Black, Chic and Cool On a Hot Summer’s Day

Going to a fancy summer party and want to celebrate your uniqueness without looking like a fashion cookie cutter victim? How about a heart stopping billowing vintage trouser paired with transparent sleeveless top. To stamp your indelible style to the brew, add brushed gold birkenstock, some fabulous dramatic jewellry and you’re chic and cool on a hot summer’s day. Kathleen_Black pants6 copyKathleen7610Trouser & Top: Vintage Givenchy  – Photographer: Donna DeMari - Jewerlly: Carolyn Rodney - Styling and Grooming: Cecille

Rock on to Glastonbury Music Festival

Rock on the Glastonbury Music Festival by Cecille Swayneson

Glastonbury used to be about music – now it appears to be more about being seen in whatever wild and crazy outfit which will get you noticed i.e. photographed. I’ve put together some looks which are in sync with a Jazz, Rock/Angelic riff  instead of the ‘flowers in your hair’ - beads around the neck Boho mishmash trend. Read on and  secrets about marching to your own beat.

999Ghislaine Mutombo @ Glastonbury  – The Guardian

A Christian Dior kekrchief on her head, black leaves from a 99cent store and a black worn in strapless satin ball gown.

That’s the “Don’t try to suss me out, I’m just doing my thing’ look.  A Christian Dior kerchief tied around head, black leaves from a 99cent store and a black worn in strapless satin ball gown.

Rock on to GlastonburyDIANA7-020722 The hallucinogenic collective thing have been done to death, and ‘horrors of horrors’ we can’t have you looking like everyone else on the marshy fields of Glastonbury. That my dears, is a definite ‘No No. So…if you’re considering attending Glastonbury, try one of these looks  so it doesn’t look as if it’s wearing you.

Short black D&G slip Superga wellingtons Nylon Horse Blinkers

Short black D&G slip
Superga wellingtons
Nylon Fly Blinkers

Remember this is the UK’s biggest music festival and you’ve got to be true to yourself and look sensational in a throw away manner.

Rock on to Glasonbury

Claudia_9981I found this Turnbull & Asser white tuxedo shirt at the 26 Street flea market in New York City. The fabric is made of the finest cotton, extremely delicate yet durable. The jeans are by Ferre. The faux fur vest I picked up in a vintage shop on LaBrea Ave, L.A. The hat from a costume shop. I’m selling the jeans, if you’re interested, let me know.

Photo: Donna DeMari        Styling & Make-up: Cecille S.

Cool Cream Alberta Ferretti Blouse – A Must Have

It seems as if some young women believe the surest way to make a statement is to be half dressed. Boobs displayed as if on a platter, almost forcing your eyes to look elsewhere.  Discretion goes a long way lady, such as this cool cream Alberta Ferretti blouse. A thing of beauty, an essential for a woman’s closet. This shirt possesses the capacity to transform the most banal outfit into a head turner and boost one’s confidence in a self contained  manner. Truly a blouse that signifies beauty. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been stuck on what to wear to an event and this blouse always came to the rescue. I’ve worn it with beautiful black trousers, simple skirts and matched it with a navy swing vintage Dior jacket. Refreshing and elegant. An exemplification of what women’s fashion can be. Staying power, timeless. A true classic. Remember this is one significant staple to have in your closet, a beautifully made blouse. Trust me It will make you feel like a million bucks. Start searching for your classic shirt now.

Vanessa Michels1-875 Vanessa Michels1-900

Soft, Sexy Corset

I saw this corset-girdle in Camden Town Flea Market in London. I was intrigued. The material was jarringly unexpected…surgical bandage. Softer. The corset was made in the early 40′s/50′s, as you can see, it’s unique, sexy and stunning. I had to have it. The Gucci shoes are for sale, purchased in Florence; worn twice. Size 9. Inquire if interested.Marta 7-31

Soft sexy corset

Soft sexy corset

IMG_9080Photo: Noel Sutherland  – Still photo: Cecille Swayneson – Shoes: Gucci  – Stockings: Wolford  – Makeup & Styling: Cecille Swayneson

Copacetic Copenhagen

Copacetic Copenhagen by Cecille Swayneson

Copacetic Copenhagen called and I followed. Actually I was in London and decided on a whim to visit my friend in Denmark. I always feel as if I have to take advantage of being away and if I can fit another country in, I do, because I never know when I will be back. It’s easy traveling between countries in Europe and Norwegian Air makes the connection stress free and reasonably priced. I decided to hang around Copenhagen before moving on. It’s an easy city to love and travel without a partner. Contained yet not claustrophobic. Nothing like buzzy London. The vibe is refreshingly chilled, the scenery beautiful, the people warm and the city exceedingly clean. From the moment I arrived I felt welcomed. The first giveaway was the custom officer who had a hugh smile and waved me through. Yes!

I could go on about how cool Copenhagen is, but why bother when the trusty The Lonely Planet will provide all needed information. There were two incidents  I wished I knew prior to my trip becuase they were a bit annoying so I’m going to pass them on. Everyone speaks English…very well. But that’s not what I want to inform you about. The good news is, if you get hung up on something, you can turn to anyone and most likely they’ll be able to help you sort out whatever the issue is.

Attempting to use the public phone was a nightmare. Everything was written in Danish. All the instructions. What was up? Had they not considered visitors staying with Danish friends? Or not having access to an international phone.

I bought a SIM card at the Copenhagen airport for the cell phone I had picked up at Victoria  Station in London – Unfortunately the SIM card I purchased was useless because some extra, extra special code was needed to work in tandem with the SIM code in Denmark. And dammed if I knew where to get access to that code. Make sure the vendor install card and it’s functioning before venturing off. Or you will be stuck with a useless phone like I was.  But I was able to work around that glitch by borrowing a gentleman’s cell phone on the train. He was understanding and gracious. So give yourself enough time (if you can) to sort out your phone accessibility especially if you are meeting up with friends hours away.

I’m about to let you know about the second incident but thought I should mention the subway stations, which are super modern, and efficiently ran; I can’t imagine the escalator breaking down ever!

thThe stations are beyond clean, spotless, spacious and fantastic. Will New York City ever get a decent subway system? If not now, I doubt ever. This tiny country puts the ‘greatest city in the world ‘to shame.

While we are on the topic of trains, make sure you purchase your ticket before you get on the train. Why? Seats are assigned to prepaid ticket holders. You may be on the train for a good hour digging the scenery and all of a sudden someone shows you their ticket and kindly ask you to vacate your cozy spot. You are sitting in their seat. Likelihood you may not be able to sit for an hour or so. My friend had not informed me about this system, so be forewarned.

I couldn’t help but notice whilst walking around Copenhagen, the numerous Joe and the Juice Bars. They caught my eyes because it seemed the perquisite for working there is to be devastatingly handsome. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones comes to mind but younger, much younger. The place has great coffee, freshly made juice, and great eye candies.IMG_3410There’s something comforting about the old world charm, the cobblestones streets and beautiful facades and smack in the middle some very modern architect, something along the line of the uber modern subway stations exterior or an impeccable designed store

Pyramid exterior of subway station

Pyramid exterior of subway station

with beautifully displayed cutting edge designs. Yet, nothing feels staid. Kinda like the people who have an innate sense of style. Throwaway style comes easily to the Danes.  It’s  common  to see  friends standing in a square or street chatting away, propped up by their trusty bicycles looking naturally cool.

Treat yourself to a laid-back trip and check out the music festivals held in the summer if you’re into that sort of thing. Major fun, the Danes know how to party like no one else. They can go for hours on end without wilting. No problem. Just groove to the music, dance, laugh, have drinks and hang with friends.

  Beautiful facade of the Mathias Hansen House built and named after the mayor in 1616IMG_3378

IMG_3374

The perquisite for working at Joe & The Juice is that you be devastatingly handsome

Boy waiting to get on Norwegian Air.IMG_3416

Tina Dickow – Copenhagen

Pictures: Cecille S

BobMarley

BobMarley by Cecille S

BobMarley and the Wailers captured my heart the first time I heard him. Back then my father didn’t want us kids to listen to the music. Marley was the real deal, his lyrics powerful, prophetic, poetic and inspiring.  As a teenager I had the pleasure of seeing the reggae legend perform at Madison Square Garden. The police/security guards ushered my ‘rock-god’ friend and I to the stage where we viewed the concert from this vantage position.11080947_10205907871037194_3800547445241458377_nBobMarley was performing the same day my friend was performing. Bob at night and my friend in the afternoon. I received an invitation call the morning from my friend to accompany him on his private jet for a performance in Philadelphia for 100,000 die hard fans. I turned him down. Kinda strange as I had never seen him perform. We used to jump around singing songs and acting like kids but that’s not the same as performing before thousands of rabid, crazy rock and roller fans. What can I say? I was attempting to do  natural dread locks for Bob’s concert later that night.

I told him to call when he got back to the city later in the evening. He was taken aback by my refusal but did call upon arrival to tell me he was knackered and not in the mood; I made such a raucous fuss that he relented and picked me up not long after.

My friend is considered ‘rock royalty’ worldwide by most. That’s the only reason we were able to see the concert in such a unique manner. The guards and cops fell over each other, shaking in excitement once they saw he was in the car. I don’t recall my friend requesting stage access. We were flanked by cops/guards and hustled toward the stage once our car pulled into the Garden’s back entrance.

Superstars packed the front row. Rastas were everywhere. It was an incredible hair raising experience watching Bob perform. Surreal viewing the concert from stage. Bob was dying then, he had to be carried off stage by two burly minders, one on either side. Once he got to the end of stage darkness, the minders took hold of him: held him under his arm  feet barely touching ground, he appeared deeply dazed as they lifted/dragged him to the dressing room. We waited until the minders opened the door and greeted him. He was fully focused. His smile brilliant like the sun even then.

During his electrifying and energetic performance no one had an inkling that he was deathly ill. The next day while running in Central Park he collapsed and was diagnosed with incurable melanoma cancer.Bob-Marley-North-American-Tour-1978One young man who appeared to be Orthodox Jew burst into tears, sobbing when Marley launched into Exodus (movement of Jah people). I was profoundly moved. I overheard a white policeman shaking his head and saying in awe or maybe it was shock to another policeman, “Only in America, only in America.” Most likely they had never seen so many  dreads, major white superstars or heard reggae music, all under one roof; they were perplexed by the adoration and awe directed toward the slight handsome man with snakelike hair who appeared to be channeling some higher energy flowing into the crown of his head, slithering through his body, purposely directed toward the audience, filling the stadium with an unmistakable mystical vibe.

Little did the cops know that all over the world people were picking up on Marley’s vibe. My first trip to Europe as an adventurous teen was to Italy; the custom officers examined my Jamaican passport, looked at me and said, “Is Jamaica in Africa?” The other custom agent excitedly said, “Bob Marley, Bob Marley!” True story. I entered the country…no questions asked. A couple days later while walking around the Duomo di Milano, I saw masses of posters of Bob plastered on the Corinthian columns in the square.

 BobMarley’s 70th birthday is today. I was a diehard fan from the moment I heard his music and always will be. I saw him perform in Central Park before a small group of people before he blew up. I took the train from Ansonia, Conn where I was living. I spent most days in the beautiful country library; there was nothing to do in that sleepy town…I read everything I could get my hands on, including all newspapers and must have seen a blurb about the concert. I missed Jamaica terribly back then even though I was jumping out of my skin by all the wonders of America. Bob was a massive inspirational dose of Jamaica.

On my travels to far flung places, I’m never surprised to see images of Bob or hear his music blasting from loudspeakers. His gift for making music that connects generations worldwide was remarkable and peerless. My friend was in Equador recently and while driving into the mountains noticed the roadsides were lined with vendors selling paintings and drawings of Bob. Once on my way to Tikel, looking for a place to lunch and spend the night in nearby Flores I heard Bob’s voice accompanied by thumping bass. I followed the music which let to a Chinese restaurant, in the yard was an eleven year old Chinese Guatemalan girl engulfed in rapture dancing by herself, skanking like a true yardie. Comforted by the music, diminishing the loneliness of being an only child of two elderly parents. Right then and there the only thing which mattered was the manna infused within the music and everything was alright in that moment. To Be Continued.

Bob Marley in 1979, before the Reggae Sunsplash concert in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

BobMarley in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photograph: Denis O’Regan 

Burnin Catch A Fire and Natty Dread-one of my all time favorite

Kevin Macdonald documentary on Bob Marley is flawless. Check out the preview of Kevin explaining why he’s on every student’s wall video. And then see the documentary. The language is exquisite, the man inspiring and Jamaica beyond beautiful.

My Secret Facial Oil

My Secret Facial Oil by Cecille Swayneson

I found this oil in my acupuncture shop in Chinatown. I decided to give it a go, even though the container was a bit flimsy. Well, was I in for a huge surprise?! The oil glided on silky smooth, immediately absorbing in my skin. The after effect was succulent baby soft glowing skin – minus any grease - just a rich, light lustrous glow. This product asserts it’s a special Rose Hip oil triple extracted from wild rose, which is particularly rich in essential fatty acids (EFA)-whatever in in this oil, it works brilliantly, no grease, no pimples - without a doubt one of my favorite facial oil ever.IMG_5933

IMG_4806Photo Cecille S 

Realization of Oneness At Ten Years Old.

By Cecille Swayneson

I’ll always remember the first time I stepped into the heartbeat of the universe. The opportunity presented itself while I was living at  King Edward Road in Jamaica, West Indies. There were many ‘things’ about our house and ‘yard’ which was special. The cool, sprawling wooden house imbued with some kind of mysterious quality and the archaic design was formidable like a wise unwavering eye.

Cecille web3085

One special accessory within the yard, was a swing made of thick beige rope which supported a substantial smooth, worn wooden seat;  Atop the swing, perched on sprawling sturdy branches was a make-shift treehouse devoid of walls: the house was a wide square wood tucked securely within the elbows of four branches, this was where I  spent hours reading. The leaves served as enclosure. Dreamy days were spent swinging back and forth, flying high; gazing at sky and landscape, breeze blowing against my skin…for whatever reason, my sisters and brother weren’t interested in the swing or treehouse. This was my heaven on earth.

I have no idea why nature decided to open its mysterious ways to me that day, but open it did.

It was mid morning as I walked through the silent shaded rooms and onto the shiny black marble verandah; I stood looking upon the front yard, taking in the high green hedge against the crisp, caribbean-blue backdrop. The clouds were swept clear. It was a glorious morning and all was still and beautiful. Down the black steps I descended, once my feet touched the solid surface of dirt, I was no longer earth bound. I had stepped into a single, vibration. Every solitary thing was still. Time as I knew it had stopped. The only thing which hadn’t stopped was the heartbeat. The universal heartbeat. And I and everything in that yard was one.  My heart was a collaboration of the trees, breeze, grass, dirt, clouds; vibrating as they did. No longer a separate entity.  “From earth we came and so shall we return.” Never were such words truer. My feet were rooted to the earth and yet I was weightless. My head danced upwards and merged into sky, expanding outwards, rolling into infinity, and I could see forever and there were no dividing lines. All had merged, beating in time and I felt like they felt, stupendous. I had expanded, contracted, and became one. And one was everything on earth.”God is good, God is great.” I heard a voice whispering, felt words slipping from my mouth, heard rustling of leaves, sun on my face, releasing me from a most profound mystical enchantment. Even though ten years old, I knew I had been gifted by the universe. If ever there was a secret to be held until time, this was it. And I marveled at my experience. Many years later I spoke about this journey to someone I met once at a function.

Yesterday, I ‘happened’ upon the post below by Louie Schwartzberg. I was rendered to tears, so profoundly moved was I by the story he shared. I believe we all know the truth of life is found in the beauty that surrounds and dwells within us. Our contribution is to recognize with grace the extraordinary mistaken for the ordinary.  Gratitude toward self and others is mandatory. Gestures of kindness are priceless and always welcomed. Go ahead sign up for the ride.

 

Tea Time

Image

I took a jaunt to the hauntingly beautiful town of Bath, England,  In a square stood a quaint teashop; warm, simple and cozy. My friend, Susanna and I made ourselves at home and caught up on life; celebrated our long friendship over cups of tea and delicious home made cakes.

Scone and clotted cream

Scone and clotted cream

Tea Girl

Tea Girl

IMG_0581 IMG_0582 IMG_0585

Freshly baked buns

Freshly baked buns

IMG_0677

Tea girl dashing about tearoom.

IMG_0639

Archaic Floral Teapot

Archaic Floral Teapot

IMG_0575

Photos: Cecille