As always there is still something else you not necessarily need but desire so much. This dress caught my full attention and the impeccable, clean look made me think it deserves a special tribute in my blog. It’s funny but somehow I wonder if The Silent White develops to a form of dream palace for beautiful minimalists’ objects I admire but don’t add to my collection. The highest importance is clarity and mental focus right now (university’s summer break is soon over, just one of many reasons) so I limit myself to essentials and quality. It saves my personal life from distraction and has a calming effect on me. Strolling around some minimalist blogs every now and then I notice this effect on other people, too. In a world of materialism it is hard to reduce yourself to the things you really need and many minimalist blogger start to list things they did -not- buy instead of shopping hauls. Inspiration can evolve to a coercion to possess, even if it makes you sad and starts to feel like a burden. I feel sad when I see people drowning in their ‘collection’ and finally suffering from ‘Compulsive hoarding’, what a terrible mental disorder. Why do we always want to possess things if it’s best to keep things simple? Is it possible to ‘detoxify’ yourself from surplus tenure? Best, Ea Birkkam
“Although all the good arts serve to draw man’s mind away from vices and lead it toward better things, this function can be more fully performed by this art, which also provides extraordinary intellectual pleasure.” Nicolaus Copernicus
Futuristic and clean. I don’t have enough words to swoon over this heavy wool coat from Gareth Pugh, the master of sculptural and tactile fashion. He designed my favorite coat for this season! Having a thing for off-white or natural cotton white this coat must fit almost everything in my closet. Unfortunately it costs a small fortune and it remains an object of my desire. I sincerely hope thefrontrowshop.com will create something similar since they have edgy mock-off pieces from current designer collections, like this. As I still need a classic wool coat this year i will probably get -this- neat one from COS instead. Best, Ea Birkkam
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” Joshua Becker
Berlin is a fast, cold and progressive city, nourished with a fast-paced alternative subcultural movement. A thriving scene of creatives, artists and green businesses make it a colorful city which changes alot and gets more sustainable. I am not sure whether it is my favorite german city but I need it. Without Berlin it would be much harder to get my hands on new minimalistic garments and discover contemporary art, future trends and specialty foreign cuisine. You have a massive amount of tiny independent stores, exotic restaurants and very modern galleries which offer unique pieces from inventive designers. I only had three days and met a lot of friends, which made it hard to visit everything I planned. My personal priority destinations were highly anticipated mdc cosmetics and jacks beauty department (both situated in Prenzlauer Berg), a few underground crystal stores (where I thrifted druzies and crystals for diy necklaces), ostbloc bouldering hall (neat), pan restaurant (a very authentic filipino cuisine restaurant, my filipino mom would love their kare-kare! see here), lush cosmetics and &otherstories.
I gave myself the challenge to buy as little as possible and be very, very selective. Somehow I developed a serious fear of buying something which is not important and only catches dust. I hope I don’t get a clinical disorder with this (you may laugh now). Well, I tricked myself by bringing a small weekend bag, which did not allow too much space for the trip back home. This way I managed to reduce my shopping to a Lab-like, off-white coat (picture here), a beautiful naturally heartshaped calcit druzy and a new assortment of toilettries, including fragrance, bodylotion and haircare (Lush Hsuan Wen Hua, my staple). My favorite destination of them all was mdc cosmetics, a small posh beauty apothecary, easy to overlook, where you find probably the best selection of new high-end minimalistic beauty products in the world. I wasn’t looking for makeup or fragrance but somehow I came across rms buriti bronzer, Susanne Kaufmann (organic, german skincare) and Lubin ‘Korrigan’ which was love at first sniff. Soft clean leather, honey liquor, smokey juniperberry and ambrette… so smooth and ‘skin’-like (better description here). Thanks to the sample mdc gave me I might get addicted to this and buy it full size. The kind lady of mdc gave me a sample of new Transderma Reservatrol Serum, too (I will keep you updated with my skin results next week). If you are curious you can check out the pictures of my instagram. See you tomorrow, Ea Birkkam
“I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.” Marlene Dietrich
First of all let us talk about the immaculate minimalistic product design. This is definitely the kind of haircare I would love to put in my minimalistic bathroom. The mostly brown, simple bottles and the clean white label look very sleek and effortless. It was only a question of time I ordered my first Sachajuan product and when I finished my Aesop hair oil I went straight to this: The Leave-In Conditioner.
Sachajuan is the brand of Sacha Mitic and Juan Rosenlind who opened up their first hairsalon 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden. 2003 they must have felt like creating their own line and released their Sachajuan haircare products. What a great decision! I have already read some reviews about their products and most describe Sachajuan Leave-In Conditioner as very ‘lightweight’ and fragrant. I can definitely agree to the ‘lightweight’, you can apply the Leave-In Conditioner on your whole hair and scalp, which was the reason I bought it the first place. I needed something that could add a little moisture to my superdry scalp without getting my hair oily and I must admit: This is the perfect product for the job! You can describe the fragrance as a mixture of regular high-end salon product with a whiff of herbal ‘Aesop’-like scent, very pleasant and medium strong. I like it! The results I get with this conditioner are great on my backlenght hair, not as super shiny as with my Aesop Shine Oil, but ‘healthy’ shiny. Though I am not a big fan of selfies I will post a picture on instagram (see) to give a resemblance, since results are science too. I am saving the INCI check for the next entry, because I am visiting friends in Berlin. Will definitely visit legendary MDC apothecary, filippa k and &otherstories and if you want to stay updated with my journey feel free to add me to your bloglovin or follow me on facebook! Excited, Ea Birkkam
“Black-and-white always looks modern, whatever that word means.” Karl Lagerfeld
Few times I have accidently stopped by the window of Porsche Design, the ‘fashion affiliate’ of Porsche, and I must admit: I never really liked it. Oftentimes I found it very bourgeois with a cheap ‘sporty’ touch and I would never have imagined they would surprise me with a Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear at this year’s New York Fashion Week like this. Porsche Fall/Winter 2014 strongly reminiscent me of alpine outfits of the 70s though with a touch of futurism and clean-edge, which made me a little curious for the first time, but this 2015 collection is a whole new level.
The simplicity and sophistication of this collection was not expected and I took my time to take a few looks on each piece. It was hard to limit myself to 3 outfits to give a sample but above you see my (and steinbrueck’s) idea of the perfect amalgamation of clean and sexy. I don’t want to swoon any more about this collection, take a look for yourself: Here is a video from Porsche and the gallery from style.com! Craving the shoes and dress of the first outfit, Ea Birkkam
“Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations.” Stephen Hawking
I heard this question way too often: What works against wrinkles you already have? My current answer is retinoic acid and its derivates retinol and pro-retinols. Every other ingredient you find in common beauty products is not able to perform nearly as potent against implications of photoaging and acne as retinoids do: They are able to stimulate the production of Hyaluronic Acid and skin’s structural protein collagen. As we get old the production of both exhausts and only retinoic acid both stimulates their production again and stops the depletion (read here and here). Retinoids are way more antioxidant than Vit E (see here and here) and what I like most about retinoic acid is the supreme effectiveness of treating acne (see here). Prescription-free retinol, the alcohol form of retinoic acid (and pro-retinols like retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, and retinyl linoleate) were said to be less effective than retinoic acid but newest developments go in the direction of encapsulation of retinol in some kind of microsphere to save it from oxidation but benefit from its low skin-irritant properties (read 123).
If you want to use your retinoid right the key to a successful performance is to know how to use your panacea:
-Start off slowly. Apply your product only once in 3-4 days or else in the acclimatization phase your skin peels off, itches and turns red.
-Retinoids never in combination with AHA/BHA since they make your retinoid less effective. Preferably use your chemical peeling a day before and not on the same day with retinoids.
-Avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding since they are teratogen, and therefore can cause birth defects. There are studies with rats which have shown increases in fetal skull deformations.
-Please stay out of the sun and if you are not already using one (which I sincerely hope you do) get at least a high quality SPF 30 sunscreen for everyday. Retinoids act less effective with exposure to oxygen and light (read here).
If you stopped reading halfway, here is an interview with famous dermatologist Dr. Murad explaining retinoids a little easier. Need a little help finding the best non-prescription retinoid product? Paula’s Choice’s Team did their homework and created a beautiful, long listing of the best products. With kind regards, Ea Birkkam
“As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.” Albrecht Dürer
Minimalism and sustainability. Titania Inglis designs fashion that has pleased me from the first moment I saw it, especially her ‘Suspension dress’ (outfit 2, see here another picture). I have curated my 6 favourite outfits of her last 4 collections above which was a hard task, since every collection tells a different geometric story and I love them all!
Titania’s aim is to create fashion for the futuristic but ecologically aware woman: simple, geometric, minimalistic. Her web presence states following: “Equally minimal is the line’s environmental impact. Each garment is sewn in a small factory in New York from high-quality, low-impact fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, Italian vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from the local garment industry.” I love the way she utilizes minimalism as a form of environmental sensibility, personally this is exactly what adducted me towards minimalism aswell. I can relate to her philosophy and of course to her minimalistic design. Best, Ea Birkkam
If you take a closer look on the back of the products you find out there is one predominant compound family in all products mentioned above: silicone elastomers and other silicone-based compounds. Cyclohexasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Acrylates/Polytrimethyl Siloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Dimethyl-vinyl crosspolymer and many, many more. There is an interesting and persistent myth about silicone-based ingredients clogging your pores and ‘not-letting-skin-breath’ and when I was younger I was told to believe it acts like a ‘plastic bag on your skin’ by a saleslady of a natural cosmetics company. Silicones are rather a smart, non-irritant, very small ‘architecture’ that does not sink into skin since the molecules are too big and the mixture only sits on your skin like a very porous framework (source).
Silicone-based ingredients not only keep water inside your skin but absorb your sebum, too, so your skin stays matte (see here). Every time a brand advertises its makeup to ‘act like a sponge’ you don’t even have to take a look at the labels to know silicones are involved. With silicones and silicone elastomers it is all about emolliency and spreading (read more). They cover both. Silicone elastomers swollen by solvents such as cyclomethicone are the thing for manufacturers of contemporary foundations (see here). Acutally it is the only instant solution so far for a younger but still matte skin appearance. I chose the word appearance on purpose because it is only a temporary effect and will probably not change your skin condition permanently; neither better nor worse. So it is up to you if you decide to have silicones in your skincare. Hope you didn’t stop reading halfway and understand your futuristic foundation a little more, Ea Birkkam
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
A minimalist manifesto that has the quality to be your lifetime companion. While everyone seems to seek the small or large Tote in Louboutin-esque ‘Flamma’ with red interiors the silver interior version ‘Argento’ got my full attention. Much too late I heard about this little piece of perfection and it is sold out everywhere(!) at this moment.
Well, December ’14 the stockists will accept new orders. This is probably the first time in my life I am forced to put myself on a waiting list for a bag. I am not sure if I can wait that long. Impaitently waiting, Ea Birkkam
“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Surrealism, minimalism and upside down cities. Hossein Zare is an Iranian photographer who takes surrealistic photos in an unique and special style. He makes big cities and buildings look really fragile and the symbolism of his photography seem to explore borders and limits of urbanized things. Upside down landscapes and cities, clean symmetries and thin lines, ladders and ropes that come from the sky. I certainly consider this a cutting edge of Magritte and Ansel Adams. Beautiful photography! Regards, Ea Birkkam