Thursday, August 27, 2015

Liberty London's Iphis Marlborough tote bag

Allow me to introduce you to one of my latest bags additions,  the Iphis Marlborough tote bag by Liberty. I came to know about it in Spring 2015, when Liberty London launched new bag styles from  the Iphis line. The Iphis collection with its roots firmly embedded in classic English design, has its signature coated canvas base fabric screen printed with the Iphis monogram like print by-hand in Italy.

Iphis is a modern reworking of the much-loved classic Liberty print ‘Ianthe’ which is a French Art-Nouveau wallpaper design dating back to c 1902. The print is named after Iphis who according to ancient Greek mythology was Ianthe's lover. 

It is worth mentioning that all the bags in the Iphis collection are named after the renowned streets that surround the Liberty store. My Iphis Marlborough tote bag was a perfect addition to my wardrobe because a) I fell in love with the creative and artistic use of colors and patterns, b) the leather felt strong and enduring for my everyday use, and c) it's sooo light to carry!

You can find the latest versions of my bag here

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mona Hatoum at The Centre Pompidou

During our stay in Paris, we visited the Centre Pompidou, better known as the modern art museum of paris, to check out artist Mona Hatoum's most comprehensive exhibition to date, giving an overview of the diversity and scope of her work from the late 70s to present. It gathers together over 100 works in artistic media. 

Born in Beirut in 1952 to Palestinian parents, Hatoum was on a short visit to London in 1975 when the Lebanese civil war broke out. Unable to return, she attended art school in London. British by nationality, she remained in the UK after her studies and, since 2003, divides her time between London and Berlin. 

Below are some pieces that I liked from her exhibition. Mona Hatoum's exhibition will be on display at Centre Pompidou until 28th September. Check it out it's worth the visit. 

In this billboard-sized work, Hatoum depicts herself in profile, looking at a toy solider positioned on her nose. It is a humorous yet complex and contradictory image. It plays with scale to reverse the power relationships by reducing the symbol of masculinity to a small creature, like a fly, that one can flick off. 

This is a close-up of Mona Hatoum's work titled Twelve Windows. There twelve pieces of Palestinian embroidery are the work of Inaash, the Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps (a Lebanese NGO founded in 1969 to provide employment for Palestinian women in refugee camps in Lebanon). The act of embroidery here becomes like an act of resistance against the discontinuations of exile. Each window represents, through its motifs, stitches, and patterns, a key region of Palestine. Installed in a space that is crisscrossed by steel cables, they become like a visual map of Palestine and a metaphor for the divided territory. 

Undercurrent Red (2008). This is a floor piece made from electrical cables that have been woven to form a large square mat, and fringed strands with light bulbs, resembling a medusa-like creature. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Museums in London

I don't think I have ever been to so many museums in a span of 3 weeks as much as I did during my summer trip! In London alone we went to 5 different museums. I'm glad that I did that, because my kids loved it and were exposed to so many cultures and historical fun facts, which I'm hoping they'll all be saved in their long term memory. Anyhow, in this post I'll be sharing with you the highlights of my museum trips in London. The post misses mentions of two significant museums which we have been to but I only managed to snapchat them at that time, which were: The Science Museum and the London Motor Museum. In no particular order, here are my highlights of museuming in London...

I have taken this picture of this amazing skirt displayed at The British Museum. Cloths several meters in length were layered and gathered around the waist to create the full skirts of Hawaiian Women. This skirt (from 1800's) has evidence of stiching along one long edge, which would have secured plain layers of cloth underneath. I still can't get over the fact that this is from the 1800's! It looks so modern, like something designed by Marni or Dries Van Noten! Beautiful!

A necklace from ancient egypt worn by Pharos. Spotted at The British Museum

Spotted there scarlet boots (1900 - 30) at the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition which is currently being held at the Victoria & Albert Museum. These boots are elaborately worked with gilded appliqué decoration. Ornately decorated boots like these are seen in journals in the 1920s and also appeared in stage performances. Burlesque and music hall artists showed them off while dancing. 

Emerald in its natural form. Beyond pretty! 

The Medusa, a group of naturally occurring crystals is regarded as one of the world's finest mineral specimens. Discovered in Zambia in 2009. It's a variety of emerald and quartz crystals. Gorgeous! Spotted at The Natural History Museum

I can't believe that these are genuine jewelry from the prehistoric egyptian civilization! They look so modern and well-made. I spotted them at the British Museum, in the permenant galley dedicated for Ancient Egypt. 

From the 1860, shorter skirts led to a greater emphasis on the stockings and shoes. The barrette, or sandal-boots, as seen here, daringly revealed colored stockings through the bands or cut-outs on the leg and instep. This was not always approved of. The contemporary boots create the same effect, framing the flesh of the leg. They have the addition of a killer sharp heel. This is also part of the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition which is currently being held at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Spotted at The British Museum, these small pottery, cloth and metal Falasha people and figures are from the 20th century, often depicting mothers carrying infants. They are made by Falasha women mainly for sale to tourists. The Falasha are Ethiopian Jews whose origins are steeped in legend. Isolated from other jewish communities, they have developed a uniquely Ethiopian form of Judaism.  

Silver footwear was often given as a wedding gift to Indian brides. The epitome of luxury, these ornately worked toe-knob sandals, known as paduka, were one of the many often extravagant presents a bride might receive. Such shoes often became heirlooms, passed down to successive female family members. The Height of the sandals made the bride stand out, so that she was easily spotted and admired in the crowd. This is also part of the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition which is currently being held at the Victoria & Albert Museum

This beautiful large feather leaves bowl is by Japanese artist Hosono Hitomi. It;s not an old piece as it was made in 2013, but its details and craftsmanship makes it a museum-worthy piece. I spotted it at The British MuseumHosono Hitomi worked in her London studio for over six months to create this bowl. She created the basic form on a wheel and then painstakingly attached each of the thousand leaves to give the impression that they are gently rustling in the wind. 

at Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition which is currently being held at the Victoria & Albert Museum

A dish with arabic inscription from eastern Iran or Uzbekistan 900 -1000
The text on the small dish was carefully executed in thick, black slip. It offers good wishes for the owner. The spiky inscription on the large dish probably has a similar meaning, but it is more ornament than text. The decoration on the inner walls of the bowl is also based on an inscription, but it has been turned into a purely decorative design. 

Imperial topaz from Brazil from in 1833 and 1889. This golden crustal was found in 1832 in one of the earliest topaz mines in Brazil. The color, known as imperial topaz, is typical of the southeastern Ouro Preto region and is most sought after. The cut of the gem highlights its warm sherry glow. It is exceptionally rare to find a crystal of this size and clarity, making it in the words of its previous owner "the finest yellow topaz known". 

This perfect-for-Ramadan caftan-like piece is called Mughal Costume. It is actually worn by men at the Mughal court. The costume is based on the Jama, a tailored gown tied at the side, and the Paijama, tapering trousers which were loose at the top and close-fitting at the lower leg. Fine muslin was the most favored material, often embroidered with silk and gold threads. 

Loved this display called Aurora pyramid of hope, which I took its photo at The Natural History Museum. It is a private collection. This stunning array of 296 naturally colored diamonds took 25 years to collect. It shows the full range of colors in which diamonds can be found. 

Kaleidoscopic colors!! Heart! These opal stones were found in Australia in 1949 (first from left), and 1993. The opal and gold necklace was made in 1958, would be amazing to own such piece! Tonnes of rock may be processed before a single fine opal is found. At the back you can see a rock that has split open to reveal the shimmering opal inside. It is rare to find two opals that are alike. Black opals like the one on the far left are considered the best by gemologists.

South Asian history at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Also another dazzling pair I spotted at Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition which is currently being held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. These are jeweled evening shoes from 1952-1954 designed by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior

Monday, August 24, 2015

Olio Pizzeria in Beirut

Remember my "Where to eat in Beirut?" post? Well, in additions to the restaurants and cafes I have mentioned in my previous post, I would like to add Olio Pizzeria. We had lunch there after visiting my sister-in-law's art studio. I had this cherry tomatoes and aromatic basil leaves salad drizzled with organic olive oil. Simple but I loved it, because I have never tasted tomatoes as naturally sweet as the ones I had in Beirut. Their pizzas, baked in wood-burning, bell-shaped brick ovens, are yummy too!

 Olio Pizzeria is located at Al Hamra, Beirut. They also have 4 other outlets in different parts of Lebanon. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Amna AlSalem's Fall 2015 Collection

Amna AlSalem is not a new name to my blog and to fashion-loving people within our region. Her previous collection received a shining stamp of approval from one of Kuwait's biggest high-end luxury store AlOthman a few seasons ago with the release of an exclusive-to-Kuwait collection for the retailer, drawing upon her signature silhouettes and ready-to-wear successes. For her new collection, Amna stayed true to her feminine signature style with a hint of playfulness through cut, shapes, and colors. Here's what the designer has shared with Confashions from Kuwait in regards to her latest collection....

Amna AlSalem's collection is inspired by Henri Matisse's masterpiece, The Dessert: Harmony in Red. This painting was originally commissioned as 'Harmony in Blue' but Matisse was dissatisfied with the result, and so he painted it over with his preferred red. Amna AlSalem was attached to the sense of joie de vivre the painting interprets, with that she added the perfect shade of red to dresses and capes. Elements of the turn of the century inspirations and shapes are also apparent, and in harmony, especially in the ankle length red dress with the black cross on the bust. Because harmony in Red has no central focal point, the colors and exaggerated shapes of the garments are all one sees. Known for her immaculate cuts, the collection still has what Amna does best, making dresses as art pieces... The collection accumulated all lengths, from baby doll short minis to long full skirts. Feathers and the blending of different materials, chiffon, taffeta, and luxurious cottons, have been added to enrich the collection. At the time of birthing the collection, Amna was obsessing over the cloudy blue skies at Harmony... And so she added baby blues to the medley... To add drama to the two black gowns she thought of the fall gold leaves from the painting and went for a flower golden crown. The overall aesthetic of the collection is feminine with a hint of drama.

Here are some of my favorite looks...


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