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.

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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.

Björk Retrospective

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Björk, The cover image for the single Venus as a Boy, 1993, by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

8 March – 7 June, 2015 the Museum of Modern Art, New York will present “Björk”, the first retrospective dedicated to the multifaceted artist that explores Björk’s singular place in contemporary art, and celebrates her highly original and significant music, compositions, performances, and visual presentations.  Björk offers an experience of music in many layers, with instruments, a theatrical presentation, an immersive sound experience, a focused audio guide, and related visualizations -from photography and music videos to new media works.

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Björk, The cover image for Biophilia, 2011, featuring a red nebula-style wig by Eugene Souleiman, dress by Iris van Herpen, and a ‘harp-belt’ in cherry wood and bronze by threeASFOUR. Constellation by M/M Paris. Photo courtesy Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin. The Biophilia cover depicts Björk as a kind of sci-fi Mother Earth. The image weaves together elements of the universe, as illustrated by M/M Paris.

The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative career, beginning with her eight full-length albums and multiple collaborations with directors, photographers, designers, artists, and other experimental practitioners, and culminating in a new, immersive music and film experience commissioned by MoMA. Chronologically, the exhibition begins with the release of Björk’s first mature solo album, Debut, in 1993, and proceeds through her career up to her most recent work in 2015, including a new video and music installation commissioned especially for the Museum, Black Lake -which also appears on her new album,Vulnicura.

Thames & Hudson is publishing Björk: Archives in March to accompany the exhibition at MoMA.


Bjork_BookBjörk, Contributions by Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Ross, Nicola Dibben, Timothy Morton, Sjón, Hardcover Slipcased, 192 pgs. with 224 illustrations, March, 2015.

Designed by top design studio M/M Paris as a slipcased world of wonders, this publication which accompanies springs exhibition on Björk at The Museum of Modern Art is composed of six parts: four booklets, a paperback and a poster. Each booklet contains illustrated texts by, respectively, Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Ross, Nicola Dibben and Timothy Morton, while the poster features artwork of Björk’s albums and singles.

The first book is an overview by the New Yorker’s music critic Alex Ross, who writes about Björk’s wide appeal and range, from club culture to high art. The second book is written by Nicola Dibben, professor of musicology at the University of Sheffield, who contemplates Björk’s feminism. There is also a “slightly adventurous” piece by posthumanist philosopher Timothy Morton, a text by MoMA chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach, and the longest text is contributed by Icelandic poet Sjón. Sjón traces the journey of the seven albums Björk has produced since becoming independent and the personas she created for each of them. Sjón’s work is accompanied by new images of the singer that were taken in her native Iceland, and a video of their creation is featured in the exhibition.

Rose Truffles

Roses and chocolates. Two of the most popular gifts people share on St. Valentine’s Day. Why not combine the two in one deliciously tempting creative confection. The floral aftertaste against bittersweet chocolate of Raw Rose Truffles is just fantastic. The bitterness of raw cacao opens the senses. The inner core is rather sweet and offers a very sensual surprise. The exotic flavor combination makes you crave more.

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Raw Rose Truffles, Made here with Valentine’s Day in mind, though these truffles can be enjoyed anytime of the year -in Summer they can be made with fresh Rose petals from the garden. 

Ingredients 

For the Rose Petal Filling 

  • 3 Tbsp dried, crushed edible rose petals plus 1 Tbsp for garnish
  • 1-2 Tbsp organic rose-water
  • 1 Tbsp filtered water
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp date paste
  • 1 Tbsp melted organic & fair trade cacao butter
  • 2 drops food-grade essential rose oil (optional)
  • 1/3-1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp organic almond meal
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt

For The Truffles

  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2-2 cups filtered water for soaking
  • 1/2 cup melted organic & fair trade raw cocoa butter
  • 1 cup organic & fair trade cacao
  • 1/2 cup organic almond meal
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Directions

  • Place the crushed rose petals in a small bowl. Add water and rose-water and mix well. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to soak overnight.
  • Wash the dates and place them in a bowl. Pour enough filtered water to cover all the dates. Set aside -or you can put the bowl in the fridge to soak overnight.
  • Next day, put the soft and plump dates into a food processor and process until you get a smooth date paste. Make sure before processing that all the pits are removed. Add some of the soaking water if the paste is too thick. Reserve the remaining water for later use. Transfer the date paste into a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Transfer the soaked rose petals into a mortar. Add all the other ingredients and turn it into paste using a pestle. If necessary you can add more that the suggested tablespoon of date paste. Mix and make sure that all the ingredients are well combined. The rose petal filling should not be too watery. Adjust by adding a bit more almond meal.
  • Now, add melted cacao butter to the date paste in the large bowl and mix well. Add raw cacao and mix again until all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Add honey, salt and spices. Mix well.
  • Add almond meal and mix until you receive a thick dough. If the chocolate dough is too thick, add a bit of the water in which the dates have been soaked.
  • To make the truffles take 1 Tbsp of chocolate dough and roll it between your palms. Place the ready-made chocolate balls on a platter. You should be able to make 16 truffles. Leave some dough for the final touch.
  • One by one, hold each chocolate ball and carefully make a hole in the center using a finger. Take a small amount of the rose petal mass and gently fill the hole. Take enough chocolate dough to close the opening and gently roll the truffle into shape. Set on a platter.
  • Once all truffles are made, garnish each with crushed rose petals and place them in paper candy cups for that final touch of elegance. Chill for at least 2-3 hours or leave them in the fridge overnight. A labor of Love. Best enjoyed in the company of your loved one!

Tips

Homemade truffles taste best when all the flavors have had enough time to thoroughly fuse.

Many additional powdered spices can be used in this dark chocolate truffle recipe -Ginger, Cayenne, and Saffron are just a few more ideas. Orange zest or Coconut can also be added to the truffles themselves or even used to roll the truffles in, for more complex flavor, texture, beauty.

Put your truffles in a container with a lid and keep in the fridge at all times to preserve freshness and prevent spoilage.

For more Rose Inspiration see previous posts Power of Roses & Rose Petal Jam

Cardamom Care

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In Winter, when temperatures really drop, warmth can often be found in the kitchen. During the cold months, I find myself gravitating toward the warming spices of Cinnamon, Ginger, Cumin and Cardamom. Native to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Guatemala, and Sri Lanka, Cardamom pods slowly ripen before they are harvested and then dried for just one day to preserve their beautiful color and pungency. A prized spice for food, medicine, and perfume in eastern cultures for thousands of years, it is known as the ‘Queen of Spices’ in India. This aromatic fruit boasts bold and complex flavor of Ginger, Black Pepper, Clove, Eucalyptus, and Lemon.

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Whole Cardamom pods, lightly crushed can be used to flavor everything from curries, rice dishes to desserts. The fragrant seeds can be removed from the pod and ground in a spice grinder -in most cases, best to buy small quantities and grind your own whole spices to ensure fresh flavor. But you can purchase it pre-ground to have on hand to quickly add a bit of spiciness to your culinary life. A classic ingredient in Chai tea, it’s also lovely in coffee. The seeds can also be chewed as a natural breath freshener and digestive aide.

Whisperings throughout history rumor that Cleopatra found the scent of Cardamom so alluring that she made incense from the seeds to perfume her palace when Marc Antony came to visit. An intriguing ingredient in Indian cooking and the Ayurvedic apothecary, the traditional Winter spice is also a rising star in modern beauty due to its holistic benefits. Aesop, Earth Tu Face, FIG + YARROW, Pratima, and Red Flower -personal favorites and best in botanical boutique beauty, each carry a unique and luxurious Cardamom beauty product that uses synergistic qualities to add healthy radiance to the skin, assist in relaxing the muscles, and awaken the senses. Chic, artisanal, apothecary-line botanicals to enjoy the spicy warmth of invigorating Cardamom, that will simultaneously soothe and inspire you throughout the season.

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Red Flower Cardamom Amber Oil, One hundred percent botanically based and essential oil derived, a highly concentrated aromatic blend of Cardamom, Bergamot, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli, Vetiver, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Sweet Orange and Apricot Oil prepared in the Hammam Tradition, that leaves the skin calm, nourished, relaxed, deeply scented, and radiant by increasing circulation and warmth. Ideal for balancing sensitive, dry Winter skin. A winner in packaging, as this dry oil comes in spray form for ideal application. Red Flower -potent, luxurious eco beauty products with the perfect balance of ritual, well-being and aesthetics.

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Pratima Love Oil, Dr. Raichur combines the wisdom of Ayurveda with her expertise as a chemist, botanist, aesthetician and Ayurvedic doctor to compose Pratima -a holistic system for skin wellness and a remarkable line of pure, organic products. Its ingredients are certified organic and sourced directly from sustainable farms in India. Pratima Love Oil is made with pure essences of Cinnamon to increase circulation, Clove to strengthen the immune system, and Cardamom to invigorate and warm the body, and combined, create a nurturing feeling of being cared for, while nourishing Sweet Almond Oil works with Lavender, Rose and Vanilla to hydrate, soothe and deeply permeate all 7 layers of skin. Allowing you to experience the ageless practice of Ayurveda -the use of sumptuous oils to balance the mind, body, and spirit with divine elements.
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Aesop Marrakech Eau De Toilette, A botanically based formulation for men and women with an overall impression of a raw, earthy fresh mix of Cloves, Sandalwood and Green Cardamom Seeds ground in a stone mortar then mixed with silken oil that imbues the fragrance with sensuality and links the spice elements. The intoxicating city of Marrakech -the evocative aromas of spices used in local dishes, intense colors characteristic of its souks and surrounding desert, and warm hospitality integral to Moroccan traditions, is the inspiration for this alluring fragrance from the iconic and brainy brand Aesop -that creates a precise and expert range of superlative products that gather the best of what nature and science can offer, with Old World apothecary meets savvy modern design style.

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Earth Tu Face Virgin Coconut + Cardamom Body Butter, Cardamom, an anti-inflammatory used for centuries for its myriad health benefits and sweet sublime fragrance, is paired beautifully in this Body Butter by the herbalists behind Earth Tu Face with its deeply hydrating and nourishing ingredients: Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Unrefined Cocoa Butter, Sunflower Seed Wax, Organic Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Cinnamon Leaf, and Non-GMO Vitamin E. A rich and heady treatment that will protect, soften and rejuvenate the skin. The Pure Coconut Oil base means this Body Butter is solid below 76 degrees -a sign of a high quality, unadulterated oil. An ideal preparation for the Winter season beauty ritual.

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FIG + YARROW Cardamom + Coffee Body Scrub, Prepare to swoon, Organic Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, fair-trade Peruvian and Indonesian Coffee Beans, and enticing, yet gender neutral, aromas of Cardamom and Rosemary Oil Essence combine for a seriously indulgent body pampering experience in this Body Scrub from FIG + YARROW -a star in the burgeoning artisanal skincare line. Dedicated to the treatment of the whole self, FIG + YARROW products are crafted in small batches, mindfully formulated for efficacy and pleasure, marrying wildcrafted and organically grown herbs and botanical essences to create a healthfully indulgent experience.

For more Botanical Beauty see Queen of Flowers previous post Power Of Roses

Divine Creations

Jewelry has been used for spiritual protection and enlightenment by many different cultures throughout history. From the Evil Eye Talisman and the Hamsa Hand to the Buddha and the Lotus Flower, there is a belief that wearing jewels depicting spiritual or religious motifs can protect a person from negative energies and promote spiritual healing. In today’s society, spiritual jewelry offers a sense of serenity in a hectic world and there are plenty of jewelry designers incorporating these age-old symbols into designs with a thoroughly modern aesthetic. Spirituality and style merge beautifully with these artisan jewelry collections. Etched with prayers, meditations, sacred messages, and symbolic meaning, each piece emanates elegance and good energy. Blessed Jewels for the Valentine.

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Shamballa Jewels Diamond & Gold Bead Bracelet, Tan cord bracelet with 18K Yellow Gold flat beads etched with the ‘Star of Shamballa’ and set with White Diamonds interwoven. A bespoke prayer-bead-style piece inspired by the principles of Buddhism and meditation. The distinctive way of presenting holistic principles of yoga and meditation with pavé beads and macramé braiding, is synonymous with Shamballa Jewels.

Copenhagen-based Shamballa Jewels was founded by the brothers Mads and Mikkel Kornerup, providing an in-house designed collection of jewelry influenced by modern Scandinavian and ancient Nepalese designs. The ‘thunderbolt’ is a symbol for irresistible force across many ancient cultures. The double thunderbolt represents pure consciousness, a state that cannot be destroyed or corrupted and has no beginning or end. The ‘Star of Shamballa’ -two intercrossed thunderbolts, represents the force created when creativity springs in a pure, conscious mind. Through this symbol, Shamballa Jewels invites everyone to explore this force within themselves.

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Buddha Mama Emerald & Diamond Pendant, A large Buddha meditates among the softly curved leaves of Mama’s signature 20K Golden Lotus elegantly surrounded by Emeralds and Diamonds, suspended from a chunky Gold chain.

A purveyor of the handmade jewelry tradition, the Florida-based recently launched Buddha Mama infuses Eastern intricacies and Buddhist values into each and every design. Often featuring opulent Mandalas and charming Buddha miniatures, the wearer is bound to connect with the spiritual that is innate to the brand’s striking one-of-a-kind Gold and gem jewelry collection. Founder and designer Nancy Badia of Buddha Mama Jewelry takes a fresh approach to luxury with a collection that marries Badia’s love of fine jewelry with her dedication to Buddhism, for which she traveled the world to find the best materials and artisans to work with.

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Amrit Gold Elephant Braided Bracelet, 14K Gold Elephant head clasp with Gold and Red nylon braided thread and Diamond Eyes – Amrit’s signature piece. The braided thread is influenced by the ‘Rakhi’ bracelet of India which is worn to bring an element of protection to the wearer. Amrit is inspired to use elephants in their creations because of their great symbolic significance. The image of an elephant evokes blessings of wealth and wisdom, and when the trunk is turned up, it is said to bring good luck. Elephants are also known as removers of obstacles, which is a reminder that you aren’t given anything you can’t handle.

California-based Sat Hari, who was born in the U.S. and educated in India, is the creator of Amrit Jewelry -finely crafted pieces that have deep symbolic meanings and carry sacred blessings for the wearer. In ancient mysticism, ‘Amrit’ is the nectar of the divine. Amrit’s three collections: The Elephant Collection, 3rd Eye Collection, and Make Love Chains were created to inspire women to experience more joy, love, and sensuality in wearing these precious jewels.

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Amrit 3rd Eye Garnet & White Diamonds Pendant, The Garnet is framed by a shimmering band of Diamonds set in 18K Yellow Gold and hangs from a Gold chain. The deep Red, faceted Garnet marquis encourages creativity, promotes sensuality, and has the qualities of ‘Love and Purification.’ The eye shape symbolizes the 3rd eye or spiritual vision. When the eye is surrounded by diamonds, it adds the quality of clarity to the spiritual vision. An elephant cut out on the back of the Gold setting represents wisdom, life and steadfast strength and allows the color of the stone to show through.

This powerful third eye can be worn when you need the reinforcement of its blessing ‘you are a divine creator.’ Available in a variety of gemstones to bless the wearer with specific qualities including: Amethyst = Mystical Attunement & Protection, Aquamarine = Calming & Letting Go, Emerald = Healing & Wealth, Moonstone = Romantic Love & Wisdom, Topaz = Calming & Focus, and Turquoise = Communication & Friendship.

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Amrit Make Love Emerald Body Chain, Eleven natural free faceted Emeralds touch the heart chakra -the number 11 means ‘Mastership’ in the yogic tradition, with solid 14K lotus pendants engraved with the ‘Hu’ symbol and diamond in the center, to evoke the quality of clarity, all connected in a 14K Gold Body Chain. On the back of the main pendant, touching the skin, is the word LOVE, and on the smaller pendant is ‘Amrit’. For thousands of years, the lotus flower has been a symbol of spiritual awakening and ‘Hu’ is ancient Sanskrit for the’ Sound of God.’ A certain alchemy of elements combine in the Make Love Chains to represent an awaking to the Sound of God. Worn as body chain or necklace, each handcrafted piece comes with special properties depending on gemstones, blessings, and the number of stones chosen for yogic significance.

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Rachel Brown Ana BeKoach One-of-A-Kind Gold Bangles, Cast in 14K Gold and engraved with a ‘Ana Bekoach’ - ‘creating miracles’ Kabbala prayer that connects our soul to the forces of creation, purifying our physical and spiritual life for the creation of miracles.

New York-based gemologist Rachel Brown designs jewelry based on her study of the Kabbalah -which reveals the spiritual teachings of the universe and hidden secrets of the Torah written in a book called the Zohar, the definitive text of  Kabbalah.

Kabbalistic meditations are composed of the 22 letters of the hebrew alphabet which Kabbalah recognizes as the DNA of the universe, thus, her pieces are engraved with hebrew letters expressing variations of these meditations. The spiritual power behind these meditations connect one to “mind over matter”, total control of one’s life, and to a realm of bliss where no chaos exists. Simply scan the engraved letters on the jewelry with one’s eyes and the energy emanates to one’s soul and throughout one’s existence. Kabbalah states that the “eyes are the windows of the soul”, so that when one scans the hebrew letter combinations a spiritual technology takes place as the soul connects and downloads these energies.

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Rachel Brown Unconditional Love Pendant, Brown incorporates the 72 names for God on this 18K Gold plated medallion charm and overlays those names with the Aramaic word for unconditional love in Sterling Silver, which hangs from a cable chain. The ’72 Names of God’ is a formula of 72 combinations of Hebrew letters, each three-letter combination is considered to be an angelic force or energy entity. They are not words, therefore not meant to be pronounced, just read with the eyes in the direction from right to left. The unique energies one can connect with through The ’72 Names of God’ represent everything we could need and want in life. An elegant piece with an ancient feel, that can be worn everyday to add spiritual presence to the daily routine.

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Caspita Secrète Sahasrara Ring from the Chakra Collection, Finely crafted in 18K Yellow Gold and Diamonds, this cleverly designed bespoke piece conceals a secret compartment that contains the chakra’s bija sound ‘Aum’ engraved in Sanskrit, and an Aventurine symbolising the cosmos set at the back of the ring. One of twelve rings in the collection, each radiates extraordinary.

The Chakra Collection jewelry by Caspita, created by Arlène Bonnant, Switzerland-based designer and contemporary art expert, takes shape around the seven main chakras. Stemming from Indian spirituality and designating seven centres of energy in the shape of symbolic lotus flowers, visualized through their own unique colour. Each piece representing a world in itself, a sensibility, an emotion, and a deity.

For more Caspita Creations see previous post Chakra Collection

Planetary Collective

A short film about the work of Sanskrit and Tibetan calligrapher Tashi Mannox from the Planetary Collective. Founded in 2011, the Collective responds to the most pressing issues our civilization is currently facing as we push the planet to its brink. Its members, pulling from their Buddhist backgrounds, attribute the roots of the environmental and social crises facing humanity to the misperception that we are separate -from each other, the planet, and the cosmos as a whole. Their forthcoming feature film is titled Planetary.

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Tashi Mannox, Precious Human Existence, Chinese Ink on heavy Watercolor Paper/Limited Edition Giclée Print, 57 x 76 cm, Courtesy and © Tashi Mannox.

As a seed, the essence of life, uncoils in growth, delicate, precious and whole. This curling Bindu shape, Sanskrit, Tigli in Tibetan, holds the words ‘precious human birth’ in a Tibetan Drutsa script. Appreciate precious life, as it is difficult to obtain and easily lost -Tibetan Buddhist View.

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Tashi Mannox, Dependent Origination, Japanese Mineral Paint on heavy Watercolor Paper, Original Artwork, 57 x 76 cm, 2009, Courtesy and © Tashi Mannox.

The Blue cursive Tsugtung script translates as ‘Natural Law’, en-circling this from the bottom clockwise, in the sequence of linked words in the Petsug script style is called ‘The Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination’ 1. Ignorance, 2. Karmic Propensities, 3. Consciousness, 4. Name and Form, 5. Six Senses, 6. Contact, 7. Sensation, 8. Craving, 9. Grasping, 10. Existence, 11. Birth, 12. Old Age and Death. Several of Mannox’s designs approach the status of calligrams -the arrangement of script to form a picture, a device most often associated with strains of Islamic artistic practice, that visually articulates the verbal meaning in a picture-like manner, amplifying rather than compromising the calligraphic beauty and integrity of the script itself.

Visit the Tashi Mannox website to see more of the calligraphy artist’s beautiful contemporary & traditional work.

About

Tashi Mannox, an Englishman, and for many years an ordained Buddhist monk, has trained for decades in the arts of Tibetan calligraphy. Today he preserves this tradition as a vehicle to communicate and transmit dharma, all the while adapting and updating his approach within and for contemporary contexts. He identifies three streams in his work: Contemporary and Traditional, Contemporary Black on Black, and Illuminated Iconography.

In honoring contemporary contexts and concerns, some of his designs are presented as sacred tattoos. With certain commissioned work he offers the option of including bespoke seals that are specific to the calligraphic project and its patron. In all cases Tashi’s art is an expression of his long and devoted meditative practice and spiritual realization, such that his art energetically transmits the Tibetan Buddhist View. Grounded thoroughly in the pre-modern Tibetan tradition, incorporating modernist visual schemes, and being multi-cultural and postmodern in drawing on other calligraphic lineages such as the spatial awareness proper to Zen calligraphic practice -while preserving the Tibetan core of style, Tashi Mannox’s art is an authentic and exemplary instance of an integral calligraphy for our age.

Berluti Origami

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Berluti Origami Bag in Kraft Spring Summer 2015 Collection.

For the coming season, LVMH-owned French luxury menswear brand Berluti traveled East looking for inspiration for their Spring Summer Sport Couture 2015 Collection. The brand’s creative director Alessandro Sartori takes a cue from the traditional Japanese ‘art of origami’ to create an artful new addition to its collection of leather goods. The Origami Bag combines the bespoke craftsmanship, beautiful leather and innovative techniques Berluti is known for, and is based on origami principles using folds, which translates to minimal cutting, sewing and linings, versatility and weightlessness. West meets East in one covetable carrier.

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Berluti Origami Bag in Kraft Spring Summer 2015 Collection.

The cleverly designed Berluti bag comes with detachable straps and can also be worn in a variety of ways. Carry it like a tote or use it like a backpack, and when you’re done, just fold it up and stash it away. Perfect accessory for the style connoisseur to carry just about anywhere -from work to travel and beyond. The Origami Bag comes in Kraft, Lichen, and Dark Brown, and will be available February 2015 at the brand boutiques.

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Berluti Leather Blazer in Burnt Orange  & Origami Bag in Lichen Spring Summer 2015 Collection.

Ideal for frequent travelers, the new Berluti leather jackets and foldable leather bags are stylish and practical. Made of exceptionally soft, lightweight glove leather that is coated with a natural enzyme to enhance their durability. “Fine leather can be fragile, but with this natural coating the leather is stronger and holds its shape,” says Sartori. He describes the unlined calfskin blazer as a hybrid design that blends classic tailoring with a relaxed sportswear style. The traditional craftsmanship of the House meets comfort, lightness and new technology to give birth to a Sports Couture Collection, defining a nostalgia-free classicism.

About

Founded in Paris in 1895 by an Italian bootmaker Alessandro Berluti, the prestigious company has upheld its dedication to luxury craftsmanship throughout the decades. Originating with hand-finished footwear, today it boasts accessories and ready-to-wear for astute men. In 2011, Alessandro Sartori was appointed Creative Director and entered the uncharted territory of ready-to-wear. Staying true to House heritage, the designer reinterpreted its classic expertise, adding his own personal stamp and a contemporary twist.

For more Berluti Style see previous posts Berluti Paris and Berluti Design

The Great Pen

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 Pen of the Year 2015 by Graf von Faber-Castell.

The Graf von Faber-Castell Pen of the Year 2015 is inspired by the glamorous architecture of the New Palace of Sanssouci which was built according to plans by Frederick II (1712-1786) King of Prussia. After the Seven Years’ War and victory over the powerful Habsburg monarchy, large and influential Silesia became part of Prussia. Frederick was hailed as a military genius and henceforth called “the Great”. As a sign of his victory he ordered the construction of his largest and most ambitious building the New Palace of Sanssouci with magnificent ballrooms, and handsomely furnished apartments where precious decorative natural stones played a special role, something Prussia had in abundance thanks to the conquest of Silesia -wall coverings made from multi-coloured marble, floors inlaid with Jasper, Amethyst and Serpentine. The interiors of the New Palace are unparalleled in Europe.

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Sansscouci Palace Interior of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, Potsdam.

Created with the highest standards of craftsmanship, the pen combines 24-carat Gold plating with embellished baroque engraving, a Russian Smoky Quartz, Green Serpentine and Rare Chrysoprase, Frederick the Great’s favourite natural stone -Chrysoprase has not been mined for many years and is only available on the antique stone market. Limited to 150 pieces. It includes an exclusive wooden collector’s box with a beautiful brochure and a certificate personally signed by the master craftsman of the Herbert Stephan gemstone manufactory attesting to the authenticity of the natural stones.

For another Great Pen of the Year from Graf von Faber-Castell see previous post Art From The Oak

Sacred Seed

“Whatever happens to seed affects the web of life” ~Dr. Vandana Shiva

In collaboration with Vandana Shiva and the Golden Sufi Center, the Global Peace Initiative of Women recently released SACRED SEED, a global collection of essays by preeminent spiritual and religious leaders on the importance of seed preservation and seed integrity in our times.

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Sacred Seed, Edited by Global Peace Initiative of Women, Introduction by Dr. Vandana Shiva, Published by The Golden Sufi Center, November 2014, 144 pgs.

Essential to survival, seeds have profound spiritual implications. For centuries the planting of seed in the Earth not only nourished humanity, but also symbolized the mystery of life and the journey of the soul. In our current supermarket lifestyle of pre-packaged products, far removed from the cycles of planting, we have nearly forgotten this mystery. Now as the integrity of the seed is threatened, so is its primal meaning.

Sacred Seed Book Trailer 2014, Music by Kesang Marstrand.

Inspired by physicist and environmental leader Dr. Vandana Shiva, each essay draws on the wisdom of ancient and modern traditions. Mystics, shamans, monastics and priests remind us of the profound sacredness of the seed -how in its purity, it is the source and renewal of all of life. Composed of beautiful original writings and photos, this book bears witness that the Earth is alive, and establishes that only by working together with the Earth -with its wonder and mystery, can we help in its healing and regeneration and once again bring meaning back into the world.

Edited and compiled by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, the book includes contributions from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, H.H. the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Sister Joan Chittister, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Swami Veda Bharati, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Blu Greenberg & others.

A New Year Message from Dr. Vandana Shiva Founder of Navdanya for 2015.

About

Vandana Shiva was born in 1952 to a Brahmin family in the foothills of the Himalayas. In the 1970s, she attended university in Canada and wrote a thesis on ‘Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory’ and earned her PhD in the philosophy of science. She later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out in India. As an activist focused on biodiversity and biotechnology, Shiva has been called the Gandhi of grain.

As Shiva sees it, seeds are sacred. We have a duty to share and save them. Inspired to prevent private control of genetic material and encourage sustainable, nonindustrial agriculture, she founded a network of seed keepers and organic producers across 17 states in India called NavdanyaNavdanya means “nine seeds” -symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity, and also the “new gift” -for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds. In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift -it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.

Ralph Lauren Style

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Ralph Lauren opened his first restaurant in New York City this week. Lauren, an ever-enduring emblem of and a catalyst for the New World’s longings for an Old World aristocracy. The Polo Bar is located close to the brand’s Fifth Avenue flagship store just south of Central Park and features unique design elements that offer “tradition with flair.” The opening of this New York restaurant follows successful ventures in Chicago and Paris, with the RL Grill and Ralph’s. The menu, like the brand, is American, inspired by the designer’s personal favorites.

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The traditional New England-style interior features a hefty oak bar with a hammered-brass top, parquet flooring and an elegant wooden staircase that leads guests downstairs into the main dining room, where aged leather banquettes accented with tartan pillows create intimate dining alcoves, and deep hunter green walls are adorned with carefully curated paintings and photographs. The designer’s all-encompassing aesthetic extends to the barware and table settings, with etched-crystal glassware and silver cocktail shakers from the Ralph Lauren Home collection, dinnerware made in England exclusively for the Polo Bar, and waitstaff looking smart dressed in bespoke Ralph Lauren gray flannel trousers, Oxford button-downs, silk ties, and wing tips.

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Warm and luxurious, the interiors are as extravagant and distinctly Ralph Lauren as you would expect. Inspired by classic New York establishments and channeling the iconic American designer’s love of gathering around the table with family and friends, The Polo Bar offers a casual yet refined setting for food and drink in the heart of NYC. With a Henry Koehler match-inspired mural on the exterior, interior honey-hued saddle leather, equestrian artwork and trophies, and custom-made brass lamps cast amber lighting to evoke old world charm reminiscent of traditional country clubs, the restaurant pays homage to the distinguished sporting lifestyle long synonymous with the Ralph Lauren brand.

For more on Ralph Lauren Style see previous post Ralph Lauren Design