May 4,1929 was the day Audrey Hepburn was born. She would have been 85 years old. She was born in Brussels, lived in London before moving to Hollywood to become the iconic film star we know her to be. Initially a dancer then actress and lastly a humanitarian, her legacy lives on. Rarely has an actress continued to be so present day relevant as Audrey Hepburn is. Her onscreen style choices still dictate the fashion industry. Everything from lace eye coverings to hats, pearls and the LBD. And what is now the norm for actors to align with humanitarian efforts, it was Audrey Hepburn who was a pioneer for this movement.
On the eve of the annual Met Ball where actresses are paired with designers, it was Hubert de Givenchy that Audrey Hepburn developed a lifelong relationship with. Above is a sketch and the actual costume of one of his designs for her from Paris When It Sizzles. Of course we all know of the image from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. She didn’t flip flop when it came to style, instead opting to build and evolve with one designer. Near the end of her life when she was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer and too weak to fly back to Switzerland, it was her friend Givenchy who arranged for a private jet via “Bunny"Mellon to take her back home to Geneva to be with her family, where she passed away on June 20, 1993 at home.
I recall where I was and what was happening in my life that day. It was a friend’s birthday and I was somehow tasked with arranging the large dinner party for family & friends at an Italian restaurant. It was the spirit of Audrey Hepburn that influenced my choice in his birthday gift. The thought "What Would Audrey Do?” (now a book!). I decided on a vintage pocket watch.
One question I am always asked is “whose your favourite celebrity?” I don’t have one. After years of working with celebrities I realised they are only such when it comes to other - the public or their fans in extreme settings. Otherwise they are … like the rest of us - human. But if I had to go for an extended lunch with a celebrity I admired on multiple levels, Audrey Hepburn would top that list. She seemed to be comfortable as a flawed human, sharing of herself with grace and seemingly negotiated the ups and downs of stardom with an elegance and humanity that is rare these days. Her beauty seemed to literally shine from the inside out of her face. She was also, like me, an introvert.
Beyond her mind blowing & awe inspiring style choices and quirky roles in Charade, Sabrina and My Fair Lady, it was her work as a global ambassador to UNICEF that had the most impact on me. Seeing photos of her with children and the way a woman with a traumatic childhood of her own could commit to helping young people in countries ravaged by famine and war is how I ultimately remember her, not standing in the window of Tiffany’s the morning after the night before. She was one of those rare stars that we got to see age, naturally & gracefully.
The Guardian wrote a wonderful article about her today and here is the link. I hope you enjoy! ~ Sima
Peace within. Peace without. Make frequent stops at meditation station.
A few quiet days after a busy week of short but intense travel for work. It sometimes feels like what I imagine driving a recalcitrant army issue land rover would be. That jerking stop start motion of trying to negotiate unfamiliar terrain.
I had the recognition this week that the journey should be as pleasant as I imagine the destination to be. A new friend, Anil, recently said these words while telling a formidable story “do it as you intend it to be!” I realized it’s up to me to make it so. To ask for what I want instead of taking on more of what I don’t want. What is pleasant to me? Working with humility & grace with a major dose of fun. Working alongside people I like & admire and can consistently build a bond of trust. A team I can both lead & learn from. To be a student - always. Are “AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES” really that amazing if they don’t align with my values & support me in building community from a place of loving kindness vs. popular culture and personal popularity?
Celebrity culture is out of control in many areas of life. I see this from my career in the fashion & entertainment industry to philanthropy & activism to street style to Instagram & Twitter feeds. There is an element of this current trend that breeds ego which really does kill talent. When people are striving to be famous to feed an inner deficiency instead of ambassadors of love, kindness & happiness, art, culture, humanitarian issues and wellness working to illuminate a path that is a healthier option for peace & happiness. More & more I see how almost everything is a distraction from keeping us from our essence. Which for me is L O V E. All the games we play - this is NOT progress. It is a distraction and we are asleep at the wheel of life. My goal is to wake up. Not to check into a “better” hotel & fall asleep in a different bed thinking I’ve evolved. Not to ride around in flashier cars with more gadgets wearing the it bag, hat, coat, dress, shoe … thinking I’ve earned these upgrades because I’m “better than”. All of life is a breath - and as Swamij Santhi taught me - between these breaths there is a gap “slip into the gap”. That is the place of peace. What would happen if we simply stopped? And went inside? All the answers are within you. I truly believe this. All we have to do is commit to being fearless explorers and … mind the gap. ~ Sima
One of the questions I am asked by women often is… what is your favourite style? Personally, I love the midi-skirt especially for late summer going into fall. It’s so flattering on almost any body type. I like to wear with heels or heeled boots, a blouse or cashmere cardigan or sweater. This style is easy to pull of and can easily be customized to be more dressy and formal or casual for day. Some of the qualities about this look that I love are it’s high on femininity factor. And that femininity factor isn’t going to change with the trends… some of my most muse worthy iconic Hollywood style icons such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe all wore the midi-skirt. Also this style exudes a confidence and sex appeal that is based in sensuality rather than trends that are focussed on sexuality. For me, the midi-skirt celebrates being a woman. It’s ladylike in an era where there is nothing left to the imagination. I flipped through Pinterest and found some images simply by searching “midi-skirt” and have shared them here. The images attached to this post are geared more towards end of summer going into early autumn which is why I’ve picked looks with long sleeves and knits. This look is also available on any budget! Regardless of your taste or income, there will be a line that does a midi-skirt in within your budget. My favourites are ones with pockets which make for style & function for me. If you try this look send a message with a photo or tweet me @newculrev. I’d love to see how you’re putting this look together! ~ Sima
Well… we’re fully into the New Year. How is it going for you? Do you still have the enthusiasm you had when you set your intentions and made the resolutions? Or does the reality of life start to weigh you down as credit card bills show up and the decorations that make Christmas sparkle & shine are packed up and put away?
How do you define success? What does it look like when it shows up in your life? I first started reading Emerson when I was 21 years old. This quote has evolved and changed for me as I have evolved and changed and continue to do so. ~ Sima
Focus enough energy inward. Before befriending others, you have to be your own friend. Before making others happy, you have to make yourself happy. It’s not called selfishness; it’s called personal development. Its important to nurture your relationships, and it’s important to start with YOU. ~ Unknown
Last week Kristin and I were in the same city for a day. It was Canadian Thanksgiving so she made her way to the west coast after Comic Con in New York to share a festive dinner with her family. I did the same with some members of my own family. We met at my favourite local eatery Cafe Medina, which is known for having delicious coffee (have you ever heard of lavender lattes?). We were lucky enough to be seated immediately and Kristin was on a mission: coffee. I think the exact words that came out of her mouth were “I need coffee in my face right now!” I like coffee but I don’t need it to function, so I really enjoy my friends who are kickstarted by coffee. Having an English heart I’m much more inclined to enjoy (and crave) a cuppa tea. Soon enough… our lavender lattes arrived. Unlike Toronto, Vancouverites are spoiled with being able to order coffee with skim, soy or almond milk - these queries back East just get us the stink eye from coffee aficionados.
So as I was thinking of a Sunday story to share on the blog I started researching coffee (as it’s one of Kristin’s favourite things) and London (which is always my number 1 favourite thing). It was during this research that I found the story of Australian Mikey Sorbello. A coffee roaster at Climpson & Sons now living in London’s East End neighbourhood of Hackney. When I lived in London I was a very much a “west end girl”. I lived in the West I worked in the South West and I went as far East as Charing Cross. Since then… London’s East End is the epicentre of all things hip & cool - the way the West once used to be. Now many of my trips to London see me spending a lot of my time in the East End. It’s brimming with young artists & entrepreneurs and amazing studios and galleries. Mikey Sorbello as a wonderful view on how community can support you when you’ve decided to move more than half way around the world. He also has found a life that incorporates mine and Kristin’s two loves in his one life: COFFEE + LONDON. Here is the link to his full story. It’s a wonderful project called Neighbourhood Portraits created by Hardy Amies of Savile Row. I love the idea of finding people in their neighbourhoods and sharing and creating a short film about them.
So this Sunday… whether you’re in my favourite place on earth: London or somewhere else… I hope you get to love where you are and get to enjoy a cup of coffee as much as Kristin does while creating your very own Sunday Story. ~ Sima
NCR: Music Monday > Say Something > Christina Aguilera
I love the simplicity and purity of this video. With all the crazy antics that have been in music videos lately, Christina Aguilera (along with Great Big World) shows how her strength as a vocalist coupled with a poignant, simple antic free narrative … are still the cornerstone of music being the universal language.
For anyone who is experiencing an ending… trust in a new beginning.
I’ve always loved this quote by Emily Dickinson. There is something about anticipating the possibility that is both energising & inspiring to me. Even when life gets really low and dark, the idea that something magical could be awaiting us around the corner is often what gets me through. May your week be ecstatic. ~ Sima
Over the weekend, Kristin and I had a meeting via Skype about what we wanted to feature on our blog when it comes to fashion. Our blog is a project that came out of a burst of inspiration and is a labour of love. When it came to fashion posts we decided we would share more of how we collaborate together and why we like the things we like. Another value that emerged was posts about style and fashion that is ‘accessible’. We love so many blogs that are out there by fashion bloggers, actors, musicians and everyday fab folks showcasing their personal style. It’s so inspiring and really addictive when it comes to being sucked into all the eye candy. What we also agreed upon is a joint belief in how society has a tendency to over consume. (We are both guilty of this!) So for our fashion posts we want to feature styles and trends in a way that is accessible to a lot more people. There are already the folks who blog about high end style and do it in such an amazing way.
We want to take into consideration our other community of family & friends and colleagues: yogis, working mums, students, women in my age group of 40+ getting older with shifting priorities that don’t revolve around the “IT” shoe or “IT” bag… we decided we’re going to break down trends at a mid range of high street shops so that you can find them within your budget. Whether that budget is the one we present or at shops that are at a lower OR higher price point. You get to pick because I’ll edit looks that are on trend and easy to find! So here we go!
I’ve been receiving lots of emails and tweets about how to transition summer wardrobe pieces and personal style into looks that work for fall & winter. Summer for me is about clothes that are easy and that is when I experiment with trends. Fall is about fashion staples. Fashion staples are pieces that stay with you regardless of the season and start to contribute to your personal style. Personal style to me is about “what identifies you as YOU?” I’ve long stamped my style as “Ethnic | Girly | Urban | Grunge” (Yes! It’s true GRUNGE is NOT a dirty word in my world!). Here I’ve rounded up some of my high street favourites. “High Street” is a term used in the UK for shops that are easily accessible. The first instalment of some of my fall staples are from Zara, Rails LA, J.Crew and Club Monaco. I picked a floral print dress from Zara because it’s so easy to wear. Fall is a perfect time to pair dresses with a cozy cardigan, tights and ankle boots. Above is a picture of me with my friend Angela wearing a vintage Indian dress (Ethnic + Girly) paired with a Club Monaco cardigan (Grunge) and Rachel Comey ankle boots (Urban). Dresses add a flare of femininity and still lets you get on with your day. Rails is my current obsession for plaid shirts. These shirts are the softest EVER! They come with a contrast print design and you’ll feel like you’re wearing pyjamas all day long. What I love about them is they can be dressed up or down and are really good for travel. I recently picked up a couple for Kristin from Canadian retailer Holt Renfrew. Plaid jackets have long since been a favourite of mine. Especially the old school lumberjack red & black. Zara has done a modern take on this colour way that is chic and versatile. I love the way they styled it for their look book (above, left) but it can also segue easily into a woman who is always about the t shirt and jeans look. Aaaah… the denim shirt! This is a a must have for every wardrobe. Pictured above is one from J. Crew. It’s a standard request from many of my clients. This shirt is great for new mums, working girls and weekend warriors. It can be dressed up or down (try it with a midi-skirt and a statement necklace!) or really casual with knit leggings for weekends away at the cottage. Bottom right is my guilty pleasure: OVERALLS! I admit it… I LOVE overalls! Ever since I returned from my summer away in the UK in 1987 and saw all the preppy girls in my high school wearing them from brands like Guess? and Esprit I’ve loved them. I recently bought an army green pair from Aritzia made by Wilfred, above is a wool fall friendly pair from Club Monaco. Any of these looks can be found at vintage stores, thrift shops, and even really high end retailers. Quite often we see trends emerge and don’t realize there is a way we can make it for ourselves. Shop around and share your looks with us via our twitter @NewCulRev #stylecouncil. I’d love to see how you’re dressing as the temperature drops (unless you live in a perpetually sunny & warm climate then LUCKY YOU!) Enjoy! ~ Sima
photo of Angela & I outside of Cafe Medina by: Robbie Kane
fashion images sourced via retailer websites and may be subject to copyright. for pricing and more information visit:
“Creativity comes from honest celebration of what is available.” ~ Swami Santhi Santhiprasad
Last week something amazing happened. I found myself with free time (this is rare in my world). In that free time, I had numerous lengthy chats with my yoga master, Swami Santhi (pictured above). In 2009 I travelled to India to study at The School of Santhi. It is a traditional yoga school for serious spiritual seekers. So although I graduated with a 500 + hours of yoga asana training which enables me to teach classes, I also came away with something much greater and totally unexpected - I came away with a mentor for life. Swami Santhi deeply explores humanity in a way that helps heal many of our limiting beliefs and behaviours. The school explores many types of yoga and students are exposed to the Patanjali Sutras, learning sanksrit, anatomy & physiology by university professors as well as pranayama and meditation practices. When I left I knew my passion was in traditional yoga therapy. The skills I learned in India have remained with me as potently today as when I was there in the fall of 2009.
The chats I enjoyed with Swamiji as I call him ( the suffix of “Ji” in Indian culture is a sign of respect) were mind blowing. There is something that happens when you are communing with an Enlightened Master. (Remind me to share with you the time I asked Swamiji “How do I know you’re really enlightened?” YES! I was that girl!). There is something magical and transformative that takes place when a student surrenders to a yoga master for guidance & growth. It is a beautiful relationship based on trust & love. Not the romantic notions of love or the bastardized versions of the word that get thrown around every time we leave a coffee date with a casual friend or acquaintance with an “I love you!” and a wave. I’m talking about an unconditional love of a human being that has dedicated their life to reach their potential and then share this gift with humanity.
Kristin and I are thrilled to welcome Swami Santhi as a contributor to New Culture Revolution. We will share his wisdom on everyday life to help offer you nuggets of his knowledge and experience as a lifelong spiritual seeker which will hopefully allow you to view your life and everyday experiences with greater range. What takes me two paragraphs to articulate - Swamiji can sum up in a sentence.
I will share with our readers who he is and how you can connect with him, distil our chats into lessons that are universal and also share some of his poetry. He is such a caring and funny man with a great a sense of humour and talent for story telling. ~ Sima
Swamiji is married to Ingrid (the story of how they met & found love will blow your mind!) and have two children. He splits his time between Kerala in South India and Sweden while travelling to different cities for yoga workshops and teacher trainings.