Cheap & Chic! {Interview with Elsa from "Elsa Handmade Inspirations"}

Today, instead of the usual “Cheap & Chic” column I have the honor to present you a very talented lady. Her name is Elsa and she creates beautiful handbags from scratch! Needless to say they are both chic & cheap. Elsa is a genuine personality with flowering creativity and I’m certain that you‘ll find her designs inspiring the way I did! Elsa and I had a little chat the other day about her work, the styles she prefers and her design ethos. Let’s find out what she said, shall we?

Sophia: Elsa, how did you come to design handbags?
Elsa: I have a vast background in fashion originally. I’ve spent several years designing clothes for my own little firm which was very daunting but at the same time taught me valuable lessons on how a business is run.

Sophia: And you make mostly handbags?
Elsa: Yes! It’s a fashion item I like the most as it’s quite versatile and not as heavy on somebody’s shoulders as creating a clothes’ line, but equally rewarding nonetheless! Plus I believe in the power of accessorizing and handbag is definitely a key piece for everyone!

Sophia: Your designs are all lovely and well made. You make everything by hand?
Elsa: Yes, I have total control over production and since I make only a small batch at a time I can still manage all stages of production including sketching, cutting, sewing and assembling.

Sophia: What are the materials you prefer to use?
Elsa: To tell you the truth inspiration is what defines my use of materials. When I envision a new bag then I see what kind of materials I would like this very bag to be made of!

Sophia: So, where do you find inspiration?
Elsa: Everywhere! It sounds like a cliché but it’s true. I have a vast collection of things that boosts my creativity. I simply like to accumulate stuff. Materials are very important to me. I have tons of leathers, fabrics, buttons, ribbons you name it! Also being in the fashion department I’m always aware of new trends and depending on the season I’m influenced by them. For instance, this season velvet and fur are big so I’ll find ways to incorporate them into my collection.

Sophia: Is there a type of bag you prefer to make over and over again?
Elsa: Surely I make everything from casual to formal, but my all-time favorite is the evening purse.

Sophia: Can you define your style?
Elsa: My mood swings and my style too! Though, I gravitate towards modern but tailored with a touch of vintage and sometimes eclectism.  

Sophia: Name your favorite celebrity designer?
Elsa: The one and only Gaultier.

Sophia: Where we can find you and your bags?
Elsa: At the moment through my blog, and email which is esklavou@gmail.com.

Elsa, it was a pleasure to talk with you and share your creativitiy here. Thank you very much! 

(all images show Elsa's new collection for A/w 11)


Keep your mouth full! {aragula, tomato and feta cheece open sandwitches}

It's been sometime since I wrote here because, you know, life works in mysterious ways. Today though, I'm glad because I'm back on board, on this little and secluded creative place of mine! So, whoever you are I would like you to stick around. You see today, I'm gonna share one of my secret and all-time favorite recipes. It's one of those easy peasy recipes eveyone can make and it's feels so good when in no time you can actually sit down and enjoy a meal that is delicious, healthy and comforting at the same time! Trust me, if you haven't taste it then when you do, your mouth will be full of the most savoury and wholesome ingredients. 
Plain and simple food can be so rich and mouthwatering! The secret here lies on the things we're using; fresh baby aragula and tomatoes. A first quality of feta cheese. Handmade rustic bread that we then toast for a few minutes and extra virgin olive oil to springle on top. To take this a step further, you can be a connaiseur and choose the right type of feta cheese. 
Actually a slightly hard and peppery kind will act its best when combined with the sweetness of the rustic bread. The bread must be handmade from a bakery you trust and know. Any other mass produced bread will spoil the flavours. I can go and on and on about the importance of quality here, but I think you get the picture. This recipe requires only the finest of ingredients since its execution has barely any additives or cooking to enhance the taste. Assemble everything together, add freshly ground pepper and cherish your life; food is blessing!



Cheap & Chic! {red coat}

It's feels like cheating, since I'm posting this today and not yesterday but I guess it's better to go on and do it rather than postponing it because I get distracted by daily happenings. Life happens and if plans are put on hold one day there's always the next to mend this! So, why I'm posting this red coat today? First of all, it's one of my all-time favorite garments. I have it for four years allready and it's like brand new. It's such a happy coat in the most wonderful red color ever! It's pure wool of excellent quality and I got it on super sale since the Donna Karan tag on full price was quite intimidating. Still, you say it must cost more than a regular coat. That's absolutely true, but compared to the quality and the long wear it's still a very good deal! I believe it has every right to be considered as an item that falls right under the cheap and chic category. You see, sometimes we need to invest on certain pieces even if it feels like breaking the rule by paying more than usual. The reward from the top quality of both, material and craftmanship is unconditional and the many years you're going to enjoy your choice, break down the price to mere pennies(on a daily count). I followed my heart and got me this amazing coat and I haven't regret it since, not a single day!  



A manhattan pied-a-terre

Sometimes I see a space and I really get excited! This happened with the pied-a-terre featured in Veranda Magazine. Then, I try to figure out what in particular I find inspiring about those interiors and why... Probably I wouldn't incorporate all the above elements in my abode but the color combinations that I see here are very interesting and certainly well thought. Black and white is a favorite of mine but I believe that when someone adds injections of other colors like greys or browns it takes it to another level of visual impact. It also warms up the formality of the duo. Obviously this interior is also quite traditional and those gold accents prove it greatly but when grey and brown enter the scheme it's their softness that occupies me the most. Plus, the focal dynamics of those vertical black lines on the main storage space are so strong and symmetric that open up this pied-a-terre to great lengths. Even if my place is not that small I believe that inspiration from compact spaces is more valuable since it's those spaces that push aesthetics and design to new boundaries in an effort to incorparate more elements with less actual space!



Find & Refined { warm up }

Yes! It's Saturday and not Friday (the weekend is here, I checked) but I was feeling realy itchy to post this since it was in my head on time but due to other reality commitments I was unable to put it together yesterday... The weather is getting colder fast and what better excuse to stay inside and cuddle while enjoying the change of scenery! Ideally, there's a bunch of stuff out there that will make this transition smooth and here we showcase a few but with extra style and character!
obj#1: chair / obj#2: scarf / obj#3: rug / obj#4: warmers / obj#5: plate / obj#6: knitwear


Cheap & Chic! {feminine blouse}

Another alternative to the feminine blouse, which sometimes feels boring and bland, is one that has the animal print all over. We've seen before the power that an item with this type of print holds and again we need to be conservative when it comes to the rest of our outfit. Usually a black skirt or trousers is enough to turn the ensemble in an utrla chic combination suitable for day or night. I have a beautiful pair of woolen trousers (at least four years old) and when I wear them together it feels like they are new but mostly I see how easy it is to be elegant! This blouse above is also semi transparent which makes it a tad sexy but safe for any occasion. Instant chic for less than 50$, well I'll take it!