Thursday, February 24, 2011

Art Brut. The real stuff.

I went to a the Collection de l'Art Brut museum in Lausanne over the weekend, its actually right next to my apartment which is awesome!
To be honest, I have never had such a strong reaction to a museum and I have seen quite a few of them... As a result I am very difficult when visiting a museum for the first time, not to be snobby but I have visited the finest museums in the world so I really look for quality and coherence in an exhibit and its museography.
This museum made me cry.
For the first time ever I actually felt a connection to the art, I really "got" it. For those of you who don't know (I didn't before Saturday) "Art Brut" is art made by outsiders without any formal training, the artists often being institutionalized or mentally unstable, but it is not just "retard" art. It basically is just REAL art, showcasing raw emotions that really transcends to the audience. Some of the subjects are sometimes perverse, but what really got me was the story behind each artist. The museography was quite particular, instead of identifying each and every work of art, there was just a plaque describing the artist's history and his or her overall oeuvre.
There is no set style, as you can see everything is very personal, and what is the most shocking is that some of the artists never actually showed their art, it was only discovered after their death! I think it just makes it so much more personal and touching, I cannot wait to go back next weekend!

Check it out :

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little bites of heaven

Yesterday my plan was to go to France with some friends to stock up on cheap booze (hello one euro bottles of bubbly) but of course we had a plan fail, the person who knew how to get there was too hungover to do anything. I understand her pain.
Luckily, my friend Fred had the brilliant idea to go to the Ladurée shop in Geneva. For those of you who don't know what Ladurée is, you are seriously missing out! They are little light, fluffy, colorful, delicious and decadent pastries that cost an arm and a leg! Think of the movie Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola, you often see Kirsten Dunst indulging in these little jewels that were fashioned into mini towers and pasted onto cakes (apparently the whole color scheme for the movie was inspired by macaroons).
Out of the six flavors that I sampled (don't get me wrong, they were all delicious), my favorite were the salted caramel, the lemon and the chestnut. I cannot wait to finish trying every single "essence" as they call them... however I'll have to pace myself, they cost around 3$ a pop!

Euro spa in my hooood

How surprised was I when I found this building browsing thru my favorite architecture website; a super modern spa in... VERDUN. Well Nun's Island, which is technically part of Verdun lol. I had already heard   about Strom spa nordique but I never realized it was so close to home! You would expect a project like this to garner much more attention!
I will definitely try and check out this place during the summer, looks like the perfect relaxation spot!

Image via Architizer

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Rodarte, the super high end artisanal clothing label by the Mulleavy sisters has been one of my most anticipated shows for the past five seasons. Each garment is like a work of art, all hand made, often using very unconventional techniques. Lets just call it "California Couture". What I love most about them is how you clearly see their style and approach to design evolve with each season. Back in september, for SS2011, they turned a new page and seemingly simplified their designs, but nothing is ever simple with the Mulleavy's, it just got much more refined. For Fall, they kept that spirit and broadened their scope by offering more of a complete wardrobe: high waisted pants, shirts and fabulous floor length coats. They always make a point of finding some sort of far flung theme and really sticking to it thrughout the whole collection, and as usual, it paid off. I feel as if they are getting more confident in the skill with time, instead of just offering crazy show stopping mini dresses and dramatic gowns that mere mortals would be afraid to touch (come on, you remember those crazy post apocalyptic patchwork/shredded dresses that are now actually in museums), they are creating much more realistic clothes all the while remaining distinctly Rodarte.

Images via STYLE.COM

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh yeah, I'm in Switzerland until July

So I (Alex) am doing a semester abroad in Geneva studying interior architecture at HEAD (yes i know it gives me the giggles too... especially since the first time I visited their website the homepage was displaying homo erotic art. It was just meant to be! It actually stands for Haute École d'Art et de Design). However, there is a major housing crisis in Geneva so i am living in Lausanne, a 25 minute train ride away. 
Turns out I am quite lucky to have cheaped out and moved to Lausanne since it is reportedly the party capital of Switzerland... but I unfortunately (actually its a good thing lol) will not have the means to party the semester away... I actually have some goals!
My first goal is that I intend to get fit. I know have been saying that for years but now I actually have the opportunity to do so as I am unemployed! I can go run on lake Leman (aka lake Geneva), work out in my apartment (we actually have a bunch of workout gear!) and if I get lazy, I still have to walk up a damn mountain to get home. When I was in Arenzano over the summer I intentionally walked up and down 300 stairs up to six times a day and damnnnn my legs were toned.
My second goal, which is tied to the first one, is to eat much healthier. I already eat relatively healthy at home but the munchies always got to me… and besides, I can’t afford to eat junk food here! Everything is uber expensive! I have to figure out ways to increase my protein intake without buying fresh meat, which is the most expensive item at grocery stores here. So canned tuna (well the fancy Italian one in olive oil), beans, nuts and cheese it will be! Thank God I am in the land of delicious cheese!
And the third goal is to simply work on this blog on a regular basis!
The apartment I am living in is huge, I have 4 roommates but we don’t have a living room so we all hang out in our own rooms. It’s the complete opposite of how things work with Renee in Montreal but it’s a pretty good arrangement! The rooms are HUGE, like 4 of them (including mine) have enough space for a seating area, but I think I hit the jackpot: I got the original master suite so I have a private bathroom, double closets and the cherry on top of the sundae, my very own balcony with a million dollar view. As mentioned above, I live on top of a mountain so I am basically overlooking all of Lausanne, including the old city, I see the lake stretching across the entire view, and best of all, I see snow capped mountains across the lake!
Hopefully I will be able to make the most of this trip! 

Image via

Love Love Love

I am absolutely infatuated with the Olsen twins latest collection shown at NYFW for their high end label The Row. It is now undeniable that the former child stars actually have a very fine fashion bone, much like Victoria Beckham. I am actually loving the fact that a select few "celebrity" clothing lines are being taken quite seriously for once, because love it or not, these girls know and love fashion. Lets face it, with all the money and power and fabulous clothes they have access too, how could they not LOVE fashion?
I feel as if the entire Row collection was completely wearable, and most of it was fabulously luxurious! Furs, croc and their debut handbag collection (said to be in the Celine or even Hermès price range...) were sure attention grabbers (hello ridiculously posh hat) but the fine tailoring is becoming their signature. All I can wish for now is much much more menswear! That blazer/cardigan is just so dreamy... anybody that knows me is aware of my penchant for cardis and heavy knits. 
Ps: How sick are the cashmere loafers? They are made in collaboration with TOMS and will be around 150$. Want. 
As for Miz Posh Spice, her collection was a little less stiff than her previous ones but still had some of her signature dresses. The twist: gorgeous dresses made to look like they are paired with a belted shawl but no, they are actually all one piece! This goes to show how VB actually knows how to do her own thing. Last but not least, I especially loved the color palette against the trippy floor pattern. 

Images via STYLE.COM

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Waterhouse Hotel

The Waterhouse Hotel in Shanghai looks absolutely wonderful. Unlike most of the massive, cookie cutter developments that you find in Asia these days, this industrial building converted into a luxury boutique hotel really has attitude. They kept the rough integrity of the original structure and highlighted it  with rich woods, large clean surfaces and neutral colors. 
They built a 2 story addition using large planes of Corten steel (the rusty looking one architects love) that goes beautifully with the rough concrete shell. Waterhouse hotel also has an interior courtyard and a ridiculous rooftop terrace with priceless views of Shanghai.
This is my kind of hotel. Its modern and fun all the while avoiding being trendy, like i would not get sick of staying here because everything is shockingly bright. 

Images via Architizer

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Amazing V Magazine video

V magazine created a fashion video about their vision of the future of fashion. They envision a more ornate, colorful, detailed way of dressing which looks really fun. You can spot looks by Rodarte, among others. 
What is really cool about this video is how they clearly filmed it among real people so the reactions are genuine, which made the models look almost like gods living among the mortal. And lets be honest, who doesn't want to feel like that? So come on girls. Have fun.

Image from V Magazine