9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can be honest too. Fashion by nature is frivolous though the act of not caring is in itself a dictation of style. Isn’t the most convoluted futurist Rick Owens offering as valid in linear narrative as the regular jo evoking mumblecore realness? Regardless  these garment live an endless sea of poetic expressions that at some point steer into pure unadulterated commerce.

We like to always stay out of the box and apart from the status quo as most of us are in figuring and navigating function and form through the lines of digital capabilities. There are times when I look into the past from the sociological standpoint and question what is the reasons a reflection or reaction to the times. Where does fashion form to dictate the editorial directions which are then consumed and processed. With that rant here are some memoirs and biographies which have been a great source of inspiration and show the entire depths of the humanity of fashion players.

Chiffon Trenches – André Leon Talley

One of the more salacious biographies of fashion to get dropped last year, this book contains all the needs of 70s and 80s era hedonism via Paris, New York. Tally reached into his humble upbringing with a goddess grandmother as well as the King Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld during his time at Chloe into Chanel. Though this book truly portrays a man deeply devoted to fashion, the sense on loyalty seems tragic as the separation of garment and identity is lost to the Vogue ins and outs of the fashion set. Names dropped include the fore-mentioned Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Anna Wintour, and Diana Vreeland. Also note the subtle shade towards Edward Enninful. Check out the last interview Andre Leon Talley did for Vogue’s Met Gala before being replaced by Liza Koshy. Buy it here.

The Woman I Wanted To Be – Diane Von Furstenberg

The thought of Diane von Furstenberg’s clothing has been essential in the cultural understanding of American sportswear. Her wrap dresses have been a constant standard of what the American woman would look like in the romanticize vision of metropolitan New York City life. This book offers up that and so much more as she delves into her familial past and family tree, traversing her mothers experiences of World War II and into her own Studio 54 era, marrying into aristocracy and becoming the prototypical fashion Girl-Boss. Beyond all the glamour and star studded shout outs in this memoir, the book offers more on the construction of culture and business as she moves through fashion, love, cosmetics, loss, cancer, family, and entrepreneurship. J’adore this throw back interview! Buy It Here.

Grace: A Memoir – Grace Coddington

Another title could have been “Anything for the picture!” A fascinating biography which shares the decorated and poetic life of Grace Coddington, the unsung hero of Vogue. The book highlights her deeply romantic journeys along side the consistent battle to attain creative autonomy. This book serves as a great launching point for anyone looking not to compromise their vision as well as proposes the glamour of the era of company cards and extended exotic trips for fashion. A must for those who thrive in pushing for a subversive stance in the creative industry. Her transition from model to editorial expresses so much more to be understood in the existence of being more than just a clothes hanger. This book though dusted with a heft of A list names really focuses on the creative auteurs which have been launched and cultivated by Coddington. Buy it Here

Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent 

–  Christopher Petkanas 

Can we think of the 70’s era Saint Laurent woman without the tailored androgyny of Betty Catroux and the ultimate Rive Gauche haute bohémienne Loulou de la Falaise. A well-designed oral history featuring all the various bitchy drama we need from the compiled interviews spanning her eccentric upbringing by model/mother/muse Maxime de la Falaise, her time bordering NY Warholian trenches to London’s scene with Ossie Clark and ultimately her time molding Saint Laurent. The book features a lush depiction of sex, drugs and haute couture funneled through the eras’s bohemian party girl from Aristocratic beauty to her last days. The tragic nature of her story is not so cautionary but embraced as a life well lived and is well blanketed in the mystique of gossip as well as the smoke and anything goes attitude from Club Sept. Argh we just want to be drunk and on opium to be in this reenacted room with Léa Seydoux as Loulou in her turban glory, and Gaspard Ulliel as YSL is quite yum.  Buy it here.

Walking with the Muses: A Memoir – Pat Cleveland

The dancing queen, Halston and Stephen Burrows muse, the model who redefined the way models move on the runway, Pat Cleveland’s glittering life shimmers in this book which features all the drama of New York to Paris. So a forever light in fashions often dark scene, the book begins with Cleveland’s upbringing in the creative world her mother the artist Lady Bird Cleveland cultivates in Harlem to her initial discovery as a designer through Vogue and into her early career modeling with Essence through a reality shaking racist south. She offers heart breaking stories of racism and adversity which ultimately leads her to success in Europe aligning with Warhol before making it to iconic status in the states. Buy Here.  Watch this Show studio interview and do read in her voice

Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow – Detmar Blow

One of the most tragic stories to come out of fashion, with a glorious life that would eventually end in suicide, Isabella Blow is honored in this book by her husband Detmar. Her privilege and troubled upbringing sets the tone for a rebellious life which leads to a stylistic cultivation and savant like quality of picking up talent from Philip Treacy to her most bountiful discovery, Alexander McQueen. Though though the eccentric outfits of armor like couture and artful acquaintances were endless it was all to veil the mental illness and various troubles of the visionary editor. This Video Fashion Obit is such a mood  Buy it Here.

D.V. – Diana Vreeland

This is a playful and great book to have by the bed side as the ultimate fashion girl’s bedtime story. Each chapter is compiled as a surrealist experience presenting anecdotes and happenstances that seem all too good for reality.  Perhaps Diana simply lived a life of nonstop Kismet. Prolific moments include years spent around Chanel in the 20s, skipping out on the Nazis, her time at vogue and the Met as well as her beautiful youth surrounded by playful Demimondaine during La Belle Époque. Fun fact this scene from Funny Face “Think Pink” was inspired by Diana Vreeland. Buy the Book here.

I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones

Beyond being a model/musician and postmodern muse to Jean Paul Goude and generations of gay men, the singer/model/actress finally wrote her memoirs. The first half of the book is heavy in tone set to her upbringing in Jamaica aligned with Pentecostal family hell. An experience which possibly created the fierce persona that came to make Jones. Once liberated and unleashed onto New York City Grace begins a modeling career which steers into endless nights as a queen at disco haven Studio 54. Though ultimately her career as a model and musician would maturate and become well envisioned in Paris where her disco tracks were abandoned for the underground sounds of dub and new wave aligning with the Parisian elite. Most fascinating was her time with Issey Miyake which gave way to her posing and kabuki inflected performances. Please also enjoy the longform video, A One Man Show which she was nominated for a Grammy and so got robbed of. Purchase here.

The Price Of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck

Possibly the best for last, this novel is a brilliant deconstruction of the fashion editors persona and mental state. Though jam packed with the editorial allure that made #BTSlife a starring aspect of editorial, Joan Juliet Buck’s novel posed more than the glitteratti which we so often use to escape reality. Her roots in old Hollywood are punctuated by legends who were mere family friends. Her love life was shown in a pace through ripples of male presences not to detract from the high stakes world of designers, Vogue and the endless fashion calendar. Opening with her firing ahead of the Prada show, the only American editor of Paris Vogue philosophical unraveling came as she knew her opinion would not matter. The most self affirming part of this book for anyone who is or wants to be involved in fashion comes towards the end as the author finds true happiness in community and the sobriety from a lifelong addiction to Vogue. Can we also enjoy the authors turn as an actress in 2009 Julia & Julia.   Buy it now

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

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9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

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Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

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Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

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bläanks | Urbanized Cottagecore

bläanks | Urbanized Cottagecore

The time now to buckle down on our own terms is ever vital as we do shelter in and define our own version of “sweater weather”. As of late a merging of the tactile and nude has defined this new vision of comfort and lounge, nothing hits like the combo of heat tech synthetics and the tried and tested fluidity of a good knit. But must we not forget that our full looks of SSENSE sale items are getting to peak fatigue as a stroll or hike around the neighborhood is the new cruising ground for who is cute and the dictation of what’s hot.

Fortunately, LA based interior design company bläanks has broken through from the hospitality range to get the goods direct to consumers. With their highly textural knits and bold to subdued colors, the brand gives a slight nod to its Scandinavian roots as well as the embrace of Los Angeles’ rock n roll traditions. We spoke to Judy Pokonosky and Suss Cousins to discuss sustainability, the emotions of knits, and defining the current culture of comfort.

What is the story on how you met each other, your style and vision are a great shift from the usual knitting traditions?

We met in the apparel industry about 25 years ago and re-connected roughly 4 years ago and started bläanks.

We were inspired and saw a great opportunity in the Hospitality and A+D Space for amazing textured knits that we applied to throws and pillows. We feel our unique background and experience brought something different to this market.

I notice that you shot at the Arroyo Seco, what was the significance to shooting there and in general this type of urban adjacent nature?

Being a California and specifically a Los Angeles based company we are very inspired by the amazing nature and outdoor spaces that are in literally in our backyards!

We love the history of California-the energy and possibilities of expanded space that the west coast provides-Southern California loves it’s outdoor living spaces.

With the worlds condition, how do you see the work you have done in homewares and interior life being part of a greater discussion on the way things are shifting?

We pride ourselves as a company with sustainable product and practices. 

With a custom made to order in the USA machine washable yarn strategy we keep our carbon footprint light and provide unique product for each client and project with competitive pricing. Our research shows that no one was checking all these boxes in this market.

How did this new venture into DTC and the patchwork pattern come together?

We were really excited to offer something unique that we ourselves wanted to design-definitely knitted throws and pillows that were limited editions.

 

What trends do you see coming up in knitwear and how have you participated or feel like you are pushing the culture forward? 

We have had a great response to the unique textures and color combos that we have designed. Knits are very emotional, and our clients really love the feel and energy of knitted goods vs. the usual woven product in the market. We research and are inspired by history of stitches from all over the world -bringing new twists to them into the 21st century with a definite eye on marketplace trend.

How do you see the brand differentiating from other knit oriented interior companies?

We want to highlight we are a custom resource; this is very important as people really respond to ordering and having unique product made for them. Suss has written 7 books about technical knitting, giving bläanks an incredible advantage in developing amazing knitted pillows and throws.

For more information on bläanks

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

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Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

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9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

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Sage Willows | NFT Works “Doesn’t Even Exist”

Chatting up the young artist as he interacts with the modern NFT market on his own terms

Natura | Lumina

Every blonde deserves a fortifying treatment that will keep you brassless and malleable

Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

Get to know the Australian brand brings sexy bath, with soul, scent, and marine collagen.

Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

Get to know the journalist who took on a quarantine hobby and launched a successful side gig in floral arrangements informed by architecture, art, and getting back to nature

John Carroll Kirby x Scent

John Carroll Kirby x Scent

What’s there not to like about John Carroll Kirby!? The multi instrumentalist, producer and purveyor of socal funk has long been the secret weapon for the likes of Norah Jones, Blood Orange, Bat for Lashes, Frank OceanConnan MockasinKali Uchis, and Harry Styles, adding a touch of what some consider “Kirbyesque” nuances. In the past year he presented his own vision of jazz tinged piano compositions, restrained in its minimalism and collaborative in its vision on the masterful album My Garden.

Though the precursor, the haunting and meditative album Conflict, is what we are focusing on. Released in the earlier days of the pandemic this body of work presented a perfect soundscape to the morose sentiment of the beginning of lockdown. His version offered insight and self reflection in a way which lent to thoughts of wabi-sabi fundamentalism and the perfections of slow moving meditations.

With all this time spent to reflect, in came the decision to upend the conventions of merch. Taking on a collaborative project Kirby linked with close friend Josefina Valdés of the Mexico City based indie label Scent to create a collection of hand sourced stones that were polished and engraved with the albums track titles. The brand is part of a new wave of Mexico City based designers making unique and unconventional garments, Scent is highly sought after for their second layer body piece. In a way extending the song taken close to heart. We spoke with John Carroll Kirby and Scent’s Josefina Valdés on this union of creative spirits.

John Carroll Kirby 

How did you guys meet it is such a wonderfully collaborative collection to mix the stones and track titles that are both so grounding.

John Carroll Kirby -Josefina and I met when i was on tour in Mexico City with Connan Mockasin, and stayed in touch since then!!! I was a fan of Josephina’s brand Scent, especially her second skin line as worn by Rihanna and Lil Miquela. I contributed music for her Scent Boveda 2020 show, and from there we decided to collaborate on some merch!

With this collaboration how did you go about deciding to use specifically the album Conflict? It was such a great piece of work to soundtrack the beginning of quarantine.

Josefina Valdés – I related with the Conflict album a lot because there is something so nostalgic about it, specially because this year has been extremely weird in so many ways and not precisely about happiness and  for me this album has a lot of melancholy to it and goes incredibly well with the times we are living.

What was it like in translating the albums song titles into the wearable art? 

Josefina Valdés – I listened to the songs and I envisioned a color palette, I felt this album contained a lot of brownish-goldish-orangey  hues, not too much contrast just harmony between each color, then I started looking for the stones that contained this color palette.

How did you go about picking the specific stones that would be used for this selection?

Josefina Valdés – Stones were picked according to their colors and size, we needed something that gave us the space to carve on the songs, agate turned out to be the best material for what we wanted to express in color texture and shape. Agates worked so well because they contained the exact color palette I had in mind when listening to the album. 

Was there a specific significance to the song titles that you chose, it felt like the symbolism is concentrated in the song. 

Josefina Valdés – I’m obsessed with the whole album but these specific titles where so powerful against the agates, we used our favorite words to make them necklaces you could wear close to your heart. 

Do you see the collaboration extending into other works John has created or other items customized in the Scent brand?

Josefina Valdés – I think it was a combination of both, but I had John’s aesthetic very present in the whole process, for me it easier to work with someone that has a very solid sense of identity as I see in everything John does, that gave me a strong base to start with and conjugate with Scent aesthetic as well, the result was very Scent and very John Carroll Kirby at the same time, we both related so well with the result.

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

Rico Starr | Gogo’s Entrepreneur

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Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

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9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

An Ode to LA Night Life built on paintings, photographs, installations and film

Sage Willows | NFT Works “Doesn’t Even Exist”

Chatting up the young artist as he interacts with the modern NFT market on his own terms

Natura | Lumina

Every blonde deserves a fortifying treatment that will keep you brassless and malleable

Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

Get to know the Australian brand brings sexy bath, with soul, scent, and marine collagen.

Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

Get to know the journalist who took on a quarantine hobby and launched a successful side gig in floral arrangements informed by architecture, art, and getting back to nature

Winter Wonders | Holiday Gift Guide

Winter Wonders | Holiday Gift Guide

What should you get for all the beloved but quirky, picky, fancy, practical or eccentric people in your life? The holidays are just around the corner and to make shopping a little easier we’ve assembled gifts for everyone on your list.    

1.Self-care/Wellness:  2020 is the year to invest in your self care and these gifts will help you relax and recharge.

Violet Grey Curated Kits
Curated kits for glow, clear skin, hair, and wellness. 

Violet Grey Curated Kits 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Kit

The Glow Kit is powerful, but mini travel sized versions to achieve the ultimate glow.

Love Sweat Fitness Resistance Bands

With all the holiday sweets, make time to get your holiday sweat on. Give yourself the gift of a cute booty. 

Sakara Discovery Kit

 A discovery kit of Sakara’s bestsellers for optimal wellness and beauty. 

MUD/WTR

An alternative to coffee with superfood ingredients; Masala Chai, Cacao, Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Turmeric, Sea Salt, Cinnamon.

Jade Roller & Gua Sha Set

Chic stocking stuffers in a variety of different gemstones for specific areas. Natural Rose quartz face massager, facial roller for face, neck and eye skin. Eliminates wrinkles and puffiness. 

Slip Silk Queen Pillowcase

Anti aging, anti sleep crease, anti bed head the highest grade (6A) long fiber mulberry silk commissioned by Bergdorf Goodman for the ultimate combination of shine, thickness, softness and durability. —  

Slip Silk Queen Pillowcase

2. Style: 

Classic staples to fulfill your friend’s and family’s holiday wishes.

Jennifer Meyer Necklace 18K Gold Mini Leaf Necklace

Simple, fashionable jewelry that you can layer with other charm necklaces. 

Jennifer Meyer Necklace 18K Gold Mini Leaf Necklace

Classic wardrobe staple for looking sexy by the fire while spending cozy evenings in doors. 

Milly Fion Cheetah Print Bias Skirt

This iconic skirt is ready for all the holiday glam.  

 

3. HOME & LIFESTYLE

Unique selections for the cook, host, and homebody in your life.

Le Labo Santal 33

Santal 33 never goes out of style and you can personalize the label. A perfume that would intoxicate a man as much as a woman. Cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox crackle in the formula and bring to this smoking wood alloy (Australian sandalwood, papyrus, cedarwood) some spicy, leathery, musky notes, and gives this perfume its unisex signature and addictive comfort. Santal 33 is an open fire, the soft drift of smoke, where sensuality rises after the light has gone.
 

Le Labo Santal 33

HUNU Collapsible Coffee Cup

Pocket sized coffee cup that you can stow anywhere and everywhere.

Lettuce Grow 24-Plant Farm Stand

Self watering and self fertilizing so everyone has the green thumb. 

ASSOULINE | Capri Dolce Vita

After all it is resort season right? Treat someone to a Capri getaway with this beautiful coffee table book. Capri boasts a rich Mediterranean spirit and style that encompasses a wealth of beauty, from gardens to villas to caves to the people walking in the lively Piazzetta, where cars are prohibited and the island’s playful attitude runs rampant. Capri Dolce Vita is a look at this fabled corner of the world through the ages and a celebration of paradise on earth.

D I V I N E Amethyst Crystal Water Bottle for Healing and Wellness

An elegant way to create crystal elixirs from your own home. Beautiful quality Glass Bottle, Gold engraving: GRATITUDE. Portable use, Large Crystals. Gift Ready.

Rivsalt Himalayan Rock Salt Grater

Bring new flavours to your signature dishes with this Original Himalaya and salt grater from Rivsalt.

Truffin Truffle Ranch Dressing and Sriracha

Fancy dressing for your holiday dishes.

Hermes 100mg Skateboard

For the person who has everything and has a bit of a wild side.

Edie Parker Ouija Board

Edie Parker transforms the classic Ouija Board with a hand-poured acrylic board and planchette with a galaxy design. Use yours to add some fun to after-dinner drinks with friends.

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

Rico Starr | Gogo’s Entrepreneur

From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

The hidden entrepreneur gets vocal with her latest podcast Talk by BRAINFREEZE.

9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

An Ode to LA Night Life built on paintings, photographs, installations and film

Sage Willows | NFT Works “Doesn’t Even Exist”

Chatting up the young artist as he interacts with the modern NFT market on his own terms

Natura | Lumina

Every blonde deserves a fortifying treatment that will keep you brassless and malleable

Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

Get to know the Australian brand brings sexy bath, with soul, scent, and marine collagen.

Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

Get to know the journalist who took on a quarantine hobby and launched a successful side gig in floral arrangements informed by architecture, art, and getting back to nature

Aliona Kononova | Masked in Fort Ross

Aliona Kononova | Masked in Fort Ross

Aliona Kononova has been a well cemented part of Los Angeles’ art and fashion scene. Frequently adorning the most avant garde of dressers around the various art openings and social happenings, is there anything more inspiring than to see Valerie Von Sobel in one of Kononova’s confections. When the pandemic hit, Kononova like the rest of the world slowed down. Focusing on fully envisioned one offs, pushing an endearing sense of more architectural engineered garments craft it out of the most rigid fabrics. It is with this strong and dynamic use of craftsmanship which she has applied into the process of her mask making. Having been anointed “Millinery‘s New Star” with the blessing of Stephen Jones, it is no wonder that her expertly crafted masks take on a whole life of their own.

A gorgeous and luxuriant product that transfers wearers to a place which almost makes one forget that it is a product of function, but rather a storied vision of art. In the time of quarantine and isolation the designer has also explored her adopted home of California. Producing shoots which showcase her designs against the alien backdrop of the many coastal towns along 655.8 miles of Cali coastline.

The pacing couldn’t have been better as she also highlighted the little known Russian homestead, Fort Ross. We got to chatting with Kononova about this project which ultimately matches her Californian dream and Slavic roots. she also provided a delectably addictive recipe for Syrniki, a cottage cheese based pancake which is dosed with just the right amount of sugar to be a tea time treat, snack or dessert.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

BJ Panda Bear: Where did you shoot these images they are completely astonishing and alien, you mentioned they were near San Francisco.

Aliona Kononova: The first part was in Sedona and around that area as well as around Vazquez Rocks. Second part was around San Francisco and Fort Ross. It was collaboration between me and my friend Yulia Kirillova who also modeled in the images.

BJPB: Yes and you mentioned there were parts that were Russian, was there a town there? I know Solvang is the one that’s all Danish.

AK: It’s really special so Fort Ross is a former Russian outpost in Sonoma county where 19th century Russians settled on the native Kashia Pomo territory. It’s not big but it’s such a nice place next to the ocean.

BJPB: How did you find out about it, I have hadn’t heard of it being from California.

AK: It was in the books In Russia we have always been curious to go and there was never an occasion. So when everything was locked down I think I saw more things than I saw in the seven years I’ve lived here. We just went to San Francisco then to Yosemite, June lake, and exploring all the things around. 30 hours of driving, but good.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

BJPB: How far was it all from each other?

AK: 2 hours from San Francisco. it was a very cool experience and it was crazy because in San Francisco in the mornings it is really cold and when we went to Fort Ross and it was crazy hot and we were trying to capture the pictures with no harsh sun which was pretty impossible. At some point you hear this church bell and I felt like I was fainting because it was too hot. There was not even one shadow it was all open so there was no shade while you’re shooting for three hours. You really get that heat I was trying to hide in the church but it was closed. We were looking for any shade with the bells it was a surreal experience.

BJPB: With the masks you have recently released they are really gorgeous what was the construction on these?

AK: I wanted something to cover your face but repeating the shape of the face that it would not squeeze your mouth as it is already so uncomfortable to wear these in general. I wanted them to be as comfortable as possible. The lining is so soft and you can adjust the ears. The whole thing can be adjusted to your face, the veil is detachable the little bird is detachable. It has three main inspired creatures: a bird a dragonfly and a butterfly.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

What is the significance of those animals to you and how they relate to the masks?

It all started with the bird, a bird can rise above the clouds and see what is going on in the bigger picture and get over it quicker in that sense. The dragonfly has this unique flight pattern which they adjust in certain situations and that’s kind of what was their inspiration. Of course the butterfly has its metamorphosis, so the idea of the transformation and to take all that moment as a personal growth, to take it towards a positive note I wanted to have these creatures on every mask.

They are so welcome crafted are they both feathers and millinery fabrics?

Depends the bird one is made of feathers, And the dragonfly is made of silk they are like little jewels.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

Photo Courtesy Aliona Kononova. Model: Yulia Kirillova.

A little happiness for breakfast to start your day in the right direction, Aliona Kononova’s recipe for Syrniki

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 cup of farmers cheese or ricotta

3 tablespoons of sugar

1/4 cup of flour (or almond flower for Keto)

a generous pour of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

coconut oil

1/2 a cup of blueberries (optional)

Your favorite maple syrup (optional)

Combine ingredients and portion into 5 or 6 servings, pan fry with the coconut oil and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

Rico Starr | Gogo’s Entrepreneur

From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

The hidden entrepreneur gets vocal with her latest podcast Talk by BRAINFREEZE.

9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

An Ode to LA Night Life built on paintings, photographs, installations and film

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London Love | Frankie’s Guide to Food + Culture

London Love | Frankie’s Guide to Food + Culture

Francesca (‘Frankie’) Reddin is the Communicator // Founder of A+F Creative and Black Book. Frankie is a media consultant with a background in restaurant PR- she weaves cultural histories travels the world via ingredients, dishes and voices. She is focused on a ‘smart lifestyle’ which sits at the intersection of food, design and literature and searches for projects that share diverse stories and champion the personalities. She thrives on connecting the dots between people and the audiences craving to hear about them and mapping the journey a campaign will take. She is dedicated to engaging both traditional and digital media platforms to make the lesser-known voices heard. This is her guide to eating, drinking and being part of a cultural movement in London and beyond. 

1. Island Social Club (London, UK)

Marie Mitchell and Joseph Pilgrim have become very dear friends since I pushed my way into their lives after reading about Island Social Club online. Their restaurant and bar is part of a wider concept which centers on a space aimed at filling the void left by the erosion of London’s once thriving Caribbean social scene. As a Londoner – yes I am a rare breed, there are only few of us left – who works predominantly within the food and drink world in London, it was refreshing to see myself presented in such a culturally intelligent way that was both exciting, engaging and delicious. They brought the London vibes with a Caribbean twist, not from my parents generation, but mine. A generation that lived and breathed the capital city and by way of life experience, formed our own genre and era, if I am to be that bold. ISC hosts great parties, a supperclub series, Nyamming, that explores the diasporic community further through poetry, arts, music and collaboration, and will be popping up in the next few months with various events. If you ever get to experience ISC, make sure you order Marie’s rotis and her aubergine curry and ask Joe for something rude and naughty – usually a Scotch Bonnet Margarita or Ti’Punch. Cheeky.

2. Ombra (London, UK)

For four years running, about the same time that Head Chef Mitshel Ibrahim has been at the helm, Ombra has been my favourite Italian restaurant in London. To the naked eye, it can look a little dive bar-esque, especially in winter, which to me makes it even more precious. The Venetian bacaro and outside terrace sits alongside the Regents Canal in Hackney and serves up super sexy plates of pasta amongst other wonders. It’s the kind of sexy that is cerebral, stimulates your tasetbuds, and keeps you up until the early hours delving deeper into the wonders of textures and flavours. Mitshel cures all of his meat in house, forages for herbs locally, curates the wine list – all natural, and always greets me with a gnocchi fritto & mortadella which melts in the mouth, just like it did when I was kid.

3. Singburi (London, UK)

I was introduced to Singburi by a friend. It’s a tiny Thai restaurant and takeaway in Leytonstone – a far away ungentrified place in East London. Family run but now taken over by the son of the family who’s culinary intelligence is phenomenal. I honestly haven’t had Thai food like this in London before. The dishes are chalked on the blackboard everyday and there are some staples like the Moo Krob – bitesize crispy pork belly tossed in fresh chillies, garlic and coriander which are so so naughty and moreish – and a whole bunch of specials depending on chef Siri’s ingredient list that day. There’s no holding back with spices, flavours or ingredients. The last time I was there, it was the baked glass noodles with smoked eel and foie gras that tipped me over the edge. It’s BYOB and on Monday’s the restaurant fills with all of East London’s hot young chefs and their teams who muse over the dishes in between gulps of natty wine.

4. La Buvette (Paris, France)

I have a silly tradition when I travel: my last meal should always be a McDonald’s. I love trying each country’s ‘own’ burger and put it down to anthropological research. A few years back when I was in Paris, a city I visit at least once a year, I decided to mix things up and go to La Buvette. Long story short, I missed my Eurostar back to London. The reason? The smallest wine bar offering a list of low-intervention wines, intimate hues of soft pinks and mirrored glass, plates of bergamot-zested giant white beans doused in new-harvest Sicilian olive oil, charcuterie and wine, wine, wine. I stayed in Paris an extra night.

5. Aux deux Amis (Paris, France)

I’ve had some great nights here, the first of which I ended up meeting two household names (in France), a French rockstar and a French actor who I then had a whirlwind Parisian love affair with. It’s a great bar. 70’s décor, formica tables, crazy wine list, amazing cheeses and charcuterie if you want to enjoy your apero there. The clientele is super cool, the kind of place the people who don’t want to be seen are seen and hang out undercover in plain sight. This is perfect place to go to after dinner too as it’s usually a launch pad for the next party…

6. Mei Mei Market & Deli (London, UK)

Borough Market is one of the most iconic places in London and within it is a Singaporean food stall specialising in Hainanese chicken rice and Singaporean Nanyang Kopi – Mei Mei. Mei Mei means ‘little sister’ in Chinese, and is an ode to the chef, Elizabeth Haigh’s, Southeast Asian heritage, as well as her home of London, and brings to life the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s Kopi Tiams of her childhood memories. Elizabeth has a Michelin background, earning the restaurant Pidgin Hackney, a couple of years back, so you already know what you’re going to have is something above and beyond. There are two things on the menu here that I literally salivate over (and also have to curb my cravings and limiting myself to only one monthly visit): the Kaya Toast and the Fried Chicken. The Kaya Toast is traditionally a breakfast dish and consists of a thick layer of Kaya spread in between two thickly cut slices of sourdough, lightly toasted with wads of salted butter lathered on each side, served with a soft boiled egg that you can then dip the toast into. Honestly, I can’t explain the euphoria you feel when you have it in the morning as the first thing inside your mouth! It has a cult following of its own – cue endless reels of Instagram photos. The great news is, throughout lockdown, Elizabeth pivoted and now you can BUY KAYA JAM ONLINE. So you can feel euphoria without anyone watching.

7. Diogenes The Dog (London, UK)

Diogenes The Dog is a new-wave wine bar and shop in Elephant & Castle inspired by the infamous Greek philosopher who founded the philosophy of Cynicism. This guy Diogenes apparently questioned everything, lived his life in a huge amphorea, drank wine constantly, ate raw meat with his bare hands, while stumbling around the village naked and taunting people. Quite a guy. Of course, I had to check it out. Sunny Hodges, the owner, is perhaps not as uncouth as Diogenes but definitely has a character to match. (He’s the son of an

Olympian and Commonwealth Games Silver medallist, Graduate of Mechanical Engineering

from UCL, author, survivor, explorer, award-winning Front of House professional, and drives a motorcycle). Sunny shares the same challenging and inquisitive nature of Diogenes, questioning what we know about wine, discarding common trends and bringing to the table lesser known and better drunk alternatives. It’s here that I tasted a Hibernal 2017 from Winnica Turnau from Poland, Messina Hofs Blanc du Bois from Texas, and an Ixe Tempranillo, a grape usually found in Spain, from Tuscany.

8. Other places to visit:

CAM (Paris, France)

Au Passage (Paris, France)

La Prosciutteria (Bologna, Italy)

9. PROJECTS & COMMUNITIES

Sourced Journey’s (London, UK)

SOURCED is a public research project founded by Dr Anna Sulan Masing (my work wife) and Chloe-Rose Crabtree, both of whom are writers and academics with experience in the restaurant industry. They believe that food and drink are biological and cultural rights and want the global food and drink systems to reflect that through empathetic, transparent and inclusive practices; and they’re seeking to decolonise culinary experiences. They are dividing the year up into ‘seasons’ to focus research on specific ingredients, with reading lists, monthly tutorials, articles and commissioned research so others can have access to the learning. You can support their project and the research through their paid for newsletters at £3.50 a month. 

www.sourcedjourneys.com // @sourcedjourneys  // www.sourcedjourneys.substack.com

10. Black Book (London, UK)

At the end of June 2020, myself, Zoe Adjonyoh and Dr Anna Sulan Masing founded Black Book: a global representation platform for Black and non-white people working within hospitality and food media. With a mission to inspire and empower through enhancing visibility, equality, equity and wealth creation worldwide within these communities, Black Book will raise global consciousness of the issues affecting their ability to thrive in these industries. As a team, we will do this through representing emerging talent; offering consultancy services to companies and brands wanting to align better with a vision for a more inclusive industry; securing brand partnerships around Black Book content; and building a holistic mentorship programme.

 

We’re about to host our second series of events celebrating Black History Month, which will take place every Tuesday throughout October. There’ll be a full day of workshops, masterclasses, cook-a-longs and discussions that explore the four pillars of Black Book in meaningful and dynamic ways. You can see the full line up and grab tickets here. We’ve also signed our first client within the representation arm of Black Book – the wonderful, Elainea Emmott who is a chef and photographer. Her website is here. We’ll be launching our Crowdfunder campaign at the end of the year that will act as a springboard for our mentorship programme launching in 2021. Plus there’s talks of Black Book memberships, podcasts and global outposts… you’ll have to sign up to our newsletter to keep abreast of all the news!

www.blackbook-global.com // @blackbook_2020 // Patreon

11. Flock Together (London,UK)

I found this group on Instagram, like most things these days. But Flock Together isn’t like most things. A bird-watching collective founded in London which serves the BIPOC community, it is as much about the actual past time of bird-watching as it is about making a statement about reclaiming space. There is a destructive narrative and assumption that PoC are not meant to be seen in public and if they are, they are automatically deemed a threat. There are so many examples in the past 6 months alone that validate that. As a closet birdwatcher myself, Flock Together is a thing of beauty and a symbol of progression and power. I joined a walk in Epping Forest and after 5 months of lockdown and hardly seeing a soul (IRL), cycling up to the edge of the forest to be greeted by 50+ brown smiling faces, binoculars in tow, still fills me with all the sensations of overwhelming pride and joy. The two pioneers/founders, Nadeem and Ollie, are in the process of launching chapters globally so give them a follow on IG and read up about them here:

https://hypebeast.com/2020/8/urban-birdwatching-flock-together-london 

https://www.vogue.com/article/meet-flock-together-london-birdwatching-collective 

 

12. PRODUCTS

Liha Beauty (London, UK)

I have bought so many of the Queen Idia candles I’ve lost count. For myself, girlfriends, family, they’re beautifully scented. It’s made with a coconut wax blend with base notes of Geranium and Frankincense, top notes of Lavender and hibiscus invoking the fragrance of soft African Moss. I’m yet to try the Idan Oil which is cold-pressed coconut oil into which a Tuberose flower has been immersed, so that you have the wonderful scent of the night-blooming flower, naturally absorbed naturally into the oil, all over your body. Ultimately an aphrodisiac!  Idan is the Yoruba word for magic, and amongst the other products that Liha Beauty sells, I think their whole offering is simply ethereal. 

Golden Editions (Ghana + France) 

This is my sisters company and I am super proud of what she has created. The aim of GOLDEN is to work closely with makers to create contemporary pieces that pay tribute to timeless craft in Ghana and beyond. Sara has always wanted to create something that resonated with her childhood and her mother’s passion for crafts, who was born in Ghana. Sara’s light collection, which was the first to launch, is made by skilled weavers based in Bolgatanga in the North of Ghana. A team of which she found on her many personal travels and research trips across the country. The Lamps are carefully hand-woven using Elephant Grass grown in Ghana, dyed naturally and then hand-twisted. The shapes are evocative of colours and forms seen on road trips through Ghana; the rich red colour of the earth, pots stacked along the roadside, traditional houses with thatched roofs. Sara’s always had an eye, and her Golden Editions perfectly encapsulates her admiration for subtly, gentleness and elegance offset by her practical and grounded character.

 

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