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Vera Wang - the story behind the goddess of wedding gowns

Vera Wang

For the past two decades she has been one of the most sought after bridal gown designers in America and not only. In recent years, she has expanded her business to a ready-to-wear collection and is undergoing numerous licensing deals. Who am I talking about? You have probably figured out that it is Vera Wang. Her life’s story is just as fascinating as her creations so this is why I suggest we take a look at it. In her childhood, Wang was very passionate about figure skating. Her competitive nature always pushed to trying to be the very best, ever since she was six years old. But just like she has said herself ‘I was always fourth in competitions and they only took three…’ This is how the future goddess of the bridal gowns learnt that in life it’s not about winning or losing, but what you learn in the process of getting there. 

Ms. Wang’s first contact with high fashion occurred when she got a job at US VOGUE as the assistant of the legendary Polly Mellen. Working with such a strong and creative figure, Wang learnt in depth the secrets of the fashion world. After being part of the Vogue team for 17 years and having made it to the position of senior editor, she decided to leave when she wasn’t happy with the direction she was heading in. The next step in her career was landing the job of accessories director for Ralph Lauren, where the designer was able to let loose all of her creative power and manifest it in the most astounding way.   Following the leave from Ralph Lauren and being backed-up by her father, Vera Wang opened her own bridal gown business. Surprising as it may seem, bridal gowns have not been Wang’s passion from the get go. The business idea came from her father who considered it easier to manage. According to her ‘It became my passion as I got better at it and I began to grow it, I could express myself in a way that I hadn’t been able to in a long time. I’ve put everything into it for 20 years. I trained myself on the job. I didn’t know how to work in lace.’ Her first really big wedding was that of Max Kennedy, the son of Ethel Kennedy, to Victoria. After that, she rose to the heights of success very quickly and became one the most appreciated bridal gown designers who was a ‘must’ at every celebrity wedding.   Six years ago she launched her ready-to-wear line because she was excited by the new challenge. Making bridal gowns is one thing, but trying to put into clothes your idea of the modern contemporary woman is a totally different affair. 

It seems Wang has passed the test with flying colors, judging from the popularity of the line of clothing. The success is even more savored by the designer, as she is happy with her own creations and is pleased to wear them herself. She admits that the crisis has hit very deep in her bridal gown business. The moment when Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue started closing their bridal shops in the major cities she was counting on, such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, Wang took a blow. Luckily enough, her licensed businesses were doing very well and so the cash flow was not affected too much. The Vera Wang lines have been expanded to tabletops, gifts, invitations, china, cutlery and everything that revolves around the universe of wedding planning. ‘Nobody got mattresses, but 70 percent of the mattress business is when people get married. We do sheets, we do towels, why wouldn’t we do the mattress underneath?’.   Wang’s plans for the future are daring but in the same time very feasible. She admits that retail is very important for her business, but does not hope for a chain of 30 or more stores across the US. 

The goal is to open 5 or 6 stores and focus on the exquisite custom-made quality and refinement that have made the Vera Wang wedding dresses so famous over the years. The great creative mind of the designer has also planned the launch of a premium collection. She wants the women of America to have something more than mass market, which is within their reach and not elitist. We are eagerly awaiting to see what
 Ms. Wang has in store for us, as she has amazed us so many times so far.

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort

Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is an irresistible eco-resort built on a superb beachfront property that was once a coconut plantation. It is a secluded spot of tranquility, away from the big cities’ agitation, and away from all the modern life’s distractions, including TV sets and phones.

Don’t think that you will get bored on the island, though. Your activity options are endless, and they are all meant to help you connect with the fascinating nature around you. You can go on hikes through the lush rainforest, dive the coral reefs, and even take fascinating tours with a glass-bottom boat, guided by the full-time marine biologist of the resort.

Complete your amazing experience with a professional spa session, or a relaxing Fijian massage. The perfect way to end the day is to enjoy a delicious dinner at the open-air restaurant, where the contemporary Fijian cuisine will delight your taste buds.

Before you retreat to one of the 25 luxe bungalows on the property, take some time to relax under the starry sky with a glass of fine wine. While you listen to the magical sounds of the island, your kids can go on a frog hunt together with trained staff members. Every guest at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is bound to have a great holiday here!

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Enchanting Perfumes for Enchanting Women

Women have always been using all kinds of methods of enhancing their personal charm, and alluring scents have been one of their best “weapons”. Long before nowadays sophisticated perfumes were developed, women knew where to find the finest and most enchanting scents: in nature. And this remained the best source of fragrances to this day.

Whether they have a floral, woody, fresh, oriental or fougère scent, the ingredients used in your favorite perfumes were all taken from flowers, woods, roots, raisins, fruits, leaves and even animals. Of course, there also are synthetic odors in the modern world, but guess what inspired people to create them! Yes, that same inexhaustible source of inspiration – nature.

The list of choices is mind-bogglingly long today. The combinations of top, middle and base notes are practically uncountable and it can be a real pain choosing the right perfume for you. Then there is another fact which makes things even more complicated: a woman should know that there are certain odors to wear in the evening and others to wear during the day. There are cold-season and warm-season perfumes, office and dinner perfumes, teenagers’ and adult women’s perfumes, and the list can go on.

So how do you know what’s good for you? First of all, get informed. Read and ask specialists about everything you want to know. Then, be yourself. Never do what “they say it’s right” if you feel that it is not right for you. And finally there is one more thing that helps a woman know if she has made the right choice: when the perfume that she wears makes men turn their heads to see where the enticing scent came from, there is no need for further confirmation.

If you need some advice on which are today’s best perfumes, here is a long, comprehensive list for you.

Miss Dior by Christian Dior

Romance by Ralph Lauren

Blonde by Versace

Another romance perfume is Blonde by Versace. The flowery, luxurious fragrance was created in 1995 in honor of Donatella Versace, Gianni Versace’s sister. It contains feminine notes of violets, jasmine, geranium, ylang-ylang and roses.

4. Fendi Palazzo 
5. Gucci by Gucci 
6. Sarah Jessica Parker Covet Solid Perfume 
7. Dior J’adore L’Absolu) 
8. Prada By Prada 
9. Obsession Night for Women by Calvin Klein
10. Lancome Tresor Elixir 
11. Valentino Rock n’ Rose Couture
12. The One by Dolce and Gabbana
13. Marc Jacobs Daisy
14. Prada Tendre
15. Dior Addict
16. Envy Me by Gucci
17. Swiss Army by Swiss Army
18. Lovely for Women by Sara Jessica Parker
19. Beyonce Heat by Beyonce Knowles
20. Narciso Rodriguez for Her by Narciso Rodriguez
21. Women’s Davidoff Cool Water by Davidoff
22. Banana Republic Malachite
23. Missoni Acqua
24. Tresor for Women by Lancome
25. Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds
26. A Scent Of Issey Miyake for Women by Issey Miyake
27. Light and Blue by D&G
28. Flora by Gucci Eau de Parfum
29. Fantasy by Britney Spears
30. Escada Magnetism for Women by Escada
31. Creme Bouquet by Stilla
32. Brit by Burberry
33. Calvin Klein Euphoria Crystalline Edition
34. Givenchy Very Irresistible Givenchy
35. Eternity Aqua for Women by Calvin Klein

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Koenigsegg Agera R

We’re already used to being blown away by Koenigsegg’s creations, but this beauty has still taken us by surprise! Not only does it boast a dizzying number of awesome technological features, but it is also one of the best looking rides out there. This is mainly due to its unique matte blue and black paint job that we absolutely love.

Matte looks are gaining increasing popularity among super rides today, and we are sure that this baby will get its generous share of fans for its look alone. But that’s not all! The new Agera R also sports incredible muscle: a whopping 1,140 horsepower if fueled with E85.

The list continues with one-piece hollow carbon fiber wheels, an advanced Triplex suspension developed together with Öhlins Racing, nano-surfaced cylinder sleeves, a new exhaust system, stability control system (this comes as a much needed standard feature, considering all that power), and new front winglets for extra downforce and stability.

Is there anything more you could ask for in the 2013 Agera R? Maybe a yet-to-be-verified top speed of 438kmh/273 mph, a detachable and stowable hardtop,  and 120 liters of luggage space. Oh, and another thing: Koenigsegg will offer its clients the possibility to personalize their rides by choosing any color and shade for both the interior and the exterior. The car will also be available both in left and in right hand drive.

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Four Seasons Hotel Florence

It may have just opened in 2008, but the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Firenze has much deeper ties to the history of the city of Florence. The opulent palace it occupies, Palazzo della Gherardesca, was the private residence of Florentine nobles, including a Pope, for five centuries before being transformed into a luxury hotel. In a city that takes luxury very seriously and offers it in myriad varieties, the Four Seasons Firenze still stands out.
For one thing it encompasses the incredible 11 acre Giardino della Gherardesca, which is Florence’s largest private garden, guarded by stately, ancient trees and landscaped walks. The garden is also home to one of the best luxury spas, swimming pool and a classical temple, making it an alluring oasis and a natural complement to the unmatched elegance of the main building. The Palazzo itself comes across as an architectural treasure inhabited by a hipper, more modern generation of nobles - the kind of contemporary royalty who wear Tod’s and drive Ferraris.
Along with the adjacent 16th-century building,Il Conventino (a former convent housing additional guest rooms and meeting spaces), the Four Seasons Firenze has 116 rooms in all including 44 luxurious suites surmounted by the appropriately palatial Royal Suite. The 2,518 square foot showplace, located in the Palazzo’s original nobles’ quarters, features museum-worthy frescoes, stuccos and painted ceilings, all painstakingly restored during the building’s conversion.
 With various living and entertaining spaces including a library, gallery and dining room that seats eight, it’s as close as you can get to being a member of Renaissance royalty yourself. Of course there's the added bonus of modern amenities like high-speed internet and flat screen TVs, all offset by an incredible collection of art and antiques, which makes for a fitting foretaste of Florence’s cultural treasures. Vast marble baths are of course de rigeur.
Almost as impressive is the 205 sqm (2,206 square foot) Presidential de’ Medici Suite, which also features a dining room for eight and a gallery large enough to accommodate a grand piano, as well as the 121 sqm (1,302 square foot) Presidential Conventino Suite, with its frescoed, vaulted living room ceiling and terrace overlooking the garden. Each suite is worthy of any A-list actress, aristocrat, or anyone in the mood for a truly magical getaway.
 The Four Seasons’ legendary attention to detail and emphasis on gracious service is evident throughout the property, which also features three restaurants, a winery and bar. The Michelin-starred Il Palagio offers a seasonal menu starring regional cuisine prepared with a contemporary twist, while La Magnolia is where the hotel’s privileged guests enjoy their breakfast. Al Fresco, as the name implies, offers casual outdoor dining by the picturesque pool.
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