Inside Chanel

Hidden in the outskirts of Paris and cloaked in the guise of a uniform, nondescript row of buildings are the ateliers of the names Maison Massaro, Maison Lesage, Maison Lognon and Maison Michel. I was lucky enough to visit on my trip with Chanel with Angela last month (You’ll be seeing much more of her in the coming posts) and discover the artistry that humbly produces extraordinary works of art for Chanel.

In Maison Lognon we arrived in pleat heaven. The place is stockpiled with rolls of cardboard that secretly house yards of fabric that have been pleated to perfection. Nothing is quite as satisfying as seeing a piece of tulle pressed between the templates and come out an accordion of intricate proportions, and trust me when I say that my description does the process no justice. I managed to catch this on video, so I’m excited to show you all that once its ready.

In Maison Michel (whose name probably rings a bell or two) we witnessed the crafting of one of their signature wool cat ear caps and how the shape of the hats (all made by hand) were moulded into seamless forms, from the boater to the panama. 

In Maison Lognon we saw a room filled with wooden moulds of very famous feet and lusted over the shoes that graced the runways of Chanel. The atelier is quiet and its artists work at an industrial pace but their masterpieces are nothing but intricate and perfect, from the leathers chosen to the stitching on the sole.

Maison Lesage is the home of François Lesage’s embroidery and the famous Chanel camellia flowers.  Everything from feathers to sequins (to LED lights) are assembled by nimble hands and its hard to imagine the hours that go into making a large fabric seeing as even the camellia flowers take more than two hours on their own to bloom.

I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am to have peeked behind the scenes, and the visits have heightened my appreciation for the hands that create the couture we have seen over the years. I’m excited to show you guys more photos from the trip, but bye until then!

x
Zoe

Barcelona: 35mm

I wasn’t really sure how to share my photos from my trip to Barcelona in a way that would do the city any kind of justice. I didn’t take too many to begin with, but I fell in love with Barcelona in a way that perhaps can only be conveyed through a complete sensory experience; red wine and some kind of tapas + sunshine and salt water + all of its beautiful colours + good spanish guitar if I’m going to be all Vicky Cristina Barcelona. But alas I can’t do that (yet) on this website (quite frustrating, as everyone thought we would have flying cars by now and all i want to do is share my food with you guys) so I’m going to have to accept the limiting parameters of a blog and post these here for now… I guess they’ll do :-) More on my trip as well as recommendations for food/drink/hotels/sightseeing etc. will all be posted with my digital photos, which my computer won’t let me edit yet because of a disk problem. In the mean time, have a lovely weekend!! Let’s all pretend we’re in Barcelona eating seafood and swimming on the beach together.

xx
Zoe

Morocco Film Photo Diary

Behold, the most overdue of overdue photo diaries. I don’t really know why it took me so long to publish these, but I found a bit of pleasure trickling them in via instagram when a #tbt allowed for it, Thursdays or otherwise. These photos mean a lot to me as they capture one of the most jam-packed, road-trip heavy, tagine-full and memorable trips I’ve experienced to date, with some of my favourite people. I’ve included a few places we enjoyed from Marrakech to Fez to Chefchaouen and Essaouira, though it may have been a good idea to write this up once we got back as it’s now pretty hard to remember all the places we went to as we managed to do so much within the course of eight days. I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you visit and enjoy Morocco; it was such a vibrant and beautiful country and I’ll remember this trip forever. 
Part 1: Marrakech 
We spent most of our time in Marrakech, but took some time out to make a trip to Fez (+ Chefchaouen) and a day at the end for Essaouira. We stayed in a place Grace and Sommy found via TripAdvisor called Riad Tizwa, as well as a second place after Fes but I highly recommend Tizwa because of how affordable it was as well as the amazing hospitality of the manager Hassan which helped ease some of the initial culture shock at the beginning of the trip, before Kes and Yasmine arrived. It wasn’t the most luxurious of riads in the medina (inside the old town of Marrakech) but we loved it, especially the breakfast spread they laid out for us every morning. 

For things to see, I’d recommend YSL’s Majorelle garden and visiting some of the palaces (We visited the Bahia Palace) aside from getting lost in the souks which can be stressful, but also a sensory overload in a good way. On one of the days we spent an afternoon at The Pause, a kind of desert retreat 30 mins outside of the city, where we had an amazing lunch. We also enjoyed a quiet lunch at Le Table du Palais; Nomad and Le Jardin are lovely new restaurants where you can go for a bite to eat between sightseeing and meandering through the souks. I regret not doing more shopping there, so bring comfortable shoes and your best bargaining skills as you’ll find a ton of cool souvenirs in the souks such as Moroccan slippers, carpets and homeware. On our last day, we made a trip to Beldi country club which is the perfect getaway if you feel like lounging at the pool and getting a massage after days of walking and exploring; we tried out the traditional ‘hammam’ experience which was memorable to say the least. Oh, and if you are lost in the souks and people offer to bring you to your destination, there is a large chance they will ask you for money at the end, and this includes children. 

Part 2: Fez 
I thought it was easy to get lost in Marrakech’s medina, and then we arrived in Fez, which is a tenfold more maze-like. There were noticeably less tourists than Marrakech, and we liked not having to worry about getting run over by motorcyclists in the souk. It was a shame as we planned on visiting a huge leather tannery while we were there but it was closed for renovation so we didn’t manage to see it in action. I recommend having lunch at the Ruined Garden restaurant, which we enjoyed before heading back to Marrakech. One of the only souvenirs I brought back to london was a little roll-on bottle of essential oil which the locals use as perfume, and you can find a ton of different scents plus things like argan oil in their pharmacies. Also, don’t trust anyone in the souk who tells you that they can show you the best roofs for views (into mosques etc.) as these are scammers and we found out the hard way. 

3. Chefchaouen
We took a day trip from Fez to drive 5 hours to the blue town of Chefchaouen. The views along the way were beautiful and though we were only in Chefchaouen for a few hours, it was a nice break from the city; the blue alleyways make for amazing photo ops and made me feel super calm and serene. Compared to Marrakech and Fes, the locals in Chefchaouen are much more quiet and shopkeepers tend to mind their own business rather than lure you to buy souvenirs. It’s a great place for a day trip although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying there overnight (or for a few nights)  if you’re looking for an activity-packed visit. 

4. Essaouira
This was one of my favourite parts of the trip. We drove from Marrakech to the beach town, and were pleasantly surprised along the way by some goats in trees; I got super excited. We arrived explored after a quick lunch, and ended up horseback riding on the beach which was also a highlight (they let you go very very fast). We snuck in a quick snack of fresh and cheap seafood before getting back on the car but I highly recommend visiting for anyone who wants a bit more sun and sea. 

I hope the photos managed to capture what an amazing time we had, and writing up this post has given me the itch to travel again. Also, thank you to Grace, Sommy, Yasmine and Kes for being the best travel companions a girl could ask for, as they were the reason I had such a good time. Let me know if any of you plan on visiting Morocco in the future; I’m sure you’ll love it.
Photos taken on a Contax T2. 
x
Zoe

Chanel AW 2016-17

The lace; the boots and the sequins…oh, and the hats(!) My first Chanel show was nothing short of utilitarian princess magic, and by magic I mean multitasking between shooting on film, boomerang-ing on my iPhone, and snapchatting Gigi to my sister. This juggling activity is warranted (and attempted by most) when the Grand Palais show’s theme this year is Front Row Only; meaning that you can see everything in all its pearly, tweedy puffy-jacketed glory, up close and salon-style personal. I have to explain myself as I originally intended on making this a gif-heavy post with bits I took on my phone, but an incident involving water and my phone (I have lost all faith in the rice method) has made that impossible. Meaning I only have the photos below (and two lonely gifs I did post on Instagram) to share, but you won’t have much difficulty in finding photos online of the lace numbers I loved and drowned. Thank you Olga and the rest of the Chanel team for having me in Paris, and I can’t wait to show you the photos Ran and I took whilst we were there. 

I’m wearing a dress by Cecilie Copenhagen, boots by Dear Frances and a Chanel bag. 
xx
Zoe

12 Hours in Paris

Last weekend I was given an amazing opportunity to shoot something for Vogue China in Paris (said oh-so-casually but in real time was followed by a shriek and Whatsapp to my mum), which led to me being in one of my favourite cities ever for 12 hours. I can’t show you guys the photos I shot for them yet, but for now here are some iPhone bits and shots from my film camera that I took throughout the day. Every time I leave Paris I get more excited to return, and this being my shortest trip yet was evidently no exception. Special thanks to Ming, Wish and Fed for letting me tag along; and you all who are reading this as I wouldn’t be getting such special opportunities without you.

After an extremely early alarm at 4AM, I managed not to miss my flight and was in Paris just in time for breakfast at Le Royal Monceau, which has a fancy as staircase leading to the bathroom. 

My shirt is from APC and is a new favourite. Buy it here.

One of those moments when you are reminded how awkward and untalented you are when you witness the artistry that manifests in the Dior Atelier…but more on that later. 

Post-lunch, some showrooms around Rue Saint Honoré involving beautiful but strenuous stair activity. 

Stopping by the Sacai showroom and eating too many pastries…still thinking about that cheesecake.

And finally, sneaking off pre-Eurostar to do some very typical but necessary Eiffle Tower gazing. I helped a Korean family take a photo in front of it and the mum was super cute and insisted that she help me as well. Also made sure I stopped by a pharmacy before hopping on the train back to London, to pick up my favourite french beauty products. 

Hope you like…can’t wait to show you guys the ones I shot in Dior!
x
Zoe