin beneath, leaving you soft, glowing, and smelling divine. A Scentsational Spring Indulgence!

Ingredients

  • organic coarse raw brown sugar
  • organic unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • Petals from one fragrant organic rose
  • jojoba oil
  • canning jar of choice

Directions

  1. Start by scooping some coconut oil into the bottom of the jar -fill approximately 1/3 of jar. For this recipe the oil should be at room temperature, which is indicated by its buttery-like texture.
  2. Next, place your rose petals into the jar on top of the coconut oil.
  3. Then fill the rest of the jar with brown sugar. Drizzle your jojoba oil on top of the sugar and let it seep down to your rose petals -approximately 1 tablespoon. Then top it off with a bit more jojoba oil.
  4. Now secure the lid onto the jar and let it sit so the oils can soak into the petals. This scrub is best made a couple of days before you plan to use it.
  5. When you’re ready to use it, take a spoon and crush the ingredients within the jar mixing the layers. The coarse sugar will break up the rose petals -which will continue to happen as you rub the scrub onto skin. Scoop out a small amount of scrub from jar, combine with water and use a gentle motion to buff away dead skin cells on the body. Take some time to enjoy the scent and sensation, let the oils soak into the skin, breathe deeply, and rinse. Ritual of well-being. Enjoy!

Tips

Measurement guide: Amounts can be adjusted depending on the size of your jar, each layer of coconut oil, rose petals & sugar should take up 1/3 of the jar proportionally for best results.

Coconut oil is my favorite year-round go-to skin-loving multi-use product. Find a high-quality organic unrefined virgin coconut oil you like, and it will become your most indispensable and beneficial beauty and beyond product. Its flavor, aroma, versatility and health benefits are all outstanding.

Carrot Ginger Soup

The change of seasons can easily throw us off-balance in body, mind & spirit. Fortunately, we can rely on ‘food as medicine’ to help this transition be one of ease, health and wellness. As the Winter season comes to a close, avoid a cold and the chill outside with a bowl of warm nutrition like this Carrot Ginger Soup. Carrots -loaded with carotene, pack a nutritional punch, enhanced with the cleansing powers of freshly grated ginger, gives this sweet soup a hint of heat and flavor. The roots of carrot and ginger combined are one of the most delicious flavor combinations I know of. Perfect Synergy. It’s just what the doctor ordered to get yourself out of a Winter funk, fortify the immune system, and transition into Spring.

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Ginger Carrot Soup, Enjoy this soup alone as a light meal, preferably warm and served with a cooked grain, such as brown rice or quinoa. For some crunch, add a garnish of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Simply Scrumptious!

Ingredients

  • 1 organic onion
  • 1 lb. organic carrots
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 quart water plus 1 Tbsp light miso
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sliced chives for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds for garnish

Directions

  • Peel and coarsely dice onion. Peel and slice carrots. Peel and slice ginger (scrape skin off ginger with the dull back-side of a paring knife). Peel and chop garlic.
  • Warm olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion, carrots and ginger. Sauté over medium heat until starting to soften. Add garlic, and continue to cook for a minute longer. Add cayenne, water and miso, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Turn down to a simmer and cook, covered for 15 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Continue to cook another 10 minutes, until very soft.
  • Puree in the blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings and add more water if too thick. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Garnish bowls of soup with pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and serve. Makes 6 servings -about one cup each. Enjoy!

Inquire Within

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ~Buddha 

Meditation

March Mindfulness. Meditation has been used for hundreds of years by individuals seeking inner peace, enlightenment and a break from the everyday stressors of life. The practice is thought to benefit the mind, body and spirit in a multitude of ways. Here are ten significant positive effects of meditation to encourage you to ‘Commit To Sit’ and ‘Take a Deep Breath and Reflect’.

  1. Meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta, and delta brain waves, which increase the relaxation response. This effect is thought to lower blood pressure, enhance exercise capacity and reduce stress, all of which promote cardiovascular wellness.
  1. When we meditate, we become more aware of, and more capable of controlling, our thoughts. A key part of meditation revolves around noticing our thoughts without judging them or getting caught up in their stories or meanings. This helps us to develop a different perspective on our internal dialogue, develop a greater understanding of ourselves, and practice noticing our thoughts and feelings without attaching meaning or judgement to them.
  1. Practicing the mind-body exercise on a regular basis may help strengthen an individual’s immune system by stimulating blood flow, inducing relaxation and helping the body eliminate free radicals, which are known to cause cellular damage.
  1. Meditation has been shown in multiple studies to reduce a person’s response to pain. This may be especially beneficial for individuals with chronic conditions in which regular discomfort is experienced.
  1. Individuals who meditate on a regular basis find that they have improved self-esteem and a more positive outlook on life. This may be due to a number of physiological factors, such as increased serotonin levels, as well as a clearer sense of one’s self stemming from introspection.
  1. People with fears or phobias may be helped by meditation, since the mind-body practice is thought to help individuals resolve inner conflicts.
  1. Meditation can increase creativity, strengthen one’s ability to focus and improves memory. Grow your largest organ -the brain!
  1. People who meditate may also find themselves becoming more compassionate individuals, as introspection has strong potential to promote empathy.
  1. Meditation can help individuals deepen their spiritual connection with the transpersonal, or simply become more aware that they have a spiritual side. Today, many people unfortunately overlook this aspect of themselves.
    1. Meditation is essentially a practice in concentration. Once we learn to concentrate on our breath, notice when we get caught up in thoughts, and return our concentration to our breath, we can translate that skill into any number of settings we choose. A focus on the present is what meditation is all about. Living in the moment by pushing aside the worries of the past or future is known to help people achieve a more fulfilled existence.

Ten minutes a day is all it takes to achieve mindfulness. Watch this TED Talk by meditation expert Andy Puddicombe on how to meditate to achieve mindfulness. Andy wants everyone to learn the power of meditation, so he created a Headspace app with free guided meditations to help start a practice. Making meditation accessible to everybody, for a happier, healthier you.

Art Of The Environment

For over two decades New Zealand-based environmental artist and photographer Martin Hill has been creating transitory sculptures from ice, stone, and organic materials that reflect nature’s cyclical system. Often working with his project collaborator Philippa Jones, the duo create land art that “metaphorically express concern for the interconnectedness of all living systems.”

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Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Ice Circle, 600 mm height, 2007, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. Part of a year-long commissioned project about a sense of place and being connected to nature. Jones and Hill extracted a slab of ice from a frozen pond and cut it with a penknife into a semicircle with a base that sat below the water level on the lake bed. The reflection completes the circle. This was only achievable in calm weather and it lasted about two minutes before it broke at the surface where the temperature is warmest.

Jones and Hill travel to remote locations around the world to create environmental sculptures that represent a visual circle of life. What sets this land art apart from the rest, is that many of the works don’t completely form until the water is calm and the sun hits them, creating a stunning reflection in the water. Impermanence is an essential part of the environmental art movement, which celebrates nature as alive and constantly changing. Ephemeral by design, the photographs are all that remain of the sculptures.

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Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Synergy, 1300 mm height, 2010, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. Made from raupo stems interconnected by a network of flax threads, using nature’s universal construction system known as tensegrity. None of the stems touch, they are held under compression by tension from the threads. This means the system is in total dynamic balance and stress is distributed equally throughout the system making the sculpture flexible. Photographed in the shallows of Lake Wanaka in the calm at sunset to create a reflection.

Speaking specifically about the use of circles Hill shares “The use of the circle refers to nature’s cyclic system which is now being used as a model for industrial ecology. Sustainability will be achieved by redesigning products and industrial processes as closed loops -materials that can’t safely be returned to nature will be continually turned into new products. Of course this is only one part of the redesign process. We need to use renewable energy, eliminate all poisonous chemicals, use fair trade and create social equality.”

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Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Encircled Stone -with Pohutukawa leaves, 2000 mm diameter, 2007, White’s beach, Waitakere Ranges, New Zealand. The Pohutukawa, an indigenous tree in New Zealand, grows abundantly along the coasts and sheds its leaves on the sand where they change through a myriad of colours. Here they have collected and organised them in a circle to catch the light at sundown where they encircle an isolated rock below the tideline at Whites Beach on the West Coast of Auckland in New Zealand.

“I work in nature because we are nature… My materials come from the earth to which they return… Learning to live by nature’s design is our only hope for the future.” ~Martin Hill

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Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Stone Circle, 800 mm height, 1994, Whanganui Bay, Lake Taupo, New Zealand. This idea could only work because of the lightness of pumice stones. A hole was made in them to thread them onto a green stick which was bent into a half circle in the shallow water. The photograph was taken in calm early morning conditions with the camera near water level at Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

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Martin Hill, Ice Guardian, Detail -Cast ice figure, pigment dye, inkjet print on Hahnemuhle photo rag paper, 2012, Ed. of 5.

“My life has been defined by adventures in wild places being absorbed by the natural wonders of nature. I have marveled at the way nature works and evolution occurs. As a designer I recognize our human lifestyles have become unsustainable and that this can only be reversed through better design informed by the way nature works.” ~Martin Hill

Like all land artists, prior to leaving each location, Hill makes sure that each site is left exactly as it was found. Their temporal works fade away as soon as they’ve been photographed. Photography is all that is taken from the landscape and the materials return in time to nature from where they came. Hill says that he hopes his work helps people reflect on their relationship to natural systems and how they can help to improve the environment through the way they live their lives. Hill’s land art photographs are held in International collections and published in printed media worldwide to help the paradigm shift to a sustainable future.

Hill_BookEarth to Earth: Art Inspired By Nature’s Design, By Martin Hill & PK Blackwell, Hardcover, 192 pgs, 2007.

Martin Hill’s Earth to Earth transforms the beauty of everyday items found in nature and elevates them to ecological art. Ecology is a science that is entering its renaissance as issues of global warming, greenhouse emissions, and ozone depletion make their way from scientific debates and newspaper headlines to everyday consciousness. Environmental photographer Martin Hill and project collaborator Philippa Jones visit remote locations around the globe to create a stunning array of evocative photographs that represent a visual circle of life promoting ecological sustainability and responsibility.

Leica Correspondent

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Lenny Kravitz with the new special edition Leica M-P by Kravitz Design

Legendary camera maker Leica, known for its defiantly old-school designs, is launching a limited edition camera set in collaboration with musician, actor and designer Lenny Kravitz, who carved out a spot in the design world when he founded Kravitz Design in 2003. New York-based Kravitz Design specializes in commercial and residential design, product development and branding. The camera design for the special edition Leica M-P was inspired by Kravitz’s first camera, a Leicaflex his dad gave him in his youth. Born out of Kravitz’ passion for photography and design, the limited edition dubbed the ‘Correspondent’, is a desirable collector’s piece crafted in the style of legendary reportage cameras.

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Special Edition Leica M-P by Kravitz Design

The Correspondent features a handsome bespoke case containing a Leica M-P digital rangefinder camera with an artfully distressed finish, and two classic lenses -the Leica Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH. and the Leica Summilux-M /50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. -that harkens back to its 1959 incarnation with a scalloped focus ring and knurled aperture ring. The distinctive camera has been designed to look aged, in reference to the first camera Kravitz ever used. All 125 examples of the strictly limited edition Leica M-P Correspondent set are unique, each in its own way. An elaborate wearing process completely by hand has carefully rubbed, scuffed and scratched the black enamel finish away in several places on both the camera and lenses to let the bright brass surface shine through. The intentional aging is in homage to a well-used reportage camera, showing a distinctive patina that would usually hint at years of constant use.

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Special Edition Leica M-P by Kravitz Design

The camera may look weathered, but its materials are exotic. The finest-quality durable snakeskin has been used for the trim of the Leica M-P camera, acquired naturally from controlled sources not subject to species conservation regulations. This material has also been used for the set’s camera strap and wrist strap, in premium glossy black. The custom case, which was handmade in Germany, continues the product design theme and is covered with the same snakeskin. The special edition Leica M-P Correspondent is limited to 125 sets worldwide and will be available from Leica boutiques March 2015.

Kravitz, an avid Leica shooter and collector, is releasing a photography book offering unusual insight into the nomadic life of a musician in conjunction with the special edition camera release. Photographs from Flash will be on exhibit at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles 5 March – 12 April, 2015.

Kravitz_BookFlash by Lenny Kravitz, Hardcover, 96 pgs, Published by teNeues, March 2015.

The inimitable poetry of black and white images is reminiscent of the early days of 35 mm photography where the name ‘Leica’ immediately springs to mind. This extraordinary book of Lenny Kravitz’ photography, entitled ‘Flash’ fits perfectly into this picture. Hounded by the countless cameras of photographers, paparazzi and fans, he turns the table on them all with a Leica M in his hands. Intensely emotive images expose what it means to be constantly recognised and a favourite prey of photographers. In Flash, the interesting tension that develops between Kravitz and his subjects is tangible. Flash, a book of photography by Lenny Kravitz, will be published as a special limited edition of 900 copies.

For more Leica Camera Special Editions see previous posts Leica Hermès and Leica Anniversary

Valentino Couture

At its very core haute couture is powered by one all-encompassing emotion -love. Designers create their one-of-a-kind garments because they love craftsmanship, beauty, creativity and challenging themselves.

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Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2015 

A tribute to ‘love’, to the feeling that makes the world go round. This is how designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli describe their Haute Couture Spring 2015 Collection for the Maison Valentino. For the collection, Chiuri and Piccioli’s inspiration board was lined with quotes from Shakespeare, Dante’s Inferno, and the paintings of Marc Chagall -hopeless romantics all.

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Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2015 

Many moons ago under the clouds of Greek mythology, a girl sold her soul for love. She plucked a narcissus from its floral bed, and as it snapped from its resting place, her feet began to tremble and the earth was split in two. Life for Persephone would never be the same again. This is the narrative one imagines come to life in the Valentino Collection. Where William Morris-esque stunningly complex jewels cascade amongst tapestry landscapes, representing two sides of the sentiment. Poetry in motion.

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Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2015

Folkloric inspired garments more fluid than a Dante poem. Billowing gowns ruffled in velveteen, intricately embroidered in petals and Tajikistan manuscripts, dramatic and dainty lace head to toe, sensuous claret colors, and Italian verse romancing on sinuous tulle formulating Chagall dreamscapes. Worn by ethereal icons with their hair woven through with wild flowers and pulled up in a halo around their heads, echoing Virgil’s romantic scripture stitched upon their breast “Amor Vincit Omnia” Love conquers all. In Valentino unsurpassed craftsmanship style. Just beautiful. My favorite haute couture collection ever to grace the fashioned art form. Mythological Magic.

For more Valentino Couture see previous post Valentino Love

Pantone Forecast

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Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2015

The Pantone Color Report is one of the many highlights of New York Fashion Week. For over 20 years, Pantone, the global authority on color, has surveyed the designers of New York Fashion Week and beyond to bring you the season’s most important color trends. This report previews the most prominent hues for Fall 2015, and also includes a designer outlook, must haves, and fashion influencers section.

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Pantone Top 10 Colors for Fashion Fall 2015

From the warm and optimistic Oak Buff, to the military-inspired Dried Herb, and the deeply romantic Marsala -color of the year, the Fall 2015 palette is rooted in multi-faceted, androgynous colors that can be worn to portray effortless sophistication across men’s and women’s fashion, “it is the first time we are seeing a truly unisex color palette”, said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. This season displays an evolving landscape that weaves earthy neutrals with a range of bold color statements and patterns to reflect the natural world.

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Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2015 Oak Buff & Marsala 

The colors are evocative of a love for nature and a timeless appreciation for warmth and security, which are conveyed through naturally inspired colors that remind us of things that are real and protective. This Fall, designers’ pay homage to progressive moments in American history -from the seductive 20’s to the bohemian hippie and modernists of the 60’s and 70’s, while stringing together an affection for colors and styling that are innately easy to wear by both men and women.

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Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2015 Dried Herb & Stormy Weather 

An Olive Green shade once thought of as strictly Safari, Pantone 17-0627 Dried Herb has been elevated into a color we now perceive as sophisticated and chic. Closely related to nature, Dried Herb is an organic shade redolent of nature’s earthy fragrances, with a powerful presence. Reminiscent of the sky on a Gray overcast day, Pantone 18-4214 Stormy Weather is evocative and cool, and above all, constant. Implying quality and luxury. Stormy Weather is a poignant Blue Gray that is strong and protective, dignified and enduring.

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Pantone Dried Herb Color Swatch, Ron Mann Design -Bespoke Interior Designer whose designs frequently feature the earthy Green, and Berluti Mens Linen & Leather Sportswear from the Sport Couture Collection Spring/Summer 2015 -which weaves the majestic, timeless classic color throughout.

Dried Herb is a rich saturated Green that can pair beautifully with many different shades or can stand alone in its own right. Pantone 17-0627 Dried Herb -my favorite hue of Green, the color of my favorite semi precious stone -Green Tourmaline, and favorite of the Fall 2015 color palette, resonates beautifully evoking strength and style with depth across many design platforms -from fashion to interiors. A color that transcends time and place. Perennially stunning.

 View the entire Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2015

For more on Pantone Marsala see previous post Color Of The Year

Tibetan New Year

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Tibetan Astrological Chart -Protective Talisman, Tibetan astrology is a combination of Buddhist astrology from Kalachakra-Tantra, Hindu astrology from Shiva-Tantra and ancient Chinese astrology. Tibetan ‘Tsi, is not only a method to harmonize one’s relationship with the external forces of the universe, but also a calculation of the flow of time.

The Tibetan calendar is based upon the lunar cycle. This year, the Tibetan New Year, called Losar, is February 19th, and will mark the Year of the Wood Sheep. Traditionally the Year of the Wood Sheep -considered the most feminine sign of the zodiac, is generally restful and favorable, a time for personal harmony, tranquility and creativity. ‘Lo’ in Tibetan means year, and ‘Sar’ means new, and Tibetan Buddhists around the world routinely celebrate Losar in every auspicious and joyous way, as it is the most important festival in the Tibetan calendar. Losar is said to last 15 days, but the first 3 days are most important. It is considered a time of purification and cleansing. In addition to practices for spiritual purification, the entire house is thoroughly cleaned especially the shrine and the shrine room. Prayers and rituals are performed to send away any remaining negativity from the previous year. New clothes are bought to wear on New Year’s Day, new prayer flags are hung and prayers are made for a year of good luck, good health and prosperity.

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Prayer Flags, May Compassion and Wisdom grow everywhere!

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve-year cycle. Each year is characterized by one of the five elements and by one of the twelve animal totems which are alternatively male or female. A full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements takes sixty years. The twelve animals according to ancient texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig and the elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element. This year, Yin Wood mingles with the Yin Earth of Sheep.

Kalachakra

Kalachakra Mandala, In Tibetan Buddhism the Kalachakra Mandala is a cosmographic representation of the inner, outer, and alternative dimensions of reality. The Body Mandala is surrounded by crescent-shaped areas, which are the offering grounds. Next follow circles which represent the elements: Earth (Yellow), Water (White), Fire (Pink/Red), Metal (Gray/Black) and Wood (Green). The outermost circle is the ‘Great Protective Circle’, ‘Mountain of Flames’ or ‘Circle of Wisdom’ which represents the wisdom element. The differently colored areas represent the five ‘Wisdoms of the Buddha’ in the form of a rainbow.

Every individual possesses the characteristics of the year within which they were born. The qualities of the element/animal combination can be studied and applied in order to determine the probable effect of any given year upon an individual. For Tibetans, astrological calculations are crucial in order to ascertain the most favorable date and time for important events such as religious festivals, marriages, travel, significant business dealings, healing rituals, funerals, etc. In this way, the events that take place can act in harmony with the natural energies of the universe and therefore amplify the power and effect of the desired positive outcome. In addition to consulting the calendar, it is common to have one’s personal horoscope calculated in order to determine one’s strengths and weaknesses, to learn what are one’s most beneficial days to begin new activities, the possibility of illness or obstacles along with their prescribed antidote, as well as the nature of one’s past and future lives, etc.