The Great Escape

As summer is upon us, the thirst for vacation is just as prominent as our thirst for a pomegranate mimosa at Sunday brunch.

But why? We live in the land of the free, with every luxury at our fingertips. Is it the mental escape? Is it the thrill of a different kind of freedom? Or is there a subliminal surge of creativity that influences every facet of our lives when we experience cultures from around the States and world?

Fresh stories of life experiences, foreign cultures to embrace, and new perspectives come with every new airline ticket and stamp on your passport. There is scientifically a natural spark of imagination that results from travel. Over time, your home becomes infused with a mélange of inspiration that will remind you of each well-traveled memory. 

If you’re ready to jump onto a 12-hour, double-decker, international flight that will induce you into a dreamy, panoramic vision of the endless possibilities life has to offer, now is the time! These lands abroad encompass their own native styles that echo into American culture. Our California suburban streets, the staggered skyline of New York City, and the vast parcels of land that make up the beautiful estates in the South are just a glimpse into the ever-evolving collections of American style. You can’t help but peek into the windows of local residents to see the way they’ve arranged their lives, and you may opt for the new-age hotel stay by using Airbnb, but in the likes of (CVlux)ury, the escape we’ll enjoy features retreats of salacious scents, quaint square footage, high Egyptian cotton thread counts, and a mint flavored chocolate on your pillow to sweeten your stay.

Paris? Oui!

When you think of Paris, you invariably think of anything and everything chic. Whether it’s fashion, décor, or food; the French do it all with an essence of luxury and style that is imitated around the world. Their approach to design is much like how they enjoy a dining experience—just a dash of each wonderful component to make for a perfectly finished product. This is applied to balance of color, pattern, and texture. 

The grandeur of tall ceilings, with delicately gilt Louis XVI garlands, set the tone of quintessential yet elegant style. The stoic, European portraits overshadowed by the lavish crystal chandeliers express a certain je ne sais quoi. What I do know is, as much as I’d love to spend all day perusing the iconic Louvre, I’d rather be lunching on the Seine, with a view of the Eiffel Tower, and soaking in the Parisian summer to the tune of Doris Day. This contrasting vibe is also native to their culture, now commonplace in contemporary home décor: French Provencal styling. Clean lines of French doors alongside textured stone balconies, distressed wooden dining tables, and decorative mirrors give the feeling of a laid-back, sun-kissed, European lifestyle we long for in the daily grind. 

Second Salute: London

In the presence of royalty, your taste becomes much more expensive. This respected monarchy reigns over every element of their culture with poise and dignity (aka, "Bad and Boujee," if you ask Migos). While their modern collections of architecture and décor are reminiscent of our own New York City, the original style of England can be showcased with their ornate detailing in rich woodwork and stocky iron sculptures. What’s commonly known as “Americana” may be their greatest influence on our United States. Simplistic and patriotic styling (often refereed to as the farmhouse look) is prominent on the East Coast, especially in the New England region. Distinctions of this genre are architectural dormers, thick crown moulding made of fine pine and walnut, and bold color palates.

Everything is large in London: the 775 rooms that make up Buckingham Palace; the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, the London Eye; the iconic Westminster Abbey, where we witnessed Prince William wed; and let’s not forget Big Ben, weighing in at 13 tons. In each of these structures, we can see the native gothic and Victorian influences. In a way, the heavy columnar detailing subtly reinforces the authority of the British guards. Yet somehow they manage to soften their tone with delicate traces of Louis-style swag drawn from French inspiration. Or maybe it’s the elegance of some of the most coveted jewel collections in the world? 

When in Rome…

Sound the organ, cover your shoulders, and count your rosary beads—the feeling of purity in Vatican City is unmatched. Even Michelangelo’s iconic artwork, covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, seems holy. These Renaissance frescoes represent the crux of Italian art history. The exhibitions of human poses throughout these structures have set the tone for sculptures and live models alike throughout the ages.  

Much like the French, the Italians have had a hand of influence over many sectors in design. Known for their craftsmanship in fine jewelry, clothing, furniture, tapestries, and leathers, Italian collections are renowned and coveted for their luxurious aesthetic worldwide. Throughout all of these sectors are also touches of the 18th century Baroque period. Even in contemporary settings, this flamboyant, decorative gilding makes anything feel more formal. Rococo is also timeless and graceful, a continued evolution of its Baroque predecessor.

Aye Caramba, Madrid!

Matador, draw the muleta! The fusion of Mediterranean style with Spanish flair is evident in one of Spain’s most notable structures, the Museo del Prado along the Paseo del Arte in Madrid. Its columnar entrance is comparable to that of Roman architecture, but is accented by native elements of rich terracotta, with intense reds and oranges in stone and ceramics. In San Lorenzo, you almost feel at home, as our own California vibe has drawn heavily from this region, as seen throughout the missions and in beautiful Santa Barbara. Wrought iron pieces, varieties of stone, and natural glazes create a unique texture in the vibrant color palates of fine mosaics. Wooden doorways with impressive hand-carvings and meticulously laid brick roads embody the rustic and coastal feeling of Spanish design. The signature blue and white tiles that kiss our feet inevitably cause a thirst for Clase Azul! Ole! 

Just when you think you’ve discovered your own personal style, exposure to these varieties of design across the world transcends your imagination. Much like cooking, every nation uses similar ingredients (architecture and design), but because they spice (style) it differently, it takes on an entirely different flavor (look)! As the summer love affair with your new favorite vacation spot comes to a close and you return to your own personal space, what you see through your mind’s eye will likely be a new view. You may repurpose existing elements in your own décor, or you may find yourself restyling all together. Either way, this infusion of updates will become a constant reminder of another wonderful jaunt—a life experience filled with unforgettable memories…until next summer!