Nestled into the green hillsides of the Churfirsten mountain range is this wooden masterpiece of a house designed by kM Architektur. Built to look like a giant modern sauna, the house is wrapped by mountains, greenery and the clear blue waters of the Walensee which rises more than 2 km above sea level. The use of floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and glass railings allows you to soak up all of this pristine nature while either inside the open concept living space, or sipping gluhwein on one of the many verandahs. No wonder this setting inspired Franz List's "Au lac de Wallenstadt" during his solo travels to the area in the 1800's.
Netherlands based artist John Breed is the force majeur behind this whimsically bizarre installation, titled “Shoe Salon Breuninger”. In conjunction with the German shoe salon BREUNIGER last year, 145 fabulous shoes on 145 perfect rainbow-hued
legs were installed on a wall leading up to the salon. It could almost be the work of the Easter Bunny.
The perfect spring shoe that goes with everything is the pointed flat. Wear them with rolled up jeans or with cutoffs (as soon as the weather agrees), they are ideal for kicking around on the weekends in style - and comfort.
Air B'n'B has a new app called "Discovery" where you can find all kinds of quirky places for short-term stays like house boats, windmills, buses, and private islands. Included in this eccentric mix are tree houses which are fast becoming the most popular of the bunch.
Re-awaken your inner child in this cozy tree house located in San Francisco with a view of the Bay and Devil's Island. Perched above it all in a quiet, forested canyon, this quaint retreat is equipped with everything you need: a double bed, French doors, stained glass, a hand-made quilt, a private swing, and a wrap-around veranda where you can soak in the views. Wondering where all of the plumbing is? Not to worry - the main house is only a stone path away where you have your own private washroom and kitchenette. Tree House Above San Francisco Bay Sleeps 2-3 | $235 / night www.airbnb.com
MINAS TREND is one of three major fashion weeks in Brazil located in picturesque Belo Horizonte. For one week a group of international press and buyers were pampered by TEXBRASIL and their partners, ABIT and APEX, to a wonderful week of fashion shows, showroom visits and -- most importantly - Brazilian food. I was lucky to be a part of this group.
Due to its location on the other side of the equator, MINAS TREND previewed the Spring 2015 collections of their local designers. The main strengths at MINAS are knitwear and evening wear, and when the two were combined they yielded incredible results. Some of the main trends that emerged on the runways were pastels, white, crop tops, full skirts, tiny hard clutches, tropical prints, and fantastic knitwear. It wasn't easy, but after combing through all of the shows I narrowed down my Top Ten favorite items that I saw on the catwalks.
VIVAZ has been on the Brazil fashion scene for the last 15 years making socialites dreams come true. Armed with tons of beading, sexy silhouettes and a rainbow of sugary colors, the Spring 2015 collection was pure eye candy. ''We always think about the woman's body,'' says Isabella Faria, daughter of the founder Elisabeth Faria who now helps her mother with design and production. ''And of course, the beading is the most important!'' says Faria. Beading indeed. If there was ever a collection to be awarded for most intricate beading, it would be VIVAZ - an appropriate name, incidentally, given how much positive energy I experienced while visiting their head office in an industrial area of Belo Horizonte. Located in a converted school, their manufacturing facility is by far one of the most cheerful and well organized that I have ever come across. Given how many times the Faria girls smiled during my visit, I can only assume it is a wonderful place to work.
With approximately 100 employees at their facility, the entire production cycle takes place there from start to finish. Once the design is finalized in their dreamy studio upstairs, the designers work with the technicians on site to perfect the prototype. Next, the fabric is cut downstairs in their open concept work space, then it moves to the sewers so that the garment is fully finished. Finally, it lands on a table where workers hand embroider each piece one by one, bead by bead. Sounds quick & easy? Not really - some of the more elaborate gowns can take up to three weeks to finish.
VIVAZ is available in 150 locations within Brazil and at about a dozen multi-brand boutiques worldwide.
A surprising highlight of the Belo Horizonte shows which just concluded yesterday was the footwear. A few key trends emerged, namely the "ugly shoe" trend which reared its head once again, however also in some pleasant updates such as matte metalics and multiple thick strapping ideas. On the prettier side of things were intricate roping details on ankle straps and simple metallic thong sandals. One of my personal favorites were the creepers sans platforms and the Deauvillian striped platform sandals.
(From Top to Bottom: Anne Est Folle / Anne Est Folle / Anne Est Folle / Lucas Magalhães / Rogério Lima / Área Pratis)
Last night we experienced a very special show to kick off Brazil Fashion Week at MINAS TREND. With a dramatic catwalk set against an industrial space, models floated down the runway with sky-high bars casting slivers of shadows over them. It was a beautiful display mixing looks and items from a wide variety of brands who will be showing their collections over the next few days. Large scale prints in tropical brights were adeptly mixed with exquisite embroideries on some of this season's key silhouettes such as crop tops and full skirts. With some light Brazilian dance music in the background, the whole show just washed over you just like the warmth I have been experiencing here with the people of Belo Horizonte. Can't wait to see what this week has in store.
It's a beautiful sunny day today in Belo Horizonte. It is Day 1 and shortly the organizers of Texbrazil will be taking me on a quick tour of the best spots to explore. It is only 9.15 and already 23 C, so I decide to wear light chiffon & silk crepe de chine. All BROSE, of course.