So I went to a super lovely holiday party at Farenahconcept store in Sofia last night. Their upstairs event space was dimly lit and incredibly cozy on a cold and damp winter's eve. In addition to the great drinks and company, I was really excited to see that they had Molo design's modular softseating and softwalls as part of their decor. I have been totally enamored with this Canadian design firm since discovering them at ICFF a few years ago.
These pleated kraft-paper tuffets were like islands of organic softness amidst the crowd. They really animate the space in a way that standard furniture does not. No one was really sitting or lounging on them, but I at least pet them a bit, *design nerd*, that I am.
If you are lucky enough to be in Sofia, you can visit Farenahyourself. Their new online store is rather stunning and impressively curated as well. Otherwise, I hope to see the next generation of Molo's designs at ICFF in May 2011.
Svetlana Savorona is one of the Ukraine's brightest young stars on the Eastern European fashion scene. A regular at Ukrainian Fashion Week, her edgy, feminine designs reference the Bauhaus, local Kiev street style, and even traditional costuming details. I love these fabric necklaces fit for a sunny Black Sea holiday. The Grecian style tunic below also seems like a classic piece for any global style maker.
If entertaining during the holidays leaves you a bit lackluster in terms of novel table setting ideas, consider thesepocket tablecloths by ZO_loft architecture and design. Crafted in Italy out of unique local fabrics and 100% organic cotton denim, this innovative design allows any host/ess to fashion mealtime in a manner that keeps the tabletop clutter-free and chic.
Created as part of ZO_loft's new 'Pop Hand Made' line, there is even a zip-in insert for extending the length of the cloth for additional guests or elegant buffet presentations.
Cutlery and stemware can be neatly arranged alongside pockets and loop straps for guests' keys, cellphones, and personal items. Not only is this a great conversation starter for sit-down dinners, but you will be able to add a smart functional touch to any occasion by dressing up your existing furniture and china. Styles come in Granny, Morisse, Moody, Pluggy, and Terry TrOWEL. Created in partnership with A. Lancia.
If you wonder what sort of journey I am taking you on, welcome to the world of Native Kee. I would not really call Kee's blog a 'blog'. It is more of an online inspiration board that delves deep into all things beautiful, raw, complex, and life-affirming. It's also about the senses - those we have forgotten and those we need to connect with as part of a native tradition.
Alexander McQueen knit dress & fresh eggs
Kee is 'searching for beauty', and she does this in a way that peels back the layers of convention and complacency. This process not only informs her lovely work as a designer but also makes her a very real and alluring person. She humbly invites you into her world, coaxes you to play in the sunshine and on new shores, but this free-spirit never overlooks the big issues that drive her to create and craft a complex journey.
Another must visit shopping destination in Paris is the stunning concept store, Merci. The uber-hip Colette has been on everyone's radar for years now, but something about Merci is a wee bit warmer and unpretentious in style. The designer labels and houseware/gift offerings are thoughtfully curated and the space itself is an oasis in a city that is sometimes rather rich and overwhelming for one's palette. Merci remedies all of this by not overpopulating it's open floor space with luxury goods galore.
I met my dear friend Amira Marion for hot chocolate in Merci's librairie-style cafe, and the scene is warm and inviting, with the option to pour through old volumes of books and classic paperbacks. The waiters are refreshingly friendly and polite as well.
Not everything at Merci is 'green' but the overall feeling is surely organic in spirit, with impeccable attention to detail. It is no surprise perhaps that the proprietors are the owners of Bonpoint, the exquisite baby and children's boutique known around the globe.
My favorite purchase at Merci was this Din-Ink cutlery set by ZO-loft design. This was such a coincidence as I have been in dialogue with Din-Ink's designers ever since I first reviewed their great products on Inhabitat in 2008. I am now perfectly equipped for my next travel destination as a writer who can easily transform her inexpensive ballpoint pen set into dining instruments of the chicest variety.
It was a magically snowy day when I made my way to Green in the Cityat 7 Rue Malher in the fashionable Marais district of Paris. The city of lights had come to a complete standstill, but the radiant glow of proprietor Helene Sananikone's exquisite eco fashion boutiquewas a welcoming sanctuary after a whirlwind day of appointments and museum sight seeing.
Upon my arrival, Helene kindly offered me a soothing herbal tea that immediately worked wonders on my chilled fingers and toes. The browsing and shopping that followed was a true window onto some of the best names in European eco fashion as well as labels that we know and celebrate in the States: Beyond Skin, Camilla Norrback, Edun, Fin, Kami, LeAF, Loup Charmant, Matt & Nat, Misericordia, Nancy Dee, Rianne de Witte, Stella Pardo, Swedish Hasbeens, and VerediAum, to name a few.
Green in the City is a tremendous resource in a city that surely knows its fashion, though not necessarily of the sustainable genre. Helene has done a brilliant job of bringing together unique labels that epitomize the marriage of great cutting edge design and responsible practices. As the complete destination for green living essentials, she also has hand-picked some of her favorite organic beauty offerings and products, as well as adorable children's clothing collections from design labels such as Adri, Oeuf, and Lucien Zazou.
What more can I say? Green in the City is a must if you are lucky enough to be in Paris or on the European continent in general. Helene will ship select items, and word is that she will soon be updating her online shop. I also want to send a special thanks to Eva Anastasia and Amira Marion for being such wonderful hosts during my stay in Paris. The future of sustainable fashion seems bright and bold with such capable women doing such wonderful things in France. I am just thankful that I am able to be part of it from my perch in Sofia.