Having lived & breathed Fashion for a number of years as a young woman, I consider the métiers of Fashion, Art & Design as part of my roots.  Lately, since I’m feeling a bit rootless with this change of season and all of the planetary influences, I have been researching through the new season of ‘la mode’ just to shift the view, the perspective. I thought that I would take a moment to recognize a couple of well-known people whom I consider ‘Influencers’ and icons, at least in my history of watching trends and my love of fashion, beauty, placement, and styling.

To begin, Grace Coddington, is the end all and be all, the Queen Elizabeth I of cinematic fashion editing and styling. For 30 years she has modeled and styled for the likes of Vogue UK & US. I have followed her since my days at FIT. Her settings, some of them, fairytale-like, speak to the romantic in me. For many, she was and is one of the most influential women in the concept of design, creating many of the most beautiful images for print.  Still a living legend, and now a Creative Partner with TIffany’s as one of her independent projects, I found her recent foray into video interviewing refreshing and off the cuff. Held at the infamous Mr. Chows restaurant (he was one of her husbands when she was younger), her shyness, yet wealth of knowledge gives us another view of the iconic symbols in the industry. Here she is speaking off the cuff, with friends & acquaintances, some of the ‘Influencers’ in the world of design, film, and fashion. This is the link to the interview with her equally famous cohort at Vogue, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue a well as the artistic director for Condé Nast. The rest of the interviews which are just as interesting can be found on M2MTV.

When I was a younger woman, I went from going to finishing school to studying design to a bit of modeling to retail and merchandising, and then I walked away. I see Grace’s images and dedication, her talent, her ability to walk through her fear before every shoot, and sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had a bit more courage at that time…but I chose another circuitous path and have incorporated this base and love of colour, design, and form along with my other formations in the realm of the esoteric, the alternative and healing arts into my practice of Feng Shui and Redesign. Thus, I get to use this whole ‘paint box/tool kit’, in very interesting and unusual ways. I love what I do, plus I have always kept my toe in the water with my occasional styling for friends and clients.

If you like image and beauty, and gorgeous photographs from some of the worlds very best, Grace is your gal, and there are many ways to get a taste of the world of which she was a part! If you are intrigued and want to know more, there are several books in print and one with illustrations of incorrigible cats written with her longtime partner Didier Malige. for kitty lovers out there – she adores them!

Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue

I could not write this piece without paying a tribute to the Grand Kaiser of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld who was the designer for three famous fashion houses at the time of his death: Chanel, Fendi, and his own label. He took Chanel from a languishing house to one of the most marketed logos in fashion history, from workout pants to the iconic ‘Chanel’ jackets, he had the famous ‘CC’ initials and his name everywhere. A true Renaissance man, not only did he draw & design, but he created interiors, DJ’ed and chose the music for his shows, made his cat, ‘Choupette’, as equally an iconic figure as himself with her own beauty contracts and Instagram feed.

Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post

His caustic tongue and mercurial nature laid a few flat, but one cannot say that he wasn’t prolific or talented or kind and generous to friends. Writers were exhausted when following him and often said his workload was “staggering.” Judging by these gorgeous last and final shows for Fendi & for Chanel he was still at the top of his game. The recent show at Chanel was a winter wonderland set in an Alpine Village. It was beautifully designed, set in the Grand Palais, and the clothes were equally so.  It so evoked Queen Elizabeth’s comment to him from a much earlier show, “It’s like walking in a painting.”

And for those Marie Kondo lovers, I adore this image of him at his desk in the midst of his research and correspondence under a deluge of paper. It certainly didn’t stop him from being one of the top creators of the last century. Something to think about for all those extremists out there, being someone with Libra Rising, I have to have balance and my office is lovely, but I have a pile of research to my left in the Knowledge & Career guas and on my computer.

Lagerfeld chose David Bowie’s hit “We Could Be Heroes” to blare through the venue of Fendi and Chanel for his finale, perhaps he had an omen, as he was truly one of the last of his kind.

program of last show

For a month now, my eyes have been attracted to all different shades of green in nature, furnishings and homes. Since my return to California perhaps my eyes have been attached to the view of dryness, of the constant reminder of drought, and then the experience of devastating fires, and are now pointing me to signs of rebirth and renewal. One sees it everywhere after the rains, plants and flowers are blooming in full force. I sense a shifting, a change in the air, but know not how or where the shifting will come. The astrology of both the West and the East gives us some clues.

The Chinese Astrology of 2019 is already holding true in this Year of the ‘Earth Mountain Monastic Boar.’ The elements of the year contain weak Yin Earth, with much stronger Yang Wood, which can overpower, drain the soil of sustenance and can even block water channels. This strong Wood is fed by equally strong Water which when mixed with Earth creates mud. Mundanely, we are seeing a lot of that with our recent rains and floods in California. As Wood is also over-abundant in the Pillars of the year it can create too much growth and this can indicate the feeding of Fire to come. We are coming to the end of the Chinese astrological wheel with the Year of the Boar/Pig and a new epic will begin in 2020 so it is a very powerful transition time.

From the Western Astrology perspective, we are also in an end time of huge shifts and currents of change as 2019 will end the decade. We are in the throws of this time of great transformation that has only just begun as the old cycles complete and brand new long term ones begin continuing into 2020. Hold onto your hats!

From this view, it is a year of contradictory trends with opportunities to find balance through very different approaches in separate areas of our lives. We find more of the same elements, starting with lots of Capricorn Earth energy with Saturn, Kronos, Father TIme at home in its own sign accompanied by Pluto, the Great Alchemical Destroyer and the South Node, symbolic of the past and burdens carried until we finally learn the lessons of this life – seems right at home in Cappie. Jupiter will enter there at the end of the year – so we have a very full Earth house!  Think structure, hard work, boundaries and that high mountain to climb to obtain success.

For the Water element, we have Neptune in its own sign of Pisces (2012-2025). In a positive sense, it symbolizes our ability to elevate to a higher level of spiritual consciousness. Neptune is accompanied by Chiron, the Soul Healer. Then the North Node is in Cancer, symbol of the never-ending upward spiral of our future, a new cycle reaching for the highest area of expression in the Water house of Mother Nature, emotions & nourishment. Perhaps we’ll see some amazing new developments in the healing of our planetary waters and new forms of sustainable farming.

The Fire element arrived with Jupiter in Sagittarius representing a new focus on an inspirational search for meaningful growth in our own personal philosophy, in an expanding, bold, active and adventurous manner. With these diverse, different elements and planets, we’ll need to observe and then experience, as things open & close, as life expands and contracts between idealism and realism, structure and free-form fluidity, tolerance and intolerance, the spiritual and material, as 2019 breathes us into a new phase of existence. You can see that the Eastern Astrology corresponds and is quite in alignment to our Western view. No wonder I’m feeling in “pulled, not know mode!”

Back to gorgeous green and its symbolism of growth, vitality, renewal, healing, prosperity, and birth. Doesn’t that sound like SPRING to you?! In Feng Shui and Traditional Chinese Medicine, green is the colour of Wood and its season is Spring. It represents a time of growth, movement, development & planning. Hmmm, now you know why we all do our Liver and Gallbladder cleansing with bitter greens during this time of year as it relates to those organs.. Wood is strong, yet flexible and bends with the Wind when in balance. If someone is youthful, upright, flexible yet strong, and persevering, fearless and adventurous you’ll know you’ve encountered a Wood person. Wood is nourished by Water and feeds the Fire in the cycle of elements. In the BaGua, Wood is located in the Family gua, seat of Zhen – Thunder – Shock. Thunders’ role is to arouse & awaken. Think how our families assist us, often through strong means, in the development of our innate abilities, giving us the strength to break through life’s’ obstacles.

The Białowieża Forest: Poland & Belarus – Europe’s last old-growth forest

The Spring Equinox is our reboot, our beginning of the wheel for the year. This year there is lots of turbulence on the outer realm, yet we can balance this with inner stillness, meditation, cultivating our Heartspace. I can think of nothing more soothing than the practice of Shinrin-yoku forest bathing. Shinrin means “forest” in Japanese and yoku translates as “bath.” This practice studied by the Japanese government since the 1980s has been proven to lower heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormone production while boosting the immune system and overall feelings of well-being. Forest bathing is just basically being in the trees, being in the silence of GREEN WOOD chi without any aim or having any technology turned on for at least 30 minutes, but two hours is recommended and a weekend would be sublime. The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in using all of the five senses and one is advised to breathe – relax – wonder – wander – touch – listen – heal. Basically, it is being mindful in the forest and the trees. There is nothing more glorious than being in a cathedral, a stand of a huge, ancient forest.

Food for Soul

Could your Wood be out of balance? If you are feeling out of whack, off-kilter and can’t get to trees or a forest, try adding green to your clothing choices, add some greenery, green colours (also blue & purple) and rectangular design details to your environment, or a Forest desksaver on your laptop, all will help absorb and redirect chi. Water elements placed in the proper area on your property and in your home will augment your Wood if it is depleted. A Green kitchen while soothing also feeds the Fire of the stove, nourishing family Health & Wealth. Doing one good thing a day for another will help you heal and focus elsewhere. Inhaling some wonderful Wood aromatherapy like cypress essential oil in a vaporizer can also be used as a Wood/Water element. Please make sure you use natural sourced essential oils and not synthetics or you will be defeating the purpose. Listening to Forest Meditations or Heart Chakra Meditation will bring tranquility, and adding healthy greens to your nourishment choices will feed your chi – any and all of the above will be immensely helpful. You will thank me and yourself if you do.