Tag Archives Gregory Michael King

Parlez-vous Aubade?

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Parlez-vous Aubade?

Do you speak Aubade? If not, perhaps it’s time that you did, as it is the language of sensuality, a seduction of the skin, which has been whispered by this most prestigious of Parisian luxury lingerie brands for several years and having now been introduced to them, I’m officially in love with their femme fatale Entrevue Secrète and Cuir de Rose lines, their vintage vixen Wilde Audacity, as well as their coquettish Jardin des Délices and Boîte à Désir creations. Such a variety of wonders makes the perfect match to the many personalities who play within me (I am a Gemini woman after all!).

Curious how Aubade seemed to know my many alter egos, I did a little research and discovered a fascinating history of playful dialogue in their campaigns, which begins with their name. For those not familiar, an Aubade is a song of love similar to a serenade and which, as Aubade would say, they see themselves as being “inspired by courtly love” as well as “the game of seduction”. This playfulness was made most apparent in the 1990s with their posters (that are now becoming quite collectable!) And which taught us the French “art of loving” as well as offering lessons in seduction. This innovative approach, which was pioneering in establishing lingerie as a fashion accessory, has been copied by many since. However, it was not the first time that Aubade stood at the forefront of lingerie. Aubade was the first lingerie brand to make matching coloured bras and underwear, the first to introduce strapless bras, halter bras, “l’agrafe-coeur” a bra that hooks at the front and in the 1980s, they imagined the most mini creation of them all, the dance-inspired Tanga! Which was copied across the world as the G-string.

Though their list of firsts is impressive, it’s their dedication to craftsmanship, which gains my admiration most. Calais lace-makers and Swiss embroiderers have contributed to Aubade’s creations and helped to make it feel comfortable and a great fit! And since I’m far from opposed to allowing my hedonistic tendencies their freedom, my collaboration with Aubade is a dream come true, as I truly believe, to quote Miss Fisher “Lingerie is the way to a woman’s heart” and that it’s what is underneath which counts most; the way that wearing a luxurious satin slip or a even something as small as lace panties can make me feel. Well, it’s priceless and wanting to share this experience with my significant other (as well as in this instance you my readers), what can you possibly expect me to say except… It’s beyond my control!

Hair, make-up and styling by yours truly. Photography by the king of image campaigns Gregory Michael King.

“Through the keyhole” 

Parlez-vous Aubade

“Parlez-vous Aubade?” Lessons in Seduction.

Parlez-vous Aubade

 

“The Femme Fatale” In the picture taken by Gregory Michael King, I’m wearing the Aubade  Magnets set consisting of a bra, briefs and garters from the BOÎTE À DÉSIR line, which I’m officially obsessed with! Everything goes brilliantly on and off with magnets. I paired the seductive lingerie with a tuxedo designed by Ewa Godun, 1930s ear-clips, that I used as a brooch, a vintage hat from Lock & Co Hatters and Jimmy Choo pumps.

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

 

“The Coquette” In the picture taken by Gregory Michael King, I’m wearing the Aubade luxurious silk-satin nightie with jacquard lace trim in Envie colour. It’s from the CREPUSCULE SATINE line and will be in shops December 17th! RRP GBP142. I paired this beauty with vintage ring, vintage purse by GLOMESH and vintage inspired shoes.

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

 

“The Vintage Vixen” I don’t play favourites with my lingerie but this sensual Babydoll nightie in sheer Jacquard lace from the BOÎTE À DÉSIR collection is definitely on top of my list. I pared this beauty with 1930s necklace and matching ear-clips, a vintage fan and Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes. Photography: Gregory Michael King

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

 

“The Vintage Vixen” In the picture taken by Gregory Michael King, I’m wearing the very sexy Aubade waist cincher with removable suspenders from the BOÎTE À DÉSIR collection paired with Aubade Italian briefs. As you can see in the picture I’m wearing this beautiful piece of lingerie below the waist but that’s the beauty of Aubade, you can wear it the way you like it!

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

If  I haven’t inspired you enough with my photoshoot, than perhaps few teasers from Aubade SS18 Look-book will do the job!

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

Parlez-vous Aubade?

The Marie Antoinette Cardigan

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The Marie Antoinette Cardigan 

It’s easy to say “I love you winter”, when I’m feeling all hygge; snuggled up between the pages of Eugene Onegin and my 19th Century armchair, the setting of which is in front of a beautiful fireplace, positioned just so, that out of the corner of my eye, outside my frosty window, I may glimpse the falling snow, while dressed in a black velvet robe, my hair, immaculately vintage, darling! Red lips, oh so glamorous! And protected from the cold, cold weather.

Oh yes, it’s all such a glorious winter wonderland when you have the luxury of being able to stay indoors. However, when you have no choice but to go outside and face the brutal harshness of those Arctic winds, you can Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, all you like but that 1930s hairstyle and red lipstick will start to look quite comical when your nose begins to resemble Rudolf’s. That’s not the worst of it though, it’s the limited wardrobe options, choosing not to wear real or cheap fake fur and those Santa-esque boots that make you want to cry! How do you look fabulous when a 1940s dress or suit, are not a sensible option and trousers seem like the only practical choice? Well, that’s when a beautiful cardigan comes to the rescue and saves the day! 

I’ve been hunting down original 1940s and 1950s cardigans for a couple of years now but as it’s so difficult to find an original gem that’s the right size and colour, I started searching for luxury brands inspired by the vintage world. One of my absolute favourites is, as you all probably know, Wheels & Dollbaby. You can read about the brand (here). I adore and buy their cardigans and never play favourites but the Marie Antoinette Cardigan from their new la Mayfair Affair collection, which was a gift from the designer, is going to the top of my all time favourites list! It’s so beautifully fitted; decorated with a dreamy, Rococo embroidery, that I believe Marie Antoinette herself would approve of. The moment I first put my new Marie Antoinette Cardigan on I knew that I would want to be photographed wearing it in my favourite palace in Europe – right after Palais de Versailles that is, the Palace on the Isle in Royal Lazienki Park, Warsaw, build in the late 17th century as the summer residence of the last King of Poland Stanislaw August Poniatowski, a great patron of the arts and sciences. His recently renovated-bedchamber is where the pictures were taken and as you will see from the images, the interiors are truly magnificent! And oh so fitting, as I find it rather ironic that I’m wearing a cardigan named after Marie Antoinette in a room, which when re-constructed was modelled on that of Marie Antoinette’s own bedroom in the Palace of Versailles. The Polish and French courts were far greater connected during this period than many of you may have known and if you are curious  you can read about it (here).

The Marie Antoinette Cardigan from Wheels and Dollbaby matched with vintage Mansfield Originals-Cache D’or trousers create a casual chic look, perfect for winter’s days. 

Photography: Gregory Michael King

Wheel and Dollbaby

I’m wearing The Marie Antoinette Cardigan by Wheels and Dollbaby in the most perfect 18th century bedroom of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski. Photography: Gregory Michael King

Palace on the Isle in Royal Lazienki Museum in Warsaw. Photography: Gregory Michael King.

The Marie Antoinette Cardigan

Photography: Gregory Michael King.

The Marie Antoinette Cardigan

Photography: Gregory Michael King.

The Marie Antoinette Cardigan

I’m wearing The Marie Antoinette Cardigan by Wheels and Dollbaby in the most perfect 18th century bedroom of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski. Photography: Gregory Michael King.

The Wheels and Dollbaby Cardigan

Photography: Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat – Luxury with a Vintage Twist

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“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

If you haven’t as yet worked me out then I’ll give you a clue by pointing in the direction of a black sheep and quietly whispering in your ear “look, a kindred spirit”. It’s not that… To paraphrase Greta Garbo… “I want to be alone”. No, far from it! And to the contrary of what Anne of Green Gables said, I just don’t often come across people who I have a lot in common with or, are as passionate as I am about the same things. Rather, I find kindred spirits to be somewhat uncommon and so, when I do make their acquaintance, as such is the case with the discovery of any rare and precious object, I want to show it off to the world.

Such was my reaction upon an introduction to the fashion designer Michael Hekmat; a true perfectionist who incorporates a lot of time on research with an uncompromising eye for detail, along with an extensive knowledge of textiles and fabrics, and who I only recently met but knew within the first few minutes into our conversation that he definitely was someone who is a kindred spirit and that he is someone who I wanted to write about.

For those of you involved in the fashion industry, Michael Hekmat probably needs no introduction. A graduate of the prestigious Instituto Marangoni University in Milan, he’s worked closely with such designers and brands as Vivienne Westwood in London and Proenza Schouler in NYC. He was the senior designer for Giambattista Valli in Paris and now designs under his own name with an atelier in Warsaw, which is where I had the chance to see his AW2016/17 collection up close.

I fell in love with his designs so much that when I left the atelier, it was with half of his collection in my bag. Just to clarify, I didn’t steal anything, Michael kindly let me borrow some of my favourite pieces  that I could get a real feel for the clothes, be photographed in them and share the results with all of you. What can I say except that It’s Beyond My Control! 🙂

The AW2016/17 collection is very luxurious, classic, minimal in a sense, with a lot of reference to the glamorous, rather than the, cheesy flower-power 60s hangover end of the 70s aesthetic which it is in part inspired by. It’s definitely a collection for a strong, confident woman who knows her style and doesn’t waste precious time on current trends, that will change with a blink of an eye and be last season before you know it. As Coco Chanel once said “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

Michael Hekmat has somehow managed to find the perfect balance between the glamorous and the everyday with designs that are as timeless as the 1940s and Victorian clothes that I collect or as rarified as an Art Deco bracelet bought at Bonhams auction house. These unique and precious objects will never go out of style.

If I had to describe the AW2016/17 collection in few words it would be; luxury with a vintage twist.Immaculate tailoring on the woollen trousers and coat with a vintage fox fur details on the arms (I wear only faux fur but since it was authentic vintage fur I made an exception), was the quintessence of luxury and style and with the right accessory (vintage of course) could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The ecru, aubergine, black and powerful red were the dominant palette and so it happens a perfect marriage of colours. 

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a black lace top from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection, La Perla bra, white skirt from the SS2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection, Walford tights and Miu Miu shoes. Photography; Gregory Michael King

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a coat from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection, vintage hat and my beloved Hermes scarf. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a beautiful jacket from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing an aubergine dress from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a black blouse and ecru, woollen trousers from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection and a vintage hat. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing an incredibly sexy, see through evening gown from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

L’Hotel – The best luxury boutique hotel in Paris.

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Oscar Wilde, perhaps my favourite author, famously once said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” Taking his own words to heart, poverty stricken and in Paris, dear Oscar, nearing the end of his days, moved into a hotel above his means and stayed there until his death in November 1900.

That hotel stands to this day, on the site of La Reine Margot’s Pavillon d’Amor, where it has been a fixture of the Parisian South Bank since 1828. In Oscar’s time however, at the end of the 19th Century, it was known as Hotel d’Alsace before taking on the name that we’re familiar with today, L’Hotel, and becoming the place to be seen, in the beautiful area of Saint Germain, for the crème de la crème of Parisian society who so often rubbed shoulders with the Hollywood set that included Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, as well as Spanish master of Surrealist painting, Salvador Dali.

Though it may perhaps be the smallest luxury hotel in the city of love, for me L’Hotel will always remain the best luxury boutique hotel in Paris. I must however warn you though; I have bias, as it’s where Mr de Merteuil and I spent our honeymoon after our whirlwind romance and wedding at London’s Chelsea Town Hall, following in the footsteps of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Nevertheless, I lay down my proud de Merteuil gauntlet to anyone who dares challenge that it is not a work of art, as each of the 20 guest rooms designed by one of my favourite interior designers, Jaques Garcia, can surely testify otherwise and if they don’t convince you then perhaps the underground vaulted-ceiling private swimming pool or the Michelin starred Le Restaurant will.

Be warned however, L’Hotel is like another small Parisian delicacy, the magnificent Macaroon, which once tried it’s taste is never forgotten and it’s longed for forever more. So, simply mentioning L’Hotel’s 13 Rue Des Beaux-Arts address is enough to send me into raptures and writing this now, my head is swimming, thinking of how I can persuade Mr de Merteuil to justify visiting it again… And again.

L’Hotel – the best luxury boutique hotel in Paris.

Entrance of L’Hotel in Paris.

L'Hotel Le Bar

Le Bar is one of my favourite bars in Paris.

The famous Le Bar at L'Hotel in Paris.

 

The reception at L'Hotel.

 

Le Restaurant at L'Hotel.

Le Restaurant at L’Hotel.

L'Hotel

Stairwell at L'Hotel.

Magnificent stairwell at L’Hotel.

L'Hotel

L'Hotel Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde at L’Hotel.

Oscar Wilde L'Hotel

Oscar Wilde Suite

Oscar Wilde Suite at L'Hotel.

L'Hotel

The Apartment, named after Louis – Antoine, is the largest suite (45 sq m) at L’Hotel with a lovely terrace perfect for a candlelight dinner.

L'Hotel

L'Hotel

Moi photographed by Gregory Michael King AKA Mr de Merteuil at L’Hotel in the de Merteuil room. 🙂 It’s Beyond My Control.

18th century Wig

I was born in the wrong century and every time the opportunity presents itself for me to wear a beautiful film/theatre wig from my favourite period of time, I never refuse. What better place to wear such wig than in Paris or Versailles. The picture of me taken by Gregory Michael King was to advertise “How To Be 18th Century.” show.

L'Hotel

Grand Suite inspired by 19th-century Russia and Belle Epoque.

Bathroom in one of the 3 junior suites. Grand Suite  inspired by 19th-century Russia and Belle Epoque.

The Mignon room.

L'Hotel

One of the Chic rooms at L’Hotel.

L'Hotel

Another Chic room.

L'Hotel

L'Hotel

The romantic and very private pool in the basement of L’Hotel.

Oscar Wilde

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is one of my favourite novels written by Oscar Wilde so imagine my delight when I found a copy of this magnificent book published in 1910, in a little treasure bookshop on Charing Cross.

 

All pictures of the interiors of L’Hotel courtesy of A Curious Group Of Hotels.

Best products for red hair!

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Best products for red hair!

Shock confession, I’m not truly a natural redhead. Yes, I admit that my gorgeous red hair is in fact, not the result of natural selection but rather the result of personal choice and eight hours undergoing agonising hair colour stripping to near white, followed by at least three shades of red hair-dye, in order to create a naturally looking copper red. The only reason my hair didn’t fall out after having been stripped using so much peroxide, is because I followed the advice of my hairdresser at the time, who instructed me to pour half a litre of extra virgin olive oil on my hair every other day for at least a month and use the GHD Indulgence Treatment mask after washing my hair. I smelled like a salad but thanks to some good advice, my hair remained and stayed as thick as it had been before the metamorphosis.

Acne Studios- The Casual Chic Look!

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Acne Studios

If a land of eternal autumn existed, a place dominated by leaves of gold and red, where the temperature was perfect for wearing a Burberry coat every day, accessorised with Christian Louboutin pumps, then I would move there immediately. However, Narnia is but a book while winter; a reality and such a difficult time of year for anyone wanting to look chic, unless you never have to spend more than the briefest of moments out in the cold air, you’ll struggle, finding yourself choosing clothes for their warmth rather than strictly for their appearance.

Through Peacock’s Eyes

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Fashion columnists and critics thrive off a good hen-fight but nothing seems to ruffle their feathers more than to see their patch of the garden being strutted by a fashionable young peacock. Such was the case when the legendary Suzy Menkes, Fashion Critic for the International Herald Tribune decided to pen her article “The Circus of Fashion” in which she focused her pecking upon the world of fashion blogging, suggesting that for the most part we weren’t critics but simply self-publicists. It’s definitely an article well worth reading, if you haven’t already done so and Suzy’s point is a significant one but is it right? Are the majority of fashion bloggers simply self-publicists?

The World Of Interiors

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“At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night.” – H.P Lovecraft

Some of my most creative ideas relating to writing, styling and other parts of my life, appear to me in the middle of the night, (which comes in rather handy given the light case of insomnia that I have).  My love of darkness and need of working in complete solitude (with the exception of Wagner who I tend to listen to while I’m writing) has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. From time to time however, even the darkest night, no amount of Der Ring des Nibelungen can help with life’s petite obstacles (lack of access to the internet at 2am or a broken Mac for starters).

Veroni Deco Designs

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If I had to describe Veroni Deco designs with only few words it would be visionary couture-extraordinaire. I’m a huge fan of Veroni’s latest all-red collection entitled “ The Chastity of Jessica Rabbit” and if I could I would buy every single one of her couture dresses, as I wouldn’t be able to pick a favourite one… It’s Beyond My Control.

I did have the honour of wearing one of Veroni’s  pre- collection couture dresses for a red carpet event a couple of months ago and if you read my “Take me to the ballroom- The power of the red couture dress!” post you will understand why I’m so in love with her designs!