Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Fashion Kool-Aid VI: "Vacation Frustration"


John Hardy jewelry showroom

My well-loved, broken hinged bracelet went to Bali for the summer--and all I got was the chance to miss it! (Even the proverbial lousy t-shirt would have been an upgrade).  In the interest of full disclosure, Bali is where John Hardy cuffs (and all other types of their jewelry) go for repair - rather than for vacation. It would seem that my silver and black zebra striped piece, now more glistening than ever (it’s showing up the other two of its John Hardy “siblings” which I wear as an arm party of three on a daily basis), enjoyed the two months of R&R (Rest and Refurbishment) in Indonesia while I stayed here in New York. Can I help it if my jewelry lives better than I do? In mid June I tearfully waved my treasured jewel off to “camp” and told it I’d see it at the end of the summer. I did everything but pack it a lunch and promise to write.

John Hardy

Incidentally, all "jewelry-envy" jokes aside (and speaking of lunch), the John Hardy Bali factory does offer a tour and complimentary organic lunch. The tour is said to be spectacular and the lunch even better as all ingredients are supplied from the on-site farm and cooked in wood stoves sans electricity/gas in their open-air Balinese kitchen. Should your travels take you to the Ubud area of Mambal and you would like to tour/dine/possibly shop (although you are not at all obligated to do the latter) here are the details: http://www.johnhardy.com/spirit/visit-us-bali

John Hardy Kali pattern resembles pebbles in the river

The Hardy compound looks absolutely breathtaking in photos with woven bamboo tube mats serving as flooring (no shoes allowed (cue “carbon footprint” quips). You will need to dig your toes in for balance from what I’ve read; above there are natural towering bamboo tree “ceilings” swaying gently overhead. The entire structure is built on stilts over the rice paddy patches enabling the irrigation system to remain undisturbed. Everything takes its cues from the natural setting; even the showroom jewelry display cases are held up by giant bamboo stalks. The jewelry designs themselves spring organically from the design elements in nature including the pebbled walkways, the rivers, and of course, the ubiquitous bamboo. Some of the more recent designs are more fanciful such as the Naga or dragon rings and bracelets. Balinese lore is that if you wear the Naga head towards you, the dragon is protecting you, if you wear it facing out, he is fighting your critics.

Guy Bedarida and Damien Dernoncourt

In the ‘70s, Canadian jewelry designer John Hardy was living the eco-friendly Balinese lifestyle and using native Balinese craftsmen to execute his designs in silver. He learned the native techniques and introduced them into his jewelry design including that of the classic woven chain made from tooled silver strands. His first commissioned order was from Neiman Marcus for a key chain design that they wanted made into earrings. By the late 1980’s he had built up his company and his compound using sustainable materials to construct low-impact buildings that blended into the surroundings. In 1995 he recruited Guy Bedarida from Van Cleef & Arpels as head designer. In 2007 Bedarida and CEO Damien Dernoncourt purchased the company from Hardy. They adopted the company slogan “Greener Every Day” and continue the effort to become carbon neutral. For each sale of their Bamboo collection more bamboo trees are planted and as of August 2012, the company uses 100% recycled silver in their designs.

Employee lunch table

Of course, it all sounds too good to be true and apropos to that I did find one reviewer who mentioned that the actual factory part of the tour was somewhat less desirable in terms of working conditions.  She cited overcrowded, hot rooms (a byproduct of the hot wax used for the jewelry molds) complete with chemical fumes. Since every piece is made by hand, the work is close and arduous.  It can reportedly take four hours to make one inch of braided chain! The work day is from 8 am to 5 p.m. with an hour for the same free lunch offered to visitors. All 700 employees sit down together in the beautiful open-air room and are served the same organic, culinary chef-prepared feast (no doubt a helluva lot better than anything we’re picking up at the salad bar, fellow New Yorkers).  Employees are also allowed to nap on the open-air orange pillowed lounge area!

Cara Delevingne is the new face of John Hardy

Since vacationing was still on my mind and I couldn’t make it to Bali this year, I decided to see what other hot-spots were trending.  The rich, famous, and beautiful are just like you and me, however they definitely “summer” better. Everyone from Leo DiCaprio, to Lindsay Lohan, from Kim Kardashian to Paris Hilton, from Cara Delevingne (incidentally, she is the new face of John Hardy jewelry) to Justin Bieber to Michelle Rodriguez, from Orlando Bloom to Miranda Kerr (Uh-oh! Awkward alert!) could be found in Ibiza on various yachts.

Ricacardo Tisci's 40th

Whether it was Riccardo Tisci’s 40th http://www.refinery29.com/2014/08/72250/ (see photos here), or Cara’s 22nd birthday it was celebrated in this locale, complete with supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, or Kardashians Kanye West, Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, just to name a few. This past weekend Oprah and Gayle King showed up in Ibiza, perhaps a bit tardy for the party and may have wondered where everyone went.

Cara and Selena

Earlier in the summer St. Tropez got some love from rumored couple Delevingne and Selena Gomez who celebrated Gomez’s “pair of two’s” b-day there, however no Selena was present when it was Cara’s turn at double deuces. In Cannes we saw beach photos of Madonna, 17-year-old daughter Lourdes (smoking a joint), and the man first reported to be Lourdes’ 26-year-old boyfriend, Timor Steffans. Not a huge surprise when the boy-toy turned out to belong to Madge (celebrating her 56th on the 16th with this trip when she really needs to stay out of the sun…uh, make that the daylight)!

The island of Capri had its share of revelers including Jared Leto, Cameron Diaz, Lea Michele, Lindsay Lohan (she was everywhere) and, of course, our mayor Bill De Blasio and family. This past weekend Reese Witherspoon was seen in a black plunging one-piece yacht-ing it up with gal pals as well as dancing at a wedding in this gif along the lines of  the Taylor Swift dancing gifs: (see video). It was something of a “working” holiday in mid-July when Dolce and Gabbana launched their Autumn/Winter 2015 couture show. This amazing show attracted every major fashion editor who was brave enough to withstand the rough seas. Once there, guests including Hamish Bowles, Anna Wintour, Suzy Menkes, and several members of international royalty got a glimpse of the exquisite Alta Moda hand-painted one-of-a-kind, jaw dropping gowns. All this occurred amidst speculation of a squashed tax fraud article on the Italian designing duo set to appear in Vanity Fair. Here is Christina Binkley’s video report for the WSJ https://screen.yahoo.com/alta-moda-dolce-gabbanas-haute-020103502.html

George and Amal on Lake Como

When celebrities were not having birthdays, they were toasting their coupledom.  Jen Aniston and Justin Theroux were seen in Bora Bora celebrating their two-year engagement anniversary (are they waiting for Brad and Angie to marry first?), while another couple you may have heard of, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin do not believe in long engagements. They will supposedly be tying the knot any day now and have been spied in Lake Como where George has a residence. There’s a good chance that Lake Como may well be the wedding location by the looks of things. Naturally, the baby bump watch has started already. Cue the “is it the wind or is she preggers?” photos of Amal. If you can’t get enough of celebrities and enjoy a red carpet challenge try this game: http://www.stylebistro.com/trivia

Although I have generally been away at this time in years past, in defense of the trip-less, I would say that it’s almost worth skipping the summer vacation due to the advance preparation required. No, not talking about a bikini wax (although that’s bad too). I’m referring to the packing! It seems that no matter how carefully one plans it out, something is always missing that you swear you packed. Is there a “ghost of packing past” who sneaks into your suitcase after it’s all packed and removes that one item that you planned all of your outfits around? I tend to fall into the “Overpacker’s Anonymous” and need a 12-step program to teach me to just say “no”. If I’m on a trip with my daughter this actually works out well (for her) as she is a confirmed “Underpacker” who relies on me to supply anything that she might not have brought. Once I cram half the contents of my overweight bag into her smaller suitcase so as to avoid the airline overage fee, I tend not to see these items again, and if I do, they’re wrinkled beyond recognition and/or being worn by her.

Whenever I am faced with an empty suitcase and a looming voyage I think of the late comedian George Carlin’s riff on “A Place for My Stuff” which never fails to make me laugh. There’s something about the line: “Ever notice how everyone else’s stuff is sh@# and your sh@# is stuff?” that gets me every time. Watch it here and try and keep a straight face: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLoge6QzcGY

On second thought, maybe the staycation is the way to go. I’ll just wait for another piece of my jewelry to need a repair so that I can live vicariously.

(Photo credits: Dailymail.uk, Refinery 29, tmz/INFphoto.com, Ramey Photo Agency, Johnhardy.com, style.com, mygreenlifestyle.com, writingforselfdiscovery.com, shreve.com)




- Laurel Marcus

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