Current Mood

Short hair craze

Icon: Joan Didion


Unconditional Love

There’s this thing in you
That makes you love me
When I’m happy
And when I’m sad
When I’m sane
And when I am mad

Your love overwhelms me
Leaves no room for poems
No room for words

Please teach me
The art of loving another so well
So that I can bleed it onto a poem
And read it loud for you
To show you
How grateful I am
For receiving love from you
For loving you.

Balsam's Favorites Playlist

Today, based on the request of one of my Snapchat followers, I am sharing my favorite songs! 

Music speaks to my soul, and I find myself a person who looks more into the lyrical content when choosing songs to obsess about. This list includes few songs that have a very deep personal meaning to me, as well as a cultural significance that I find admirable as an aesthete. My two favorite artists: Lana del Rey & Cigarettes after Sex are somewhat dominating the list. Enjoy the music :-)

1. "Diet Mountain Dew" by Lana Del Rey

2. "Born to Die" by Lana Del Rey

3. "Keep on loving you" by Cigarettes after Sex

4. "Vienna" by Billy Joel

5. "I'll be seeing you" by Billie Holiday

6. "Apocalypse" by Cigarettes after Sex

7. "Terrence Loves You" by Lana Del Rey

8. "Black Beauty" by Lana Del Rey

9. "Summer wine" by Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood

10. "No Diggity" by Blackstreet

11. "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver (also Birdy's version is quite awesome)

12. "My Hands" by Leona Lewis

The day I said yes ...

Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger.
 Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.
 Believe the best rather than the worst.
 People have a way of living up or down to your opinion of them.
Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship.
The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies kindnesses you bestow on your friends.
Please hand this down to your children and your children’s children: The more things change the more they are the same.

Jane Wells ( 1886)

Submitted by Carol Abbs

Alaïa: The Legend behind the Name

Fashion designer Azzedine Alaia with model Farida
The news of the passing of the Tunisian-born French couturier Azzedine Alaïa swirled 24 hours ago, and shocked the fashion industry: a very talented and well-established Couturier is gone. This is not a very happy end of the year 2017 for any person with strong appreciation for 80s and 90s Haute Couture, since Alaïa was a central figure during that time in the world of high-end fashion ... all the way up to the day of his passing, and more.

"You have to take things with a lot of laughter. I laugh with everyone; this way, I will be able to die happy." 

Naomi Campbell and Azzedine Alaia, 1987 - taken by Arthur Elgort

Naomi Campbell wearing Alaia dress in Elle 1989 photographed by Gilles Bensimon

 According to a French media report in Le Point, Azzedine Alaïa passed away at the relatively young age of 77, leaving behind an artistic legacy in fashion - particularly in haute couture. His life was mostly spent creating work of arts with clothing at his own pace, ignoring the fashion industry's crazy schedules and short-lasting trends. He became an example of authenticity, an icon to many and inspiration for women to be confident in their beautiful bodies.

"My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can't go out of fashion."

I recall falling in love with Alaïa's work as a teenage girl, after browsing through the internet and finding attractive laser-cut suede shoes and waist belts. As a young girl, all I wanted was a belt like the ones I saw online ... and a tiny waist so that I look good wearing my Alaïa. After I stumbled upon the designer's collections from the late 80's and 90's period, I began to grow fonder of him as a designer. He dressed many of my style icons (mainly the 90's supermodels Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista), watching all my favorite faces walk in his couture creations made me look up to the man behind the brand which carries his name. His sole purpose was to beautify the woman wearing his designs, and make her look effortlessly sexy and confident. 

Linda Evangelista & Azzedine Alaia, early 90s

"It's important to make women feel confident, because I think they are more important than men."

Yasmin Le Bon in Azzedine Alaia Ensemble, photographed by Francois Lamy (1985)

Like many aspiring fashion designers, Alaïa gives hope to all of us because he had a very humble beginning for his dream: reading Vogue archives and aspiring to one day be able to make the clothes that are seen on those pages. He worked an entire-lifetime for this purpose and now the loss in the industry is felt by everyone in this scene.

#NewVogue or #OldVogue - Edward Enninful's first cover for British Vogue

British Vogue December 2017 Cover featuring Adwoa Aboah

The appointment of Edward Enninful as the editor-in-chief of British Vogue took the fashion industry by storm, and yesterday after the reveal of Enninful's debut cover at the helm of British Vogue ... the storm occurred once more.

The December 2017 cover - Enninful's first cover for British Vogue - featured model and activist Adwoa Aboah photographed by Steven Meisel. The styling is what really caught my attention as it strongly refers to beauty and fashion trends from the 70's era - something I am very much fond of. Marc Jacobs beauty was clearly visible with the excessive use of color for a December cover: blues, greens and bold glossy red lips all at once. I spent some time this morning reading the hashtag #NewVogue ... only to find many instagram users comparing the cover to #OldVogue covers, arguing that there is nothing new about it ... in fact, many believe it to be quite old-fashioned due to its strong resemblance to 70's style. 

My take on this is slightly different ...

The editor-in-chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful hopes to portray a political message with his first issue, and not just a fashion statement. I haven't seen this much power play in a fashion magazine cover since the days of Diana Vreeland, who dared to do things differently. Enninful listed some powerful names in today's culture and arts scene ... including Kate Moss, Christopher Bailey (who recently announced his departure from Burberry after 17 years with the brand), and Sadiq Khan - who's political profile caused controversy in the UK. I love this .. I don't see a reference of today's hottest trends on the cover, which is highly unexpected for a fashion magazine in our day today. 

Choosing Adwoa Aboah as the cover star certainly promotes the idea of diversity in fashion, as she is a mixed-race british model and activist who is actively supporting women's rights - a movement that speaks now! It seems like diversity and moving forward with today's political and cultural issues is in Eduard Enninful's mind. I look forward to seeing whats inside the issue, and what's next :)

I believe that Edward Enninful is working to move forward with fashion, not backwards ... unlike what many have already criticized. The cover is beautiful, beautifully styled and very carefully selected.

I cut my hair significantly shorter, did I go through a breakup?

Contrary to the popular belief that women cut their hairs significantly shorter after undergoing a breakup (boyfriend drama that I luckily rarely engage in), I decided to cut my hair for other reasons. The idea and popularity of the thought that women tend to cut their hairs when relationships come to an end made me dig deeper to my motives behind cutting my hair, and also investigate how my girlfriends and other women online decide to cut their hairs. The results were pretty simple: a hair cut to a woman isn't so straightforward; there are often (speaking from my personal findings) hidden intentions or reasons.

"Somehow if you change your hair, you change everything. It's psychological"; my sister told me when I introduced this topic to the table, and I agree.

Cutting my hair shorter this time around symbolized many different things that went inside my head, as well as transitions I decided to make in my life.

A symbol of Freedom

I recall sharing my wish to cut my hair significantly shorter on my social media platforms, and I was bombarded with comments like: "No, longer hair is more feminine" and "Women with longer hair are sexier". It honestly pissed me off, it awoke my inner feminist when I heard such comments, especially when they came from male followers.

First of all: I am not the sort of woman who follows what is considered sexy by societal values and standards, and I'd never base my beauty or fashion decisions on the opinions of what men prefer. I simply love the freedom I have to express how I feel and think by using my body and external beauty. I looked into all my beauty icons from history who rocked short hair - such as Marilyn Monroe, Diana Vreeland, Audrey Hepburn - nobody can ever say those women were not feminine or sexy. So I ignored all those comments.

Old-Hollywood Influences

I admit that cutting my hair shorter relied heavily on the fact that my style inspirations and icons have short hair, and they still looked undeniably feminine.

After watching the hit series House of Cards and falling in love with Claire Underwood's character, I began to see how short hair is actually very powerful when worn by a woman. It takes courage, and confidence to be able to rock a hair bob.

A change of Heart

I really don't know how to explain this point, but part of me really believes that my desire to go shorter is indirectly as a result of a change of heart I had for certain individuals in my life. I wanted to be seen as someone different now, someone who learnt and is willing to grow. I couldn't change the way I look but I certainly can chop inches of hair ...

Part of me felt I needed to seem unrecognizable, so that my weaker self no longer exists.

I intend to go even shorter in the near future.