Years ago, when I was still in elementary school and going on the internet was a much more difficult process, I loved going on Hasbro’s website and creating my own Barbie doll. This application gave me complete creative freedom (within the confines of a Barbie doll) to choose what my Barbie would wear, how long her hair would be, how her hair would be styled and colored, her eye color, skin tone, and other characteristics. Though I never purchased one of these custom creations, it did not take away from the fun of creating them.
Now that I have moved on from Barbie dolls, I have shifted to creating products that I actually use in my day-to-day life. Yes shopping is fun, but it is even more exciting to have a creative hand in the design of what you’re purchasing. Retailers are extending a creative olive branch to their customers, allowing them to add their unique touch to their classic products. You can now customize your own Le Pliage tote or Vara flats on Lonchamp and Salvatore Ferragamo’s websites. E-retailers Iomoi and May Books have built their businesses off the interactive role customers must play in creating their own products, be it an iPad case or weekly planner. I had fun creating these custom creations, even if I couldn’t afford to purchase some of them:
In honor of the 35th anniversary of Salvatore Ferragamo’s iconic Vara flat, customers can customize their own pair on the company’s website. For $550, you can choose your shoe’s body color, heel color, bow color, gold or silver hardware, and add your initials to the bottom of the shoe. Ferragamo has also launched L’Icona, a campaign featuring portraits of 21 famous female personalities, such as Olivia Palermo and Lauren Santo Domingo, modeling their own Vara creations that they have styled into their wardrobe.
One of my favorite things about starting a new school year was getting a new planner. I only wish I knew about May Designs when I was still in school. With so many options and possible variations, you will find it very difficult to finalize your planner/notebook/baby diary/meal planner/budget journal. Reasonably priced, you are gauranteed to get compliments on your unique planner that you completely designed. For inspiration, checkout May Designs instagram gallery.
If you have ever been to Paris, or let alone France for that matter, you may have noticed how almost every woman has some variation of Longchamp’s Le Pliage tote. I have a larger sized, lavender one and I absolutely love it. It’s great for travel, work, or as an everyday purse. Now you can customize your own tote on Longchamp’s website, with the current season’s color scheme. The main difference between purchasing a tote from a store and creating one, is that you can take your one shade bag into a two-tone bag, with so many different color combinations. You also have a say in the details, such the length of the handles, zipper metal, and the addition of text, which you can emboss or embroider. Unfortunately, it will cost you a little more too.
The main reason for purchasing an iPad or iPhone case is to protect them from falls and scratches, but with so many options in the market, these cases have become a fashion statement. Even luxury brands such as Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana have iPad cases that cost more than the actual iPad. When I got my iPad, I’ll have to admit, I was just as excited to purchase a case as I was with the actual tablet. I finally decided on customizing a case on Iomoi’s website because of the myriad unique design options I had. I chose the ornamented elephant and monkey design (see above). Not only are the design and monogram options endless on this website, but the product options are as well. Customers can create anything from iPad and iPhone cases to totes, travel bags, and stationary. It’s fun just to browse all the options this clever site has to offer.
Summer is a wonderful season for reading because you now have so many more places and opportunities to do it. Lounging by the pool, lying on the beach, on the plane on your way to your vacation or at the airport waiting for your flight , all present great spans of time to really get absorbed into a book. This is one of the reasons I always look forward to the summer season, even though I no longer get summer vacations. This is a short list of books I am hoping to read before summer ends:
Khaled Hosseini’s previous novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are two rare books that completely sucked me in, so much so that I felt like I was going through a withdrawal when I finished them. I expect nothing less from his new novel.
So many shows on NPR have highlighted Patricia Volk’s new memoir. I recently finished Elsa Schiaparelli’s autobiography and I am excited to read about the impact the iconic designer had on the author’s life.
What is on your reading list this summer?
Similar to Baz Luhrmann’s previous cinematic spectacles (Moulin Rouge, Romeo & Juliet), The Great Gatsby delivers an enchanting menagerie of fashion, music, choreography, and set design. Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby is a visual and aural feast. Most everyone is familiar with the story behind F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece, but it is no easy feat to elicit the same emotional response from the audience watching the film that they first felt while reading the novel. Furthermore, there is no escaping the fact that you already know what happens. Therefore, I personally did not go to the theater to see if Baz Luhrmann could capture the greatness that is The Great Gatsby. Rather, I went to the theater to see Leonardo Dicaprio as Jay Gatsby, Tiffany & Co. jewels, Miuccia Prada designed costumes, and Jay-Z curated soundtrack. And in this regard, The Great Gatsby did not disappoint.
Jay Gatsby’s Long Island Mansion
This made me think back to films I have seen in the past that have had a similar captivating effect through the sheer beauty of the film. Another director, similar to Luhrmann, who is able to create an enchanting world in his films, through perfectly curated music, striking costumes, and beautiful backdrops, is Wes Anderson. In his films Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited, and The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson creates a world for the audience to escape into, even if it is just for a few hours.
New York City, Lacoste polos, fur coats, red track suits, and an eclectic soundtrack featuring everyone from Paul Simon to The Ramones add to the eccentricity of the cinematic family in The Royal Tenenbaums.
I am very excited because I will be traveling to Morocco in just a few days! Ever since I watched a travel video on Morocco in the 7th grade and my subsequent viewings of the film Casablanca, I have dreamt of one day visiting the mystical country. The first thing that crosses my mind when I learn I will be traveling someplace is my wardrobe for the trip. However, Morocco presents a little bit of a challenge because it is a more conservative country, yet temperatures can get pretty high. Therefore, this eliminates a lot of my summer wardrobe, i.e. sleeveless tops, shorts, strapless dresses, etc.
There was a beautiful editorial in the March 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar that immediately came to my mind and serves as an inspiration for my upcoming trip. I do not like to draw too much attention to myself when traveling abroad and “Marrakech Moment” perfectly captures a low-key yet chic style for American tourists in foreign countries. It sends the message that one can still be stylish without being bold or flashy and one can still maintain their personal style while adapting it to different situations and locations. If you have ever traveled to Morocco, I would love to hear your travel tips and recommendations.