Interview-Anouchka Blatnik, owner of Vision of Splendor blog

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I would love to introduce you to Anouchka Blatnik, the owner of Vision of Splendor blog, and someone who I really look up to and share the same aesthetics. I look at her blog a lot as it really inspires me. She posts about visually sophisticated items and shares with us her refined taste in design, fashion , jewellery and travel. I wanted to find out more about her inspirations, background and the vision behind one of the most authentic blogs out there.

How did you come to the idea to create your blog?

I always wanted a site where I could share all the experiences of my daily life, in my work, my travels, my childhood, and the other things that influence me. But I wanted it to be a visual journey, so Vision of Splendor has been years in the making.

My previous ideas were way too big. They include a TV channel, for which I have all of the programming already set up in my secret folio, as well as another site completely different to this one. But I started Vision of Splendor because I was getting ahead of myself and imagining things from a large scope instead of smaller ideas that could grow immediately. I am actually a detail-oriented person, so I stuck to the one that would translate everything I do, like, have done, or will do. I decided that for the moment, blogs and online diary’s are to be the containers in which I pour the vast contents of my mind. I think Vision of Splendor fulfills me in many ways.

It’s a very cool name- indeed everything that I see on your blog is outstanding- where do you get the inspiration from?

Thank you very much! The name encompasses everything we see if we look at the world with our eyes filled with beauty, although I do not mean this in a superficial way. Beauty can move you deeply, it can make you smile, it can make you cry, it can inspire you, open up your senses, and I believe it can heal you. Because there is a lot of sadness, pain, and ugliness in the world, I thought, “Why not try and see the Splendor in everything you can?” Whether this is a place, a flower, a piece of music, or a piece of delicious cake, a scent, a colour…I can go on and on. There is such a vast amount of things that inspire me! I also love sharing all the incredible talent of artists and artisans, some of those who I feature on Vision of Splendor are still using traditional methods, while others are trying new methods to create. But mostly, they’re sharing with us their dreams, which they are turning into a reality for us to enjoy.

I am constantly inspired, whether I’m sitting at my desk at home or travelling across the globe. This is a big passion of mine and I actually have to reign myself in because the ideas in my head are constant. I love to read, see, learn, and experience. Vision of Splendor is my outlet, my “visual diary” as I like to call it, and I want it to inspire everyone…or at least to allow the visitor to have nice break from his or her daily life. Instead of “have a break have a Kit Kat,” I want you to have a break, have a 5-minute Vision of Splendor. Haha!

Did you study interior design? Your knowledge in this field is really exceptional.

I love your compliments Sara! Well, I always had a love affair with interior design, although I never formally studied it. I do have a couple of certificates in different areas that have helped me a long the way to open my mind up, but honestly, I feel it has a lot do with instinct, because interior design has many layers! I guess I see myself as more of an “interior stylist.” It’s hard to find the right word. But I was previously a sourcing agent and a jeweler, so I find that I can pick out things quickly, whether it’s furniture, fabrics, or soft furnishings. I feel as if I know where to place things so the energy of a room changes. I practice this a lot when I rent an apartment or stay in a hotel for a long period of time. I think about how can I make my surroundings more comfortable, homey, cozy, more ‘me’! Again, this comes from traveling, reading, and research, research, and more research in books, magazines, museums, and in practice!

There is so much inspiration out there, and it does not always have to be high-end to look good!

What does fashion represent for you?

Fashion was very present early on in my life. I did two years of fashion design in London and worked numerous jobs in that field. I really thought I was going to be a fashion designer at one point, but life had other plans for me.

It is really wonderful how Art, Architecture, Culture, and History inspire fashion designers. This is the side of fashion I love: the storytelling and creativity. It is very hard to come out with so many different collections year after year! Now, the pressure is vast for them, everything is moving so quickly, and the volume being produced is enormous. Boy, I am so glad I am not in that field as a designer. So I applaud them and thank them for bringing us such wonderful work and I hope my site helps them get inspired in some way.

Where were you born , what did you study- tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ahhhh…the long version or the short version?

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and lived there till I was 13. My father was born in Maribor, Slovenia to Italian-Slavic parents and during World War II they immigrated to Venezuela, via Austria.

My mother was born in Cairo, Egypt to an Egyptian-born mother of Russian-Ukrainian heritage and a Italian-born father of Syrina-Italian descent. They too left Egypt during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and moved to Geneva, Switzerland. I mostly lived between

Caracas, Geneva and Gstaad, then, later moved to London, where I still live.

I studied many places, started out in JFK School in Saanen, then went on to Aiglon, then ended up for a small amount of time in Dobbs The Masters School in New York. After that, I moved to London were I did one year in a very British Bohemian Art School until I applied to the American College in London. This is where I studied Fashion Design and Business Administration. By the age of 20, I already had three jobs working on the weekends, in fashion of course, but, as I mentioned before, it did not inspire me as much as I thought. But, out of the blue my destiny changed when a friend told me of a job opening as a “temp” in a small PR and publishing company. The minute I met the owner of the company, Tina Cooke, I knew I would work there for a long time! She was my first mentor and later on became one of my closets friends. I learned so much from this woman who is completely self-made.

My first project after working there for only two weeks was based in Abu Dhabi. This was in the early 90′s and, luckily, I had a few very good friends who were from there, so it was “kismet” as they say in the Middle East! Again the learning curve I had there was immense, as this was a new country almost the same age as me! I became the head of the our Middle East Office, there, mostly staying in Abu Dhabi but also travelling to Oman, Qatar and some of Asia. This involved so much, putting together a national Team of Polo Players, building the Polo Club, getting the sponsors,creating the events, the Uniforms, the prizes with Garrards and so much more. I worked out on the filed a lot in the middle of the Desert, there was nothing then and nobody had done this before. It was lot of work but i manged and since I spoke a little Arabic, and my other great skills it helped!

This experience became my foundation. From that moment and even up to now, I have had several of my own businesses and I also became a jeweler for a couple of years. This is where I learned that I was good at spotting talent! I always studied something new, as I love to learn and improve my skills, but I did not have the time to pursue any other degrees, however. I better stop here, as this is the short version!!

Favourite travel destination?

This is a hard one as it changes all the time! However, I am very fortunate to be able to travel and I really try to see somewhere new every time I go!

One of my favourites is, of course, Bali, Indonesia. I have been going there for over 17 years and for me, this place is just pure magic. Capri has great food, romance, and still one of the most elegant places in this world! In the Middle East, it has to be Oman. This, to me, is true Arabia: kind people, incredible landscape, charming, and quiet.

Another place that I found to be incredible is Russia. I had a fantastic trip there several years ago and all I did was experience culture and more culture! It was just incredible! I went towards the end of May, just before the White Nights, and the light was magic! It gives off an ethereal quality. I took about 5000 pictures and so far, I’ve only posted 20 on the blog, there is more to come. All I can say is go visit and be charmed, as the Russians are great hosts.

In America, I love Arizona, California, and New Mexico! It’s another great country full of surprises and beauty!

There are still some more places am dying to go to: Bhutan, Burma, Mongolia, Peru, Madagascar, more of Africa, and my motherland, Egypt, which I’ve never been able to see fully. I really need a good travel partner!

Name 5 favourite hotels and restaurants in the world

Peninsula Beverly Hills for the best service I’ve ever had and the kindest Staff!

Como Shambala Estate (formerly called Begawan Giri) in Ubud, Bali which, to me, is the most incredibly designed hotel in the world. And not only because of the decor, it’s the setting, the sights, the sounds, everything! Once you get there, you wish you could just buy the room…complete with all the wonderful Staff! It is my healing place!

My other hidden gem is not a hotel but a spa/health retreat called Mii Amo in Sedona, Arizona. This place changed my life in one week! Yes, really! There is something very special there, and even skeptical people who go come back feeling transformed in some way or another. It leans a lot on the spiritual side of life, but they do it in such a great way that it isn’t intrusive. And the Red Rocks! I mean, wow! Your mouth is hanging open all day long! When you look at them, they’re just spectacular. It’s also a great place to hike.

I also love the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland, because I grew up going there. And there are still a lot of people working there who have know me since I was born. I find this to be very comforting. The service and food are impeccable and there is so much history in this hotel. It just turned 100 years old! The other hotel I love there is The Olden, where I also grew up before we had a home in Gstaad. I used to stay at The Olden with my father and siblings.

This ties in to restaurants, as I think the food in Gstaad is delicious: La Fromagerie, The Olden, and Sonnenhof. This is closely followed by the food in Capri: da Paolino’s in the Lemon Grove, Aurora for pizza, L’Aqua, and just anywhere on the island! The Amalfi coast, Naples, Rome, Tuscany…the whole of Italy!

In London, I love Amaya (Indian), Cecconi’s (Italian), Lima (Peruvian), Kateh (Persian), Ishbilliah (Syrian)…god, the list can get long with me!

Favourite designer ?

Well, they are all on your fantastic blog! I love all your posts! Aquazzura, Elie Saab, Haider Akerman, Mara Hoffman, Ulyana Sergeenko, Alessandra Rich…I should say that I am more of an accessories person in every way!

If you could be transported into any historical era- which one would it be?

Any time between the late 1920′s to the 1960′s. Art Deco is my favourite style of all time in clothes, jewelry, furnishings, and architecture. Those 30 years to me are the strongest of all!

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