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.
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:
What is there to do in New York City? The many museums in Manhattan are a great place to start.. I've been visiting museums every day for the last couple of weeks for an art class. Yesterday, we visited the Frick Collection, which quickly became my favorite museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a close second, but the Frick collection offers a more private experience. It's definitely worth seeing.
Indoor Courtyard at the Frick Collection
Just a little background: Henry Frick was a wealthy merchant that built an elaborate mansion on 5th Avenue in the late 1800's. He built the mansion to live in, but intended it to eventually become a museum. Frick loved art, especially pieces of beautiful sceneries and women. The walls are lined with incredible works from the likes of Claude Monet, Vermeer, Van Dyke and many other masters. The Frick Collection doesn't allow photos to be taken inside the museum, only in the courtyard. Photos don't do the Frick Collection justice though. You really need to go yourself to enjoy the mansion, the valuable art and the courtyards
Frick Collection outdoor courtyard
Imagine if ten percent of Manhattan residents left their buildings at one time and tried to drive out of the city as fast as possible. That's what it feels like if you leave the city at 4pm on Independence Day Weekend. I left right after class, but still didn't beat the evening traffic. Traffic was so slow that I jumped out of the car to grab food at a deli while the driver kept driving. Five minutes later, I was back in the car- ready for the road trip.
Even though the traffic can be horrendous, the drive to the Hamptons is worth it. I had the pleasure of staying in Montauk for the Fourth of July Weekend. The Hamptons are incredible for a good dose of visual inspiration. A casual and cool nautical theme is consistent through the towns, boutiques, homes, restaurants and of course, the outfits of the stylishly dressed visitors and locals. There are designer boutiques, delicious restaurants, barbecues, beach bonfires, and pretty much anything you could want at a beach except for Uber drivers....
Storm clouds at Flying Point Beach, Southampton
Pretty dunes on the beach and the beautiful sunsets make up for the fact that the water is too cold for most to go into. I made sure to take my camera with me wherever I went to capture the pretty sunsets and storm clouds. Here are a couple of my favorite snaps of the beach and of Hampton's nature.
XO- Kate Stoltz
Calm sunset in Southampton
XO- Kate Stoltz
Donkeys in Aruba Posted on 06 Jan 08:00 , 0 comments
Aruba is a small island with a beautiful beach, great food and a quick flight from New York City. Things you need to do while you're in Aruba include renting a Range Rover and exploring the island for a day. Take a short twenty minute drive to the eastern part of the island, and you'll come across cliffs, rocky beaches, cactus, and wild donkeys. The freely roaming donkeys were the most unexpected part of the trip: they ambled about munching on grass without a care in the world...
Fireworks are legal in Aruba, so a couple of families were hanging out on the beach setting some off in the evening. Never afraid of trying something new, I lit a couple fireworks myself.
Time feels quicker while traveling.
Near the sea, we forget to count the days.
XO, Kate Stoltz