It’s in The Bag

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Anne Sylvain isn’t just any handbag company, and Patricia Raskin isn’t just any creative director. Anne Sylvain, born of many years of careful thought and education, along with several years of testing to find the right U.S.-based manufacturing facility, turns out beautiful one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted handbags of ostrich, python and American alligator.

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Patricia, a corporate lawyer by trade (17 years to be exact), has always enjoyed creating beautiful things, and she comes from a long line of artists on both sides of her family, including painters and a concert pianist. So, while her company is a mere five years old, being the creative director of Anne Sylvain is very natural, what she was born to do. Patricia knew she wanted to create something to augment a woman’s everyday life. As she explains it, no matter what you are feeling on any given day, carrying a beautiful handbag makes you happy. I agree.

img_5656Anne Sylvain bags, accessories and home products are made by hand with careful attention to details such as turned edges (rather than edges which have been cut and painted), and, whenever possible, she uses continuous pieces of material, greatly increasing the value and durability of her products. Anne Sylvain bags are classic shapes, which stand the test of time. The inside of the bag is just as carefully created as the outside, often in a contrasting colored leather for a nice “pop.” The side view of a clutch is also considered, using the prized belly of the python, for instance (photo above). No detail is overlooked. For these reasons, Anne Sylvain bags and products are authentically luxurious.

In 2017, Anne Sylvain is launching a home collection including coasters, boxes and catch-alls. Patricia is also turning out smaller personal items such as zip pouches, notebook covers, eye glass cases, card holders, men’s accessories and women’s cuffs.

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On December 10-11, Turner Helton Antiques & Interior Design is hosting Anne Sylvain at a preview launch party for the Anne Sylvain home collection. The event will also feature the full fall and holiday handbag collection. You don’t want to miss it!

Enjoy the slideshows featured in this post, and trust me when I say each piece is more lovely than a photo is able to capture. Any Anne Sylvain piece would make a special holiday gift for a loved one.

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Not to be overlooked, Anne Sylvain offers bespoke! The options and combinations are almost limitless. Your product can also be stamped with initials or numbers (like the catch all in the slide show above).img_5662

All photos by Bethany Siggins.

Note: The large black bag at the beginning of this piece is Anne Sylvain’s newest addition to the family, the Artemis. It features a 2 way zipper, 2 exterior pockets and 3 interior pockets. In short, it is the perfect bag for your next adventure!

Twilight Gallery, The Cool Girl of West Seattle

Walking into Twilight Gallery in the Alaska Junction of West Seattle is akin to stepping into a cool, artsy friend’s living room filled with elegant yet cozy furniture of various genres, arranged in funky, thought-provoking ways, the walls covered in obscure art pieces which beg you to step in for a closer look. You feel at once comfortable and a bit on edge for the mixture of energies around you. It’s a delightful space, a wickedly wonderful feast for the eyes where you could hang out all day and see something new every time you glance up. IMG_1667

But the best thing of all is the jewelry. Oh the beautiful, masterful, “how did they think of that?” jewelry. Many of the pieces in Twilight Gallery are one-of-a-kind, wearable art, true investments. Some of the featured artists in the gallery are local, but there are many jewelry designers who are based on the West Coast, around the U.S. and some are also international. The earrings I am wearing in the photo below (taken by my five-year old son) are by a designer who lives in Bali.

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Jewelry is my Achilles heel.  I have been investing in jewelry (mostly semi-precious) since my mid-twenties, and it is fascinating to see how my taste has evolved since that time, much like my style overall.  My early twenties were about looking “right,” proper and conservative. From there I began to participate more in fashion, most notably after a trip to San Francisco when I was in my later 20’s. I have never felt so plain and boring-looking as I walked around the city in awe of the fashionable gals confidently striding past me in their tall leather boots, knee-length skirts and trench coats. Now my style is more modern, clean and relaxed. I am not spending energy or time wondering what other people think about how I look. I know what I like and I wear it. Period. Love it or leave it.

Enjoy the sampling of photos I took this week in Twilight Gallery, and if you have not been there in a while (or ever), go as soon as possible and return as frequently as you can. It changes every time you go. She’s tricky that way!—BethanyIMG_1683

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Who doesn’t need a ram head ring?!
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These are so lightweight.
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Get a rope.

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Angela Scott in Chicago

On my way to Chicago recently, I noticed shoe designer Angela Scott posted on Instagram from the stainless steel sculpture Cloud Gate in Millennium Park (aka the Chicago Bean).  She invited anyone viewing the post to come see her at Neiman Marcus that evening. You don’t have to ask me twice!

As soon as I landed and picked up my bag, my brother Edwards and I made our way downtown for the soiree where we found the second floor shoe salon bustling with lovely Chicago fashionistas.  Neiman’s, as always, was a wonderful host, wining us, stuffing us with sweets and giving away a pair of designer shoes to one lucky person. Sadly, I did not win.

IMG_0832Fashion blogger Jennifer Worman of Red Wine & Red Soles gave a short presentation about spring shoe styles she loves, followed by a short talk by Angela who was looking quite California laid-back chic.  IMG_0842Angela could not have been nicer.  She told me a funny story of her recent world travels, and she admitted she was ready to be home after a long time on the road.

Enjoy photos from the evening! (Apologies for my jet-lagged appearance!)IMG_0877IMG_0848

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Spring is Coming

I have been playing around with my new Canon camera and 50mm prime lens, and I can’t stop taking photos of all the lovely things that are blooming around me.  The colors make me so happy. This morning I saw a wonderful post by Invoke Delight and Inspire which mentioned a photo challenge that sounded cool and right up my alley.  Last week’s challenge was Seasons.  Since I am in the process of a blooming season with my business, which is not new, but it is new to Seattle, I thought I’d post this photo I took yesterday of a sweet tree in our front yard that has the prettiest pink blossoms. The only thing about the spring blooms is they do not last long.  So, enjoy this fleeting moment of bright colors, and have a wonderful weekend!—Bethany

 

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A Beaver with a Six-pack

IMG_0505.JPGOn our way to their school each morning, I drive my twins through an interesting part of West Seattle called White Center. We enjoy a variety of artistic murals along our route, which boost the look of an otherwise fairly run-down section of town. One mural in particular has us scratching or heads. My son Nathan announced one day as we drove by it that he didn’t like “that guy with the tooth.” To be honest, I did not know to what he was referring. On my drive home, I made a point of looking, and there he was.  I started laughing. What in the world is he?  I finally determined from the prominent teeth and the flat tail (which took me a while to decipher) that he is a beaver. Why this beaver is in such excellent shape and working construction with no shirt on is beyond me.  But there he is. Sometimes I like to tease Nathan as we drive by saying, “There’s your favorite guy, Nathan.”  Of course, he always protests with a little smile on his face (he’s in on the joke).

Besides the beaver, here are a few others we see…

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9:00 a.m. in the blazing sunlight was obviously not the right time of day to shoot this, but at the same time, I kind of like the imperfection of the light pole shadows going across it and the girl walking by on her way to school.

Here are a few more.

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I find this last one particularly interesting and cool.  It is messier looking than the others, but I think that is one reason I like it so much.  The rich colors of these art pieces are captivating, and they definitely brighten our mood on days when it is otherwise gray or raining.  Thanks for taking a peek.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!—Bethany Siggins

 

Tory Burch “In Color”

ToryJessicaTory Burch, known as much for her love of the color orange as for her sporty flats and dreamy caftans, has released a gorgeous coffee table book today, “Tory Burch: In  Color” about her 11 favorite colors: orange, blue, green, purple, pink, red, yellow, white, black, natural and gold.  I was blessed to meet Tory last week and have her sign the book, which is being released today.  Last Friday afternoon at the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas, Tory was joined by her friend Jessica Alba (actress and founder of The Honest Company) to discuss the book and other topics of interest including how she balances motherhood and a career, and the roundabout path she took in starting her namesake company.

Tory considers herself a late bloomer having only started her wildly successful company 10 years ago.  Tory departed a career on the rise with LVMH to stay at home with her three young boys.  Four years later, she started her company because she felt there was a need for high-quality, affordable clothing and accessories.  She certainly hit the mark!  However, she said she was not an overnight success, spending many of her first two years on the phone with her Hong Kong operations until 3:00 a.m. her time.

Tory was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania with three brothers.  Her parents Buddy and Reva (for whom Tory named her first flat) who would leave Tory and her brothers with family to take six-week worldly vacations, returning with various exotic souvenirs.  In addition, Tory’s childhood home entertained many “overnight” guests who invariably would stay long past their expected departure dates.  As as result of this unique upbringing, Tory’s aesthetic reflects an appreciation for diversity, one that is decidedly multicultural.

I greatly enjoyed the event, hosted by American Express, and I am very appreciative to my dear friend Peg Baird for allowing me to be her plus one!  Pick up a copy of the book, even if you are not familiar with Tory or her company.  I think you will find the content, including many beautiful photographs, to be highly inspiring and a lovely addition to your library.  Tory sees the world in color, and I think we all should!

Karen Walker Candy Bar Comes to Dallas

KarenWalkerModelsThursday night at Nicole Kwon Concept Store in Dallas’ West Village, there was much reason to celebrate.  Nicole Kwon Concept Store was marking its one-year anniversary of opening, its recent naming by D Magazine as Best Women’s Clothing Boutique and it is currently displaying Karen Walker’s traveling display of fabulous eyewear:  Karen Walker Candy Bar.  How lovely!  Cheers to all of that!

If you’ve not visited Nicole Kwon Concept Store yet, as I must confess I had not prior to Thursday night, you should definitely pop in.  She carries not only her own line of clothing, which is beautiful, but she also features NKwonShoesa great collection of jewelry, shoes and clothing from such companies as PJK (Patterson J. Kincaid), A.L.C. New York, Thatcher Collection New York and A.P.C. Paris.  I was definitely in heaven as I perused the well-curated racks of clothing and the artfully displayed jewelry collection.  If you want pieces for your wardrobe no one else will have, this store should be one of your haunts.

Thursday night’s event featured models from Wallflower Management who were delectably made up in brightly colored abstract makeup and puffy cotton candy KarenWalkerModelwigs to commemorate the arrival of Karen Walker Candy Bar.  The brains behind the models’ styling, makeup and hair, as well as the Karen Walker Candy Bar display, are (1) freelance makeup artist extraordinaire Lorann Schindler, whose celebrity client roster includes Dallas’ own Hilary Kennedy, and (2) branding, styling, art-direction genius April Graves.  As it turns out, April and Nicole studied at sister schools in the U.K. (April at Central Saint Martins and Nicole at London College of Fashion).  April visited Nicole Kwon Concept Store recently to make Nicole’s acquaintance, and the collaboration for last evening’s soiree was born.

Karen Walker Candy Bar will be on display at Nicole Kwon Concept Store through September 23.  Do not miss it!  I tried on a fabulous pair of animal print cat eye frames, and instantly fell in love.  Alas, I am on a shopping diet.  *sigh*

Confessions of a Fashion Copycat – Part II

My copycat fashion confession earlier this week brings to mind a funny story. I was maybe 15 years old on a trip to the “Big D” with a girlfriend and her mother.  We were hitting the big shopping hot spot: the Dallas Galleria, naturally.  I was a small town girl (Ruston, Louisiana to be exact) in awe of the big city trappings when suddenly I spotted “him.”  This fellow’s outfit was dreadful, comical even, but purposefully so. His dress dared you to say something, assuming you weren’t rendered speechless by the myriad of patterns and bright colors he had thrown together.

Needless to say, I could not take my eyes off this intriguing guy or his outfit.  I wasn’t offended by his appearance, I was fascinated by it.  He may have been in his early 20s.  As my eyes ran up and down his body taking in every detail of his ensemble, he caught me staring, cocked his head sassily in my direction and said, “Oh, look at yourself!”  If I had been quick with my response (which is never the case), I would have told him quite frankly that was my problem.  I HAD looked at myself and I didn’t like it.  I wanted to be more like him, maybe not dress like him, but I wanted a style like he had a style.  I wanted to take risks, and put together wild colors and patterns and dare the world to say something about it!

The details of his outfit are a distant memory, but the experience stayed with me.  One of the things I love about fashion is the ability to take it and put your stamp on it as that young man did.  In my opinion, it is almost impossible to look ‘cookie cutter’ because each person puts themselves together in a unique way.  Put 10 women in a room wearing the same black dress, and none of them will look the same because of the way each pulls the look together with accessories, hair and makeup. The way you adorn yourself is specific to you and your personality, unlike anyone else.

So the next time you catch me staring, please don’t take offense.  I am merely learning from you.  To me you are walking art.  Some of you are Degas, others are Picassos, and so on. You inspire me to go further and try more within my personal style.  And I thank you.

What do you suppose became of the Galleria guy?  I imagine he is still pushing the fashion envelope.  I hope he would be proud to know I looked at myself and made quite a few changes for the better! Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.