Life is an amazing picture..
A country of contrasting landscapes, synonymous with romance and renowned for its unrivalled wines and fine cuisine. The Côte d’Azur is the quintessential playground of the rich and famous with the bluest waters, golden beaches and a mountainous backdrop. Glamorous seaside towns sit next to medieval villages and there are endless chic restaurants, bars and casinos. This region also includes prestigious Monaco with its impressive yachts and the glitzy town Monte-Carlo at its heart.
The Côte d’Azur, known in English as the French Riviera, is home to some of the world's most luxurious cities including Nice, Cannes, and Villefranche-sur-Mer. Fantastic cuisine and people-watching make up the bulk of the action, along with a thriving beach culture. Provence is famous for its scenery, all vineyards and lavender fields, while the Alps provide a dramatic backdrop.
When to go:
The Côte d’Azur is at its hottest in July and August. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant months to visit.
The Côte d’Azur is at its hottest in July and August. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant months to visit.
French fashion designer Thierry Mugler recently put his two-bedroom Manhattan penthouse up for sale. Listed with Sotheby’s the apartment is located in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood and features sleek renovations offering stunning views.
Courtesy of RDuJour
It’s no secret that Paris is one of the world’s most popular destinations. According to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, more than 35 million visitors stayed overnight in the French capital in 2008, and the numbers are growing. Given the high number of tourists -- all with different expectations, tastes and desires -- there is clearly no “best” time to visit the city. Paris has year-round charm and some seasons will be more attractive to certain visitors than others.
|One and Only Paris photography|
The famous Parisian springtime might meet all of the expectations of a first-time visitor. The horse chestnut trees lining the Champs-Elysees are thick and lush, and jewel-like flowers are blossoming throughout the city’s many parks. The streets, stores and museums are not yet thronged with summer crowds and there's a slight chance you can get low-season rates with certain hotels and airlines. If you are a tennis fan, you might score tickets to the French Open, which takes place every May at Roland Garros. The primary downside of touring Paris in the spring is the capricious weather: One day it might be sunny and warm, the next day (or days), windy, rainy and cold.
Summer is the height of tourist season in Paris. Unless you make reservations, expect to wait in long lines at the more famous attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame. The weather can get fairly hot in summer, though cool, rainy stretches sometimes sneak in, and air conditioning is not universal, the way it is in the United States. The benefit of coming to Paris in the summer are the many attractions planned by city officials. Every year since 2002, the banks of the river Seine are formed into a large beach (“plage”) during July and August. Other summer attractions include the outdoor jazz festival at the Parc Floral, Fête de la Musique -- a Paris-wide music festival that takes place on summer solstice -- and the sales: All of the stores from Chanel to Monoprix have sweeping discounts.
Fall can be an ideal season to visit Paris. The weather is usually mild and dry, summer crowds have lessened, and Parisians -- having just returned from their summer holidays -- are in good cheer. You can enjoy annual events such as the Nuites Blanches (white nights), where all museums, galleries and other art-related institutions are open to the public all day and night for free. You can participate in the Salon du Chocolat (chocolate fair) that takes place every October, or sample the first Beaujolais nouveau of the season in early November. According to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotel prices can take a dip in autumn, particularly around late October and November.
Unless it snows, winters do not show Paris at its prettiest. The skies are slate-gray and gloomy, the days are cold, and rain is inevitable. The upside is that you can settle down at a bistro with a steaming cup of vin chaud (warm, spiced red wine) or a luscious mug of hot chocolate. You also can appreciate the hearty, warming winter foods, such as cassoulet (white beans and confit of duck or pork) and game-based dishes, including rabbit, wild boar and venison. Perhaps best of all, hotel and airline prices are at their lowest and you won’t have to jockey for position in front of the "Mona Lisa."
Christmas season is surprisingly low-key. While major attractions such as the Champs-Elysées tend to be awash in fairy lights, in some parts of the city the decorations appear so halfhearted -- or be absent -- that you might not feel as if it is Christmas at all. On the upside, the city is rife with charming Christmas markets featuring many homemade crafts, from knit sweaters to hand-painted wooden toys. It also is during the Christmas season that a large ice-skating rink pops up at the esplanade in front of the Hotel de Ville (town hall) and an enormous Ferris Wheel is constructed at the foot of the Champs-Elysées. Hotel and airline prices tend to rise during the holiday season: Lack of decorations notwithstanding, people still like to come to Paris at Christmas.
By: Barbara Diggs
Beautiful photography, French fashion trends, bridal and travel needs to France, delightful food and secrets. Ah, secrets, yes that's what we'll include in the unique digital magazine of Le Style that launches on 1st March. Celebrating one of our favourite season, autumn and fantastic interviews with professionals in the arts and entertainment scene, this is a beautiful and unique digital publication you'd want to look out for.
A new generation of fashion designers comes into its own with fall looks that are stylish, wearable — and affordable.
"These are the designers of the future," says Stephanie Solomon, fashion director of Bloomingdale's. "When you think of the old guard, of Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren, as much as I respect them, they are not spring chickens anymore. These designers are going to usurp them. And they are making clothes with beautiful quality, innovative fabrics and silhouettes. In the future, I envision an entire level of our store based on these up-and-coming, talented designers."
These more affordable, accessible lines offer head-to-toe dressing, with accessories and outerwear. And they hit on all of the trends seen this week, including sleek, minimalist tailoring; Asian influences; black-and-white graphic schemes; and bright color-blocking. Key pieces for a fall wardrobe? A pair of statement pants in a colorful jacquard or print and with a tapered silhouette, worn over a pair of pumps (Manolo Blahnik forJ. Crewperhaps?); a shift dress or a pencil skirt that hits below the knee; and a fun swing coat or fur accessory in an eye-catching texture and hue.
Stylist-turned-designer Rachel Zoe was inspired by the London rock 'n' roll scene of the late 1960s, and her collection was a balance of the glam and the wearable, with all the Hollywood entrance-making maxi dresses and shaggy faux furs that fans have come to expect from Zoe, alongside flared trouser suits and velvet tuxedos, gaucho jeans and melange sweater dresses.
Zoe's line is barely a year old, but is well on its way to being a success. Come fall, it will be in 300 stores. Another advanced contemporary star is born.
By: Booth Moore, LATimes Fashion Critic
It’s always good to see a collection with an authentic, personal integrity about it. Victoria Beckham has schooled herself in the skills of cutting and fitting from scratch—and with the help of a top-notch team assembled in London. The way contrasting horizontal bands were set into dresses, dissecting the body at flattering points, was faultlessly done, and her control of the use of luxury signals, like the shiny python on a shirt-collar or in the lining of a khaki coat, is well-judged—there but not ostentatious. All this is being discreetly accomplished under the super discreet management of Simon Fuller of XIX Entertainment, who was at the show. Also in the front row, for the first time, was her husband David, taking pictures. “I don’t think he realized I have a proper job till now,” she joked backstage, as David juggled the new addition to team Beckham, baby Harper Seven.
In her insistence on developing slowly, and gradually earning respect, Mrs. Beckham has scarcely put a platformed-foot wrong. Still, now that the fashion world is showing her acceptance—she won the Designer Brand Award at the British Fashion Awards in 2011—perhaps she should dare advance her case further. Seeing a few evening looks would have been nice to round things off. But kudos to her: She has well-made clothes, and a strong identity already. Besides eagerly studying the properties of luxury fabrics, the even more fundamental lesson she’s taken to heart is the kind of advice always given to aspiring authors: “Write what you know about.” Victoria Beckham designs what she knows about—and only from that starting point can a coherent brand begin.
When it was recommended we ask photographer and film director, Amber Gray to direct our lifestyle show in Paris last year, my reaction was, "only in my dreams!". I've been a fan of this young talent's work for years, favoring mostly of her dreamy and alluring images, so soft and seductive. Gray has been behind the camera for numerous top brands in the world such as Gucci, YSL and Sony so when I had the honor to work with her recently in Paris, (yes, my wish was granted) I became to admire her even more.
I had two personal requests of Gray when we arrived in Paris. One, was she must attempt to make me look as beautiful as some of her previous clients such as Penelope Croz, Selena Gomez or Maria Sharapova. Although I am aware Gray is not a magician so the pressure was not all on her. Secondly, Gray had to accept an interview from me so I can share her greatness with others. To me, the person behind the amazing work gives their creation a much more valued meaning.
"I was always, even as a little ten-year-old kid, playing with my parents camera, orchestrating people to reflect my vision, rather than reality," Gray says when I asked of her photographic beginnings. "I would dress my sister and her friends up, paint their faces, and have them jump off the hood of my mom's car. It was a very warped music video shoot playing in my head."
Fast forward to more recent years and Gray admits, "I realize now that I was super lucky early on," to have broken into the professional business of photography so quickly. In no time, she was able to move from San Francisco to New York City with her partner Julian Bernstein with a focus more on directing. "My first national broadcast spot is currently running for Disney, and I'm in pre-production on my first feature."
Gray started off as a photographer right out of film school basically as "a stepping stone" towards her ultimate goal of becoming a director or cinematographer. "Film is an opportunity to share my vision as a whole, with movement, and music, and time. It really is the ultimate form of communication."
To stand out as a true talent in film and photography, the images must be utterly stunning and evoke a reaction (be it positive or negative) or a feeling from the viewer. Gray's photography and motion film instigate these reactions. "I like to imply a storyline without ever saying it aloud," explains the artist, "which leaves some blank space for your imagination to fill in." This also applies to her, what I referred to as, slightly disturbing images. "I have heard that rumbling about some of my imagery being perceived as dark," teases Gray yet clarifies that this is an intentional attribute. To her it is "a love of creating different atmospheres and scenarios that play beyond the human character."
Gray is able to conceptualize her clients' requests yet still be satisfied with her creativity, "because if they have chosen to hire me for the job, they obviously get my work, and trust me to execute their concept in an extraordinary way." Evident also in the list of celebritites she has worked with like Beyoncé, John Turturro and Nina Hagen.
"I especially liked working with Penelope Cruz. She has a good sense of humor, and is super easygoing."
I asked Gray if she could share an interesting experience with any high-maintenance celebs she has worked with. "They have all been really professional and lovely thus far, but I have friends who have shot some realy nightmare personalities, including one actress that locked herself and the stylist in the hotel room and refused to come out for twelve hours." What could you possibly be doing for twelve hours along with your stylist? Well, unless I was the actress and my stylist was David Beckham.
The other attribute of all the beautiful women she shoots goes beyond their obvious good looks for Gray. “Even though a lot of my work features beautiful, lithe young women, I don't deal in blank stares or victims,” Gray explains. “Even the fruitiest, fluffiest examples of my work features a woman that would be perceived as aware and intelligent. I truly abhor the idea that in order for a woman to be ‘attractive’ or ‘sexy’ she needs to appear to be a simpleton.”
Beautiful people Gray portrays with a sexual undertone in photography and in motion picture are tastefully presented. “I always admired artists like Angela Carter, Floria Sigismondi, and Sally Potter for their ability to sort of capture that aspect of things in a way that wasn't cheesy or played-out and obvious,” Gray elaborates. “I think that what is generally marketed in America as ‘sexy’ could just as easily be marketed as ‘cliché’ so I try to avoid the obvious cues, in favor of subtler, more interesting ones.”
Talented, experienced and hard working, I have a lot of respect for Gray who says she always wants to challenge herself. “I'm extremely hands-on as a director so for me, it's an opportunity to bring a whole universe that's residing in my imagination out into the world to be experienced by others. I am involved in everything from the writing, casting, storyboarding, lighting design, wardrobe, music, and editing.
Filmmaking can include pretty much anything, which is why it never gets boring, and there is always more to learn.” Thankfully for us, it is like that little ten-year-old girl still playing out those warped music videos in her head.
To view an Amber Gray video, go to http://vimeo.com/20318583 and her website at www.ambergrayphotography.com.
By Slavica Monczka, Seductively French
An amazing response from readers in Australia, France and US shared with us their photos of love in our celebration of Valentine's Day. Undoubtedly beautiful images, these readers have also included sincere, lovely compliments to Le Style which is a testimony to us approaching onto our digital project.
"I am glad to hear you celebrate Valentine's day through all your fans! Many thanks for everything you do to symbolise the "art de vivre" all around the world! Keep going on!" - Céline, from France.
View the love-themed gallery here as more images will be uploaded from today to Valentine's Day. A sneak preview...
2012 is the year of love and more love. Send us your love-themed photos and we will publish them on Le Style Love section of the blog viewed by our readers from Australia, US, France and around the world!
Photos have started to pour in which include photographers and general readers. Share the love to firstname.lastname@example.org and view all images put up on this Friday 10th Feb till Valentine's Day.
Fine art French photographer based in Alsace, Stephan Ermisse specializes in portraits and destination weddings throughout France and Europe. A member of the Artistic Guild of the WPJA and Fearless photographers contact Stephan for upcoming events and wedding photography needs at the following contact details. Beautiful work, set in locations of your selection in Europe or France, and satisfaction for that photography and memory needs.