Travel

Lauren Craft Collection Jewelry

“It is a business I will continue doing until the day I die. It is my passion and I cannot imagine doing anything else!”
-Lauren Craft

Baroque pearls and champagne diamond ring with 14k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Baroque pearls and champagne diamond ring with 14k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

I’ve been on a total jewelry kick this summer and no one does unique and (relatively) affordable diamond and gemstone jewels like Lauren Craft. I first stumbled upon her delicious baubles on Farfetch where I purchased a triple-pearl and champagne diamond ring with 14k gold, silver, and black-rhodium finish.

Lauren Craft is a native Texan with an editorial background. She was an English major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and started her career as a fashion and social editor at the top magazine in Houston. In New York City, she took a job at Alexis Bittar and discovered her passion for jewelry design. Though Craft was only at Alexis Bittar for six months, she speaks fondly of her time there and of Alexis Bittar’s business savvy: “I saw how Alexis built his brand. I was only there a very short time but I loved how involved he was with his team. From the design aspect to the PR aspect to the marketing aspect. He is a very smart man…”

Craft left Alexis Bittar to attend the Gemological Institute of America for certification in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and then travelled to India before returning to Texas to start her own collection. Her inspiration comes from her travels: “Traveling to India, Italy, Sardinia and the Carribean…Lots of my pieces have an Indian vibe that’s why I use champagne diamonds in the majority of my collection!”

Stylish celebrities including Charlize Theron, Jennifer Anniston, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Rose Byrne, and Nicole Richie are among her biggest fans. Recently, the Lauren Craft Collection was given the fashion stamp of approval from style icon, Lauren Santo Domingo, when she featured the designer on her website, Moda Operandi.

Emerald ring with champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Emerald ring with champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Chalcedony and champagne diamond earrings with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Chalcedony and champagne diamond earrings with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Colored sapphires and champagne diamond bracelet with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Colored sapphires and champagne diamond bracelet with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Kyanite and champagne diamond bangle with silver and black-rhodium finish

Kyanite and champagne diamond bangle with silver and black-rhodium finish

Purple amethyst necklace with silver chain and 18k gold clasp

Purple amethyst necklace with silver chain and 18k gold clasp

Rubies, quartz, and champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Rubies, quartz, and champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Check out the complete Lauren Craft Collection on her website.

Antique Steamer Trunk

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Before the days of airplanes, large trunks holding everything from lingerie to cutlery, were in vogue. Passengers travelled by ship and packed enough luggage to last several weeks or more. The steamer trunks had multiple drawers and shelves to organize one’s belongings. This trunk belonged to my great aunt, Minnie, and includes an ironing board and hangers for clothes. Minnie stored her linens and monogrammed handkerchiefs in the trunk, as well as her fox fur stoles (which include the fox’s heads), and her cosmetics. When the trunk was purchased it came with a packing list full of suggested items for travel. I accidentally locked the trunk but as soon as I find the key I will share the list and photos of the inside of the trunk.

Some of Minnie's belongings from inside the trunk, including brushes, a nail file, rouge, and a shaving kit.

Some of Minnie’s belongings from inside the trunk, including brushes, a nail file, rouge, and a shaving kit.

 

Almighty Alaia

 

Katie wears a black flared Alaia dress in the premiere issue of Lady Charlotte

Katie wears a black flared Alaia dress in the premiere issue of Lady Charlotte

If I am crazy for Chanel than I am psychotic for Alaia. In her book, Bergdorf Blondes, Plum Sykes writes, “there are killer dresses, and then there are killer dresses by Alaia, which are so killer they’re homicidal.” While I’m not sure I’d commit homicide for Alaia, I did cash in some Israel bonds to pay for my favorite grey, knit dress.

My favorite fashion sighting was seeing Azzedine Alaia, the “King of Cling,” in his Paris boutique and studio a few years ago. Monsieur Alaia is a sculptural genius who refuses to succumb to the pressure of fashion week; he shows only when he wants to and only invites his closest industry friends. Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour call him “Papa” and in the 90’s models fought over his clothes as payment for runway and campaign work.

Shopping Tip: Although Alaia dresses are extremely forgiving, you may want to cut out carbs a few days before you visit the Paris boutique. Alaia does all his fittings in a large, open space reminiscent of the Loehmann’s communal changing room.

Portrait of Azzedine Alaia which sits in the boutique's dressing room and  is made of broken plates and paint.

Portrait of Azzedine Alaia which sits in the boutique’s dressing room and is made of broken plates and paint.

A painting of Stephanie Seymour in the Alaia Boutique dressing room

A painting of Stephanie Seymour in the Alaia Boutique dressing room

A seat made of tires in the Alaia boutique dressing room

A seat made of tires in the Alaia boutique dressing room

Paris Memories: Laduree

 

Rasberry, pistachio, coffee, and chocolate macarons over cinnamon ice cream

Rasberry, pistachio, coffee, and chocolate macarons over cinnamon ice cream

Laduree epitomizes French elegance and decadence. People wait in line for hours for their famous macarons, which tantalize even the most sophisticated palates. The restaurant features Laduree potatos and the most extravagant dessert menu on the planet. The walls are painted in murals with angels and clouds and finished with gold molding. You can’t help feeling like Marie Antoinette dining at Versailles. Laduree recently opened two locations in New York City and they collaborated with Emilio Pucci for a limited run of new flavors, boxed in Pucci’s signature prints. What I wouldn’t do for one of their macarons right now!

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Cafe Madeleine

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In La Madeleine, Paris, in the 8th arrondissement, there is a small outdoor cafe with Nutella crepes, scrumptious croissants, and cafe au lait that warms your heart. Businessmen hurry by, clutching their newspapers and coffee to go, and the women move even faster. Across the street, L’Eglise de La Madeleine, the Roman Catholic Church, stands in the center of it all, across from Maxim’s, Laduree, and the Rue du Faubourg Saint- Honore. Time stands still for the cafe patrons, slowly sipping their drinks and buttering their food, delighting in every rich bite, and observing the hustle in the street.