Over the holidays I had the pleasure to take a long dreamed of trip. After stepping away from behind the chair, it was the first time I could take such a long period away to take a globe trotting journey! Beginning this European tour in Milan was quite the culture shock. Milan is a hustling bustling fashion destination with every designer you could imagine. I have grown up in the shadow on NYC my entire life and even still the aggressive nature of Milan was as "in your face" as the fashion walking it's streets.
Next stop was Venice.....arriving after dark by way of water taxi onto an ancient sinking island with no cars in site. Being dropped off in a foggy, barely lit cobble stone alley will never leave my memory. I will always remember the sound of my luggage wheels echoing through the winding alleys to the hotel. The hotel being centuries old provided us a room with a window overlooking a narrow Venetian lagoon. During the night, every so often a far off wave from a gondola making it's way past our window was eery but exciting. Was I really here? I enjoyed Venice as I always dreamed it to be. Most of the time sauntering around after fantastic meals over looking the Grand Canal or sitting el fresco at a cafe or bar. I hope everyone gets to experience the wonder of Venice at least once in their life. It will slow down the most fast paced of go getters.
Munich was the next destination. Immediately I am embarrassed of New York's public transportation. Regardless of how much more new Munich's system is, it creates a culture to be admired. My entire stay I did not get in a taxi or car once. Munich has incredible outdoor markets serving delicious food and hand made anything. These markets are in pedestrian friendly shopping areas surrounded by high end department stores. The culture of Munich celebrates food and social life. Rarely will you find somebody under dressed and they are unlike New Yorkers and are unapologetic of fur fashion. Munich reminding me of my Norwegian background at every turn. On one day of this stay, I reluctantly took a day trip to the memorial Dachau Concentration camp. The things I experienced there made me have an even deeper understanding of the terror and the history that took place there. If ever you find the opportunity to experience this I recommend you take advantage of such a life changing experience.
Prague was my biggest surprise. I did not expect to fall in love with this city like I did. Prague embodies what I imagined Europe to be. Every building is preserved as if you are stepping back in time. This city was largely preserved through World War II by Hitler ironically. Food and fun is inexpensive here and in fact will shock you whenever the bill comes. Americans, I would suggest to ask for the bill and not the "check" as this confuses the Czech locals! haha.
Lastly on this journey was Paris. Paris is as romantic, as breath taking, and as grand as it is depicted in every fashion magazine, every movie, and every novel. I will never get tired of returning to Paris and I hope life finds me back there again one day. The food, the wine, the shopping. The Louvre can swallow me up any day. Growing up not knowing what it is like to see Manhattan for the first time (as for me it has always been there), I am lucky to know this feeling in Paris. The first time seeing the Eiffel Tower in person takes my breath away as I describe that moment. Pictures will never do justice for the Palace of Versailles. "We will always have Paris...."
I found an incredible amount of artistic inspiration during my trip to Europe. I find that since I have returned that my styles are a bit different. My mind wants to translate what I saw into recent cuts and styles on clients. I am very thankful for this experience.