I would love to introduce you to Anouchka Blatnik, the owner of Vision of Splendor blog, http://www.visionofsplendor.com/ 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!
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!
I discovered Delpozo in december 2012 and have been a fan of this brand for quite some time. Since I followed their work exclusively online I was very excited to visit their HQ during my stay in Madrid. I found out that in fact Delpozo has quite a heritage since its a renowned Spanish fashion house founded in 1974 by the Spanish designer Jesús del Pozo. His work and his collections stood out due to their strong personality and the undeniable style of the designer inspired by Haute Couture.
Following the death of the founder in August 2011, Grupo Perfumes y Diseño acquired the brand. Months after, the fashion company took on the name DELPOZO, with the internationally known Josep Font as its Creative Director. After seeing the Fall 2014 collection in person I noticed the incredible level of high quality craftsmanship and the resemblance of certain items to sculptures or architectural masterpieces! The collection really resembles Haute Couture at its best. Lots of structuring for example in the form of sheer, structured petticoats underneath the dresses (red dress below). I find something that appeals to the subconscious in Josep’s designs, I can’t put my finger on it but all I know is I am sooooo hooked.
The RED Piece de resistance below
The most elegant cloak
Softness of clouds
A sleevless sculpture of a dress below
Possibly my favourite two pieces
A piece of architecture below
The attention to detail is incredible, everything is stitched on by hand
I wanted to go for a saturday run in the forest of Fontainbleau located 50 km from Paris and discovered the most charming French village Barbizon. This quiet village of north -central France became famous because of the pre-impressionist painters that made it their home, notably Theodore Rousseau and Jean Francois Millet. The art movement in 1850 that was focused on realism in art was named after this incredible little village and now we have the world famous- Barbizon school of painters. Of course no excursion would be complete without the very important gastronomic factor. I ate so well at the “Le Gaulois sur le Grill” that I am still fantasizing about the meal. The meal was very simple and we know that it is the most difficult to make simple things taste good. Half a roasted chicken with morel mushroom sauce and a fondant au chocolat that can not compare to any I have tried so far. Pure bliss – a day for not only visual hedonism. Of course the running gear was Nike shoes, Gap sweatshirt and leggings, Moncler jacket and Persol sunglasses.
Instead of figuring out the music that is playing by sound recognition and downloading it now you can visually recognise clothes and own them! You simply have to photograph the object of your desire and then shop it or similar “inspired by” items. An inhouse team of personal stylists will find the item for you. God bless. According to ASAP54 founder Daniela Cecilio, “I was looking for a simple way to be connected to what my friends and style muses were coveting. I loved the idea of a sneek peak into other peoples fashion searches that I can turn to for inspiration.” I have been testing the application and it is spot on and an incredible personal stylist for all fashionistas!
ASAP 54 is available to download for iPhones from the app store.
In Paris I attended the show of my favourite designers- Valentino. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have an incredible approach to this iconic brand and from season to season produce pure art. Romantic and their red carpet dresses have something regal and ecclesiastic about them.The first part of show was all about pop Art. Italian pop art. A homage to the Italian artist Giosetta Fioroni. I absolutely loved the beauty part of the show in particular the geometric braids.
I wore a soft blue tunic from the Valentino collection with a a Valentino bag to the show. Merci Valentino for dressing me!
During Paris fashion week I popped in to see Serafina Sama, designer of Isa Arfen as am a big fan of her classic but fun clothes. The coats were the first items that caught my attention followed by the incredible grey suit. Influenced by the 1970s fashion icon Tina Chow the collection is very wearable and has a magic touch that the clothes will never get tired of and can be quite timeless.
The Film Noir Persol eyewear collection pays homage to the icons of 1950′s film scene. Think Steve McQueen, think Marcello Mastroianni. Oh , terrible things to think about- the lack of sex appeal is evident- is it not??? In fact the message of the Film noir is the mystery, the uncontrollable attraction to danger and the seduction at its best. The Gangster, Femme Fatale, Detective and Reporter make up the cast of the “Film Noir Collection,” and take us back to classics such as “Double Indemnity” , “The Killers” “The Third Man” and “Gilda”. Recent film noir masterpiece “L.A. Confidential” should have had all their cast wear Persol’s new collection.
Milan. Hailed by Suzy Menkes as the “Celine moment” of Italy, Alessandra Facchinetti’s second Pret a Porter collection for Tod’s was consistent in excellency . My eyes were definitely set on the voluminous coats and mushroom shaped hats. The colour palette varied between regal purple and soft blue with sudden bursts of patterns. A luxurious , classic collection – Alessandra seems to understand how modern women want to dress- combining masculine tailoring with softness. Really loving the combination of dresses and boots , thought it really brought a whole new element to the show.
For the ones that dare to say “I do” the French Delphine Manivet is already a household name. More bohemian , less structured it is ideal for the the woman that does not crave a wax museum wedding. In fact a chic Spanish girl asked me the other day where she should look for wedding dresses in Paris and since I thought I discovered America I could not wait to tell her that she should listen to my “oh so up to date” advice. She replied that this was the obvious first choice and would love to see if there was anyone else as good. Ouch. Who turned on the cold shower, it sucks down here. I am very glad that this is the scenario for Manivet’s sake. During the Haute Couture shows I had the pleasure of visiting Delphine’s incredible atelier in the 8eme arrondisement in Paris. Upon entering one is first struck by the sheer beauty of the the architecture. The high ceilings, interior classicism and the harmony of the essentially French palette are an amuse bouche to what is to come next. I find out that Delphine was the designer for Rochas before setting up her own brand of wedding dresses in 2005. Lately Delphine has branched into proper Haute Couture and has been making wonderful pieces for French actresses. We can now also acquire ourselves this piece of heaven. I browsed through the rails of meticulous garments and took a couple of snapshots for you to savour! Delphine Manivet, 93 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Ironic sensuality- Grazie mille per questo complimento GQ Italia- mi fa pensare a Monica Vitti e Lauren BacalLeave a comment
On my way to the show which took place at Les Beaux Arts. The setting of the show and the recurring theme was that of a mystical garden. The wedding dress alone counted 25,000 floral appliqués. What stood out for from the whole collection were the high wasted toreador like trouser ensembles. I really think that this is the wearable Haute Couture part of the collection. The gowns were very lush and all the pieces were very grand. In Couture we do like to dream and let ourselves be transported to a world of fantasy. After all how many of us buy Couture? Incredible workmanship and once again a rich collection.
Wearing Zuhair Murad dress and feather coat with Paul Andrew shoes
At Sidaction charity dinner with Chopard. Think GREEN! Chopard Green Carpet Collection- journey to sustainable luxury!Leave a comment
Do we wonder whilst looking at our sparkle the story that it could tell us? Do we think about the effects large scale mining has on our one and only planet? It is perhaps not what luxury jewellery houses would like us to think about first but there is an exception. We can not simply be taking from our planet – we have to give back. It is wonderful to see Chopard, an established and century old family business be the leader in their field in sustainable luxury. I had the pleasure of meeting Caroline Scheufele, the Artistic Director and Co-President at the Sidaction charity dinner in Paris and found out about this great initiative. Chopard in collaboration with Livia Firth’s Eco-Age has unveiled the first ‘Green Carpet Collection’ pieces as part of Chopard’s High Jewellery Collection . And what better way to spread this important humanitarian message than through the power of celebrity. The collection was unveiled at Cannes Film Festival and marks the beginning of a journey towards sustainable jewelry. This is a unique philanthropic partnership of Chopard and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), to support and enable small artisanal gold mining communities in Latin America . Also The Alliance for Responsible Mining focus is not only helping small scale miners, encouraging fair trade, but also to help assist environmental issues caused by large scale gold mining. Equally diamonds used in the jewellery are from mines certified to the high standards of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), sourced from IGC Group.
Sidaction bathroom moment in Chopard jewellery and Ralph Lauren dress
Pierre Berge giving a speech during dinner. It’s really a pleasure to listen to such an institution and who has been in the heart of it all for so many years. I do associate strongly with this cause as many of my father’s friends dies of AIDS. Lots of funds were raised once again this year – BRAVO!
My camera was not really enthusiastic and would not take good pictures during this show. Sorry! I got a great happy shot of Franca Sozzani though (below)
I absolutely loved the Morrocan dresses- I would love to wear those with chunky jewelry and a chignon and sit on a terrace in Rome almost copying a scene from Sorrentino’s Grande Bellezza. Again the workmanship and attention to detail was extraordinary. I love the so far consistent allusions to ecclesiastical and regal costumes in the designers work.
Et voila mon outfit pour Valentino- total look Valentino avec des chaussures Gianvitto Rossi
Once again Elie Saab blows us away with his infinite creativity and consistency for evening wear. From the setting and the lighting during the show I was transported into a fairytale world that Elie knows to create with utter perfection. Everything fitted in perfectly well to paint the perfect picture: from the frosty show lighting that emphasized the spectrum of vivid colours of the dresses to the well timed music beats. I think Elie wants to show us his Haute Couture Grandeur that he is so good at whilst adding the wearability factor to some of his pieces.
En route to the show with my Gabs- wearing an Elie Saab satchel bag
The show can start
Leaving the show….Total look Elie Saab- shoes, bag , cape and dress. Stay up tights by Wolford. I have to say that this look was very much inspired by the chic Begum Aga Khan. And….I am very happy here as am trying to fake happiness and not express the misery pf freezing Paris weather
A chic version of a wife beater (not PC)- Fendi Resort 2014 dress . Why do they call sleeveless shirts wife beaters- Google?Leave a comment
It is always amazing to see design objects that look so fresh and inventive now as they did when they were made by a a still today living artist . Maria Pergay is 83 years old and she arrived in France as an émigrée in 1937. She then studied costume and set design at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinématographiques in Paris and took sculpture classes with Russian-French artist Ossip Zadkine. She makes the most beautiful sculptural furniture out of stainless steel.
You can look at other looks from the red carpet of Rome Film Festival here: http://www.gqitalia.it/eros-girls/articles/2013/novembre/festival-del-cinema-di-roma-sexy-red-carpet