Eclectic decor is all the rage right now and African prints particularly African wax prints (known as Ankara or dutch wax) have garnered tremendous success for their vibrant colors. Even though associated with African culture, wax fabrics are increasingly gaining popularity among those who are looking to incorporate ethnic touches to their homes.

 

Maison Château Rouge, a luxury clothing brand created by three brothers Fofana, Youssouf, and Mamadou has capitalized on that momentum to offer an African-inspired clothing line that is both urban and minimalist. This Parisian-based brand not only exudes Parisian flair but aptly blends African influences for which Paris is known for, particularly the vibrant quartier de Château Rouge, a pan African hub (think Harlem in New York City or Brixton in London) that houses ethnic restaurants shops, hair salons, barber shops, from the entire African diaspora

 

 

 

The use of wax fabric is not solely limited to clothing. I have personally purchased wax fabric by the ward to create my own tote bags, pillows and bed throw.  It really spruces up your decor without being overbearing or necessarily too loud.

Minimalist lovers can easily incorporate an accent piece with strong geometry patterns and a lovely pop of color.

Wax Print is our Favourite Fabric

Or use as a way to contrast a monochrome palette such as this couch:

Canapé Salon Coussins Appartement Paris Alix Thomsen

 

Or why not add a pop of color to bring out the dark theme of this room?   The strong geometrical pattern brings focus on the print itself without being distracting or cringe-inducing. In this example, the bedroom retains its minimalist appeal, but the global character makes it inviting, chic and contemporary.

 

Chambre Paris Appartement Alix Thomsen

Those reupholstered stools and pillows are also a good way to make an eclectic statement against that neutral charcoal painted wall. It draws the attention effortlessly.

 

xx, Kenza

Photography: Maison Château Rouge  and Constance Gennari via the socialite family 

As I get older I tend to gravitate towards a minimalist aesthetic.  I am drawn to clean lines, neutral palette.  My philosophy favors high-quality items over quantity.  There is also a cultural shift that is pushing for ethical fashion and that is certainly a driving factor for me. For me, it’s all about incorporating timeless minimalist designs that I can wear year after year.

Slouchy tailoring, layered clothing, stripping garments to their rugged function are core principles of minimalism. Through the process of reductivism, clothes are reduced to their bare bone purpose, highlighting the purity of lines, the quality of garments, the objectivity of clothes, all of which are gathered to tell a story.

minimalist aesthetic is utilitarian and guided by a philosophy that empowers women; in this light of thought, clothing is no longer accessorized to cater to the male gaze.

xx, Kenza

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion should be intellectual, ever-lasting and not about the “it trend of the moment.” This is why minimalist aesthetic resonates with me. Of course, there is nothing wrong with dressing sexy, but sex appeal should not be reduced to wearing heels, tight skirts, or anything vulgar.

 

 

 

  1. I’m in love with the clean lines of this mid-rise slim-leg trousers
  2. I am so thrilled about the return of wool skirts, and this elasticated-back wool blend skirt that delicately hugs the body. It is not only breathy but looks very comfortable, and that’s a huge win in my book.  This polished look can certainly be worn in the corporate setting. I love the parisian flair of this outfit. It’s so casual yet so elegant. The unobtrusive aesthetic also makes this an enduring staple that can be worn year after year. This is why miminalism works for me.
  3. I’m infatuated with this clear look: the combination of this elasticated-black wool trouser paired with this oversized blazer embody minimalism and make such a powerful statement.
  4. Who said monochrome palettes have to be boring? This professional attire is proof of the contrary. The asymmetric wool-blend sweater draws attention without looking overbearing. It’s challenge to achieve.
  5. Accessories play such an important part of one’s wardrobe.  This small faux-leather cross-body bag adds such a lovely level of sophistication. I am of those who firmly believe that a purse reveals so much of one’s personality.  A polished attire should always strive to be cohesive and this example shows a fluid extension between the outfit and the purse. It also highlights sophistication and confidence. There is also something very cerebral in the way the continuity is achieved.
  6. This elegant crisp white cotton tunic embodies minimalism. Simplicity is key here, but the piece makes such an unforgettable statement with its clean-lined collar and wristbands.  Wouldn’t you agree? The key takeway is that sophistication does not have to be overpowering, it can be delicate all while being bold.

photo Credits: Raey and stella mccartney collections accessed through matchfashion.com 

Joanna Organisciak tunics through utopiast 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to selecting a coat, my style tends to be minimalist, especially during fall. I believe a woman should wear whatever makes her feel comfortable, whatever speaks to her soul. I tend to gravitate towards a clean aesthetic, something low key. This is a role that translates over to my entire wardrobe. As a woman with curves, comfort is integral to my style. I love fluffy soft fabrics. There is something about the fabric that is so essential in grounding us emotionally. Fabrics like linen, wool, cotton, velvet play such an important role in bringing serenity amidst chaos.  I also believe that clothes should serve a utilitarian purpose, as well as be empowering and dare I say intellectual.

Elegance is also very important to me. As a career woman, this is particularly important, I wouldn’t expect to show up in a bomber at work and be taken seriously.  I tend to steer away from flashy clothes. And, when it comes to dressing at work, I like to combine elegance with comfort (no tradeoffs allowed). My trademark style pretty much consists of classy elements mixed with casual items like an elegant coat paired with a washed-out Levis and classy flats.  Fall is the perfect pretext to muse with our softer side while looking effortlessly chic. This won’t be a challenge for me, as neutral colors are in this season, and I couldn’t be more enthused about it.

xx, Kenza

 

This unstructured oversize coat is beyond elegant

This faux-shearling coat looks oh so comfortable. The deep grey charcoal color is rich without being flamboyant or flashy and can be paired with classy pumps or a pair of comfortable kicks.

Another winner is this beautiful unstructured wool-blend coat. I love the large belt. It almost reminds me of a comfortable bathrobe, only much warmer and oh so stylish.

 

For those (like me) who are obsessed with brown colors, this subtle variation from the grey coat above perfectly foreshadows sophistication and comfort. The minimal aesthetic really works: it’s effortless, comfortable and elegant.

 

Photo credits via Mango website:

I have been witnessing a paradigm shift in the fashion scene with the spread of gender fluidity which seeks to transcend unyielding social constructs. It is my belief that fashion can be leveraged as a way to rise above conformities. True fashion is an art form that transcends aesthetic and reveals strengths and vulnerabilities. It also affords an opportunity to decolonize space and reclaim agency by being bold, daring and unapologetic.

Power comes hand in hand with awareness. Awareness of self, along with the confidence to rise above ascribed stereotypes. Fashion within this frame can be waged as a political act of defiance against the status quo. To me, fashion was never meant to be a top-down concept, it is an artform design to empower ordinary men and woman to reclaim their identity. It is increasingly jarring for me to witness fashion houses that sorely miss the mark, settling behind luxury instead of guiding the thread to engender constructive discourse. Creating a collection for mere shock values misses the mark for what is shock value without eliciting a sense of self-retrospect (at the very least)?  Do we shock to merely be spoken about?  or do we shock to disrupt the comfortable gaze and make a political statement? Fashion should be revolutionary, rather than complacent. It should be undergirded with an agenda (political or social) to move our society forward.

One artist who understands those tenets is Morrocan designer Amine Bendriouich who amassed massive global attention with his brand ABCB which stands for Amine Bendriouich Couture & Bullshit.   The Marrakesh-based designer prides itself on creating bespoke pieces that are unisex, leaving it up to people to decide how they will dress.  Gender fluidity lies at the heart of his work; his collections are theme-based and designed by local villagers who blend traditional north african berber traditions with global urban influences. His irreplicable talent has garnered the attention of entertaining icons such as Usher and Will Smith, just to name a few.

xx, Kenza

 

 

 

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Image credits by Aurore de Bettignies via vogue magazine

Other images via Amine Bedriouich’s Instagram 

As November approaches, I find myself dreaming of whimsical places like this opulent Parisian home where refinement and quaintness harmoniously converge to create the perfect nest.  The albino peacock (taxidermied) overlooking the salon sets the mood with luxury as a common thread found throughout this lavish apartment.

 

Oversized gold mirrors found on opposite side of the living room are de rigueur in this 1864 decorated gem.  The building, originally designed for the director of the Opéra Comique of Paris does have theatrical qualities without necessarily being dramatic.  I am in fact amazed with how those ancient homes are able to aptly adapt with today’s world. The ceiling fresco (la fresque in French) for example gives the living room an airy feel without necessarily looking ostentatious or dare I say quiche, like some of the atrocious homes I have had the misfortune of laying eyes on with grotesque crown molding spoiled by an oversized 57 inches plasma tv (the horror).

Without sounding pretentious, the key takeaway is that a balance must be achieved in a way that bridges the past with the present. Luxury should always strive to be unobtrusive. Aesthetically, this means leaning towards a minimalist approach.

 

 

By the way, did you notice the two black velvet mannequin torsos that serve as lamps nestled on each side of the bookcase?  This is a prima-facie case of how old and new come in perfect symbiosis, not to say pretty clever! The oversized rustic table also adds warmth to the eating area, making the space convivial and grounded with time.

 

The rest of this home tour can be found here:

xx, Kenza

 

Photo credit: via One Fine Stay