House of Z

House of Z

Zac Posen’s idealised acceleration into fashion design superstardom is captured and recounted in “House of Z,” a documentary by Sandy Chronopoulos. Within a decade of extreme success and fame of a student at Central St. Martin’s who designed a pink silk dress for Naomi Campbell, Posen’s company caved in. Vogue Runway director Nicole Phelps remarks at the start of “House of Z,” “He’s the designer who we got to watch fall.” Struck by the economic recession of 2009, an ill-fated move to Paris Fashion Week and growing conflicting attitudes, the documentary recites the downfall followed by the reemergence and struggle to save the company.

I felt that the documentary missed intriguing opportunities to explore various deeper reasons as to why Posen deteriorated. The film opens the story with the use of past tense juxtaposed with grainy home videos, and the words “pressure” and “stress”. Too much focus is emphasised on the final tiered gown inspired by the Guggenheim Museum and makes out that this alone determined the future of Posen’s design career. There is little investigation into what exactly catalysed the personal conflict between Posen and his family, other than a busy schedule and information displayed through articles. There is little analysis of how the family resolved their issues and feelings surrounding this. These mistakenly skipped opportunities to discover more interesting and accurate reasoning into Posen’s psyche results in a miscalculated and absence of emotional investment. The only emotional presence is from current interviews of Posen that reminisce the individual and methodical mistakes that caused people to think “Everybody hates Zac Posen” a perspective that Posen can hardly comprehend and express without feeling reduced to tears. In these exposing conversations, he represents himself as a human crushed by failure and grateful and appreciative of the chances he has been offered. The tone of the documentary feels deep with remorse, penance and forgiveness.

Chasing Beauty: Is Beauty Worth the Cost?

I recently watched a documentary called Chasing Beauty: Is Beauty Worth the Cost? Made in 2013 by Brent Huff, this film examines how complex the world of professional modeling can be for girls and boys trying to make it into the modelling industry. Behind the beautiful and inspiring covers of Vogue and Glamour hides the topic of discussion that has been avoided until the last decade and uncensored stories of what models endure and sacrifice in order to become a supermodel. Through interviews with professionals within the industry, including supermodels, photographers, agents, designers, plastic surgeons, make-up artists and psychologists, the documentary uncovers body image issues and the psychological effects that possess young men and women. The demanding nature of the industry and the often-occurring unattainable physical requirements for the profession as well as the morality surrounding the world of modelling is highlighted and emphasises the need for us to analyse whether beauty is worth the the consequences to obtain it.

The film began with a startling statistic that captures and exposes the seriousness of the psychological mind-set in which young girls live.

25% of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The documentary signified how the meaning of beauty is so corrupted by following aspiring models who constantly faced rejection. By repeatedly being told they don’t look right or they are the wrong size implies to young girls that they are not beautiful enough and leads to body image issues and the psychological effects that are life threatening. The film revealed some depressing information about how girls survive the industry and desperately attempt to become supermodels. Some girls lived their lives only consuming coffee and smoking cigarettes. One agent commented on how she knew if girls had bulimia when she saw them eating vanilla ice-cream, because other models had told her that it stops the burning when they follow with purging.

A lot of documentaries and films have dealt with this issue on beauty in today’s industry but this documentary deals with the idea of beauty in a broader sense in a specific field. It allows the audience to understand what it looks like to live as a model who always has to look good and be in shape in order to keep their job. In doing so it reveals the shocking reality of how difficult it is to make it in this industry. Simultaneously, this film also gives attention to how hard work and motivation makes you stand out amongst all of the other pretty faces.

After watching this thought provoking documentary, I found myself questioning the real meaning of beauty. This documentary really makes you think about what it means to be beautiful as a human being and how a definition of a beauty has been limited to a body image and physical appearance. It’s an informative and factual documentary that truly shows the ugly side of being pretty.

Alexander McQueen S/S18 campaign

Alexander McQueen S/S18 campaign

Backstage before her show, McQueen’s Sarah Burton spoke about her impulse to create an optimistic collection, a concept that has influenced various designers this season. “So many terrible things happen in the world. We should celebrate people and fashion and creativity,” she said. “I wanted to celebrate beauty and femininity. I wanted to do an uplifting collection.”

The exquisite collection, based on English gardens (the gardens at Great Dixter), conveys an essence of enchantment by flowers and intertwines the idea of the impact of nature overall. The garments are deconstructed yet lavishly ornamented. The silhouettes derived from Middle Ages armor, Victorian flourish and Fifties debutante fare, all of which are de and reconstructed and embellished with the most ravishing and intricate embroideries. Burton has developed an intriguing collection of enchanting garments that made a powerful stance for utilising the riches of the past to create something new.

The exciting floral inspiration behind this season’s designs is apparent, and they have been transfered over into one of the most beautiful and mind-blowing campaigns I have ever seen. The scenery is filled with lush greenery and the lucidity and radiance is mouthwatering. When the brand sent models down the runway at their October showing at SS ’18 Paris Fashion Week, Burton marveled that “some of the women are almost like flowers themselves.” Starring model Shanelle Nyasiase, the photographs showcase the season’s crop of vibrant red dresses, flowing gowns, and powerful silhouettes in their full glory. Taken by Jamie Hawkesworth, the exotic and magical imagery expresses amazing textures and compositions. The contrast of the vivid red and textures of the ruffles and layers sit powerfully and stunningly in a wild location of the fierce shapes and construction of nature, which dazzles in the subtle sunlight. I have never felt so in love with a fashion campaign. Every single element of each and every photograph is painstakingly beautiful.

 

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My skin care regime

My skin care regime is an extremely valuable time for myself. As well as it being time for me to relax and apply luxurious products to my skin, it is also time to really look after my skin. Your skin is a vital organ in your body and acts as a protective layer so it is important that we look after it. For the majority of my teenage life, I have struggled so much with my skin. My skin began to break out pretty much at the beginning of secondary school and I am still using treatment for it. Not only have I experienced break outs for the past five-six years of my life, but I also have combination skin so I have to manage oily and dry skin. I also feel like my skin is very translucent; by this I mean that every imperfection is extremely visible because I have fairly open pores and redness around sensitive areas. I can’t wait for the summer each year so that the sun can really help to extract the excess oils from my skin to help minimalise my break outs and balance out the colour of my skin so that I feel confident to wear as little make-up as possible. Over the years I have tried out loads of different skin care products to help my skin. Lots of people don’t see the point in spending lots of money on these types of products, but personally I feel that it is important to find the right type of product for your individual skin and usually the better the product the more expensive it is. I have had experiences with drug-store products that have irritated my skin and caused visible damage so I feel very justified to explore higher quality products that are more trustworthy for my sensitive skin.

Cleansing

Cleansing is such an important part of your skin care regime, especially if you wear make-up each day because you need to ensure that you have removed all of the dirt and bacteria that clogs up your pours to let your breathe. One of my favourite products is the Liz Earle cleanse and polish. This product contains natural active ingredients including Beeswax, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Cocoa Butter, Chamomile Essential Oil/Extract and Rosemary Essential Oil/Extract. This product is perfect for any skin type and is so gentle on the skin. For when I am feeling lazy, I use make-up wipes by Garnier. Usually I use two at a time to really make sure that everything has been cleaned from my skin. Another product I am using at the moment is the Rodical bee venom cleansing balm. This ingredient is a natural skin protectant that soothes, hyrdrates and conditions. It also offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral benefits making it helpful in treating skin irritation. Another cleansing balm I love is the Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm. It quite literally melts on your skin as you massage it around your face and not only helps to re-hydrate the skin, but it also uses moringa seed extract, wild sea fennel and vitamin E, to minimise the appearance of open pores, while orange, neroli and mandarin oils work hard to rejuvenate and revitalise. After I have cleansed, I pour a few drops of the garnier toning rose water to make my skin feel fresh and awake.

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Exfoliating

My skin becomes dry quite quickly around my nose and under eye area. The dead skin cells surface frequently if my skin is dehydrated and doesn’t have enough moisture in it. I exfoliate my skin around three times a week with the Oskia micro exfoliating balm. This product is incredible; it has tiny grains that do not irritate or damage my skin yet it works perfectly. When mixed with water, the balm transforms into a soft milk that effortlessly removes grime and unclogs pores, rinsing away to leave skin feeling revived and fresh. It also stimulates collagen production.

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Moisturising

To help reduce the dry areas of my skin, I moisturise twice a day. It is also important to moisturise after exfoliating to ensure moisture is put back into the skin. At the moment I use the Simple replenishing rich moisturiser. I have also recently become interested in clay masks; lots of beauty bloggers are currently promoting them. I thought I would try this moisturising clay mask that I got in New York last week from Sephora.

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Hydration and serums

When my skin feels dull and tired, I like to use a serum to re-energise and refresh it. After I have cleansed and moisturised I add some Caudalie brightening and hydrating serums. I also like to use vitamin oils as they are amazing nutrients for the skin. I had a tester for the Kat Burki Retin-C treatment complex which work by promoting skin cell turnover, allowing for new cell growth. I also love this Nude rescue oil. It helps to repair and refine texture for satiny, flawless skin. Some people think that if you apply oil to oily skin that it will just make you more oily, however the opposite happens. Oil molecules are attracted to each other so when you apply this oil to your skin, it extracts the un-wanted oils from your skin.

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Priming

For people like myself whose skin becomes shiny and oily throughout the day, priming is a must. I use the Emma Hardie protect and prime which moisturises, primes and protects your skin from the sun. It smells divine and is light weight, non-greasy and contains a unique light diffusing formulation to help prime the skin and even out the complexion, and blur the appearance of fine lines and pores. I also use the Laura Mercier hydrating primer for my dry skin. As well as helping dehydrated skin, this non-comedogenic formula also contains vitamins A, C and E that act as antioxidants to protect against the harmful, aging effects of the environment. I also like to use the Thisworks primer because it plumps the skin and I like to have a dewy feel to my skin. If I want to wear a primer that adds instant glow, I use the Becca Backlight primer. Backlighting acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that blurs imperfections and allows your complexion to catch light in the most gorgeous way.

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Break outs

Over the years I have tried out numerous products to help treat my break outs. I have been prescribed plenty of creams and solutions by my doctor, all of which never really helped that much. Although my skin is so much better, I am still not comfortable enough to go out make-up-less. I am mostly left with scarring and marks from my break outs which is what bothers me the most. For when I get blemishes, I dip a cotton bud into the Malin and Goetez sulfur paste and it does a really good job at preventing the spot from developing. For scarring, I use lemon juice as it is a natural bleaching agent and it also has some mild exfoliating properties due to its acidic nature. I also like to use honey because it is naturally antibacterial and full of antioxidants. I have been trying out this brightening serum by Sunday Riley which targets dark spots and discolourations.

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Night time

At night I repeat all of the morning steps where I cleanse and moisturise. Sometimes I add a mask. I usually apply the Ren wake wonderful night time facial because it rejuvenates and brightens up my skin for the morning. The AHA lactic and glycolic acids combine to exfoliate the skin texture and promote natural cell rejuvenation, while also working on uneven cell pigmentation. The glycogen, magnesium and omega oils act to energize and revitalize in a subtle massage process. The sodium lactate gently raises the skin’s pH to attract water and promote hydration. To help me feel calm and relaxed when going to sleep, I spray the Thisworks lavender spray over my pillow and duvet. Sleep is vital for mind and body. I also use the stress check on my pulse points which works as a soothing rescue remedy wellness product that helps relax the senses and ease breathing. Rescue remedy is also good for relaxation and calming.

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My current top three favourite online shops

I used to love going to the shops. But something has changed as the years have gone on. I always used to spot loads of products that I fell in love with and come home to present my family with a show of what I’d bought. Now I hardly ever see things I like anymore. I put part of this down to me having outgrown previous stores I shopped in and also how my style has forever been evolving and changing over the years of my teenage journey. But even some of my favourite shops I just really struggle to find clothes that I get ‘that feeling’ about and must buy it. I find that I am far more successful at resourcing interesting clothing that appeals to me online much more than I do when I physically go to the store. I find a much wider range of products online that are easier to track down due to filters and I also find that brands put much more effort into the display of their online shopping space than their physical retail space. For example, Zara’s online website has really improved and I always scroll through their website and like their styling and presentation. However, their store is just borderline horrific to step foot in. I also constantly crave something new and distinctive. I am always getting deeply lost in my Instagram feed trying to track down brands that I’ve seen pieces of clothing on that I look at and think I want that. I love to see an item on a someone wearing it really well, in a really cool location and to fall in love with the thought and the image of myself in that location, wearing that item and living that lifestyle. My style has ranged from skull-loving fourteen-year-old to boho loving sixteen-year-old to now an eclectic look; what I think is a mix of Y2K/90s/moody/care-free with a vibrant twist when I like to get dressed up. Here are a few of the brands that I absolutely love right now and would buy pretty much every single product from if I could.

The first brand is Rat and Boa. I can’t fault the design of any of these products. Each item is so beautiful, exotic and so distinctive. “Rat & Boa was born out of a desire to create pieces that are missing from your wardrobe; attire that is wearable, eclectic, sexy and fun.”

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Another favourite is Saboskirt. I love the summery vibes and would wear any of these clothes during the summer. I love the simplicity yet distinctive edge and cut of each item.

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Next up is HBX. I describe this website to people as similar to ASOS, as it stocks a variation of brands, but a much more high fashion version. They stock a wide range of brands such as Alexander Wang and Fenty but also stock a lot more affordable brands that are priced at similar to, if not cheaper, high street brands such as Urban Outfitters. I love the edgy designs and the idea that these pieces of clothing can’t be bought on the high street. This provides a similar feeling to finding something vintage because you know that less people will have these clothes.

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New York New York

New York New York

So my 2018 started with a visit to New York! A trip I consider a once in a lifetime opportunity. This place is the most surreal city I’ve ever been to. It feels literally like walking through a film set. There is never a moment where the city feels lifeless; it is constantly energetic and vibrant with its bold buildings, lucid lighting and consistent flood of yellow taxis beeping every second. Here I have selected a range of photos of the typical tourist destinations, including Times Square, The Rockefeller, Brooklyn, The World Trade Center, Central Park and Soho. I also visited a few museums including MoMA, FIT and The New Museum but I am dedicating separate posts to them.

My favourite area to shop was Soho. I was expecting it to be like Soho in London but it is literally just streets of designer, high street and vintage shops. It has all the shops you can imagine in one place and is much less prestigious than 5th Avenue. I also loved Little Italy and the Bowery which are just a venture away from Soho. We found some really cute cafes and food places. It was so cool to walk through the Bowery because I have been doing some research into Punk subculture for my summative project, and Punk originated in this area of New York.

Times Square at night was so beautiful and magical. I just love the colours and vibrancy. Another amazing view was from the Top of the Rock, particularly because we went up for sunset. The panoramic view is otherworldly, especially with a golden strip and amazing orange sun lighting up the sky.

Central Park is also just as mind-blowing as you expect it to be. We were so lucky that the snow hadn’t melted yet and still entirely covered the park. We went on a day with perfectly clear blue sky which made the experience at Central Park just like it appears in movies.

I really loved going to Chelsea market and the flea market there and at Soho too. I absolutely love markets and stumbling across unique items. One of my favourite parts of the Soho flea market was a section that had post-it notes that people could write what they hoped for for themselves or anyone else for this year ahead. It was so inspiring reading what people had written.

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New York MoMA fashion exhibition

New York MoMA fashion exhibition

On the second day of my trip to New York, I visited the most recommended museum MoMA. There was a deeply interesting exhibition of that presented a range of garments that are symbols of modernity in fashion. The exhibit explored how clothing is made and ways in which it can be made and constantly questioned is fashion modern? With garments that cross over many different cultures and styles, there was an underlying notion regarding how architecture and design signals a constructive verdict influenced by the togetherness of art and teamwork surrounding society’s needs, aspirations and priorities. The exhibition showed garments that were made for certain types of people but commonly influenced all over the globe.

The exhibition was split into three sections, starting off with archetype, following onto stereotype and then to prototype. This was inclusive of contextual material with historical evidence, methods for provoking viewers into understanding how we generate stereotypes and pioneering and sustainable materials and techniques.

There was extremely detailed information to support the visual, such as explanations regarding the human body and how garments change our shape to offer us freedom and power and comfort. This was always supported by specific relevant designers and how they are incorporated into certain trends. For example, a section of the exhibition followed the idea of how garments challenge the notion of the ideal and this was supported by work from Issey Miyake who designed unstructured and re-formed silhouettes.

There was an excellent variation of mediums to interact with viewers. Sometimes I find it very boring and dull walking around an exhibition with just words to read and pictures to look at, despite how fascinating the subject is. This exhibition offered a range of multi-sensory and inclusive displays such as video footage and touch-screens.

At the end of the exhibition there was a huge wall with a beautiful text display. It was a data visualisation revealing the relationships between brands and their roles in society and environmental sustainability with the production of their garments. There were tables with information about how each brand has an impact on sectors of the environment and society such as chemical treatment, manufacturing, social and labour, technology and finance. For example, for Doc Martens, over 105 million pairs of boots have been produced and the company was sold for $400 million in 2013.

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New York Fashion Institute of Technology perfume and lab

New York Fashion Institute of Technology perfume and lab

When in New York…

I was incredibly lucky to have gotten a place to go and visit the perfume lab at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. When we arrived, we found our way up to the lab and were given a presentation about perfume and fragrance trend forecasting. This was so interesting because the next upcoming project for this semester is based around perfume. We discovered so much information and a range of insights about different types of fragrances and how they sell. We were given the opportunity to smell multiple scents ranging from citrus to floral to oriental. At the end of the session we were very fortunate enough to be able to make our own fragrance and take a sample home. I’m sure I’ll probably try to keep this forever and not use it as a forever multi-sensory memory of this fantastic experience, even though I’ll be tempted because it smells so nice. I’m regretful that I only managed to take two photographs from this experience, however I did subconsciously feel like I was being respectful in not photographing every inch of the room and I also felt like I would be able to embrace the experience more instead of taking photos for the sake of taking photos.

 

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Mood-boards for techno futuristic trend

My summative project over the Christmas holidays has required me to create ideas and outcomes for a store space for the brand Doc Marten in the style of the trend ‘techno futuristic’. Having carried out contextual research of the brand, trend and the importance of the outcome to brands, I have been developing ideas of potential outcomes. From my research of the significance of store spaces to brands, I discovered that today’s consumers are finding the most convenient way to shop online. The level of purchases taking place digitally is expected to rise to by 20% by 2025. Despite the vast majority of luxury sales still taking place in physical stores, 3/4 of purchases are influenced by what customers do online. Fashion consumers constantly desire newness, which leaves questions surrounding the future of physical stores and the consequences of the digital revolution.

The Internet has become extremely good at doing what stores traditionally did. The store of the future must compete with leisure experiences in order to entice consumer attraction. This will require retailers to design dynamic, constantly changing physical spaces that give people a reason to go to and return to stores. There is a platform missing for a more meaningful, multi-sensory theatrical retail experience. Brand stores need to employ a digital forefront and understand how their stores can leverage mobiles to suit their consumers to make experience more interesting having recognised that customers are always interacting on mobile devices.

Stores also boost sales by preventing the delivery problems that cause hassle for today’s busy customers. 90% of customers say that delivery is the biggest barrier to purchase. It’s easier for brands to use a physical space to engage customers in person, to create a compelling experience and clearly communicate the benefits of what they do. Physical presence builds recognition and familiarity, brings brands to life in ways that websites or adverts cannot rival and can also help brands understand who their customers are and how best to communicate with them.

Having accumulated my research and understood possible ways in which all three elements can combine together, I have created mood boards which focus on experiential retail and provide a multi-sensory, interactive and engaging encounter. The first mood board reflects a dystopian society with cyberpunk experiences. It is based on a reaction to a future where things have gone wrong, a circumstance that the subculture ‘Punk’ emerged from – I felt that this was an interesting way to link the brand and the trend together. The second mood board is representative of the theme of Industrial hedonism. I interpreted this to reflect a consumer who is on edge of society, not afraid of being judged, celebrates self-expression and is in their own tribe. A type of experience that encompasses both the brand and the trend is music and festival culture, so I have developed an idea around the theme of music and lighting creating trances to provide a multi-sensory experience that suits both the subcultures that Doc Martens is associated with as well the the trend story. The third mood board presents the futuristic theme of time travelling and develops the idea of an experience where consumers enter a time warp and live through historical moments that helped form the foundation of subcultures that the brand is associated with. This type of consumer experience is vital in sustaining a connection between themselves and the brand and for the brand to determine their image and narrative.

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Favourite photos from 2017

Favourite photos from 2017

Instead of reflecting verbally on my favourite times of this year, I felt more comfortable to look back on this year in terms of visual photographs. Reading people’s reminiscence of their year is always inspiring, however this year I felt more suited to displaying my best times with imagery. This year has been the most personally difficult year in various different ways, especially towards the last half of 2017 and I am still trying to move away from the hard times. Therefore I feel that my mind-set isn’t in quite the right place to be verbally nostalgic over a year that has not been so great for me. To switch things up, I thought I would choose a selection of photos from the best times I’ve had this year that I can look at and remember the great times which allows me to look over this past year in a way that is dominated by positivity. I also feel like it is a nice experience to just scroll through photos instead of large clumps of texts every now and then. Photos don’t always need explanations as they speak very powerfully by themselves. As well as my own photos, I was interested to round up my favourite photos that I have been inspired by elsewhere. Instagram fairly recently updated their app and now feature a page where you can save images that you scroll through and love and can save them to your profile. I went through all of the images that I have saved from Instagram this year and have picked out my favourite ones. Each photo has inspired me in some way, shape or form, whether it is the composition, styling, colour, texture, lighting or location.

My own photos:

My sister and I only holiday in Ibiza summer 2017.

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My sister in Ibiza summer 2017.

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Electric violet flowers on holiday and a view out of the kitchen window of the plants on the same holiday.

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Las Dalias Hippie market in Ibiza.

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Sunset views from my home in London.

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A friend and I at Boomtown festival and Outlook festival during the summer.

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My friends and I at a fancy dress party.

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My fashion garments that I designed and made for my Fashion and Textile design A-Level.

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Notebook collage front covers that I fell in love with in a shop on holiday.

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A view of a beach in Ibiza on holiday in the summer.

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A picture of a wild cat and cactus plants at the villa on holiday.

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Saved photos on my Instagram page:

 

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wonderland

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bellahadid

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area

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bellahadid

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_ratandboa_

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emrata

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aureta

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valentina_muntoni

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dazed

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valentina_muntoni

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c__l__o

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simplymorocco

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valentina_muntoni

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voguexiconic

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valentina_muntoni

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darfishhh

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oliviafaynetattoo

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mimielashiry

 

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highsnobiety