Now that building works in our house are finally finished and we are trying to regain our social life, we invited a few friends and neighbours over for drinks a few nights ago - partly as a 'thank you' for putting up with six months of dust and noise and partly to show off the result. But despite the 'oohs and aahs' caused by our spanking new kitchen and extension, it was what I call 'my private Egyptian Library’ that almost stole the evening.
I fell in love with Egypt and its history when I was six and my father bought me my very first encyclopedia. The beautiful bright colours and symbols, the animal-headed statues, the fabulous monuments with their stunning painted walls, the grandeur of the pharaohs and their beautiful queens… I found it all utterly fascinating and, as a child, I wished I could travel back in time to be Cleopatra or Nefertiti with their beautiful black straight hair and perfect fringes (fellow tweeterer Muireann C Campbell, a.k.a. BangsandaBun would approve!), their Kohl eye make-up and, of course, their fabulous gowns and oversized statement jewels!
Egyptian guide Mohammed and Marisol
outside the Temple of Medinet Habu in 2000.
All pictures by Marisol Douglas
That was a long time ago but my passion for all things Egyptian continues to this day and some of that passion is reflected in a few of our pieces at Caradiaz. The Amarna necklace, bracelet and earrings, the Kiya necklace and the Nefer necklace and bracelet are all Egyptian-inspired pieces designed with elements of the Eighteenth Dynasty in mind, one of my favourite periods in Ancient Egyptian history.
I would have loved to graduate on Egyptology at UCL but work and other time constraints always got in the way. So, it looks like the degree certificate won’t be replacing the Birkbeck Diploma in Ancient Egypt hanging from my office wall any time soon...
Forget Lady Gaga. If fashion history has a truly fearless, eccentric style icon, it is Italian fashion doyenne Anna Piaggi, who sadly passed away today at the age of 81.
At Caradiaz, we always admired her irreverent yet refreshing individuality, from her trademark curled blue hair to her extravagant make-up and the many, many hats she so distinctively wore over the years.
wearing her 'Exvoto' necklace by Givenchy
Images courtesy of Rocaille
Originally a translator for Italian publishing house Mondadori, Piaggi made her name writing for Italian Vogue and the 1980s avant-garde magazine Vanity. Her creativity had no limits and she was given free rein to produce the double-spread editorials she would become renowned for.
She was a close friend and associate of the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Manolo Blahnik (who designed many of her shoes), and well as muse to British milliner Stephen Jones.
Piaggi leaves behind an extraordinary wardrobe, including almost 3000 thousand dresses and 265 pairs of shoes – Anna dello Russo, eat your heart out! –, as well as countless tailor-made accessories and her bright red manual Olivetti valentine typewriter, which she had used since 1969.
A unique character with an unmissable presence, Anna Piaggi will indisputably be remembered as a true fashion icon.
With only a few days to go to my due date, I’m finally cutting down on the number of hours I spend in front of my computer. But with mobile phones being pretty much mobile offices these days it doesn’t make much difference and I find I’m still keeping myself busy with Twitter and Facebook.
I just love social media. For us at Caradiaz, it’s not just a fantastic way of interacting with our existing customers, as well as attracting new ones, but also a great way of staying ‘in the know’ if you follow/like the people and/or businesses that you are interested in. That’s how I discovered Vera Wang’s stationery earlier today.
I have been looking for beautiful ‘thank you’ notes for my personal stationary drawer for a while and the Vera Wang Boxed Stationery Collection is just perfect, ranging from plain cards with a simple ‘thank you’ on them, to charming floral prints and exquisite laser cut eyelet spirals.
I still haven’t decided which design I’m going for but with this baby about to make an appearance and presents from friends and family abroad already beginning to arrive, I’d better make sure I place my order soon.
Oh, by the way, the Vera Wang Boxed Stationery Collection is available online in the UK from Magenta Fine Stationery.
Still recovering from The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, it has been a hard week to try and get back into the swing of things. But an anglophile like me couldn’t miss out on such a historical occasion, even at thirty weeks pregnant...
The English weather - and South Eastern trains – might have decided not to play ball but, despite the heavy rain and never-ending train delays, Britishness prevailed and the Caradiaz team still managed to make it to London to soak up the atmosphere during some of the festivities, which then continued back home amongst barbecues and street parties.
Yes, exhausting as all of that partying was, Britannia certainly ruled last weekend so… bring on the London Olympics and, why not, the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022!
As you know, at for Caradiaz we don’t do über-expensive, fine jewellery – my sister is actually the ‘Elizabeth Taylor’ in the family. But that doesn’t mean I cannot admire the beautiful Bulgaris, Cartiers, Chanels and Chopards of this world – who wouldn’t! So when a new book on Dior Jewellery was published last month, I made sure I put it in my Amazon shopping basket.
I am a huge fan of Victoire de Castellane, the talent behind Dior’s jewels, and this book is a beautiful 300-page compilation of some of her amazing designs. I particularly love Victoria’s oversized rings - sometimes a beautiful big ring is all you need to accessorise a specific look.
Now you may be wondering how come we don’t do rings at for Caradiaz. But the fact that size does matter means that buying chunky rings online can be a really rather tricky experience. And it’s not only a question of whether the ring fits size-wise but whether it actually suits the hand that would wear it… So you’d really be better off trying it on before you buy, especially if you are treating yourself and we’re talking ‘Dior’ kind of money!