'Two creatives, one an agency owner who moonlights as a healer and furniture maker, the other, founder of  jewelry line BRVTVS, come together as a couple and as founders of Calliope, a sanctuary for found objects and cool vibes. Michael and Caroline Ventura, two of the most sincere and multi-talented individuals around, travel the world in search of things they like. The pieces are representative of some story, big or small and are given a home in the Ventura’s West Village store.'


C  A  L  L  I  O  P  E     |     N  E  W    Y  O  R  K


An enriching experience curated by Michael & Caroline Ventura, a couple whose boutique CALLIOPE is rooted in thoughtfulness, design and community... 


[ Sanam Miremadi ] How would you describe the aesthetic and inspirations behind your curation at Calliope? 

[ Michael & Caroline Ventura ] Calliope is very much a reflection of things we like. It sounds simple, but everything in the store is hand picked and loved by us. Since it resides in the same building as our own home, the store's aesthetic reflects things that we're inspired by at the moment, or ojects from brands we are currently digging. There's not a direct mirror between our home upstairs and the shop below but the two have a general theme of "things that make us feel good".

[ SM ] Calliope comes across as much more than just a shop and rather an experience that is driven by lifestyle, culture and community. How much of your own personal experiences, lifestyle and inspirations are infused into the shop?

[ M&C ] Some of the first items we purchased for the store were pieces we found while traveling in Morocco. The store hadn't opened yet – we actually hadn't even moved into the building yet – but knew that one day we would have a space to share work from talented artists that we've come across through our own personal travels. We also develop great relationships with all the brands we carry and consider all of them our friends, so it's even more meaningful to carry their work in the shop.

[ SM ] What shop experiences do you seek yourselves outside of Calliope and want do you aspire to provide/create for your own clients?

[ M&C ] Shopping shouldn't be fussy or intimidating. We hate going into stores that feel sterile or make you feel ignored while you are there. We really try to create a comfortable environment for our customers. We want to get to know you; who you are, what you like. We love when people come into the shop to just hang out on the couch, or come visit with our dog.

[ SM ] Absolutely love that Calliope offers "Field Trips", which outside horrible singles events is a thoughtful activity not easily found as an adult... this also ties back into communicating and building lifestyle and community at Calliope. Can you share what these field trips are and what inspired them?

[ M&C ] You don't always want to buy yourself or someone else a "thing". It's so much fun to get outside and experience something you've never done before or learn the basics off a new craft. It's a great way to open up the world of some of the artists we carry. You can visit their workshop and have them guide you in carving a spoon (our woodworking field trip with Anthony Zollo), or learn about the indigo dying process and the art of Shibori (on our indigo field trip with Curious Corners), or even just learn to get introspective with yourself and the universe (our astrology readings with John Sultana).

[ SM ] What has your experience been creating and building Calliope together, how has it impacted your own personal partnership? 

[ M&C ] We've both learned how the be a little more gentle with one another and how to give constructive criticism. It's difficult to not take things mega-personally when working with someone you are so close with, but we've gotten pretty good at softening our words with one another when we disagree or have a difference of opinion, which has carried over into our personal time with one another as well.

[ SM ] How shared is your aesthetic and vision? Is it overall collective or do you see distinct pieces of you both individually coming together to create Calliope? 

[ M&C ] We're pretty aligned most of the time. Both of us bring a nice balance between masculinity and feminine touches. We have a rule that we both have to really love an object if we're going to carry it, but occasionally one of us will love something way more than the other and someone has to concede. Michael is still "I-told-you-so-ing" about some vintage Japanese fiberglass trays that I was sure no one would be into. He loved them and I didn't. They sold out our first weekend open.

[ SM ] What are your aspirations for Calliope in 2017?

[ M&C ] We're getting into showcasing larger furniture as well as our smaller offerings. Bringing in some new exclusive pieces to the shop, and hopefully creating some more Calliope branded goods.

WORDS/INTERVIEW | Sanam Miremadi [ ChloeTouran ] 

BOUTIQUE | Calliope New York, NY 

QUOTE | Tara Lange via TrendLand

IMAGES | Nicholas Calcott & Calliope 

[ INTERVIEW ] Rêve En Vert - A Premier Online Retailer Of Sustainable Style


Rêve En Vert (REV) was founded is 2013 by Cora Hilts and Natasha Tucker and since its inception has perfectly positioned itself as a premier online retailer of sustainable and ethical luxury. The fashion industry at large "...vacillates between being the second and third most polluting industry on earth," says Hilts "the transport of this clothing back and forth between vast distances accounts for a huge carbon footprint in itself." Given the fact that the luxury online retail market is a forty billion dollar industry, and market research has shown that as many as fifty percent of consumers, should they be given the option, would shop sustainably and ethically, it made sense that an online retailer like Rêve En Vert would be born.  REV have not only created one carefully curated platform where all of this is readily available to the consumer, they have also successfully launched a site that functions as well as it looks; sustainability can be chic.

" I think  Rêve En Vert is a very important company, partly because it creates an eco system and that eco system allows brands that are perhaps smaller to thrive and to grow, and allows brands that are not-so-small and are growing to amplify both their message and to have their product sold in an increasing number of channels." - PAUL VAN ZYL, Founder & CEO | MAIYET

With a number of well known luxury brands such as: RYAN ROCHE, MAIYET, FILIPPA K, MARA HOFFMAN and BASERANGE in their mix,  Rêve En Vert  are teaching us all that sustainable style, quality, respect for our environment and longevity are not things that should exist independently from fashion and lifestyle choices. In fact, they are paving the way for brands such as these, big and small, to gain the notoriety and consumer base that they deserve:

"Our mission at REV is to showcase the best of designs that combine both style and value to create something beautiful, timeless and long-lasting - a piece you can hand down to the next generation. We know that change in design must be made for our social and environmental well-being, and REV is the platform to put forward those labels that are pioneering this goal in unique and innovative ways. We really hope to get people as excited about this movement as we are."

[ Kara Town ] What brought about your desire to start a company committed to pioneering unique and innovative ways of bettering the world though the medium of fashion?

[ Natasha Tucker ] We realised that fashion was the second most polluting industry in the world and it seemed like no one was really addressing that. It's the one single thing that we all do everyday and that we all have in common so it seemed to make sense to be the ones to do it. We wanted to create a sustainable business that would affect real change and we saw an opportunity to do that in fashion. 

[ Kara ] Further to this, how important is it to REV to supply support for fashion designers who too are committed to seeing change within the fashion industry?

[ Natasha ] It's incredibly important. It's our job to tell the stories of the brands that we work with and we do that through our editorial section. We also seek to build education around the topic of sustainability in fashion and the need for this change as well so this is an added strand of support to the cause. We believe in investing in designers and our aim is to build a platform where eventually we could help other designers to become sustainable.

[ Kara ] Listed under your TENETS are Organic, Local and Fair, all concepts that are readily embraced and often included in the common vernacular of many ethical movements. I did notice however, you have also included the fourth concept of Re-Made, which is of particular interest to me. Can you explain a little about the re-made philosophy and how it fits into the REV model and current fashion?

[ Natasha ] We really want to champion designers that are approaching this issue with innovative solutions and one problem inherent in the industry is the fact that creating more is, in essence, not necessarily a good thing to do. We work with some designers that are looking at design from a perspective of what they can use that already exists. The Sway is a great example of this. They make leather jackets out of high-quality leather off-cuts that would otherwise go to waste. We really feel that this is an important way of looking at what can be done to reduce waste and essentially reduce what ends up in landfill all over the world.

[ Kara ] I was fortunate enough to have a mother who, from a young age, taught me that ‘every little bit counts’ in regards to the environment. It is noted that your commitment to sustainability does not begin and end with your designers, that you are constantly striving to employ better green practices in your immediate environment. So, in your REV studio what are the little things you do in your day-to-day to reinforce said environmental and ethical practices?

[ Cora ] We were very aware that REV’s ethos has to extend beyond just what we expect of our designers. We look into the environmental impact of everything included in the business-from using carbon neutral shipping to having solar energy power our studio to sending out our parcels with minimal packaging. We also have a strict “no plastic” policy in the office for employees, which has been interesting and challenging but we find it one of the biggest eco offenders in business! 

[ Kara ] I also understand that you partner with Trees For The Future in order to further offset your carbon footprint. How did this come about and what does this charitable organisation mean to REV?

[ Cora ] This charity is really close to both of our hearts-it allows local communities in countries ravaged by deforestation to replant the trees that they have lost. In the process they are given livelihoods, improving local agriculture, and helping offset global carbon emissions. We donate to them every year to help offset our shipping further, as well as a way to give back a bit of our own success with the hopes it enables that of others. 

[ Kara ] What can we expect next from REV in 2017? Do you have any new designers you are looking to work with on horizon? 

[ Cora ]  2017 is exciting for us in that we are bringing on new designers such as Mara Hoffman, Maiyet and Filippa K. We also are looking to expand our sustainable luxury offering into shoes, sunglasses, bags and accessories. We are looking into brining on vegan pieces, more upcycled materials and ethical components of wellness-such as yoga mats and water bottles. We want REV to really become the one stop shop for all things you need to live a stylish life well. 

WORDS | Kara Town

IMAGES & INTERVIEW |  Rêve En Vert - Cora Hilts & Natasha Tucker




A   C O N V E R S A T I O N   W I T H   C H R I S T I N A   D E   S M E T


A refreshing new era of consciousness fueled by the desire to both create and shop responsibly, with awareness and intention is where you will find the most thoughtful and innovative minds within design. In an industry driven by fast fashion where 'quick to market' and profit margins are valued over design, quality and working conditions, its this new era of designer who offers us a more purposeful experience. A beacon of light within these emerging brands, DE SMET ... 

[ Sanam Miremadi ] Something that has really captured me about De Smet is how incredibly thoughtful you are with your brand, design philosophy and process. How is 'INTENT' ( intuitive | deliberate | purposeful ) woven into and reflected within De Smet?

[ Christina De Smet ] DE SMET represents a lifestyle of conscious, finespun luxury. Crafted one piece at a time in New York City’s Garment District, the made-to-order collection offers a perennial wardrobe of versatile garments, celebrating the nuances of refinement found within the everyday. From fabric selection to silhouette design and even down to the inside finishing details, every aspect of the design process is intentional, deliberate and purposeful. Silhouettes and details are designed for versatility, fabrics are made primarily of natural fibers and everything is made-to-order. Constructing each garment in New York City helps grow the local economy while supporting the ever-shrinking Garment District.

[ SM ] What was your own personal experience with wardrobe/fashion prior to De Smet that motivated you to design within this processes?

[ CDS ] Before launching DE SMET, I was a designer for a mass-market retailer bringing high-end designers to the masses. It was through this experience that I learned about the negative implications fast fashion has on the environment and consumers. When I decided to launch DE SMET, I knew I had to do things differently, more thoughtfully. After leaving the corporate world, I began to choose my personal wardrobe more intentionally, only buying five pieces each season. I supplemented my wardrobe with my own designs, making one new garment every month and publishing these designs on my blog, DeSmitten. This is how the idea for the DE SMET process was born: Offering women one thoughtfully designed garment each month, which is made-to-order in New York City's Garment District, out of fabrics made from mostly natural fibers (wool, silk, flax, cotton, linen).

[ SM ] I love the lines "dialogue between purest fabrics and their natural surroundings" and "celebrating the fluid nature of the design process", which to me feels very organic. I'm not sure how else to put it into words besides, there seems to be a thoughtful awareness at play within your designs that turn out timeless staples... that are all a bit more then just a staple. Each piece designed with subtle details that give them a modern and feminine touch.

Where do you find the balance in designing something with the intention of timelessness and yet striving to create something unique with elements that still feel unique... now and in the future?

[ CDS ] I include details that offer multiple ways to wear and style each garment. It is important that each piece stands on its own but also works well with your existing wardrobe and within the entirety of the collection. Offering different ways to wear one garment promotes longevity and versatility in one's wardrobe.

[ SM ] This is my chicken or the egg moment within the realm of design, but what comes first within your process form or function?

[ CSD ] Function is at the forefront of my design process. It is important to make clothes that are wearable, comfortable and serve a purpose within an existing wardrobe. Although at times, when I am draping, the fabric will lead me into a new silhouette and I will go with it, in which case I let the form dictate the garment. Either way, during the fit process, I ensure the garment functions on its own and with other garments.

[ SM ] What outside inspirations or influences impact your designs?

[ CDS ] I look to other design fields for inspiration including ceramics, furniture, and architecture. Longtime favorites include Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth, Alvar Aalto, Charlotte Perriand, and John Pawson. Their ability to create something so simple, paired back and raw is a constant touchstone for me during my design process. From them, I've learned to strip away, edit, live with and in a garment before integrating it into the collection.

[ SM ] In what ways do you as a brand strive to make De Smet an experience vs. a singular garment?

[ CDS ] I'm offering women a different, more thoughtful approach to buying clothes, to building a wardrobe they can wear for years, and hopefully, streamline the way women get dressed every day. It's a constant conversation, an evolving relationship with the women who buy my clothes.

[ SM ] Who is the De Smet woman? Personal muses?

[ CDS ] The DE SMET woman is someone who appreciates buying less but better pieces. She invests in her wardrobe and in turn, invests in herself. She is intentionally building a wardrobe that will grow with her. I look to my friends most as muses, both male, and female.  They are real people who continually refuel my desire to design.

[ SM ] What has withstood the test of time within your own personal wardrobe?

[ CDS ] There are many pieces that I've had for 10+ years but one that stands out most in my mind is a navy blue MIU MIU cashmere cardigan that was gifted to me by my first mentor in New York. I pull it out year after year and it never goes out of style. She bought it ten years before gifting it to me, so there's something to be said about that.

[ SM ] What would you like to see next for De Smet?

[ CDS ] I'm focused on developing a complete wardrobe, so I look forward to introducing outerwear and sweaters sometime in the future.

WORDS | Sanam Mireamdi [ ChloeTouran ]

DESIGNER | Christina De Smet of De Smet

IMAGES | De Smet