Nick Onken is a Brooklyn-based multi-talented artist and photographer, whose latest creative endeavor includes a line of bespoke, handcrafted hats, inspired by his many adventures around the globe.

Nick’s positive attitude is infectious. No wonder our very own Web editor-in-chief fell in admiration with his beautiful energy, creative genius, and above all, his unique sense of style, while on a work trip with Nike. Nick was shooting the campaign, coiffed with the most playfully designed hat she had ever seen. Of course, she wanted to know more. Little did she know that looking into Nick’s bio meant diving head first into an inspiring rabbit hole, occupied my none other than the most prolific mad hatter. Simply put, Nick has a laundry list of talents and projects that have him travel all over the world. He’s photographed and interviewed countless inspiring personalities and celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Usher, Jessica Alba, and Bono, on his NIONradio podcast and for world-renowned magazines. His passport overflows with entry stamps: Europe, South America, Polynesia, you name it; he’s been there. He does, however, have a soft spot for Africa, where he champions the importance of education for the future generation, by taking stunning photographs for the charity, Pencils of Promise. We managed to catch up with Nick, in between 2 flights, to know more about what pushed him to add hat maker to his resume, and figure out how he constantly fuels his creativity. 

Paulette: Hey Nick! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what is it that you do… 

Nick: I am a creator, and one of my favorite mediums is hats. I hail from the soggy city of Seattle and am based in Brooklyn, New York, now. I like to weave deeper things in life with the things that I create. 

How did your passion for hats come about?

A friend of mine, Satya, invited me to make hats with her in her hat factory a few years back, and I got curious about taking the designs in my own direction. It evolved as I played around with them.

Would you walk us through the process of making a hat? What are the steps and how long does it take? 

The first step in making a hat is blocking it. Blocks come in many different shapes and that’s what creates the shape of the crown part of the hat. You then have to steam and stretch the felt over the block with a milliners string and shape it. Then flatten out the brim with an iron. Once that’s done, you spray stiffener on it to keep the shape. Then, I hand sew the sweatband inside. I like leather sweatbands, as it gives the hat some structure. From there, I start designing it, by picking out a fabric for the band around, burning the hat, or painting it. Maybe, all of those for a same hat. The design is pretty open ended at that point. I add my signatures, like a stick of Selenite, the highest vibrational stone.

Nice! Where does your inspiration come from?

My hats are inspired by my photography. I’ve always loved photographing people with hats. I get a lot of inspiration from my travels, as I’ve been to over 60 countries and 7 continents. I tend to make my hats look weathered and well traveled. I’m inspired by different cultures, by the patterns and textures they use in their different cloths and such. I also like finding vintage pins and other artifacts at flea markets. I also love painting on things. So, I’ve integrated that into some of my hat designs. Sometimes, I play around with different themes and find artifacts that help create that vibe.

Who do your hats cater to?

My hats cater to people that appreciate one of a kind bespoke items that no one else has. Typically people that want something unique with some personalized elements. They are high-end custom. A lot of times, people that are well traveled themselves. 

Speaking of travels, what has been the most significant experience you’ve had or the most exciting trip you’ve taken in the past year?

I’ve had a few amazing trips this year. Traveling to Morocco was highly inspiring in regard to cultural nuances. I just got back from Madagascar, which I’d never been before. A category 4 hurricane chased us out. I also went to Finnish Lapland earlier this year, which was amazing. The North Pole is where reindeers and the Amanita muscaria mushrooms originate. I found an Amanita muscaria mushroom pin for a hat that I will use soon.

Making bespoke hats is just one of your many, many jobs. What’s the most exciting thing about doing so many different things?

I would personally call them passions, instead of “jobs”. When you love what you do, I don’t think it is necessarily a “job”. That said, I’m a photographer and I photograph a lot of people, from celebrities to kids in Africa for a charity called Pencils of Promise. I also have a podcast where I interview high-level creatives and people doing big things in the world. I love having conversations with these people. Occasionally, I paint murals and do other types of canvas art. I love the variety of creating in different mediums.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3R5vxan11X/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
|Photographs taken by Nick Onken in Ghana, for the charity Pencils of Promise (@nickonken)|

And lastly, where can we buy your bespoke hats?

You can head over to my Onkenhat Instagram account, and see what I’m working on hat wise. Feel free to DM me if you’re interested in getting your own custom hat.

Thank you, Nick! 

Interview by PK Douglas

Find out more about Nick Onken here.

As Christmas Day slowly approaches, the race to buy the most beautiful tree, glittery decorations and heart-warming gifts for family and friends is in full swing! Crafting the perfect Christmas dinner menu also proves a task of its own. However, planning a successful holiday feast doesn’t have to be a burden on the environment and the planet. What if we collectively had the Greenest and most eco-friendly Christmas ever? That’s a gift Mother Nature would truly appreciate. 

2019 will go down as a year of global awakening and understanding of the challenges that humanity is facing in the age of climate change. Along with the massive shifts and radical changes that big companies and corporations have to make, individual attitudes towards consumerism, specifically around the holidays, will also have an impact in saving and preserving our planet’s natural resources. Here are simple ways you can plan a sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas celebration, without spoiling the fun for anybody, of course!

Rent a Live Christmas Tree

Fake Christmas trees might be reusable year after year, thus checking the sustainable box. However, study shows that you would have to use the same plastic tree for at least 20 years for it to be greener that a real tree. Once discarded, fake Christmas trees are hardly ever recycled, and end up in landfills. Why not choose to adopt your Christmas tree, instead? You can pick a live tree, decorate it, have it in your home for the holidays, and safely return it back to the tree farm you bought it from. They will put it back in soil, in the hope that it continues to grow. How lovely! Here are some options for an environmentally friendly Christmas tree.

Switch to LED Christmas Lighting

LED lighting is much more environmentally friendly than traditional twinkling incandescent Christmas lights, because it uses up to 80% less energy. Having solar-powered lights outdoors is also a great way to use less electricity. Putting both indoors and outdoors lights on a timer will not only be more sustainable, but your energy bill will be reduced as well. So, make the switch and look for LED lighting anywhere you can!

Buy Locally Made and Eco-friendly Gifts

Buying the perfect gift for a loved one is challenging enough. Making it green and sustainable may feel like the impossible task. Well, not if you think smart and local. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation (that contributes to greenhouse emissions and global warming). And gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known. Locally made, plastic-free, eco-certified, and thoughtfully shopped gifts are the way to go. Your family and friends, as well as your own conscience will thank you for it.

At Paulette, we looked for the best sustainable and environmentally conscious stores and brands in our own neighborhood to get our gift shopping on. Manifeste011 (for their vegan fashion), Hast (for their TIPA compostable pouch and packaging), Smallable (for their wide selection of eco-friendly kids’ toys), Whole (for their in-house hand-dyed fabrics and home goods), The Naked Shop (for their zero-waste beauty bar), and Toasties (for their colorful range of accessories made of recycled sheepskins) are great options to please everyone in your family on Christmas eve or Christmas day, depending on when you open the gifts. No early peeking allowed!

Use Environmentally Friendly Wrapping Paper and Christmas Decorations

As we all know, wrapping paper usually ends up in the garbage can faster than we can say “Merry Christmas!”. Added to their single use every year, non-recyclable elements like foil, glitter or plastic make traditional wrapping paper a less than desirable option for a Green Christmas. Recycled wrapping paper is a great alternative for big gifts. However, small gifts can easily be wrapped in a beautiful and colorful fabric square. In Japanese culture, this technique is known as Furoshiki – the art of wrapping clothes, gifts, or other goods in a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. That’s basically receiving 2 gifts in 1. What more can you ask for? Sustainable Christmas tree decorations, perhaps? Well, most decorations are taken out and put up, year after year for the holidays, then safely put away for 11 months, becoming family heirlooms that last for generations. If you do wish to add to your collection however, look to companies such as Nkuku for designs made from brass, glass, and wood.

Shop smart and locally (with a grocery list) to avoid food waste

Christmas dinner is a touchy subject, I get it. Part of the fun is feeling utterly stuffed with roasted chicken or turkey, pecan or sweet potato pie, fresh oysters, tasty foie gras, you name it! However, opting for a Green Christmas dinner will reduce the carbon footprint of all the ingredients that will be used to prepare the much-anticipated mouthwatering dinner. Try and support local and ethical small-scale producers, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, and avoid single use plastic to wrap up anything. If you’re feeling daring, cooking a completely vegan holiday dinner is actually not that hard and quite tasty, if you ask us. If you do end up with leftovers, despite the strict grocery list, and you’re in the seasonal giving spirit, you might want to wrap up some food, and bring joy and a little bit of comfort to people in need in your local shelter or Red Cross.

Reconnect with Nature on Christmas Day

Christmas is a time for giving and a time for family. What a great opportunity to start a family tradition of reconnecting with nature and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, family and friends. Why not start an annual run, hike, or just a walk in a nearby forest or park. Earth-friendly activities such as bird counting, planting a small tree, or decorating a tree for the birds – with seeds for them to eat – will also be an opportunity to get you outdoors with family and friends for a few hours to build an appetite for the big dinner to come.

Above all else, spend quality time with the people you love, and enjoy yourself. The Paulette Team wishes each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Article by PK Douglas

For all your Green Christmas gift shopping in Paris, visit Manifeste011 (14, rue Jean-Macé 75011 Paris), Hast (87, rue d’Aboukir 75002 Paris / 7, rue des Batignolles 75017 Paris), The Naked Shop (75, rue Oberkampf 75011 Paris), Whole (86, rue Jean-Pierre Thimbaud), Smallable (82, rue du Cherche-Midi 75006 Paris), and Toasties (14, rue du Château d’Eau 75010 Paris).

Opal Tometi captured by photographer Joshua Kissi @joshuakissi

Opal’s involvement in Paulette magazine grew in a serendipitous way. I first met Opal through Tonjé Bakang, a mutual friend, on a warm summer evening in Paris. Days later, I mentioned to Irene Olczak, founder of Paulette, that I had met the co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and she gasped, confessing that she herself had wanted to meet and chat with Opal for quite some time now. The stars were clearly aligning.

Fast-forward years later, these two inspiring forces finally got together, instantly clicked, and secretly plotted for months to craft the Fall issue of the magazine centered around togetherness, activism, and making a difference in the world. I’ve personally been overjoyed by their budding friendship, and by Irene’s constant gushing over Opal’s enthusiasm, generosity, and involvement. Things that I’ve loved about Opal for years. Back in 2016, she had kindly invited me to join her at Beyonce‘s Formation World Tour concert at the Stade de France after only meeting her once. That unforgettable night of dancing and lip-synching in full Beyhive mode sealed a friendship that has shown no sign of love drought. The next day, when she called to talk about the current migrant crisis and asked me to come with her to help, I grabbed food and water, and we immediately headed to a makeshift camp site where African migrants had been sleeping in horrid conditions for months. That’s what Opal does. She makes you want to be the best version of yourself through action. I also vividly remember that she decided to cut her “vacation” short to fly back to New York City and speak on immigration in front of a UN assembly. Her accolades as an activist and public figure are deservingly plentiful – a scholarship for immigrant Law students created in her name, an honorary PhD from Clarkson University, or being named one of the 50 most influential people by several magazines.

As an admirer of her work and dedication, and as a friend she can rely on and be silly with, I wanted to ask Opal Tometi about herself, the young girl who became an activist, the young woman who has to carve out time for self-care, and how she envisions a world in which we can all fully be ourselves Together.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi speaks at BGSU (The Blade / Jeremy Wadsworth)

How has being an activist and advocating for others changed and influenced you over the years? 

For as long as I remember, I’ve been engaged in some form of advocacy. It really began with admiration and love for my friends and others in my life as a high schooler. And then over the years, as I realized we were facing challenges, it became a curiosity, then full fledged activism and eventually organizing. At first I was a regular actvist – something would happen and then I’d pop in to action and join a protest, but then after a while I realized that the challenges were relentless and that I needed to be engaged in deeper strategy in order to stop the injustice that our communities were faced with — which was more strategic organizing. 

In the early ages I engaged in issues that I didn’t have any direct impact on my life — for example when I was first beginning I was involved in domestic violence work and ending child abuse — but the truth is I was never abused by a partner nor my parents. (I mean I saw kids at my high school in abusive relationships or friends in college but it wasn’t me). However, I eventually got courageous enough to move to issues that were impacting me more closely — I began to speak about stuff I knew intimately –  like anti-Black racism and immigration. I honestly planned on doing this work in relative obscurity – I never thought I would be an “ official” public figure and thought a “leader” in the way I’m right now. But it’s been a humbling journey and a true honor to get recognition for work that is often done by many without acknowledgment or thanks. So I do appreciate the support – and my true hope is simply to be a good steward of this moment in history by doing the best with the platform I have. Using my voice and my expertise as best I can to achieve justice for as many people as possible.

Opal Tometi supporting Colin Kaepernick, alongside Nessa Diab (@opalayo)

In the constant whirlwind of news cycles and world events, how, when, and where do you find time to recharge your soul and reconnect with yourself? 

There’s so much going on, and for a while I lost myself in it all. I gained lots of extra weight and neglected my own chronic health issues. However, in the past few months I’ve taken my own self-care more seriously. In fact, it’ #1. No one else can care for me the way that I will and I’m now perfectly clear on that. Maya Angelou once said “to be successful means to be happy with what you do and how you do it”. Audre Lorde also shared the same sentiment when she said “self care is not self indulgence. It is self preservation and it’s a political act”. With those sentiments and knowing who I am – knowing my heart and my ethic, and my track record – I have serious respect and love for myself. I am thoroughly pleased with who I am. And so, I listen to myself and my real needs; and that makes me feel connected and recharged daily. Each day I may need something different – sometimes it’s more sleep, sometimes it’s yoga in the morning, listening to Afrobeats or house music, or sometimes it’s hanging out with my godchildren.

Opal Tometi, the activist and organizer (@opalayo)

What is the best piece of advice or wisdom that a mentor has shared with you and that you carry close to your heart everywhere?

Honestly, my mentors are amazing African women who have taught me the most by the lives they lead. For example, my first mentor was Leslye Obiora, a Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer from the University of Arizona and Yale who taught me to invest in the young people around you — even if they can’t give you anything in return. She took me under her wing literally and flew me with her when I was just a curious and passionate young person. I’m forever grateful.
Secondly, another incredible mentor-sister I have, Nunu Kidane, swims almost every day while leading an incredible non profit and providing thought leadership focused on advocacy for critical African issues.  She stays active and creative while doing such cool work between the San Francisco Bay Area and Ethiopia. And lastly, my mentor Liepollo Pheko from South Africa is the most prolific and ambitious woman I know. She continues to show me that you can have the life of your dreams and should never apologize for your intellect, your drive and your accomplishments.

Opal Tometi at a rally for Women’s Rights (@opalayo)

What does “Together” or “Togetherness” – the theme of Paulette magazine’s Fall issue – mean to you, and how can we strive for togetherness daily?

Togetherness is such a cool concept, but ultimately I think it’s most important that we recognize that everybody cannot nor should be exactly the same. It’s important that we value the diversity of experiences and expertise in all of us. We must value each of our respective contributions and qualities. I think this applies when we think about the world we want and need, but also how we actually achieve it. So often people don’t feel appreciated and I don’t think that this is right.  Just like it is for a healthy body to thrive — we need all the parts participating in the functioning of the body. Just like a game we need all players being excellent in their own role but recognizing they are on the same team. Same thing with this life. We should share a same overall vision – multiracial, inclusive democracies that work for all of us together – but know that we will contribute differently so that we can get there.

By inclusive I mean including races, religions, gender, sexual orientation, ability , immigration status, or country of origin and class, among so many other things. I believe in us. I believe we can create a world that truly embraces the breadth of who we are and how we identify. It’s important that we not only educate ourselves so that we are aware, but we must commit to action. I encourage everyone to join an organization. That’s the single most important thing one can do – have a community that holds you accountable for your beliefs, but also supports you when you’re tired. We don’t have to do this journey for dignity and justice alone. Being in communion is what this life is about. We grow as a result. 

Opal Tometi (opaltometi.org)

As we slowly transition from Summer to back to school/work mode, is there any book, music, artist, experience that has moved you recently that you’d want to share and recommend to our Paulette readers?

I’m the kind of person who will travel for art, babies and love. And so this year, I gave myself a birthday gift of traveling for art – by going to the Chale Wote Arts festival in Accra, Ghana. It’s the largest arts festival in Africa and it was EVERYTHING! I had been wanting to go for years. I got to meet and view some incredible art. Thousands of people were there. It was grassroots – not sponsored by any large corporations and it was incredibly hope filled. I met folks like Adama Delphine, Nelson Makamo , Pierre Chistophe Gam, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Joanna Choumali and so many others. It was inspiring. People of all ages, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses had access to art, were participating in the creation of and were clearly being moved by it. It was the best thing I’ve seen in years. Everyone should experience it. Making space in our lives for art period is very important. It opens up our imagination, reminds us that we can create whatever we want, and also allows us to experience beauty for its own sake. This is a beautiful reminder of the abundance that is already in existence in the world.

Thank you, Opal.

By PK Douglas

The 45th issue of Paulette magazine guest-edited by Opal Tometi is out now.

Stop holding back. Be “Free To Be”! Zalando’s bold campaign slogan for Autumn/Winter 2019 sounds like the perfect call to action to completely let go and express ourselves freely. The global online shopping platform shows us how it’s done by putting together a unique team of fantastic 5, whose boldness to be who they are unapologetically will inspire millions to do just that: be themselves, through fashion.

Adwoa Aboah shooting for Zalando in Lisbon

Courageous and unique are two characteristics that beautifully suit activist and model Adwoa Aboah, one of the aforementioned fantastic personalities. Her honesty and strength through her battle over depression and addiction nourished her self-healing project Gurls Talk, an online platform catering to other young girls in need of a safe space to share experiences and thoughts. We had the pleasure of meeting the soft-spoken Adwoa in Lisbon and chatted quite candidly about her journey, the incredible bond she shares with her sister and how she manages to somehow fell “free to be” as often as possible. 

What does “Free To Be” mean to you?

(After a few seconds of thoughtful silence) First of all, I don’t think it should come from any external perception. I think “Free To Be” means that anyone has the power to be himself or herself, and should do it freely without any judgment from anyone else. However, even if that does come, even if you do feel some judgment, you want to feel strong enough in yourself to ignore it, go for it anyways, and be yourself. Realistically, I don’t think you’ll ever get away from how others view certain things and view yourself. But, the more comfortable with yourself you get, the less the outside noise matters. 

Was there a specific moment in your life that made you become more self-confident and own who you are? 

There have been many moments that have shaped me. It is very much a work in progress though. And I have to work on my confidence all the time. I think it’s really important for people to realize that inner-confidence does not just come over night. You have to work on it all the time because, like I said, there is energy that surrounds you. This energy won’t always be in your best interest. Personally, I’ve realized that the more I surround myself with positive energy, the more I have respect for what I want to do. To go back to your question, I would say that the time when I have really challenged myself, like moving away from home, or being single, you know all the different things that have made me really look at myself and made me do some character building, those have made me self-confident.

Adwoa Aboah at her shoot for Zalando in Lisbon

When or where do you feel the most “Free To Be”?

Um, maybe with particular friends. Actually my sister. I feel really myself around my sister. I don’t really have to speak; it’s like telepathic between us. Otherwise, dancing at home with my family to disco music. Also, sports. I feel free when I’m playing sports. 

What are you the most proud of since you’ve created “Gurls Talk”?

A the moment, I’m most proud of the fact that as Gurls Talk has grown, we’ve also brought up girls with us, girls who’ve grown through their teen years with us. We’ve started in 2015, you know, and I meet girls now who’ve started their teen years at the same time as we’ve started. So we’ve been able to grow as they grow, which I’m really proud of. I’m beyond proud when people come up to me and tell me not what I’ve done for them but what Gurls Talk has done for them in terms of the comfort it has brought to them in difficult times in their lives. And project-wise, I’m proud of a project that I did on female footballers. 

Adwoa Aboah at her shoot for Zalando In Lisbon

What advice would you give to young girls struggling with inner-confidence and with fully being themselves everyday? 

You have to be kind to yourself, first and foremost. And that’s a really difficult thing to do. Only you can make those changes. So, you have to be as kind to yourself as possible and give yourself the time to learn everything you need to learn and to find who you really want to be. Kindness is key in doing so because sometimes you’re going to find not so great things about yourself, sometimes you’re going to find out amazing things about yourself. I think your surroundings are also key. Make sure you surround yourself with people who want you to grow. You need to cut anyone who is not willing to let you grow and do what you have to do. I know life is a funny journey. But it’s a really exciting one although it might not seem like it all the time. I think everything that happens is part of an end result. As I said, inner-confidence is process. I’m not there yet either, but I’m excited for the journey, and so should you. 

Thank you Adwoa!

By PK Douglas

Adwoa Aboah campaign shoot for Zalando in Lisbon

Simon Atlan’s 7-song debut EP is the perfect blend of pop, r&b, and electro music to smoothly transition from vacation mode to the hustle and bustle of city life, without back to work blues. 

Simon Atlan’s debut EP “5502”

Aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, when I should have already been asleep, is literally how I stumbled upon Simon Atlan‘s account. I bet many can relate. His latest post happened to be a rather humorous teaser video for a future song entitled “Buona Sera”. A boy was dancing like nobody’s watching over fast-track images of New York City in the 80s. Genius. I was instantly hooked and wanted more. Less than a year later, the 25-year-old Parisian singer, musician, producer, and writer is releasing his very first EP “5502”. Why “5502”, you ask? Let’s question the man when we get a chance. For now, I’ll go out on a limb and say that February 1955 might be his dad’s birthday, since Simon clearly loves to fondly reference his father. Exhibit A: the digital cover of his first single ever, “Have Another Drink” was an old photograph of said-dad rocking a three-piece satin suit and the most epic “bouffant” hairdo I have ever seen. Cheeky!

@simonatlan

“I step in / You step out”

His love for all things retro, including 80s/90s music, is obvious when listening to tracks like “Blue Dress” or “Buona Sera”. However, Simon masterfully channels his many influences and mentors – Alicia Keys, Gil Scott Heron, Marvin Gaye, Travis Scott – to produce beautifully personal and original melodies, complimented by his warm and soulful voice. He even ventures into rapping  – Migos style – on a couple of songs. It’s 2019 after all.

Simon Atlan’s debut EP “5502”

My personal favorite track has to be “Selfish”, which he also teased on Instagram. When I finally heard the complete song, I couldn’t get enough of the beautifully crafted lyrics, the emotional melody, and Simon’s use of both his low and high register, which reminded me of another personal favorite of mine Frank Ocean. “So selfish/I want you back in my life/When you’re over me/Over me.” sounds like any millennial’s relationship history. And yes, Simon mainly sings in English, except for one song, “Chanson En Français” (‘Song In French’, ndlr). Straight to the point, voila. Love and shortcomings in relationships are an endless source of inspiration for Simon Atlan, whose first EP “5502” is little gem that I’m glad I’ve waited for.

By PK Douglas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1EKh6_sC7s

Enjoy and buy Simon Atlan’s EP “5502” on Soundcloud, Spotify, and iTunes.

Watch Simon Atlan’s latest music video “Amsterdamhere

“But what about us?” / “We’ll always have Paris […]”. These iconic lines from the movie “Casablanca” might have forever established the city of light as the most picturesque backdrop to the perfect love story and whirlwind romance, fictional or real; but the time has come to venture down under and fall in love with the true gem of the South of France, a diamond (proudly) in the rough, Marseille.

@massiliangirl

As the oldest city in France – it was founded by the Greeks in 600BC – Marseille doesn’t lack character nor edge. For the past few years however, the city has smartly beautified its Vieux Port (the old port of Marseille), stepped up its wining and dining options, and made it nice in several key areas, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. So much so that Parisians even gladly spend their Summer break exploring the calanques, checking out new cocktail bars, and dancing the blazing sunset away on sandy beaches in the “rival” city. Here are 8 reasons why, just like Carrie in “SATC”, you should take the city itself, Marseille, as your ultimate Mediterranean lover!

@aya19th

The Calanque of Morgiou and the Blue Cave

The series of beautiful inlets that pearl the Mediterranean coastal landscape between the city of Marseille and the town of Cassis are far from a hidden gem. The dramatic rocky cliffs cradling heavenly carved bays, filled with crystal-clear water are a sight to be seen, and prove a deserving reward after hours of hiking through the national park under the blazing sun. The most breathtaking of them all is Calanque of En-Vau, no doubt. But, it can also be very crowded… like CROW-DED. That’s where Calanque of Morgiou comes in, and might just be the smartest pick. Why? Simple: this spot has the right balance between gorgeous scenery, turquoise water, a tolerable amount of people, and a reasonable hiking distance on safe terrain. Might we add that if you make a reservation at the restaurant located right by the little fishing port of Morgiou, you’re allowed to drive all the way down to the beach, thus avoiding the aforementioned hike. You’re welcome. And, if you’re feeling adventurous and just have to get that epic Instagram picture, you may venture further away towards Calanque of Sugiton and reach the Grotte Bleue (or Blue Cave). Beware though, you can only access the actual cave by sea – you’ll have to swim or canoe into it. Make sure to go early to soak up all the beauty of the locale, uninterrupted.

@cano_garcia_susa

The Panier, the oldest district in Marseille 

Merely climb the stairs behind the Town Hall and you’ll enter Marseille’s lively and historic Panier (the Basket, ndlr). First a fishermen’s village, the Panier quickly became a welcoming haven for immigrants from Italy, Corsica, and Northern Africa. The ever-evolving neighbourhood has now become the ideal area to stroll around and explore narrow streets, colorful murals, tiny cafes, antique shops, art galleries, and step away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

@copperbay_marseille

Copperbay Marseille

We’ve already mentioned our love for the magical vessel that is Copperbay Paris in a previous article focusing on the best cocktail bars in the French capital – check it out. Its little brother (or sister), Copperbay Marseille, does not disappoint one bit. The cocktails are still bespoke and delicious, the staff lovely, the interior design exquisitely Instagrammable from every angle, and the playlist is always on point. We mean the right kind of late 90s-early 2000s bops that’ll put any of us in the mood for an all nighter. Copperbay Marseille is the place to be, point blank.

@ourea.marseille

Ourea

The fairly new eating spot may evoke Ancient Greece and mythological legends, but the menu however proves quite contemporary and straight to the point. Tasty roasted wild vegetables, juicy freshly-caught grilled fish, and mouth-watering flower-infused roasted poultry make a sample of all the deliciousness that Ourea offers to locals and travelers alike. The wine selection is not too shabby either. Our personal favorite, Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil la Dilettante. When in Marseille, don’t think twice and book a table at this lively, tasty, and affordable restaurant.

@lesbordsdemer by @heavenseee`

Les Bords De Mer Hotel 

Saying that Les Bords De Mer is our favorite hotel in Marseille would be an understatement. We’re simply obsessed! Perched between sea and sky – literally, this 50s-inspired, pastel-colored, beauty of a place treats his guests to the most epic and dreamy view over the Mediterranean sea from pretty much anywhere. We mean, from the rooms, to the restaurant, bar, and panoramic rooftop infinity pool. What else, you ask. Nirvana?! Well, the relaxing sauna, elegant hammam, mineral spa, and REN Clean Skincare beauty rooms might just take you in 7thheaven after all. 

@leschignonsdejo

The Cabanon de Paulette

In need of a little “scene”, come close and listen. The Cabanon de Paulette offers refreshing drinks, yummy snacks, dance-worthy music, and most importantly a spectacular view of the sunset at dusk. Chat, laugh, and dance with locals, Parisians, and travelers from all over Europe on the warm sand. You’ll for sure make friends with everyone at the end of the night.

@pkd_19

The Cite Radieuse

Taking the elevator to the rooftop terrace of the Cite Radieuse is like boarding a spaceship to the most peaceful and poetic brutalist space station ever. If the 360º panoramic view over the South side of the city of Marseille doesn’t take your breath away and cure your depression, maybe Ora Ito’s Modulor art gallery which features world-renowned architectural geniuses will do the trick. On your way down, stop on 3rd and 4th “street”. The two indoor promenades house a bakery, a restaurant, a hotel, a bar, several shops and amenities, as if you truly were outside on a commercial street. For any #ArchitectureLover, the Cite Radieuse is simply a must-see.

@througherreyes

The Chateau La Coste 

Speaking of art, we cannot NOT mention Chateau La Coste, our very own version of New York’s Dia Beacon, but better. Because, it’s also a winery! Not technically in Marseille, but close enough by car (approx. 45 minutes), the massive property houses said-winery, a hotel, several restaurants, two art galleries, and an art and architecture walk. A true #PromenadeArchitecture of 2.5 hours. Endless fields of grapevines and olive trees cradle monumental as well as more intimate modernist and contemporary art installations by international artists such as Tadao Ando, Louise Bourgeois, Ai Wei Wei, Alexander Calder, Tracey Emin, Tunga, and Frank Gehry. An experience you won’t easily forget.

So, see you down South!

By PK Douglas

Less than two months after launching, Majelan now counts more than 50 000 active users, mostly in France. However, worldwide expansion is the ultimate goal. To do so, the new app immediately rolled out in 50 countries with an impressive library including 280 000 audio series, or 13 million episodes in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

Available in French and English on iOS and Android, the smaller-yet-promising new comer aims to become a big player in a market that has yet to find its leader. Some might say that Apple’s iTunes remains the podcast platform to compete with. Nevertheless, there seems to be a vast pool of potential users to cater to. After raising €4 million that were mostly invested in the technology to build the platform, Majelan launched a free app that aggregates thousands of podcasts from around the world, along with Majelan+, a subscription-based, cancel-anytime service, premium app that showcases original content produced by Majelan Studio – around 20 podcasts so far – like West Coast Los Angeles or a series of interviews of Bret Easton Ellis by French journalist Frederic Beigbeder.

And of course, Majelan features Paulette’s very own series of podcasts focusing on personal stories from inspiring women, and men, that shake things up in their respected fields. Paulette had a real blast chatting with these singular personalities, like soccer player Delphine Cascarino, who electrified the public as part of France women’s soccer team during the FIFA Women’s World Cup, or Instagram female comedian Emyra. All 10 episodes of our first season of Paulette podcasts are available on Majelan. Enjoy!

Listen to Paulette podcasts here

By PK Douglas

Naomi Campbell by Thierry Perez

Fashion is defined by iconic moments. In the Spring Summer of 1991, nothing was more iconic than Azzedine Alaïa’s “Tati Collection”. Named after the popular shopping store where every day Parisians hunt for the best bargains, the Tati collection put the trademark pink and white vichy check print fabric front and center. Genius! Thus paving the way for what would become as common and lucrative as a Balmain x H&M collab, the mixing of high fashion and street fashion.

The Association Azzedine Alaïa, under the direction of Olivier Saillard, truly pulled out all the stops. The entire Tati Collection is beautifully displayed in Alaïa’s Paris home in Le Marais, where he used to live, work, and entertain countless friends from the fashion industry who he treated like family.  The signature Tati pink and white, along with black and white and blue and white vicky checks adorn boxy cropped trucker jackets, form-fitting dresses, high-waisted shorts and pants, Gavroche caps, and swimsuits that look very modern and quite enticing for our Summer vacation. 

The gorgeous drawings of Naomi Campbell (Alaïa’s honorary daughter who she always refers to as “Papa” – so touching) by Thierry Perez paired with the abstract paintings by Alaïa’s longtime friend Julian Schnabel echoe the designer’s own wide-ranging interests in art, architecture, and global cultures.

“Azzedine Alaïa, Another Way To Look At Fashion. The Tati Collection” in Paris

So make sure to check out “Azzedine Alaïa, Another Way To Look At Fashion. The Tati Collection” when in Paris. You might run into Alaïa’s many fashion celebrity friends who stop by Alaïa’s gallery space to reminisce and pay homage – like Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele, the legendary stylist, who taught us the best way to decline a double-kiss, “No, no skin-to-skin contact. It’s too hot, darling!”. Always blame it on the weather. We stan.

“Azzedine Alaïa, Another Way To Look At Fashion. The Tati Collection”. Exhibition from July 1st 2019 , to January 5th 2020 at Galerie Azzedine Alaïa, Paris. 

By PK Douglas

Are you still mourning the sudden loss of Colette? Cause we are! Let’s pour one out for the OG Paris concept store… I mean, where else could you shop the freshest sneakers, listen to some cool tracks, while checking out a photo exhibit… and next thing you know, you’re bumping into Bella, Gigi and Kendall, casually going through the pages of CR magazine, looking for their latest spread. Side note — the next day I got a DM from a friend asking me how in the world was I all over paparazzi pictures, with Jaden Smith, on justjared.com. Oh yeah, he was also there and we briefly chatted. Colette was such a breath of fresh air when it first opened years ago and quickly became a beacon of coolness for Parisians and tourists alike. Don’t get me wrong. I do love to check out the latest collections at Nous – a direct offspring of Colette, the Broken Arm, or l’Eclaireur. As a matter of fact, many European capitals have places that cater to a crowd looking for the perfect synergy between fashion, design, art, culture, music, and food all wrapped in a bow of swag. Let’s explore our options.

London

Across the pond, Dover Street Market has recently relocated to a new building in London’s Haymarket. The eclectic mix between Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo’s aesthetic and other brands’ visual identities, makes DSM a joy to shop, and hang out in.

Credits: Dover Street Market London

Milan

10 Corso Como is the alien the term “concept store” was first coined for, and for that it’s worth a visit when in Milan. The rooftop garden terrace is a must-see! When you’re done Instagramming the cute little view, head down to the several beautifully designed spaces to shop for fashion, accessories, design, art, and much more.

Credits: 10 Corso Cosmo

Berlin

It’s no surprise you’d find the perfect place to shop the latest local and international brands in fashion and design in Berlin. Add curated art from upcoming artists and yummy food from Cecconi’s, and you get Store X, perfectly located in the Soho House Building in Mitte. A similar space also opened in central London.

Credits: @thestoresdotcom

Copenhagen

When in the Danish capital, it would be blasphemy not to check out a design store. Hay provides a bright open space designed as an apartment, where you can admire and shop all the straight-forward, functional and minimalist furniture Scandinavia has to offer. If you still want to shop for clothes, head next door to Illum. Not quite a concept store per se, this department store does however house the coolest Scandinavian fashion brands alongside furniture, sneakers, and beauty products. Simply walking through the newly renovated space is a pleasure. The rooftop view, accessible through one of the cafés on the top floor, is not too shabby either.  

Credits: Hay

Amsterdam

Hutspot’s concept is to showcase young designers and artists alongside established brands, while providing a great grooming opportunity with a barbershop parlor as well as tasty food in a friendly hangout space. The Hutspot brand also includes a location in Rotterdam. One more stop on our Euro trip.

Credits: Hutspost

See you at the boarding gate!

By PK Douglas

Long gone are the days when the only options available to travelers and locals alike on a night out of bar hopping in Paris were “Vin rouge ou vin blanc ?” (Red or white wine?). Dark times indeed, particularly when red wine makes you hella sleepy. Thankfully, Paris has stepped its pussy up! – offering a plethora of cocktail bars staffed with award-winning mixologists, a top-notch selection of revamped hotel bars that lost all stuffiness, and various choices of exotic restaurant bars that’ll take you on a flavor escapade.

In the spirit of keeping it “cas”, I’ll spare you a detailed breakdown of every ingredient you’ll find in your cocktails and leave this task to the experts in situ – you know, the award-winning mixologists. Instead, let’s dive into an easy-to-navigate list of my favorite spots in the city. A perfectly balanced cocktail is only as good as the overall experience. It’s all about “the moment, dahling” (in the words of Mariah Carey). Great visual appeal, yummy drinks, mixed with a chill vibe and a good ol’ funky time is THE winning combo. Plus – plot twist – the new generation of cocktail bars changes their drink menus twice to four times a year! And honestly, we love it.

#ParisBestView

Hotel National des Arts et Metiers (credits Hotel National Paris)

Slowly sipping on a refreshing cocktail in the Paris spring air may sound nice, but doing so while enjoying an uninterrupted 360º view of the city at sunset on top of Hotel National des Arts et Métiers in the heart of le Marais is pure magic. Trust me. Make sure to show up early to this newly renovated and intimate rooftop terrace bar. Side note, don’t locate where you are when posting on social media, and see your DMs blow up with inquisitive messages.

Perruche (credits @perruche_paris)

If patiently waiting in line for a spot at the HNAM is way above your tolerance level, try Perruche Paris. The newly renovated space on top of the department store Printemps is home to a restaurant and a beautifully set up beach bar giving you all the St Tropez vibes you didn’t know you needed. Take in the breathtaking view of Opéra Garnier, the Louvre, the Madeleine church, and the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant side is equally gorgeous with a postcard view on Montmartre. What else did you expect?

Terrass Hotel (credits Terrass Hotel)

Speaking of Butte Montmartre, you might want to brave the famous Parisian hill for a drink on the 7th floor of Terrass Hotel. The chic but not pretentious restaurant and bar designed in the style of an artist’s loft with large windows give you all the feels with yet another plunging view on the capital.

OFF Paris Seine (credits OFF Paris Seine)

Suffering from acrophobia? Don’t be alarmed. OFF Paris Seine is meant for those who wish to remain at sea level. The fairly new Parisian spot offers an unusual experience since this hotel bar sits literally on water. Comfortably seated on either side of the central rectangular pool, you’ll enjoy a stunning view of Austerlitz Bridge, Notre Dame, and the elegant ballet of boats gliding up and down the Seine.

Leave it to the pros!

Experimental Cocktail Club (credits Experimental Cocktail Club)

When it comes to signature cocktails, Paris boasts an armada of talented bartenders who rival in mixing and matching alcoholic elixirs with unconventional ingredients, making you wonder, “What in the Project Runway is going on?” Props shall be given to the OG cocktail bar that made it all possible, Experimental Cocktail Club. The speakeasy-like bar introduced a new generation of Parisians to bespoke concoctions found nowhere else at the time.

Little Red Door (credits Rachel Rebibo and Chloe Lederman)

One of Experimental Cocktail Club’s many offsprings, Little Red Door serves equally clever cocktails that might not be what they seem. “Conformity” is hardly conformist, but a rather “layered” drink. Hush though, you didn’t hear it from us.

Bisou (credits @bar_bisou)

Bisou is as fun and sexy as it sounds. The rosy façade and millennial pink neon lighting complement one-of-kind cocktails that a charming bartender will concoct just for you according to your mood and taste. I was suspicious at first with this no-menu cocktail joint. But after one sip of my drink, all that I could say was, “Bisou to you, bartender!”

Copperbay (credits: Copperbay)

Copperbay has to be the best-kept secret in Paris. Located on a side street off the bustling boulevard Saint Martin, the nautical-inspired cocktail bar makes you feel like you’ve boarded an elegant sailing boat heading to a far-away island inhabited by mermaids. Along the way, enjoy seasonal cocktails that are to die for, while the staff caters to your every need. Wait, did I forget to mention that this magic vessel does reach its destination… if you take a couple of steps downstairs to a pearly white sand-filled space resembling an uncharted beach? Now let yourself be carried away.

Spirited away!

Comptoir General (credits @lecomptoirgeneral)

An escape is exactly what you’ll find when entering the Comptoir General just steps away from the trendy Canal Saint Martin. In this part “ghetto museum”, part cabinet de curiosité, part time capsule to Sub-Saharan Africa in the ’70s, you can sip on an exotic drink at the newly renovated bar, now in the shape of a pirate ship, taste some delicious snacks, and shimmy shake the night away.

Paris, le 8 juin 2017 : Pavillon Puebla (Photo Sebastien Rande / Studio Cui Cui)

Off the beaten touristy path, you might want to venture out to Parc des Buttes Chaumont to Pavillon Puebla. Surrounded by trees and covered in ivy, the Napoleon-style country house is equally a Moroccan-inspired get-away, a Mediterranean garden oasis, and a summer open-air dancing spot.

Baranaan (credits Baranaan)

For those who enjoy a little treasure hunt, Lavomatic and Baranaan make you work for it. First, try and find which washing machine is actually an entrance door to the fluorescent-light modern space that is Lavomatic. Or, push the back door of what looks like a tiny Indian street food joint and enter a train-inspired bar and restaurant speeding through the Indian countryside! Seasonal and classic cocktails await at both locations to quench your thirst for tasty preparations and Instagrammable moments.

“We’ll always have Paris.”

Le Tres Particulier (credits Hotel Particulier Montmartre)

In this tender age of Tinder, one might have to squeeze in a date (or two) with the dashing Frenchman they’ve matched with on what was supposed to be a short trip to Paris with girlfriends. To contribute to the suggestion talk, you may want to recommend the red-velvet bar at hotel Le Très Particulier in picturesque Montmartre. Cocktails are delicious. And the glass atrium surrounded by lush vegetation makes the atmosphere just right.

Le Syndicat (credits Le Fooding)

Le Syndicat also provides some cheeky intimacy, if you succeed in spotting the graffiti-covered nondescript entrance. Even locals get lost. Once you’re in, the gold and quilted interior is as alluring to the eye as the signature cocktails are to the lips. If you’re lucky, you’ll be seated in the back room on the banquette, shoulder to shoulder with your date for the night.

Mary Celeste (credits @lemaryceleste)

Opting for a more casual encounter or to blend in with the locals? Mary Celeste is a great option. People flock to this neighborhood bar for the delicious cocktails and tasty food. Its location in the Haut Marais also makes bar hopping easy breezy.

Deviant (credits Xavier Girard Lachaine)

Speaking of keeping it cool and fun, Deviant might be the only place in Paris where you can cheer with a refreshing drink, share delicious cod fritters, while standing at a marble counter and not feel awkward at all. Okay, you might find more wine than cocktail options here, but hey, ici c’est Paris (You’re in Paris after all!). Deviant in a nutshell is lots of laughs and lots of flirting. If all goes well, just head next door to Hotel Bourbon and let the ravishing Frenchman rock your boat… on the dance floor.

By PK Douglas