Where Will You Be On World Naked Bike Day?

Tomorrow Thessaloniki will join about 70 other cities worldwide in hosting its 6th Annual Naked Bike Ride. That’s right. A chance for everyone to get nekked for the sake of all that’s good in the world: clean air, fewer cars, and skin. Lots of skin. Tatooed, painted, freckled – all kinds. Free the body to protest the exploitation of the body. Replace cars with lots of happy naked people riding bikes. That’s the idea.

Will I participate? Perhaps. Within the last few years, the Naked Bike Ride has been a great way to get people together. There are tons of events everywhere, and all participants get invited to a huge after-party. Not a bad way to spend a lovely summer Saturday.

If there’s a city near you hosting, consider stripping down and riding bikes with people who are down to do the same. Seriously contemplating getting down there myself – if only to help stop traffic for a day. Gotta remember to pick up some body paint.

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Until soon,

H

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Turbans are Terrific

It’s June, and we’re obviously already melting in Thessaloniki. Soon, most locals will be packing up and getting out of town for most days at a time, returning to the heat of the city only for brief visits. Only for provisions not found in our summer villages. Who wants to be in the city during the summer? No one. That’s who. The pavements burn. The air is heavy and dry. You practically hallucinate in all the heat. It all gets so out of hand.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Bananorama. Throwback Thursday.

Note how cute they look in their coveralls and red lipstick. Working at a gas station in Manhattan in the middle of the summer sounds cruel indeed. But things always get better in hot sticky NY when the sun goes down. Even in the video, there’s a happy ending – complete with spontaneous dancing and a rooftop party.

Note one of them is kind of wearing a turban (schmata?). Which brings me to my next point…

City’s unbearable so we muses take to the coast and wander around, mostly aimlessly, for days at a time. No clocks, no schedules. Perfect circumstances for wearing a turban all day. Because, let’s face it. We’ve got to protect our heads from the heat, and our hair from the sun and the salt.

If turbans are just too much fabric for ya, go with the turband look. You can learn to make your own, or you can go out and buy yourself one and just be done with it. Cult Gaia makes amazing turbands (and flower crowns) with vintage looks so authentic, I bet no one can tell the difference.  Like the clip on tie version of turbans. Or something like that.

Once full summer mode hits, I’ll be makin’ them myself. Turbans, turbands, headbands, what-have-you. Here’s what’s inspiring right now:

Feel free to play, and we’ll have more to come on turbans later. As E says, “Tubans φορ εβερ!”

Don’t forget the red lipstick.

Until soon,

H

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Greece Is For Lovers

Enter any run-of-the-mill tourist shop in Greece and you’ll find any array of kitschy souvenirs–most notably miniature ancient Greek statues of naked men, evil eyes in various sizes and forms, and bumper stickers declaring things like “Milos is for Lovers”.  Judging by the number of stores like this still in business all over Greece, tourists love this crap.  I think it’s horrible.  Which is why I practically squealed in delight when I came across Greece Is For Lovers.  I’m not talking about the bumper sticker, folks.  Greece Is For Lovers is the design brand founded by Athenian designers Thanos Karampatsos and Christina Kotsilelou.

Here’s what they have to say about their designs:

“The creative minds behind [Greece Is For Lovers] have introduced a new sense of “Greekness” to contemporary product design, by mixing up a concoction of their country’s spiciest ingredients: humor, irony, nonchalance and extravagance.  Inspired by the stereotypical notion of what is widely held to be Greek, their designs comment on habitual activities and behavioral patterns both of the past and the present.”

Here’s what I have to say about their designs:

They’re amazing and smart and hysterically funny all at the same time.  Other than that, I have no words.  Have a look for yourselves…

And check out “Mr. Bones”, a skeleton covered in over 15,000 evil eye charms.  It was made for Kiehl’s and then auctioned off for a charity fundraiser.

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For those of you who don’t know, an evil eye charm supposedly protects you from the dreaded evil eye…which is essentially a dirty look, or when someone looks upon you with envy.  We call this “matiasma” and it can bring about a slew of horrible symptoms such as headache, uncontrollable yawning and general feelings of malaise.  Getting rid of the “matiasma” involves holy water, oil and prayer.  People take it all very seriously.  I think it’s a bunch of hocus pocus but I generally need me some science.  Just ask “Mr. Bones”.  Even 15,000 charms couldn’t save him from the evil eye.

Until soon,

E

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Secrets

Frank Warren has been inviting people to share secrets with him for almost ten years. It all started when he printed out and hand-distributed 3,000 postcards with instructions on how to share secrets with him anonymously. Since then, he has received secrets every day – and it doesn’t look like people are going to stop sending them any time soon. For more information on how this works, visit the PostSecret community website.

He’s published five books filled with anonymous secrets – I own the first one printed. Some of the secrets are shocking. Some are funny. Some are really, really sad. There is something so intimate about reading through these. Each postcard (whether the secret is true or not) represents an opportunity to unburden a load. Each declaration, a huge sigh of relief.

Some of these make me laugh, others make me feel extremely uncomfortable. Here are some of my favorites:

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Until soon,

H

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Costa Rican Wanderings

A couple of years ago, I spent two glorious weeks wandering around Costa Rica.  The first week involved a lot of roaming around rain forests, attempting to photograph various creatures and searching for the elusive quetzal (which I managed to catch a glimpse of through binoculars).  The second week was all about beach bumming in the magnificent surfer town of Santa Teresa.  I don’t surf but I wish I did.  I would have taken a lesson or two but since my laziness knows no limits, I decided to lounge around in the hammock instead.  Somehow, I did manage to take a few photographs…none of which really do justice to this stunning paradise….IMG_1679 IMG_1707 IMG_1711 IMG_1737 IMG_1739 IMG_1783

I packed all sorts of appropriate outfits in preparation for the trip, but ended up wearing my bikini and a couple of sun dresses for the most part.  The good news is that I didn’t have much laundry to do when I got back.  The bad news is that I looked nothing like this gorgeous model in this month’s W Magazine sporting haute couture in the jungle and rolling around in designer swimsuits and/or half naked on Santa Teresa’s beach.  Still, this stunning shoot brings back memories of a place I’ll never forget.

Photographs by Mikael Jansson

If you ever happen to wander over to Santa Teresa, you might want to consider staying at Gumbo Limbo Villas.  I promise you’ll be greeted by monkeys, iguanas and warm smiles.  The view is incredible, the villas are stunning and the outdoor shower is everything.  Plus, Betty makes a mean breakfast burrito that I still crave two years later.  So much so that I might just have to go back.

Until soon,

E

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Swirly Twirly Goodness

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time controlling my constant urge to doodle while I wait for things.  Like if I’ve been put on hold by some evil customer service rep.  Or if I just. can’t. stay. awake. during a meeting.  Perhaps it’s some kind of coping mechanism.  Most of my doodles involve swirls of some sort.  I suppose you could say that I like swirls.  Swirls are nice.  Especially these swirly portraits by Athens-born artist Nikos Gyftakis.  These ain’t no doodles, though, folks.  Gyftakis uses oil on canvas to create a swirly, colorful gloriousness reminiscent of Van Gogh.

A few of his self-portraits…

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And from a series called “Liquid Friends”…

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Nikos Gyftakis was born in Athens and studied painting at the School of Fine Arts at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.  He has had several exhibitions showcasing his work in Greece and abroad and now divides his time between Stockholm and Athens.

Mr. Gyftakis, in case you happen to read this–if you’re looking for your next muse to paint, I’m available.

Until soon,

E

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Design, Asymmetry And Clutches Made Of Cork

Symmetry is overrated, and so asymmetry is where it’s at. In life AND in fashion. Think about it. Some of the most interesting things happen to us when we veer off the path a bit, no? Thessaloniki-born designer Georgina Skalidi takes that concept and applies it to her designs, creating bags that are sometimes triangular in shape, but relevant in their refusal to look like your run-of-the-mill clutch.

Georgina Skalidi left Thessaloniki to study in Paris, and now she’s blowin’ up. She’s got two stores: one in Athens, the other in Crete. In 2012 she collaborated with Eastpack for the Artist Studio Collection; she’s part of Boticca’s USA designers community; and she was featured as a new talent by Vogue Italy. Blowin’ up.

georgina skalidi

Here are some pictures from her 2011 Lookbook.

And these are some of my favorite pieces from both her current collection and stuff from past seasons. I think my favorite bag is the one made of cork. Think about how light that is! Gorge.

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It’s real nice to see more and more talent coming out of Thessaloniki. Inspiring places breed inspiring minds…and vice versa…that’s how it goes…

Until soon,

H

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Holographic is Fantastic.

Sometimes, on especially busy days, I think about how helpful it would be to have my own personal hologram.  If you think about it, a hologram could come in handy in a variety of situations.  For example, it could wait in line at the bank or sit in on boring meetings while the real you gets a massage. But alas! Until this becomes possible (get on it, science!) we’ll just have to settle for the holographic accessories seen all over the runways for spring/summer 2013.  Because while Jonathan Saunders’s collection is amazing…

the reality is that most of us would look like baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil wearing holographic skirts out in the world.  So let’s do it Stella McCartney style and stick to accessories.

Here are a few of my picks for just about any budget…

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Marc by Marc Jacobs Clutch $140

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 Kate Spade Pump $328

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Forever 21 Pump $25

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Cheap Monday Swing Bag $80

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Belle Noel Studs $42

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Gianvito Rossi Pump 510 euros

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Zoe Oxford $180

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Melie Bianco Clutch $80

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Stella McCartney iPad Case $190

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Proenza Schouler Sandal $695

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Calvin Klein Sandal $100

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Lanvin Bag $1,610

Until soon,

E

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Old Hollywood Summer Style Muses

It’s officially summer here, and no one loves that more than me.  The sky is permanently a bright, electric blue. The smell of jasmine is everywhere. The days are long, and the nights are…magical. Even plain ol’ Tuesday nights are magical. Soon I’ll be spending most days by the sea. Don’t hate – comes with the territory…;-)

I love that we have no choice but to wear less stuff because it’s a million degrees out. But does wearing less stuff automatically mean that one need look like a skank? It shouldn’t. I mean, look how these old-school Hollywood actresses pulled off style, grace – and functionality, come summer…

angelica huston by eve arnold

Anjelica Huston – so young

Angelica huston

Anjelica Huston – a bit older

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

brigitte-bardot

Brigitte Bardot

Catherine Deneuve In London, 1964

Catherine Denevue

elizabeth taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

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Faye Dunaway

Grace Kelly & Cary GrantGrace Kelly – accompanied by Cary Grant

jane-fonda

Jane Fonda

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Monica Vitti

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Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood again

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate

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Romy Schneider

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Sharon Tate again

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

I love it. Can’t get enough. Free People‘s got tons of stuff this season that screams out boho-60’s summer. With a huge dose of style. And grace, too. See?

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I hope it’s summer where you are. If it’s not summer yet, then patience…it’s coming.

Until soon,

H

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Greeks Do It Better: Ancient Greek Sandals

Anyone who has spent time wandering around Monastiraki in Athens or the tourist shops in the Greek islands will tell you about the dizzying selection of leather sandals available.  You can find just about any style and color for just about any foot.  I own several pairs.  These sandals are perfect for casual wanderings and are especially great for beach bumming.  Granted, the leather doesn’t always fare well if it comes into contact with water, but at 20 or so euros a pop, who cares?

Ancient Greek Sandals, founded by ex-Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton shoe designer and Greek native Christina Martini and footwear businessman Nikolas Minoglou take these classic Greek sandals a step further (no pun intended).  Starting at 120 euros, these sandals are pricier than the styles available in the tourist shops.  However, the difference is in the quality and the design.  The sandals are handmade by local craftsmen using traditional methods and natural, chemical-free leathers that are supplied locally.  And, unlike most footwear, these babies get better with age—the leather softens with wear and darkens with exposure to the sun.  The designs are inspired by Greek art, history and mythology.  Appropriately, each style is named after a mythological character.  Including the Muses. Let me introduce you to…

Clio, Muse of history…

Erato, Muse of love poetry…

Melpomeni, Muse of tragedy…

and Thalia, Muse of comedy…

And a few of my non-muse, but equally mythological favorites…

Ancient Greek Sandals are available handmade to order on the company’s website and will be shipped from Greece in 30 days.  Gotta have time to make ‘em…you know you’re getting the real deal.  They are also sold by several retailers, including net-a-porter.com and shopbop.com.

Until soon,

E

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