I was intrigued by the elements and construction of these rather unique chandeliers from Mud Studio
, based in the Orange Free State, South Africa. Literally born out of the earth, these majestic chandeliers exuding rustic charm are made up of over 6000 handmade clay beads, drawn from the surrounding South African soil and handcrafted in partnership with artisans from the local communities. Drawing inspiration from the landscape and nature the ceramic beads are wire-wrapped, strung and styled around handmade wire frames.
Mud Studio was founded by Werner and Philippa du Toit who in the face of growing international demand have resisted the pressures to employ mass-production techniques, instead preferring to continue working with and training the local communities through setting up initiatives, like their rural-empowerment clay-bead project.
[Image credit: Mud Studio]
Although the chandeliers look heavy and dense I would imagine they are quite delicate given how brittle ceramics can be, and in keeping with the soil from which they have emerged the chandeliers exuding rustic charm are available in muted colour palettes of terracotta, ochre, creams, browns and whites. Mud Studio’s ceramic products can be found in international retailers such as The Conran shop in London and Anthropologie in Los Angeles.
Bound to start a conversation, Mud Studio chandeliers are perfect for those seeking to bring an earthy natural touch to their interiors.
Additional Details:Prices for the chandeliers shown range from US$5,600-USD$9,800For further information, current stockists and to view other products visit: www.mudstudio.netCurrent online stockist visit: www.shopatbellissimo.com
Kalamu Lagoon Camp
Now me and camping don’t usually see eye to eye… I like my creature comforts way too much. But I had to revisit that sentiment when I came across an editorial feature entitled ‘Sleeping under the Heavens
’ courtesy of Wedding Nouveau
(If you haven’t already come across Wedding Nouveau especially if you are planning a wedding I thoroughly recommend it. WN is an addictive source of cultural inspiration). The editorial features some of the most amazing places in the world to sleep under the stars and where I came across the Kalamu Lagoon Camp
Granted when it comes to luxury safari camps my feelings on camping are conveniently forgotten, I mean how can you possibly resist the experience but sleeping in the open, in the wilderness is a step too far for me… one to be firmly consigned to my daydreams… that was until I remembered I’ve actually done it and not by choice mind you. My life does tend to swing between extremes and I found myself on a college weekend trip to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
and much later in the day was faced with the ‘horror’ of sleeping round the camp fire with no tents or in the mini-bus – an option which turned out to be way too cold, forcing me outside. To this day it is beyond me why I never bothered to check what the sleeping arrangements were before I went, however I can say I survived - it wasn’t a bad experience at all but one I thought I wouldn’t consciously choose to do again, until now… and preferably tucked securely in the arms of my beloved!
Looking at the images of Kalamu Lagoon Camp, situated in one of Southern Africa’s prime wildlife areas, it all looks to so romantic and peaceful. The camp can be found situated on a permanent lagoon just off the Luangwa River in the southern section of the spectacular South Luangwa National Park. South Luangwa National Park is located in the remote Luamfwa area and is a conservation area rich in wildlife, flora and fauna, an area renowned for its guided walking tours.
Providing the utmost in exclusivity the accommodation consists of eight beautifully appointed luxury reed and canvas tents, each en-suite with both an indoor and outdoor shower. Giant ebony trees provide a canopy for the camp's dining and bar area and guests will find a pool and viewing deck area located to the side of the camp offering amazing views of the lagoon… perfect for sundowners and maybe catching sight of the elusive legendary leopard.
…just remember not to book in the rainy season.
Wilderness Safaris does not take direct bookings, but has exclusive links with global destination specialists. Fill in the enquiry form to find your nearest agent.
For further information visit: www.wilderness-safaris.com
Ella Brown Couture For those who like attention to firmly rest at their feet then look to Ella Brown Couture’s …oh so fab… creations that call out to the diva within and are perfect accessories for dressing up simple stylish gowns.
Launched in 2004 by Adefunke Adegbola, Ella Brown Couture is about showcasing glamour and ultra luxury – think beautifully crafted shoes lavishly sprinkled with sparkling Swarovski crystals, and gleaming cabochon gems or surrounded with luxuriously pleated fabrics, flamboyant flowers, delicate petals and beautiful bows. Designed with the women who appreciates style and luxury in mind Adefunke’s attention to detail delivers through the exquisite touches. Ella Brown Couture is based in Los Angeles quite apt given the glitz and glamour of Hollywood starlets.
To complete your show stopping look the Ella Brown Couture range encompasses couture bridal and eveningwear in luxurious fabrics such as silk charmeuse, whipped taffeta and beaded silk chiffon. The company also offers ready-to-wear collections, handbags, fine jewellery and fragrance.
For further information and stockists visit: www.ellabrowncouture.com
Amsale "Twenty years after the wedding, I want a bride to be able to look at her pictures and be as happy with the way she looked as she was on her wedding day"
, the philosophy behind bespoke bridal designer Amsale Aberra
eponymous label of dreamy wedding dresses.
Synonymous with creating the ‘Forever Modern’ wedding dress, Amsale Aberra came about her craft whilst searching for her own wedding dress and finding little in the way of a simple, refined dress amidst overdone creations. Amsale who left Ethiopia to pursue art in New England before studying fashion, has developed a style that defines modern bridal chic by seeking to uphold simple, timeless elegance. Updating traditional silhouettes with tasteful details, Amsale’s dresses are enhanced with modern touches such as her famous blue sash. The sophisticated modern style of Amsale’s bridal collections translates through to her couture eveningwear designs.
In a fresh twist to bridal wear Amsale introduced her ‘Little White Dress
’ collection of tasteful ready-to-wear dresses challenging the industry’s approach to wedding attire and are perfect for the less formal wedding, honeymoons or engagement parties. A flagship salon on Madison Avenue stocks brands under the Amsale Design group which include Amsale, Amsale Bridesmaids
, Kenneth Pool
For further information about Amsale visit: www.amsale.com
An exclusive range priced at USD$990-USD$1,050 can be found at: www.saksfifthavenue.com
Ijorere The Invitation Ijorere’s creator, American born Ola-Tokunbo turned to her Nigerian heritage for a name that would neatly sum up her offerings and clients expectations. Meaning a ‘Day that is grand’ Ijorere is the perfect name for a company helping you announce your special day to the world with style and elegance.
Invitations should set the style and tone of your event, heightening your guests anticipation and here Ijorere’s creations do not disappoint. Ola-Tokunbo’s beautifully handcrafted invitations designed to celebrate diversity are adorned with exquisite embellishments, intricate patterns and textures, luxurious fabrics and lashings of ribbon. Ola-Tokunbo’s inspiration comes from radiant colour and how it is often incorporated into African and Eastern weddings adding to the beauty of the day. Invitations are customised to celebrate your heritage, incorporating traditional fabrics and motifs - all beautifully presented if you wish in signature keepsake wooden boxes engraved with your details.
[Image credits: Wedding Suite - Ijorere] Ijorere is mindful towards sustainability sourcing its fine paper locally, using paper made from post consumer waste and working with printers who use vegetable based inks for printing. Ijorere's items tend to come packaged as a ‘suite’, so along with your invitations suites will also comprise other stationery such as programmes, save the dates, escort cards and table cards according to your specific requirements. Aren’t they just gorgeous! Additional Details Invitations are bespoke and prices for a wedding suite begin at USD$2000 Allow at least 3-5 weeks for production Service covers the US and most International locationsFor further information visit: www.ijorere.com
L’Artisan Parfumeur - Timbuktu In a collection inspired by travels and capturing the sweetest, familiar scents found across the globe; Timbuktu is the second fragrance of master parfumeur, Betrand Duchaufour’s L’Artisan Parfumeur travel collection. With a passion for capturing elusive scents that invoke a sense of place, Betrand has spent time travelling the world. In West Africa, Betrand was inspired by the rich scents found and the traditional art of Wusulan, the Malian art of making perfume, which captured his imagination. Wusulan is an inherited ancient art, one that has been handed down through the generations from mother to daughter as an aid to seduce and keep your beloved. In honour of the legendary city and the Wusulan ritual, Betrand Duchaufour created the Timbuktu fragrance; a multi-layered, woody with a hint of floral and spice fragrance, adding a modern French spin. Discover top notes of Green Mango, Pink Pepper, berries, Cardamom; middle notes centred in the fragrance of the Karo Karoundé flower, the smokey incense of papyrus wood and Frankincense; and finally base notes of Patchouli, Myrrh, Vetiver and Benzion. Timbuktu is described as a sophisticated ultra sensual unisex fragrance celebrating beauty, nature and love - and one that lingers on the skin.
[Additional Information sourced from: Heekin, Deidre (2009:108): ‘Libation, a Bitter Alchemy’]
Prices for 100ml Eau de toilette spray: £70 / USD$135
50ml Eau de toilette spray: £50 / USD$95
To find out more and purchase visit: www.artisanparfumeur.comTimbuktu is also available at Space.NK.apothecary: www.spacenk.co.uk
Irresistible, elegant, charming – say African Romance of their diamonds. From bespoke customised pieces for private clients to limited edition collections targeted at the luxury retail sector, African Romance offers its discerning clientele the very best in diamond jewellery.
[Image credits: Red Carpet Collection - African Romance] Mined in Africa, polished, designed and set by highly experienced local craftsmen and women, state-of-the-art equipment combines with heritage to bring you a uniquely African product. Designs infused with the spirit of Africa take their inspiration from nature’s gifts; the earth, sun, wind and fire, riveting sunrises and sienna sunsets and wildlife. Taking pride in keeping all the elements of production local, the company website speaks of African Romance’s commitment to training those in the local communities, passing on skills to the next generation and creating jobs within a highly exclusive industry. [Image credits: African Inspiration Collection - African Romance] Knowing where your diamonds come from has been a source for growing concern amongst consumers and to this extent African Romance speaks of their adherence to responsible ethical and environmental business practice; tracking every diamond from ‘mine to finger’, subscribing to the Kimberley Process Certification scheme and working with mining partners who comply with the Mining Charter. African Romance provides every customer with written a guarantee upon purchase. [Image credits: African Inspiration Collection - African Romance]
… and if you want to experience the journey your diamond has taken from it’s rough state to a glittering work of art, African Romance offers guided tours of their facilities or if your prefer spend the time selecting your diamond and jewellery design.
For further information on African Romance visit: www.africanromance.com
To read more on the Kimberly process visit: www.kimberleyprocess.com
Doru Olowu Simple silhouettes brought to life through a vibrant mix of silk prints, sharp tailoring and intricate draping techniques is the hallmark of a designer described on CoutureLab as one 'who has fun with creatively mixing colors and prints’. Fashion designer, Duro Olowu launched his eponymous line in 2004, the highlight of which being his now signature empire-waist and billowing sleeve ‘Duro’ dress in bright prints and luxurious fabrics. The ‘Duro’ dress drew the attention of Vogue whose American and British version’s named it ‘Dress of the Year’ in 2005. [Image credits: AW 2010 Duro Olowu]
Of Nigerian and Jamaican parentage and raised in Nigeria and England, Duro originally trained as a lawyer but chose instead to pursue his true calling in fashion. This was the result of following a long held interest in fashion that had been inspired by the textures, mix of fabrics and drapery in the clothing worn by the women around him.
[Image credits: AW 2009 Duro Olowu]
Duro’s clothes are effortlessly chic, designed to appeal to the international woman who seeks modern luxury. Duro has seen his collection grow to include knitwear and accessories.
[Image credits: SS 2009 Duro Olowu] Additional Details:
Collection available to purchase on CoutureLab, prices range from: £256/USD$394-£2,574/USD$4,144 approx
For further information, London Boutique and international stockists visit: www.duroolowu.com
Aline Matsika Interior designer Aline Matsika is known for her impeccable sense of style and discerning eye for detail that draws on her African heritage, seamlessly blending contemporary and antique French chic with traditional African elegance. The results are gorgeous inviting spaces where diverse cultural accents co-exist in unison. [Image credit: Aline Matsika] [Image credits: Aline Matsika]
Starting out in Paris with her boutique, Concept Ethnic, Aline Matsika brought her unique take on old and new to the heart of New York’s Soho district in the form of Mosaic. Her signature style sees unique furniture such as Louis XVI chairs covered with antique Kuba cloth from Zaire and 1930’s armchairs covered with Senagalese cotton-and-raffia. Constantly mixing the old with the new, rare 2000-year-old Noc sculptures from Nigeria are perfectly balanced alongside more contemporary art works such as white-faced Punu masks from Ivory Coast.
Having closed Mosaic, Aline now concentrates on bringing her blend of beautiful understated elegance to private interior consultations for home and office.
For further information on Aline Matsika Interiors visit: www.alinematsika.com
Louis Mariette …Oh to be inside the mind of Louis Mariette, creator of fabulous bespoke hat couture, fascinators and headpieces. Dazzling, bejewelled creations take you on a journey of discovery into the wild and wonderful world of a designer who works to push the boundaries, imagining the unimaginable. [Image credits: Louis Mariette - Marcus Pummer, left; Benjamin Kaufmann, right]
A highly experimental and inquisitive designer, Louis Mariette has an impeccable eye for unique style. His designs are rooted in originality and attention to detail, created to make an entrance. Born in Malawi, with Mauritian origins and growing up in Botswana and Swaziland, Louis’ childhood experiences have had a big impact on his creations, one where he would spend time exploring nature; collecting feathers, semi precious stones, seedpods, cactus flowers, and beads and trimmings from local tribes. Louis’s extravagant designs reflect his fascination with bird feathers and the incredible palette of colours and textures to be found in beetles, butterflies and dragonflies. All this ignited a passion for colour and sparkle; and influence his use of amazing trimmings such as hand-embroidered fabrics, antique embellishments, porcupine quills, feathers and semi-precious stones that are sourced from every corner of the globe.
Creations as flamboyant as the charismatic personality behind them, Louis Mariette became widely known in 2005 after creating the world’s most expensive hat, the woven platinum and diamond, Chapeau d’Amour costing a cool £1.5 million and his vivid imagination has led to such creations as the Princess Neptune hat, selected by Hong Kong Tatler as the best hat of 2008, more recently Louis was seen as a judge on Season 5 of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model. Louis takes private commissions and has collaborations with fashion designers, celebrities and corporate business.
[Image credits: Louis Mariette - Philip Volkers] Decadent, luxury glamour… dare to wear?
Prices currently on the website range from £45-£3,500
For further information visit: www.louismariette.co.uk