The Okavango Delta and the areas surrounding Sandibe Safari Lodge is renowned for its abundant wildlife where lions, cheetahs, leopards, red lechwe antelope and elephants are regular, roaming visitors. Just when you think that’s reason enough to visit &Beyond‘s Botswana based lodge, prepare yourself to absolutely fall in love with the incredibly stunning, recently revamped architecture. What looks like a cross between a bird’s nest and an armadillo’s body, Sandibe blends seamlessly into its habitat and we can only imagine how magical it is spend a few days there, basking in nature and the African sun.
You can always rely on Milan to bring on outrageous flair, theatrical romance and unabashed conviction. This season was no different as we walked away with excitement over the continued celebration of individualism and styling tips that can actually be put to practical use.
Fendi: A fur collared drop waisted coat worn over turquoise thigh high boots, a blue and white striped tee tucked into a kilt and a coral yoked blouse tucked into a navy ballon skirt – there wasn’t one ensemble where Karl Lagerfeld didn’t play with unexpected color combinations and adorn with ruffled hems, wavy trims or pleated details. It was all so enjoyably playful, spirited and sure to cause a ripple effect come fall.
Ports 1961: Despite reflecting back on her time at Central Saint Martins in the 90s and drawing from the influence Helmut Lang had on her career, there was something uniquely modern about Natasa Cagalj’s fall collection. My favorite pieces were the floor sweeping trousers, which were oversized but beautifully tailored and the luxurious coats, which were reworked brilliantly with slits, overlapping lapels and trailing ties. The collection was full of wardrobe staples that will not only stand the test of time, but will be worn with swagger.
New York based Feit is introducing a new style to their collection of hand sewn shoes this spring, the Hand Sewn Super High. The high top sneaker is a softer, more casual version compared to their sleek, calf leather cousin. We love that every part of the shoe making process is thoughtfully crafted: from the seamless one-piece tanned leather, which is left to steam on a wooden last for 10 days to ensure fit, to the naturally dyed pigments that allow the leather to age richly over time. And did you know that a single master artisan is responsible for building each shoe by hand, from start to finish? That’s quality, friends.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a revolution happening over at Gucci and the genius leading the rebellion is a man who strongly believes in emotion over rationality. Since he was appointed creative director nearly a year ago, Alessandro Michele has uncovered the delightful eccentricity in the Gucci woman. And then some. She’s a nerd, she’s punk, she’s a lady, she’s multi-lingual and multi-generational, she’s smart, she’s quirky, she’s glamorous, she’s a history buff, she’s a maximalist and most importantly, she sees fashion as a form of individual expression. With this reinvented woman as his muse, it’s no wonder Alessandro has stirred up a feverishness within the industry. Since his debut last winter, we wait in giddy anticipation before each collection showing – both women’s and men’s. And in days following, we’re studying all the multifarious details and envisioning ways in which can we bring out our best Gucci woman.
After seeing woman artisans in rural Guatemala lack market access for their stunning handwoven wares, Ruth DeGolia was motivated to start Mercado Global. More than ten years later, the handbag company has worked with over 400 artisans across the country, empowering women with increased and sustainable income and inspiring them to build up cooperatives within their own communities.
I feel so fortunate to have been invited to Guatemala last month to witness the impactful model first hand, with the Mercado Global team. After arriving in the charming, colonial capital of Antigua, we made our way to Lake Atitlán, a breathtakingly stunning lake in the volcanic highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Side trips from Mercado Global’s headquarters in Panajachel led us to indigenous entrepreneurs like Cristobalina, a Mayan weaver whose craft had been passed down from multiple generations. There, in her weaving studio, we watched in awe as the skilled hands of her and her fellow weavers handled two life sized foot looms with preciseness and dexterity. Hundreds of meticulously arranged cotton strings danced up and down, from multiple warps, creating intricate patterned fabric that would eventually be constructed into handbags. Not only has Cristobalina worked alongside Mercado Global for several years, but she has since been able to independently support her family and send her elder children to school for the first time. She and other women in her cooperative are also provided steady educational programs which enable them to lead, improve and address health and financial matters on their own.
It was rewarding to observe Mercado Global’s socially responsible business model, something we so rarely see within the fashion industry. And it was gratifying to experience Guatemala and all of it’s magical charm and beauty through the eyes of the Mercado Global team. I can’t wait to return but in the meantime, I look forward to continuing to support such an inspiring company.