Cherry blossoms are blooming in Central Park. The pretty pink flowers signal the beginning of spring and summer time in New York City, adding color to the brown landscape. As the weather warms up, the happiness gets carried into the gloomy subways- a welcome change noticed by daily commuters that have dealt with the cumulative misery of millions of faces during the winter.
The best place to see the cherry blossoms in Manhattan, New York is on the
Want to see the changing leaves, smell the fresh fall air and escape the crowds of Central Park? You don't have to travel far from New York City to immerse yourself into nature. Drive forty five minutes north from Midtown Manhattan, and you'll find yourself in the midst of splashing waterfalls, serene lakes and secluded hiking trails. Harriman State Park in Upstate New York has hundreds of miles of gorgeous, dog-friendly hiking trails waiting to be explored.
Getting to St. Tropez in the South of France from New York City requires a flight to Nice, then an hour and a half car ride along the jagged coast line. The trip there is well worth it, especially during the summertime when it's warm and the social scene is lively.
Cap Antibes is a coastal city in Southern France overlooking the Cote d Azur, or French Riviera. A coveted vacation destination for Americans and French alike, the area is filled with historical buildings, luxury hotels and quaint restaurants with incredible local cuisines. Having approximately the same temperatures as Northeast America, the best time to visit Cap Antibes is in late August or the first week of September. However, if you're trying to avoid the crowds, the second week of September will give you a more quiet experience with slightly chillier temperatures.
Where are the best beaches you'll want to visit during your trip to Bermuda? Jobson's Cove, Horseshoe Cove and the Pink Sand Beach were worth seeing, and beat my expectations for an island only an hour and forty five minutes away from New York City. However, my favorite beach in Bermuda was on a small, private island located at the tip of the island. A boat ride away from the main island, the beach was secluded with live coral, colorful fish and crystal clear blue water.
What is there to do in Bermuda? First of all: the beaches are incredible. If you know where to go, you'll find a cove on the side of the bigger beaches where the water comes pouring in between tall rocks, calmly circling out again. The crystal blue waters are warm and calm, making swimming a pleasure. The large rocks jutting up from the beaches create a picturesque scene. Sitting on the dock at one of the restaurants overlooking the waters, you can enjoy fresh fish and locally sourced vegetables. And if you're up for it, you can rent a boat and head off shore to catch your own fish.
My own fishing experience was one of the highlights of my trip to Bermuda. Leaving the Bermuda shore on the fishing boat, we passed a wrecked ship that reminded me of the tales surrounding the Bermuda triangle... The aquamarine waters glistened in the sunlight, appearing to change colors as the water deepened. Sand reefs jutted up from the ocean floor, covered with only four or five feet of water. The shallow spots were covered with coral and ocean plants, easily seen from the boat through the clear waters.
Once we arrived at a good fishing spot, the captain and crew lowered the lines on the back of the boat- the ones they used to catch the big fish. Tuna and wahoo were known to swim in the area, so the goal was to have a fish to take back to hotel for the chef to cook for dinner that evening. After slowly circling around in that area, we were able to wrangle in a gorgeous silver wahoo that measured approximately three feet long.
After catching the wahoo, I and some of my friends were feeling a little green from the turbulence. We heading back to calmer water on the reef and threw out smaller, handheld lines until it was time to head back to shore. The chef at the hotel made wahoo crudo later on while the sun dipped down after another beautiful day in Bermuda.
Visiting Paris, France is as pleasurable as it is educational for a fashion designer. The shopping is plentiful and never disappoints, while the outdoor cafes between the stores provide a welcome, delicious break. The energy in the city is more sophisticated and romantic than the loud bustle of New York City. Walking along the street, you'll likely notice more women in dresses and heels than in sportswear and sneakers. The detailed architecture on the buildings and the balconies with flowers trailing down the rails complete the picture.
Shopping in the designer clothing stores always takes up a couple full days of my visit. I walk down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where one can find most of the top French design stores. On my second day, I'll seek out emerging brands to see new ideas and concepts. The clothing always feels more elegant and sophisticated than the more street-style friendly stores in New York City, which I love. I browse slowly, looking at every detail and design element until the attendants start to eye me suspiciously.
Touching and feeling the clothing is an important part of learning the elements of what makes designer clothing feel and look different than bridge or mass market clothing. While I was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology as a design student, my design professors stressed the importance of looking at the actual clothing instead of images online. Their advice was on point- I always pick up fascinating design and finishing details that I would miss by just looking at a photograph. In addition, feeling the hand of the textiles is an experience in itself.
By now, I can immediately tell the difference in a high quality garment, and if shortcuts have been taken to speed up the process. Seeing 1/8 French Seams on a silk chiffon blouse reminds me of the careful process of sewing, trimming and pressing that is taken for granted by individuals just looking at price tags. I gravitate towards hand beaded appliqués and hand finished garments, knowing how long it took to complete them. I rarely purchase something, since I personally am an emerging designer, and I'd rather funnel my finances into new collections. I don't shop to buy at this point in my career, I shop to learn.
Like any other industry, the fashion industry is always evolving. I will always be a student of the arts and of design. Finding other brands that are bringing ideas to the market that feel fresh but continue to carry the elegance that I feel during a trip to Paris always makes me feel happy and inspired.
XOXO, Kate Stoltz
Pictured: Kate Stoltz getting ready for a day in Paris at La Réserve in France.
To shop the pieces featured in the photos, click on the links below:
Why we chose Emporio for the shoot location: Emporio is a village on the island of Thira (Santorini) Greece. Santorini is well known for blue domed churches and white painted cavelike houses built into steep cliffs overlooking a sparkling blue ocean. A deluge of tourists flood the island during the day from cruise ships, while international guests flock to the towns of Oia and the capital, Fira. While Oia and Fira are especially crowded, the village of Emporio is still little known to most travelers. The quiet was the perfect place for us to photograph the collection, given we wanted to capture the collection without interruption or waiting for tourists to step out of the picture.
Emporio’s architectural landscape consists of winding steps and pastel stone walls with small windows. Some areas have been left to naturally deteriate - the stone walls crumbling to the ground they were taken out of.
A local sailor informed me that most of the churches were funded by wealthy religious travelers that were caught at sea during a storm. They promised God they would build a church if they made it to shore. There are over 250 churches on the 11.18 mile long island.
INSPIRATION: Before traveling to Greece, I studied the architecture, landscape and flora of the islands I was visiting. Architecture and nature are my main inspirations while designing. Greek nature is natural and fluid with colorful bougainvillea blooming abundantly. In contrast, Greek architecture is mostly straight and simple. The juxtaposition of elements made designing the pieces especially enjoyable.
It was important to me that we captured (in the photos) the jagged shoreline, the rugged cliffs, and the sea that sparkled like diamonds in the sun. It was a photo set that only nature and the location could provide. The afternoon light was gentle to the complexion but brilliant, streaming through the doorways and illuminating the pieces. The architecture in Emporio provided a charming backdrop with straight lines and pastel colors.
COLLECTION DETAILS: Delicate silks, luxurious satins, fine lace and wools were embellished with silk embroideries, semi-precious crystals and lace appliqués. The collection was made in New York, New York by the designer, Kate Stoltz, in her design studio, along with her team of local production professionals. Each piece was made with the greatest attention to detail, striving for excellence in construction, design and fit.
CREDITS: Matt Licari, a photographer that traveled from New York City, and Sissi Petropolous, a makeup artist based in Athens, Greece. Model and designer: Kate Stoltz
FAVORITE DINING SPOT IN SANTORINI: Ammoudi Bay Fish Tavern, a sea side restaurant in Ammoudi Bay, right next to Oia. You can sit on the dock by the water, and eat fresh fish caught early that morning by the local fishermen and fisherwomen.
Who I am Today Posted on 4 May 14:03 , 0 comments
I am not who I was ten years ago, a year ago, or yesterday. None of us are. Before you make assumptions about my statement, read the explanation below.
The human existence is much more complex than one single factor... Imagine placing a flower on a white canvas. The flower is the entire picture. You then place a sheer piece of organza over the flower. You can still see the flower, but the organza captures the light and the thin layer is between your eye and the flower. The flower is no longer the entire picture. You keep adding layers of materials to the canvas, distorting the image of the flower. What you see is no longer a flower, but the result of everything you have added on top of it. The flower will be there no matter how many layers you add onto the canvas, but you wouldn't point to your canvas and say that the entire picture is defined by flower. At this point, the organza is as relevant as the flower is.
When you are born, you are like the flower. Everything you learn and experience is like having another piece of material layered on top, changed you and shaping you. We have the incredible human capability to learn from experience and example, allowing us to speak, learn new information and walk. People we have met, places we have visited, and things we have done throughout our lifetime have made us into the people we are today. Good or bad, every moment adds another layer to our existence.
I am more complex than the color of my skin, where I am from, my religious or personal beliefs, job title or any other factor that is easy to point out. We all are. Single factors like where we are from are all very important, but focusing on only one of the many factors of a human existence only limits us to an incomplete picture. Seeing other people for who they are today is the same, since they too change as time goes on. Even if there is no effort to change in an individual, it happens to everyone. No one has control over time.
Who we are today is everything we have been, but who we were is not everything we are today. The present is the only place in time where we have all the layers that are our existence. The person you were ten years ago is still there, but it's been transformed every single day since then by new experiences. Running from past experiences is not what I am suggesting, since it helped create who we are today. But being able to move past what was, and focus on what is right now allows us to embrace the present situation. It's up to us what the layers of our present and future will look like.XO- Kate Stoltz
Fashion Designer Kate Stoltz photographed by Lena Shkoda in New York City
Do you believe in making New Year's Resolutions? I do for business goals. However, I believe personal goals should be updated on a daily basis, not necessarily on a yearly basis. As humans, we are subjected to ever changing life circumstances, human error and outside influences. My only personal goal is to improve the person I already am, on multiple emotional and physical levels. I believe that resolution alone covers a lot of ground. In the meantime, career goals are much easier to look at in a yearly context. Numbers don't lie, and it's easy to make goals based on the information on our tax returns alone.
I started by writing down three of my biggest goals, then added details beneath each goal. I am keeping the piece of handwritten paper to read until the end of this year. Knowing that I have my goals written down and stored in a safe place, I know I need to accomplish (at least) ninety percent of them.
To start the year off with a fresh start, I spent the New Year out in snowy Aspen, Colorado. Having learned how to snowboard in my teens, I still enjoy spending a couple of days shredding the slopes. Literally shredding the slopes, considering that most skiers actually hate snowboarders.. our wide boards pack the powder and the slopes can become icy. A new board, combined with a year long absence from the slopes made the first day on the slopes a little treacherous for me. However, snowboarding is like riding a bike- you never really forget how to ride.
Gliding down the slopes during the day, shopping in the town of Aspen with my dog Victoria after the slopes closed, then going out to dinner with friends was a satisfactory way to bring in the new year. The fresh mountain air and beautiful scenery was a welcome retreat from New York City... I will be back <3
I wish everyone the best in the upcoming year in both personal and career goals. I hope you enjoyed your own New Year's celebrations!
XO, Kate Stoltz
Rocky Mountains in Aspen
On the slopes of Aspen
Approaching Cloud Nine for a cup of tomato soup
View from Cloud Nine
The town of Aspen as seen from the slopes
Kate Stoltz's faithful travel companion