I’m beyond happy to (finally) post my favourite moments from the Santorini trip I took back in June! I’ve never been to Greece before, but this gorgeous and mysterious island of the Cyclades made me realise what’s so unique about the so-called “Greek holidays”. The whitewashed villages huddled on the cliff around the volcanic crater aren’t just a postcard view, but stunning reality here. The history of this island is rich, yet violent: the abrupt eruption buried Akrotiri around 3,600 years ago, the centre of a great Bronze Age civilisation, whose streets, squares and frescoed homes were astonishingly well-preserved beneath a cloak of ash. Archaeologists have unearthed poignant details of lives interrupted: pots of barley, a basket of sea urchins, a golden ibex in a clay chest, perhaps an attempt to appease the wayward gods. Of course, like anywhere with an active volcano on the horizon, that could happen at any time. Perhaps this underlying vulnerability is what gives Santorini its raw intensity, its quietly devastating beauty. And of course, Santorini, with its blazing sunsets, is known to be one of the most romantic places in the world. So, for a great starter, here are some of my sun-drenched shots, just to convey the ambience of this gorgeous, close-to-nature, and even spiritual place.
Quentin Smith and Alia Raza are the creative forces behind TOPI. Self-care obsessed, they’ve long discussed that now more than ever their skin faced an onslaught of shifting conditions – from the dynamic weather patterns of a rapidly changing climate to the multiple environments they found themselves in on a daily basis. Indoor heating, air conditioning, frequent airplane trips, air pollution, glaring LED screens, fluorescent office lights, a vacation in the tropical sun, a bracingly cold ski trip… TOPI Climatic Skincare was born as a way to address the impact of all of these extremes on their faces. Quentin (a world-traveler and medicinal plant enthusiast based in Southern California) and Alia (a New Yorker based in France who studies fragrant flowers) sought out the world’s most advanced botanical ingredients and consulted doctors, chemists, and health experts to produce elegant formulas for every skin type, every skin color, every age, every gender, every climate, and every day. Two incredible products – Sun Serum and Snow Serum – are TOPI’s ultimate answer. The first is a refreshing blend of active sun-loving botanicals and 300mg of anti-inflammatory pure cannabidiol. Each lightweight drop contains powerful concentrations of antioxidant-rich plant extracts combined with skin brightening vitamin C, invigorating green tea, and anti-pollution cacao seed for environmental and blue light protection. The result is a gentle oil-free skin treatment formulated to calm redness, boost natural skin cell regeneration, and align skin with the radiant energy of sunlight. The other serum contains high concentrations of antioxidant-rich flavonoids and carotenoids combined with skin smoothing niacinamide, hydrating Bulgarian rosewater, and nourishing plant and seed oils. Here, the result is a soothing and deeply protective skin treatment, formulated to maintain moisture levels, boost natural collagen production and optimize vibrancy. Nourish your face year-round with this refined climate defense serum developed for the conditions of daily life, in cooler seasons and dry weather. I’m testing the brand’s Starter Kit and I must say the serums are working wonders.
Gabriela Hearst took on the creative director duties of Chloé in December and has been shuttling between New York and Paris ever since. Resort 2022 is the first full season at her name-sake label she completed after the appointment, and she confessed she was concerned about pulling it together. But as time shows, she needn’t have worried – this woman is a force of nature. The 38-look lineup, which includes some men’s pieces, appears anything but dashed off. Hearst is making some of New York’s most finely wrought clothes: a double-face cashmere coat finished with a hem of sacred geometry lace, a dress embellished at the neckline with colorful agates left over from her pandemic-interrupted spring collection, a long linen shift with macramé chakanas inset at the chakras, a leather coat in earthy tones assembled like marquetry, and cashmere intarsia sweaters with famous North and South American sites from Yellowstone to Machu Picchu. Those are just the more obvious details. Meanwhile, her efforts around sustainability are ongoing. A jean jacket and its matching flares were patchworked in a rainbow of four different shades of deadstock denim. The collection is 49% upcycled or deadstock material, close to her stated goal of 50% for 2021. The biggest advances might be in her footwear. Sandals with deep cork beds are a guaranteed hit – the cork is harvested without cutting down trees and it can biodegrade. There are also boots made with natural rubber soles and espadrille flatforms built on a base of algae-derived foam that cuts down on plastic. Hearst emphasizes the couture-level embellishments and the nitty-gritty of responsible design with the same enthusiasm. But she’s most passionate about her many collaborators, from her daughter Mia, who painted the rainbow eyes that appear on some silk separates, to the New York artisans whose workmanship on the collection’s macramé-inset shifts she says rivals anything in Paris.
Looking at her autumn-winter 2021 collection, it’s visible that Raquel Allegra has been spending most of lockdown in her garden – it’s the attitude, easiness and colours that say it all. You can even glimpse it in her look-book, filled with lush trees, towering leafy plants, succulents, and flowers growing every which way. Allegra has always strived to feel in communion with her surroundings, but the pandemic awakened a new urgency to bring this more fully into her work. “Human nature: We are of nature, not separate,” she wrote in a letter about the collection. Her artful clothes were a comfort to women stuck at home this year, but it’s easy to imagine wearing them out in nature too, whether you’re gardening in one of her tie-dyed jumpsuits or spending a week in the woods with a duffel of jersey separates and zero cell service. For autumn, she paid closer attention to how her clothes may unintentionally impact those surroundings – namely after they’re already in your closet. Going forward, nearly all of her garment tags will read “machine washable,” not “dry-clean only,” in an effort to avoid the toxic chemicals involved in the dry-cleaning process. Not many brands consider that. Now, her customer can choose her own detergent, ideally a nontoxic one. Allegra said the shift was just as much about streamlining our lives; dry-cleaning is simply a hassle, and it often inspires us to wear our favorite things less often than we’d like. Allegra’s clothes are ultrasoft, but they aren’t meant to be precious; she wants you to wear them every day, wash them when you need to, and repeat. The collection had a great balance of “masculine” and “feminine” details and silhouettes, with hoodies and mannish trousers on one end and sleek, sensual tank dresses on the other. A clever ruffled kerchief lent a bit of Victorian charm knotted over sweatshirts and blazers. And after the year we’ve had, who isn’t craving a little color? Allegra’s new season colour palette is super inspiring, from the shades of lilac to zesty yellow. The t-shirt with “Somebody in California loves you” is another favourite. Topanga coolness!