June 11, 2015

Tale of Two Cities. Edition HK.


There's an often quoted saying, once a year go somewhere you haven't been before. I'm guilty of revisiting my favourite places in the world. I think it's understandable and easily done. It's like the much adored piece of clothing you wear over and over until it becomes threadbare and a shell of its former self.

 

In the same way that I have to remind myself to not get stuck wearing the same outfit over and over again just because I dig it so much, I also have to remind myself that there is still the whole wide world out there for me to see. That something like this is even a concern in my mind is something that I'm extremely cognizant and grateful of. There are people who will never have the privilege of seeing the world beyond the small radius of their home. I may detest the long haul flights and the accompanying tiredness and jet lag, but all that means is I have the ability to book a flight whenever my feet should start to get itchy. For this privilege, I am exceptionally and eternally thankful.


Coming off my extremely special and memorable time in New York, I adjusted myself back to real life with a few days in Hong Kong. Being on the same time zone as Perth, it meant I could get my body and mind back to existing on a different day and time. Though I have travelled extensively through Asia, this was my first time in Hong Kong and I was excited to discover a new city.


In hindsight it would have served me well to be better prepared and have a clearer idea in my mind of what I wanted to see and do. My few days there were definitely experienced on the seat of my pants and making plans for each day as it came, but sometimes having no plans or schedules isn't always so bad.


From starting out in one beautiful boutique hotel and ending up in another on the other side of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong was a symphonic blend of cultures and the old and new. Glimmering rows of designer stores sat alongside traditional Chinese herbalists. One thing that stuck in my mind was the proliferation of MCM backpacks adorning the back of almost every second man, woman and even child! Having eyed a mini MCM studded backpack in New York's The Plaza Hotel but deciding against the purchase, I was unable to resist its pull when seeing some variation of the highly recognizable MCM backpacks everywhere I looked in Hong Kong. I always say that when travelling, if you find something you love, buy it!


Staying at first The Luxe Manor and later the Mira Moon Hotel allowed myself and the travel buddy Shu to take in two very different experiences which made for amazing images. The Luxe Manor was vibrantly decorated with a whimsical tone and whilst little bits of whimsy peeked through in the styling of Mira Moon, each hotel was like day and night. The rich and bold colours of The Luxe Manor with its themed rooms contrasted against our very modern room at the Mira Moon, with its sleek and polished surfaces and ceiling to floor windows which gave me heart stopping amounts of natural light. I absolutely adored the grandeur of the Luxe Manor's lobby and the beautifully tiled bathroom at the Mira Moon with its huge window by the tub which overlooked the city with its blocks upon blocks of towers and skyscrapers.


It's about rest and play when I'm staying in hotels. Though some look at hotels as a mere place to lay their head at the end of the day, I look for hotels that are not only going to satisfy me in that regard but also leave me in awe and appreciation. I only appreciate not only good design and aesthetics but also the little things that make my stay more comfortable and enjoyable, such as complimentary use of the mini bar! Both hotels provided us with the free use of a smartphone which was invaluable in navigating our way through an unknown city.


It's fitting that this theme of rest and play found itself in the last two looks we shot for PET. and the Clique Arcade, with an evening-out-on-the-town appropriate look featuring PET's "Ace Motel" leopard print crop top and then something for the subsequent sleep in the next day in the very soft,cozy and infamous PET.Jamas.

Hong Kong, it was an enchanting introduction. Your food, your energy, your bustling streets, the hidden corners of tranquility and the way you offer up elements of both the east and west in perfect proportions. I hope to see you again soon.


Photography by SOUL of SHU.
Shot on location at The Luxe Manor and Mira Moon Hotel, Hong Kong.
Outfit details: 'Ace Motel' top by PET available from Clique Arcade, skirt by Bruug
'PET.Jamas' PJs also by PET

April 29, 2015

Tale of Two Cities. Edition NYC.

Urban playground. Concrete jungle. Bright lights. Big dreams. Methodical madness and semi-organized chaos. There are innumerable ways to wax lyrical about New York City. Undeniably it is the city, outside of Perth, that has my heart for reasons disclosed and undisclosed. For the many times I have visited, I never run out of things to see and do and in fact, never manage to tick everything off my list because something always comes up to take me by surprise and show me a piece of the city that I have yet to discover.


I find New York City to be a place that polarizes people. You either love it or you hate it. I've never spoken to anyone who plays the safe middle ground. You hate it and despise it for its sidewalks heaving with crowds of people, the lights that never seem to dim, the horns that don't ever stop honking and the speed with which time appears to move. When you love it, it's all these things that make it the mesmerizing city that it is. Unable to be replicated and crazily indecipherable. You could spend your entire life attempting to learn every block and street corner of every borough and neighbourhood. You'll never succeed and it's almost as though the city knows that but it's an adventure worth seeking out.


I never return feeling as though there's nothing new to experience. Each time is seen with almost new eyes and my trip during the final weeks of winter in January and February was in fact my first time experiencing a New York City winter. The weather was a type of cold never experienced in my entire life. There were times I lost all feeling in my ears and the tip of my nose as the freezing winds blew their way through the streets. 

 

It was a bitter cold that I cannot deny but there's also an indescribable magic in looking out from your apartment and watching the snowflakes fall from the sky as they stick to your window in a delicate formation. Walking the streets covered in a thick layer of fresh fluffy snow it was hard to resist an impromptu snow fight between friends. Attempting to get in a shot whilst ducking the handful of white stuff coming your way usually resulted in tumbles on the slippery pavement, deep belly laughs and memories that have found a place of residence in my heart.


Though I have my favourite neighbourhoods in the city, I always try to stay somewhere new even if only for a short time during my entire stay. Boutique hotels are my jam. I prefer them infinitely over bigger hotels and if I can I will avoid staying at a larger property. There's a level of personable service offered by a boutique property that I haven't been able to find at the big hotels. It's the staff remembering you by name and genuinely greeting you in the mornings. I also find that they tend to be quite creatively and uniquely designed with lots of little luxe goodies, such as gorgeous premium toiletry products. It's all these little details that can make a stay so memorable and enjoyable.



 The Refinery Hotel, found near the corner of 6th Avenue and 38th Street, couldn't have been a better place for myself and the partner-in-style SOUL of SHU to work, play and rest. Its location in the middle of the famed and historic Fashion District was appropriate given that it was New York Fashion Week and we had a handful of photo shoots organized between local New York City fashion bloggers.

 

Elegantly decorated, the style of the Refinery was infused with old world class and glamour and little touches throughout the hotel paid homage to its home within the Fashion District. Even the uniforms of the staff were adorned with little pins of miniature sewing tools! The cherry on the literal top of Refinery is their awesome rooftop space which in better weather you could enjoy a cocktail outside under the shadow of the Empire State Building. Not just adored by guests, the Refinery Rooftop is a favourite of the after-work set of Manhattan and on more than one night a week is filled with those looking to enjoy a drink under the lights of one of the world's best cities.


If heights are not your thing, Winnie's is the hotel's lobby bar which by day sees those in business attire settling into one of the oversized leather lounges and by night transforms itself into a lively jazz bar. When the sun goes down and the heavy curtains are drawn, it's like being transported back to a Probihition era Manhattan. You never know who or what you might see.


Whilst shooting some looks for PET. and the Clique Arcade, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the carpet of the hotel perfectly complemented the pattern of one of the outfits. You could be forgiven in thinking that such a match was planned but it was pure serendipity, and that to me is the beauty of New York City. 


Photography by SOUL of SHU.
Shot on location at Refinery Hotel, New York City.
Outfit details: 'Onassis' dress by PET available from Clique Arcade, 'Paris' fur jacket by Harmony and Lawson, Moschino Cheap and Chic buckle boots. 

April 15, 2015

Home

Eventually, home will always beckon us to return. It sends out the message lifted by the winds and carried across oceans that the time has come to make the journey home. Begrudgingly suitcases are packed and then unpacked, and the longing for the next adventure soon begins. Slowly as life settles back into its known routine, the familiar sights and faces that welcome you back, that know you almost as well as you know yourself, make being home exactly what it is. Home. The comfort in that familiarity reminds you exactly why you love this place called home. This place that has helped to raise and nurture you and shaped you like soft putty into the person you stand to be today.

Hayley Welsh for FORM and PUBLIC 2015. Located at Neighborhood Pizza, Mount Hawthorn.

Sometimes it takes the time away from home to appreciate everything it is and fuels the desire to make home everything that it should be. A place of belonging and inclusion. Of creativity and imagination. Fun times and pleasure with good food thrown into the mix. You want a home that supports the artists, the thinkers and the movers and the shakers. A home that looks forever forward but doesn't ever forget its roots and who it is.

The burning question that you then ask yourself is, how do you make home into this place? Who strikes forward on that path and how do you even take those first steps when the scary part is, there may be no tracks for you to follow? 

Hayley Welsh for FORM and PUBLIC 2015. Located at Neighborhood Pizza, Mount Hawthorn.

The focal point of FORM's PUBLIC 2015 program is their Symposium event, taking place over two days and featuring an impressive cast of talented, creative and progressive minds. With Australian and international speakers, the Symposium is a rare opportunity to learn from and with people who are leaders and innovators in fields such as the arts, urban development and planning and technology.


This past week, not only was I able to enjoy the official opening of FORM's PUBLIC Salon, which in itself is an amazingly curated space showcasing the artwork of one hundred all Western Australian artists - proof of the talent that is steadfastly bubbling under the surface of this city and state - but also was invited to attend a special session facilitated by Timo Santala. Part of the Symposium line up, Timo is someone who saw the potential for great things in his home city of Helsinki, and he made them happen. As co-founder of the hugely popular carnival known as Restaurant Day, Timo offered up with enthusiasm and passion the wisdom of his experiences.


It was difficult to not be inspired and energized by Timo and the love he has for his home is something we could all relate to. Amongst his many pearls of wisdom was the very simple message that if you want to do something, you should just do what you need to in order to make it happen. He reminded us that while not every venture will result in success, it will undoubtedly always lead to something else and that something else is the seed from which the place you want to live in will grow.
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