We are building a collective of like-minded women who share a genuine love for the world around us.Women who live where Mountains Meet.
S+O was most directly inspired by a filming trip [during my time at Vogue] to the Tod’s factory [maker of leather driving loafers] in the Marche region of Italy. I discovered a lesser known destination within Italy that not only had a vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes, but was the home of traditional Italian shoemaking. I thought to myself wouldn’t it would be amazing to have a platform that allows the discovery of a new place through the local expertise of its people.
[Another] influence was travel itself. I was lucky to have a career where I was able to work often in Europe and even spent a considerable amount of time in Turkey. The more places I visited, the more I realized I truly knew nothing about this wonderful and diverse world we live in. A true motivation for S+O is to either make people feel as if they are transported to that destination through our stories and brought home the Object as a souvenir from that travel or to inspire people to take action and go see it for themselves.
For me, real people with real stories to share always make the most compelling narrative. I prefer a conversation, even if it has to be through a translator, to a scripted soundbite. Beyond that I’ve learned that lighting is everything. Again, I prefer working with natural light. Catching the right moments in the hours around dawn or dusk with filtered light makes even the little details magical. And for making the talent feel comfortable, traveling with a light footprint [people and equipment-wise] makes the setting more intimate for the subjects.
A two shared values, that I’ve experienced, is a sincere passion for their craft and pride in carrying on the legacy… or in rare cases, helping rediscover or restore a nearly lost legacy. Almost everyone worries about the future - how their craft will survive if a younger generation does not carry on the tradition, if climate change will disrupts their ability to do their work or if there will cease to be a demand because people do not want to pay a premium for hand-crafted objects.
The two main differences I see are the cultural differences and the way they center their lives around their work cycles. For some the seasons are short and they must work hard and tirelessly in those fleeting moments. For others, the work is year round and continuous. So a balance with family and other obligations outside of the craft must be struck.
I’m in the midst of planning the twelve stories for 2018, so there are many destinations on the radar. I’m most excited about exploring two cultures in very different places — the Ikat weavings of the Sumbanese culture in Indonesia and the beadwork of the Samburu Tribe in Kenya.
My “off-duty” spots are at home in Malibu and in Biarritz, France. Every extended period of time at home feels like a holiday - even if most of my hours are still spent at work. Nothing is more relaxing than spending time with my husband and our menagerie of animals, volunteering with the local wildlife organization or walking through the Santa Monica Mountains.
Every year, usually in September, we travel to Biarritz where we walk along the Grand Plage, swim off the old port and spend quality time with the family over homecooked meals fresh from the local market.
Sapiens, A Brief history of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s a healthy 466 pages and provides an easy to digest understanding of how humans evolved to dominate the world as we know it. I read the first half on my trip to Dubai and Oman, I plan to finish it on my upcoming family visit in France.
I’ve learned that artisans put their emotions into their work and it's carried through into your purchase.
Luxury is an overused term, often associated with a logo and price point. True luxury is defined by limited availability due to the inability to recreate it on a mass level. One must wait for the unveiling of a quality crafted object - sometimes that means waiting nine months to cultivate the best product from the earth or it could mean waiting eighteen months for a fine hand painted kimono.
Not necessarily in appearance or trend relevance, but every artisan product has the opportunity to share a rich and unique story of origin. It opens up a dialogue about the materials, technique and culture of the people who crafted it. I’ve had hours and hours of conversations that started by someone asking about an artisan piece I was wearing.