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Zadig & Voltaire


Interview with Catherine – Part Two

This week’s interview is with what may be a familiar face for some of you – Catherine, who I last featured almost two years ago. Catherine is an editor, artist, and also writes the blog Aesthetic Alterations. She’s had some major changes – she is now based in New York, is busier than ever, and her blog is now back after a brief hiatus. With these updates in mind, I thought it would be a wonderful time to revisit this fantastic woman. Enjoy meeting (or catching up) with Catherine!

02 BirthdayPortrait

We know who you are (read part one here). Can you now share a little bit about what you do now…and where you are? It’s changed quite a bit from the last time we met! How did you get here?

I’m currently living in New York City! Clapping!!

My partner is a published writer (he published his fifth book last spring, has turned in his sixth to his publisher, and is currently researching his next one); I’m a freelance manuscript editor and an art photographer and printer. For the past few years, we’ve been angling to move to New York since it’s the best place in America for our work. When my partner (MP, for “Mystery Photographer”) received a national fellowship this spring, we decided to brave the future and JUMP. It’s been six months since the move, and it’s paid off; I’m already working with key philanthropists as an editor and making contacts to share my photography. I have a review with a major art gallery (my dream gallery even) this month.

You’ve mentioned that as an artist, it’s sometimes difficult to achieve a balance with your personal/professional life. Can you speak a bit more about this struggle, and how you work through its challenges? 

Being an artist and working for myself is not a 9-to-5 job—especially not in a city where every single function puts me in contact with other artists, writers, editors, agents, and businesswomen. I’m always on, and every conversation is an opportunity to share ideas about publishing, photography, and business. I’m lucky that my partner is in the same position, but even so . . . I sometimes find myself wanting pure, unadulterated “me” time. I don’t get it often—in fact, eczema is rearing up because of current stress levels. I know I’m exceptionally fortunate how well my professional life is going, so I never ask the fates for a “break”. What I find myself asking for is something better—women I can just hang out with, drink a glass of wine, laugh, and relax. Those afternoons and evenings rejuvenate me beyond belief. I’ve been lucky to find these women via the blog and forum worlds.

Truthfully, I haven’t yet figured out the whole balance thing. I’m not sure where to start. For now, I’m trying to keep my weekends and evenings free for photography. I plan to dive more fully into cooking, and I’ve recently discovered the glory of Epsom salt and coconut goop baths. And I try very, very hard to reserve time every morning for a walk or the gym. It’s the small, everyday things that matter.

Central Park Green Kelly

How has your wardrobe evolved since moving to New York? 

Since arriving, I’ve been keeping a sharp eye out for what attracts me in the streets. It’s really exciting—that thrill in the stomach when someone’s attire is so perfect. I want to follow them home and have a good long chat about their style. Right now, rocker-chic French dresses and more architectural and volume-oriented pieces are sending me over the moon. So evolutions are happening. I acquired my first runway Comme des Garçons piece—a leather corset-style cape—and it’s sure to be joined by other pieces from Japanese designers. And with the sweeping winds accompanying the winter chill, I’ve fallen hard for fur thanks to all the fur-wrapped women of NYC.

07 Comme des Garcons cape Rugby

Comme des Garcons cape

When I want to feel very pulled together, the Diane von Furstenberg wrap and shift dresses acquired while in Oklahoma have transitioned very well. DvF is a master of making pieces that balance fun with professionalism. Likewise, skinny jeans, blazers, and moto jackets always feel great for exploring the city or meeting up with friends. I have to admit, as far as clothing goes, my uniform silhouettes are pretty standard for Western urban centers, so it wasn’t hard to transition over.

To be cool, however…cool is something requiring a bit more study, so I’m taking lessons from the women on the streets and some of the parties we attend. In some situations, a DvF wrap can stick out like a sore thumb (as can Hermès), so I’ve been acquiring key basic pieces from French designers like Zadig & Voltaire, Claudie Pierlot, Carven and Vanessa Bruno. They integrate effortlessly with my older wardrobe and are superbly made, sporting these small design details that just raise the lux-factor up a notch. They stand out, but softly. To be honest, I don’t understand why a designer like Vanessa Bruno doesn’t have as much, or more, press than Isabel Marant; I think the design and the workmanship is much more refined and able to move between different types of events more fluidly.


Vanessa Bruno dress, Zadig & Voltaire jackets

 Shoes have been more difficult. I have a penchant for Church’s, an old-school English label that uses the most exquisite thick leather. I expected them to be my workhorses all year round, but I got so many blisters from wearing the ballerinas or loafers this summer. Surprisingly Roger Vivier Belle flats have proved themselves the most comfortable warm-weather flats in my closet. I’m relieved cold weather has arrived, because Church’s brogues, ankle boots, and knee-high boots are easy on my feet and can work with pretty much everything. I hope the masculine footwear trend keeps going strong. Continue Reading