LeeAnn Sauter may not look like a revolutionary, but the striking gorgeous sophisticated blonde is a groundbreaker in the hotel and resort retail industry. Ten years ago, Sauter refashioned the entire in-hotel shopping experience after an idea came to her while vacationing at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii. The retail veteran (she spent over fifteen years in the retail industry working for companies like Tommy Hilfiger and The Gap) was struck with a startling disconnect: Although five-star hotels had evolved, the stores within them seemed dated and uninspired.
The finest, and most exclusive hotels complemented the natural surroundings of any given location in architecture and elements, without sacrificing the premium amenities and white glove service, yet the retail experience seemed to lack the same vision. The hotel “gift shop” felt at odds with its smart surroundings.
Sauter surmised, correctly, that the well-heeled guest would spark to a more sophisticated approach to in-hotel shopping. So, mirroring the way a hotel property catered to its clientele, she launched Seaside Luxe (now Maris Collective) and began launching concept boutiques that took style cues from their respective locations. She stocked each store with upmarket designer goods (think: Pucci, Lanvin, Missoni) expertly blended with one-of-a-kind wares from local artisans. Today, Maris Collective now boasts nearly 30 shops in over a dozen luxury hotel properties worldwide, including two recent openings at the Four Seasons Bahrain. The boutiques, “Rhodium” and “Pavia” are the first for Maris in the Middle East. The company has plans for a global expansion, adding an additional 40 stores in the next few years.
Surf Chic was thrilled to find the Maris Collective brand at the Four Seasons Boutiques in Punta Mita, Mexico. Truly one of our all-time favorite shopping experiences which includes Punta Mita Bulvera, Paloma and the Hecho Boutique all staffed by the super “hot shot” Fashion forward team from Maris Collective- The Four Seasons ultra chic Punta Mita destination is led by the ever so talented retail director Deb Ferrari who always greets us with a warm smile after a long day of surfing when we are in need of an Haute Couture fix- or what we deem Apres surf shopping.
The Four Seasons boutiques offers all of our favorite luxury brands and super sophisticated merchandise from around the world. We simply adore the Punta Mita style especially in the Surfing and Resort Wear section influenced by the gorgeous stylish local Punta Mita surfers, celebs, bold faced names and the Jetset crowd who visit the resort often. We are in such gratitude for Deb Ferrari the shop leader, who always greets us with a smile and makes our shopping days just that much happier and smooth.
My favorite are the colorful windows that always reveals the story of what is to be discovered inside these fabulous boutiques. We just love all of the Luxe living items and treasures that we seek and find. Surf Chic adores the haute couture beach looks featured here by our favorite Punta Mita Surf Model Skyler who embodies the super chic Punta Mita style and lifestyle on every level.
The clothes are simply perfect for any occasion especially for the Beach and Resort Wear- All at it’s finest- However- there is a wide selection of looks for any occasion of course specializing in Beach Vacations- which we adore!
We at Surfchic believe that in combination with the Punta Mita lifestyle and the Maris Collective brand – Haute Couture Surfing was born and inspired. We just Love it! We are seeing the trend unfold and come alive.
LeeAnn Sauter’s original philosophy continues to drive the company’s enormous success – to approach each boutique as a blank slate and organically combine luxury designer merchandise with the best of local tradition and craftsmanship. She is truly a genius and a modern day rennaisance visionary in the world of retail. Maris has distilled this creative concept into the trademarked mantra “No Ordinary Moment.” For Sauter and her talented team, it’s more than a catchy mantra, it’s a promise, one they intend to keep.
Vogue magazine has noted her as creating the “ferarraris of Swimwear”.
Melissa is a former model based in London and she is absolutely gorgeous – we adore her as so do many other celebrities such as Beyonce,Rihanna, Rose Huntington-Whiteley, Bella Hadid and Eva Longoria.
I first met Melissa at one of her divine Trunk Shows at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills. I was covering for Entertainment Tonight and then ended up ordering her entire line of Swim wear. I brought my daughter Skyler who was then 9 years old with me. It was from that moment on that Skyler was enlightened and had the idea of creating her own swim wear line. Now 10 years later her dreams and passion for creating swimwear never wavered -only became stronger with her Surf Life in Mexico. Melissa has been a true Role model for my daughter and many other designers with vision and Passion.
For that we thank you along with the pure joy we have when wearing her beautiful and most comfortable creations.
As a former swimwear model who lived and worked in Italy for many years, Melissa Odabash has an innate sense of what women want from their swimwear & beachwear. From the inception of the brand, the collection has been developed and constructed to sculpt and enhance the silhouette. Timeless pieces designed with clean lines and innovative textiles aim to adapt to all body types, making them a must- have for the distinguished global traveller.
Melissa’s debut collection was launched in 1999, a collection which swiftly came to epitomise the glamour and sophistication of a luxury lifestyle brand, and which British Vogue was quick to name as ‘The Ferraris of the bikini world.’ She has been credited with ‘re-introducing high fashion into the swimwear world’ with complementary ranges including everything from beachwear, accessories, children swear and sports luxe. Having been established for well over a decade, her insightful know-how and discerning use of superior fabrics demonstrates the skill and time that it has taken to really become a master in her industry. To date Melissa has been honoured with ‘Designer of the year’ in Paris, ‘Swimwear Designer of the Year’ and ‘Retailer of the Year’ at the London Lifestyle awards which she has been nominated for again this year. Melissa has also been bestowed the honour of receiving the Founder’s Award from the WIE and Humanitarian Award from the Future Dreams charity.Melissa Odabash – Honolua White swimsuit
As an extension of her luxury collection, Melissa has worked with couture designer Julian MacDonald. Together they have created sold out capsule collections pushing swimwear boundaries and creating statement pieces. Odabash & Macdonald marked their fifth collaboration last season, and unveiled the collection at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix with a star-studded show.
Her collections are distributed in over 50 countries and throughout 500 luxury department stores, boutiques and resorts including her own online web store shipping worldwide. Melissa has two freestanding stores in Notting Hill and Chelsea to offer clients a complete experience of the brand.
With her continuing global success, Melissa has teamed with many high profile stars and brands creating new outlets for her ever-growing following. Melissa has collaborated with Victoria’s Secret, creating their best-selling bikini, created a coffee table book with Bryan Adams for Speedo’s 75th Anniversary, she has developed “the perfect bikinis” with Gwyneth Paltrow for her lifestyle website GOOP and re-developed the iconic swimsuits for the film ‘Diana’ starring Naomi Watts as well as ‘Impossible.’ More recently Melissa teamed up with American fashionista and stylist Rachel Roy to create a decadent capsule swimwear line which achieved astounding success and a bespoke capsule range of pieces for the Outnet.com which launched with a rooftop pool-party in New York.
Melissa has also continued to work in broadcast media, from mentoring the models in the ever popular Britain & Irelands Next Top Model to being a correspondent for the worldwide network France 24 during the Royal Wedding, as well as using her fashion expertise on Strictly Come Dancing it Takes Two.Melissa Odabash – Hawaii White swimsuit
Throughout her success as a designer, Melissa continues to enjoy her numerous philanthropic ventures. To name but a few, she has worked with Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Prince’s trust, Kidsco, CHIVA and has partnered with Elton John to create an exclusive hat for his Aids Foundation. In 2015 Melissa launched her debut mastectomy line with the Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity and has another collection in the pipeline for 2017. Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief show which opened London Fashion Week in 2015 also saw Melissa make an exclusive return to the runway for one walk only!
Melissa has also contributed to educational establishments such as speaking to Harvard Alumni in New York and inspiring young undergraduates at London’s Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design.
Melissa Odabash continues to enjoy the attention of A-list stars; Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Rhianna, Kendall Jenner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sienna Miller, Heidi Klum and Beyoncé are among the celebrities who choose Melissa Odabash whilst on holiday. The collections have a consistent presence in both national and international fashion publications such as Vogue, Elle, Porter, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style and Tatler, as well as huge presence online and support from esteemed fashion bloggers.
Our Surf Chic editors were fortunate to come across this fabulous brand when one of our models was on a photoshoot with famed photographer Anne Menke for their new campaign. We immediately fell in love with the fabrics designs textures along with the super appropriate name for the line- Vagamundo.
We found the Vagamundo brand to be all about beautiful clothing and accessories that fit the bohemian lifestyle of a free-spirited but sophisticated woman who travels, surfs, dreams, seeks adventure and romance, and does it all beautifully while showing the world her own individual style. This is something that embodies the Surf Chic audience.
On a balmy afternoon-We sat down with the ever so talented photography producer turned fashion designer – Brandy Faling. She was thrilled to share her story with us:
1) How did you start Vagamundo and what is the basic theme of your brand?
Vagamundo began as a mutual desire to bring back and share the exotic fabrics, textiles, handcrafts, and other treasures that Sebastian my partner and I would come across during our travels.
At the time, we were based between New York and France, but spending winters in Chile, where Sebastian is from.
In the beginning, we searched for existing clothes, trinkets, and accessories that caught our eye, and we set up shop in a summer beach market in Maitencillo, a very special Chilean surf town which remains Vagamundo’s primary home from December to March.
Each year we found ourselves making extensive changes to improve the clothing designs, altering the patterns, fine-tuning the proportions, sourcing better materials, until gradually we evolved into our own line.
2) What is the inspiration for your company – Designs- and Theme
Sebastian and I have a bit of a bohemian lifestyle ourselves – we live part time between several countries, travel extensively, and have had the opportunity to be a part of many different cultures and industries – from the street-art scene in Paris, European artisan markets, South American surf beaches, ancient villages in India, to the fashion photography world of New York City.
We are endlessly inspired by our travels, art, exploring other cultures, and especially by the unique fashion style of our friends, and the fascinating people we meet on our journeys – the nomads, hippies, surfers, artists, academics, musicians, fashion models, and gypsetters.
This experience and inspiration not only affects the ovrall vibe of our brand, but the actual apparel. Our clothes are designed for travel, made from lightweight materials that are easily hand-washed and air-dried.
We have many items that can be worn in several different ways – throw one piece in your bag, and have four unique outfits! My personal favorite is our Shape-Shifter which can be pants, a strapless romper, off the shoulder blouse, or short sassy dress. We also have a great selection of one-size-fits-most items, which can accommodate sizes 2-16, and are flattering on all shapes.
3) How did you get your start in the photography world and then the fashion world.
I started in the industry as a photographer, which for me organically led to production. As a producer, I originally began my career in advertising, but eventually was introduced to the fashion and retail world, where I found my true fit. The seasonal schedule of shooting is ideal for my lifestyle, and the opportunity to work in different locations and with ever-changing crews of talented, fun, stylish people is truly amazing.
4) Tell us how those 2 worlds intersect for you.
Working as a producer for top retail clothing brands has given me unique insight into many facets of the business that have been very helpful in the creation of our own apparel line. I have also been extremely lucky to build friendships with incredibly talented and generous people who support and encourage our brand with their creative services. Additionally, Vagamundo has provided me the opportunity to re-tap into my passion for photography. I am thrilled to be shooting now more than ever, for our travel and inspiration journal, for social media and marketing, and product photography for the website.
I use my creative background and production knowledge in almost every aspect of the Vagamundo business. This experience is helpful from original concepts, design ideas and fabric choices, to outlining marketing strategies, managing production schedules, organizing our photography projects, creating inspiration storyboards, and art directing the shoots.
It has been a similar experience for Sebastian, whose background is in art, painting, illustration, and graphic design. His creative talents are integral to every facet of the business, from the first design sketches, working with the tailors to perfect our patterns, creating all original t-shirt and embroidery art, to full design and execution of our website and branding. We enjoy the collaboration, and our individual strengths make for a great team!
5) Are all of your designs a one of a kind?
The majority of our designs are original, and we have also reinterpreted and brought our own vision to some classic styles. Our entire silk collection offers one of a kind pieces made from repurposed saris, so no two are alike. Customers love knowing when they wear a Vagamundo silk item, it is a unique piece that no one else will have!
6) Where do your fabrics come from?
Currently, all our fabrics are from India. We travel there each year, scouring the markets in search of beautiful, high quality fabrics to fit our designs. We sort through enormous amounts of material, and also hand-pick each sari that will become part of our silk collection.
7) Tell us about the sustainable factor.
Upcycling existing materials, such as the repurposed saris used to create our silk collection, reduces the environmental impact of each garment by diverting those textiles from ending up in landfills, avoiding the use of valuable resources to create new materials, keeping costs down which allows us to offer luxurious fabrics at affordable prices, and the best part – results in stunning one of a kind pieces!
8) Why do you feel the Eco-Sustainable factor is important in fashion today.
The fashion and textile industry uses many precious resources and is a large contributor to the amount of pollution in the world. Every choice we make as creators and consumers affect the health of the environment, and the more responsible and resourceful we can be, the better for everyone.
9) What can we expect from your next collection and campaign.
The new collection, launching in early spring, will bring fresh new fabrics to our favorite styles. This season we have woven in some monochromatic prints and solid colored materials to balance our continuing selection of gorgeous textures and patterns.
This season will feature new original designs across all collections, and we round out our loose and flowy classics with some more streamlined and contemporary silhouettes, such as a straight silk skirt, a fit and flare dress with cut outs, and sporty trousers.
We are especially excited about our expanding line of jackets. Our classic army acket now comes in more color options and we’ve added a bomber jacket in a variety of the coolest colors, all of which feature original embroidery art. We also have a new short jean-style jacket in durable fabric, each piece individually adorned with vintage textiles hand-picked during our treasure hunting in India. We are also unveiling two new and very different styles of silk jackets.
We will also be launching a new collection of carefully curated jewelry and accessories.
10) When does the new campaign launch and where can our readers purchase your beautiful clothing.
The new line will launch in April, and our apparel and accessories can be purchased at www.vagamundostyle.com, where we offer free shipping in the USA, as well as shipping to Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the UK (with additional countries coming soon). @vagamundostyle
Hair and make-up: Graziella Jones/ Photography: Anne Menke
There are truly so many fabulous places to stay in Sayulita. If you are looking for a little more privacy and the Surf Chic appeal- Teitiare Estates are for you. It is located on one of the most beautiful and private beaches in the area. The property is owned by the internationally renowned gorgeous fashion photographer Anne Menke and her husband Johann Ackermann. Anne’s editorial work radiates glamour and a zest for adventure, just like her.
Today, she combines these compelling elements in a new enterprise, the luxury-meets-inspiration Mexican resort Teitiare Estate. I spend quite a bit of time there as this is where I attend many photoshoots with my daughter Skyler. In fact the latest Hollister and Co campaign was just shot there a few months ago. We also love to stay there on holidays with the entire family for a weekend or two.
Menke’s images have graced the pages of Vogue, Elle, and Travel & Leisure, but you could asily mistake this little, blonde beauty for one of her model-subjects. Gypset chic, her work takes her to the most exotic locales in the world. Today, she calls both New York City and Nayarit, Mexico home. In the latter, she and husband Johann, a former fashion agent, have created a breathtaking compound called Teitiare Estate overlooking the deep blue sea.
So enchanted with the natural terrain, Menke has used it as a backdrop for high fashion shoots. Teitiare is just 5 minutes outside the ever so popular seaside village of Sayulita and about forty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta’s international airport. While getting there might not be a problem, leaving could be. After all, once your safely situated in Teitiare it’s pretty tempting to stay. The beach is simply magnificent.
Take your pick between Casa O’te Miti, a six-bedroom air-conditioned villa situated on a rocky point with a 200-degree view of the Pacific blue and Casa Ninamu with two gorgeous bedrooms steps away from your private beach and the water beyond, a surfer’s paradise. Did we mention that Casa O’te Miti comes with a butler, chef, gym, sauna; business office, library, cinema and Tuscan style wine cellar? See why you might have a problem going back home? But here’s the good news. If you do fancy lingering longer, you can purchase a home in the exclusive eco-friendly enclave.
Teitiare’s striking décor reflects traditional themes found in northern Africa, the South Pacific, and of course, Mexico. Both villas feature thatched roofs and inviting floor plans. The foundation is built on sustainability, with eco-sensitivity at the core of the construction. But sustainability is more than just a business philosophy for Menke and her family; they have made it a community project. Seeking to inspire the next generation of global citizens (including her three beautiful children), Menke and husband Johann along with other visionaries- Tamra and Theo Koch co-founded Costa Verde International School in Sayulita, an ecological, community-oriented, multicultural, bilingual private school. The curriculum challenges students to analyze and solve problems relevant to the world. The school is also home to a first-class resource center for the local area on issues of the environment.
Thanks to her faithful stewardship and that of others, Sayulita has responsibly transformed from a small fishing village to a progressive community with recycling programs, farmer’s markets, animal shelters, and healthcare facilities.
Menke has truly created something very special in Sayulita, Teitiare the ideal place for a wedding, special anniversary, a beautiful backdrop for a tropical ad campaign or a much-needed retreat. And whether you’re soaking in the local flavor or nestled in a hammock caressed by gentle tropical breezes; you might just decide to stay an extra day, or a lifetime.I am personally looking forward to our next stay in this beautiful Surf Chic Property. I highly recommend Teitiare Estates to all of my friends back home and anyone seeking a glamorous-Yet relaxed- Surf Chic vacation.
Revolucion del Sueno is the meeting between a Designing French couple who made Sayulita their home with Mexican history Traditions and Designs – paired with their French modern heritage.
The couple decided to move to Mexico with their 2 children for the love of the Colors Sun Surf and authentic Surf Culture. Each creation in their shop is produced in small workshops, with limited quantity in order to frequently offer it’s customers new designs an exclusive creations.
This is truly one of my favorite shops in Sayulita. I never leave the town without some fabulous treasure or creation from this divine store after a day of Surfing with my children. For me, their store nestled in the Surfing village next to the sea is all that being a “Surf Chic” family represents. It is the perfect store for Gifts and treasure for ages.
I sat down with the owners Laetitia Dijan and Nicolas. They were kind and generous to treat me to a delicious cafe latte sprinkled with cinnamon – of course keeping in fashion with the melding of the French and Mexican culture – along with the flavor.
I asked them what the actual meaning of the stores’ name and what it represents. They proceeded to tell me that it was inspired as a “Dream Revolution”- The French designers lovingly proclaim themselves to be:
1) Where did the inspiration for your flagship store in Sayulita come from?
We came to Sayulita for the holidays and we wanted to buy some gifts for our family and friends. We also knew that gifts and treasures from this beautiful town would be something that every visitor wou
ld want and enjoy. This is what first sparked our interest creations and designs for the store.
When we decided to move to Sayulita , we decided to try to create some items and gifts that visitors could bring home and use as a fashion statement in their real life after the vacation- something that could last a lifetime. When you bring home a sombrero it’s very nice but after some time perhaps you really would not be able to use it everyday as a fashion piece as fashion is always changing. However – We adore the Mexican sombrero and feel that it is an important part of the Mexican culture and heritage. We sell them and love them hope our customers will continue to bring them home and use as a fashion piece for some time or decoration. With our designs we really wanted to do something with a Mexican touch but modern flair. This is our inspiration.
2) Why did you choose to open your store and actually live in Mexico ?
We fell in love with Mexico, so we decided to live first in Sayulita and realized it was the perfect place for us to raise our children and enjoy a beautiful lifestyle. We traveled all through Mexico and after many months we found Sayulita and just fell in love and decided to call it home.
3) Is everything in your store made in Mexico?
Yes-almost-95 % is made in Mexico. If we import something it’s only because it was imposible to find in Mexico however that is very rare with the theme of our store.
4) What are your personal favorite items you have in your store?
I love all of the items which are made with embroideries, hand made in Chiapas. I was always so crazy with embroideries. I worked before in India, and when I was there I too was super obsessed with all of the embroideries!
5) What are your favorite things about Sayulita, Mexico?
We feel that we can Live more freely here in Mexico than in our hometown Paris, France- We live 2 minutes from our children’s school , the shops and the beach . Everything is more easy and natural for us here. It is a wonderful lifestyle. We find that we have more time to enjoy our daughter and our lives on a daily basis. We have an amazing schedule. After work and school, we go everyday to the swimmimg pool, the beach and enjoy surfing.
6) Give our readers an idea of what they can find in your store and how they can wear them- including your fabulous blankets !
In the shop you can find a lot of different products. When we find a product in Mexico that we love – we try to see how to change it or to do something different with a more modern element and flair so that you can wear it in your everyday life and fashion.
We are also very proud to offer our 3 signature brands in the our authentic Mexican boutique:
Revolucion del Sueno – in which all designs are inspired by Mexico. We design our famous Revolution del Sueno printed tee-shirts / posters / post cards that our repeat and new customers just love.
A Mano Project – here everything is hand woven, hand embroidered in Chiapas, Puebla and Oaxaca. With all these fabrics, we are doing cushions, bags ,clutches , dresses, and trendy jean jackets … which is the latest craze.
Las Bayadas – our biggest seller- the Mexican beach blanket made in Mexico in a old factory .
7) Who inspires you the most in fashion – textiles and – design?
We are very inspired by our French culture and we like to mixed it in with our lifestyle and designs here in Mexico. We have been living here for 10 years.
From my part I travel back to France every year to inspire me and of course to keep the French touch in my work which is very important to me.
The designers that I love include: Christian Lacroix, Isabelle Marant, Mara Hoffmann and Sessun.
Hey Surf Chic Readers! – I do hope that when visiting this area – You find yourself collecting and indulging in all kinds of Surf Chic treasures from this fabulous store – You will be so happy you did!
That chill in the air means many of us are already pining for warmer climes. And in the coming months, millions will jet to tropical locales and balmy beaches. But this paradise pastime also means the female types among us are back to picking out the “perfect” bathing suit. Didn’t we just do this a few weeks ago? And finding the right fit can take time. Traditionally, designs did not account for all sexy shapes and sizes.
But fortunately, over the past few years, the designs, they are a changin’. Manufacturers have seen the light and are finally creating swimwear for woman of all curves and cambers. A major slice of this $17 billion-dollar bathing suit business is sporty, active swimwear. But here’s the hitch, ladies looking for active swimwear with upmarket sensibilities have so far been out of luck. The message has been: you can either be active, or sophisticated – but not both. And this is Dos Gardenias, a new swimwear line dives into the story.
Powerhouse business women Dorothy Day and Brighdie Grounds who say they spend a “majority” of their free time “submerged in sand, salt water” have created a chic line of swimwear that can keep up with the most active woman, yet never skimps on craftsmanship or style. Produced in the U.S., the women have sourced only the finest fabrics from France and Italy, and Neoprene from Japan. Grounds says, “We knew that the high-end luxury swimwear market was not designed to appeal to the buyer with an active lifestyle. We set out to fulfill that void.”
Growing up in Southern California the women have spent their entire lives in and out of the ocean. In fact, their passion for surfing can be seen in the thoughtful way Dos Gardenias swimwear is constructed. Day says, “[Ground and I] are both pleasure seeking surfers, so when it came to our brand, making no sacrifice for design while using superior quality materials that actually stayed on when in motion was our motivation.”
It makes sense that their watchword is “utilitarian.” They create silhouettes that aspire to this functional, practical ideal. This translates into a monochromatic, but vibrant color palette that flatters every woman’s figure. But it’s the cut that makes the difference. “Design lines are tricky,” says Grounds, “with each body type suiting a different style.” As an example, she notes that “low-waisted styles are best for high-waisted girls and high-waisted styles for long-waisted girls.” What separates Dos Gardenias from other lines is, well, separates. That is, the company sells deftly designed separates so that you can find just the right fit. It’s more than just a great marketing strategy. Both women are passionate about finding the perfect suit for every woman, one that gives her confidence.
Yet, the ladies are firm believers that just because something is practical, it doesn’t have to be plain Jane. To the contrary, they find creative inspiration from Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Dolce Gabbana, Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, and Alia.
Dos Gardenias’ pairing of practicality and posh is resonating with women of all facts and figures. However, despite their differences, they share one thing in common. Day says a Dos Gardenias woman is “sophisticated with a wild heart”. She loves fashion but defines herself as an original making it her own. She is not afraid to spend money on the pieces that make up her staple wardrobe.” Staple being the operative word as swimwear isn’t just for summer anymore. With the ease of global travel, swimsuit season is fast becoming year-round. (For the record, the average American woman owns four swimsuits).
However, the Dos Gardenias vision goes beyond a smart business model. The founders are philanthropists who have spent years giving of their time, talent, and resources to improving the lives of people and communities. So it is not surprise that Dos Gardenias will be contributing to causes like Waves for Water (WavesforWater.org), which works on the front-line to provide clean water to communities in need around the world and Glam4Good (Glam4Good.com), a non-profit fashion/beauty movement, that ignites positive social change through style.
These women are revolutioning swimwear one suit at a time, but don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of very hard work behind the glamour. And like other working moms, mountains of sacrifice and moments of daydreaming. Asked what they would consider paradise, Ground says, “It would be to sleep in.” But as a visionary, she doesn’t stop there, no, next stop for the dynamic duo would be a “day spa and lunch break of truffle pasta.” Wearing Dos Gardenias swimsuits, no doubt.
1. Tell us about your love of Mexico.
After falling in love with surfing, I found myself taking quarterly trips to Saladita and Troncones in the state of Guerrero. One day, a friend recommended going to Sayulita, Nayarit. From the moment I set foot onto the cobble stones of the pueblo leading to the main surf break of Sayulita, I knew I found home.
2. How has your love of Mexico influenced you creatively?
Mexico is an exercise in sensory awareness. The colors of the geography, the smell of the food, the sound of the ocean and jungle. It forces you stop and take it all in and once you are in the moment amazing things happen and your creativity soars.
3. How has Sayulita inspired your design specifically- is so?
When I first came to Sayulita, no one really knew about it. Having lived in Europe, New York and California I have always loved people watching and took note of peoples personal style. Now, Sayulita is a destination on the radar on an international level. People come to Sayulita on vacation with their best beach fashion packed and ready to display. I get to see beach chic interrupted in different ways every day.
4. What are your favorite elements of Mexico?
Having road tripped around Mexico with my husband who was born and raised in Mexico, the insider perspective and experience is something that you cannot delve into as a tourist. I love it all… the mountains, the lakes, the cities, of course the beaches most of all the people and always the food.Photo: Nik West
5. You could live and work anywhere in the world, what makes Sayulita special to you?
I have watched Sayulita grow over the last decade and the roots and community have stayed in tact. Its a special place. I always say that Sayulita has a piece of my heart and no matter where I travel I have to come back to Sayulita to make my heart whole again.
6. Tell us about your incredibly creative photoshoots in the water with your models surfing and beach back drop. . What was your inspiration for the black and white along with the beautiful compositions?
Being a fashion model and having been a creative director of a magazine. I see things in black and white or color. I have always loved black and white and admired photographers such as Helmut Newton, Peter Lindberg, and Max Vadukul. I have also had the privilege of working with these legends as a model.We wanted to show the beach and surfing in a different way. Everyone things of blues and greens when they think of the ocean. Composition in the water is up to the photographer and their personal eye. We love, how our water shoots turned out and are looking forward to doing more.
In 1960, young Canadian architect Isadore Sharp opened the first Four Seasons in Toronto. Actually, it was the Four Seasons “Motor Hotel” and was built in one of the least desirable district of the City – the only area Sharp could afford a large piece of undeveloped property. Sharp’s success led him to continue building hotels but it wasn’t until a decade later, when expanding into London that the company transformed into a luxury brand on par with royal favorite Claridge’s and The Connaught, which had housed equally well-heeled guests since 1815. Soon, Four Seasons was catering to both elite business and leisure travelers worldwide.
While competitor luxury hotel chains like Ritz-Carlton sought to create a uniform quality to properties no matter what the locale, Four Seasons strives for uniform service, but emphasizes local architecture and culture.
Missoni tunika from Maris Collective / picture taken by Nik West
This philosophy is richly embraced at the stunning Five-Star Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita Mexico. The property nests in a 400-acre private nature preserve just northwest of Puerto Vallarta. Traditional Mexican-style casitas sprawl amid lush gardens, their red-tiled roofs kissing the sky.
Designed by Diego Villaseñor and Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita opened in 1999 and features 173 discreet and rooms, including suites and lavish private villas. Sculptures, torches, and fire pits welcome guests throughout the property. The interior was designed by Maria Isabel Gómez and Gina Parlange and showcases a breathtaking contemporary art collection.
Elegant accommodations were redesigned in October 2012 and feature a blend of chic Mexican architectural authenticity and the high-tech lifestyle we value. Color palettes reflect the sparkling sea, white sand, and abundant sunshine just steps outside one’s door.
If dining is your desire, the Resort offers four outstanding restaurants and three lounges under the direction of Executive Chef Philippe Piel Much of the fare is locally sourced, including the sumptuous red snapper, mole paste, Bahía de Banderas lobster, mahi mahi, achiote paste, and coffee.
You can work up your appetite at one of the ten tennis courts, four pools, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, yachting, horseback riding, weight training, yoga, or snorkeling. If golf is your game, two 18-hold Jack Nicklaus courses await you.
Under the marvelous guidance of General Manager John O’Sullivan (an accomplished artist and poet) and Resort Manager , Gonzalo Guelman- Four Seasons Punta Mita has flourished.
I have been privileged to stay at many magnificent Four Seasons properties around the globe, and can say unequivocally that Four Seasons Punta Mita is in a class all its own. The property prides itself on privacy and security – and for good reason. International film stars, politicos, and industry titans all find refuge and renewal under the warm Mexico sun. Rumor is that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was a guest. If true, he might have been on official business. He and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia purchased 95% of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts from founder Isadore Sharp in 2007.Resort dress from Maris Collective Punta Mita / picture taken by Nik West
Sharp, now an octogenarian continues as Chairman. A half-century after he opened the doors of the Four Seasons Motor Hotel in a disreputable part of Toronto, the company thrives as one of the most opulent hotel & resort chains in the world. As for Four Seasons Punta Mita Mexico, it is the shining jewel in its crown.
If you’re wealthy, famous or both; chances are good you’ve discovered the sun- drenched refuge of Punta Mita. Just 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, the cozy beachfront village on the north end of Banderas Bay in the Mexican state of Nayarit has quietly become an exclusive playground for celebrities, moguls and politicos looking for retreat and rejuvenation. The Bold-faced famous like Lady Gaga, Kirsten Dunst, Kim Kardashian, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, Mario Lopez, Demi Moore, Madonna, Sir Elton John, Vince Vaughn, Beyoncé and Jennifer Aniston are just a handful of stars who’ve sought solace in the warm breezes of Punta Mita. Along the same latitude as Hawaii, the region averages 85° in summer with winter months averaging a balmy 75°.
While the area boasts some gorgeous resorts, the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort more than lives up to its heavenly namesake the 17th Century monk Saint Jean-François Régis. The resort’s 89 guest rooms and 31 suites offer every wish of modern luxury but are decidedly unfussy. Pampering, not pretention define the world-class service, affording high-profile guests the extravagance of privacy in pristine environs, which include fragrant gardens and infinity pools.
When it opened in 2009, Punta Mita was the first St. Regis property in all of Latin America.
Today, thanks to General Manager James Hughes and his innovative team, The St. Regis is preferred as much for its breathtaking locale as for its extensive list of activities. Two spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses beckon recreational golfers and the pros alike, while the white sand beaches and sparkling coast offer aquatic activities like snorkeling and dolphin watching.
After a day at play, lucky guests may re-energize in the 10,000 square foot Remède Spa. For foodies, the St. Regis is a holiday on its own with five places to savor flavors from near and far. Dine poolside – featuring light fare including ceviches and sushi or sip cocktails as sunset perched at the highest point of the resort with inspiring views. However, if a special occasion calls for true elegance, slip into the Award-winning restaurant Carolina – featuring fine seafood infused with Mediterranean influences as well as local zest.
Whatever your pleasure, St. Regis Punta Mita’s opulent setting, coupled with top drawer amenities and dazzling service will no doubt renew your senses, lift your spirit and have you jetting back again in no time at all.
In a word, my passion is my family. No contest. I am always looking up to the future of the next generation with such pride and passion- guiding them in a beautiful world filled with love and opportunities. I’ve had a wonderful career and know just how fortunate I am. But, my amazing husband David, daughter Skyler, and son John David will always be the center of my life. As a family, we all share a passion for the ocean, nature, surfing, adventure and travel. As such, our philanthropic focus is on the preservation and health of the ocean, earth, surrounding communities and humanity over all.
I am blessed to live in Punta Mita Mexico and in an area brimming with culture and daily adventures including an active jungle beach and surf life with my children. The irony is that after having lived in Beverly Hills for 20 years, returning to Los Angeles to work (as a special correspondent and producer for Entertainment Tonight) and visit with dear friends has become a getaway I always look forward to and absolutely relish! Especially the shopping and beauty treatments at RejuvaYou Spa in Pasadena. I LOVE my Home in Beverly Hills. However – When in Mexico – my favorite getaway is to the St. Regis hotel in Punta Mita – either for a romantic getaway with my husband or a family affair when my children can surf the perfect wave right there in front of the hotel- while we relax from fabulous Spa treatments.. The wave is called “Monuments” and rightly so. I adore the place and energy – it’s super special.
Yikes! My kids could probably name a dozen! Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve had too many embarrassing moments professionally, but as a mom, well, I think that comes with the territory. I still do not understand this Instagram etiquette- apparently- I am doing it all wrong- posting too many photos with silly hashtags- Oh but I adore Instagram and hashtags. #Love #Beauty #gratitude #Peace #livinginParadise #Surfeveryday #Beach #Jungle #happy #happy #happy – It is an Entertainment Journalist’s toy! That’s for sure! Follow me for my life in Paradise and Hollywood Glamour @CherylWoodcock
Back to the embarrassing moment-But this one took the cake for embarrassing professional moments that still resonates in my memory!
I was covering the National Democratic Convention and my Insider crew was next to Katie Couric who had just interviewed Michelle Obama’s brother. My producers said no interviews with Katie as we were not allowed at that time. But I was just standing there with a mic in my hand and we made eye contact so I thought, what the heck and started interviewing her anyway. Suddenly a fan ran up bumping into my cameraman who then proceeded to fall over a chair on to the floor at Katie’s feet. It was a comedy of errors. I was just so red faced because I felt that we had created all of this havoc around her with every major media outlet there to witness the event unfold. However, Katie could not have been more calm, cool, professional and collected about the whole thing. She was a love all the way around. I on the other hand went back to my hotel room and pulled the covers over my head-and lamented- Why do I have to be that pushy journalis- ALL the time-! Ha!
Easy. Their names are David, Skyler, and John David. Or my Family, health- faith .
Professional chocolate taster and bubble bath taker. Or a public servant-politician. My father is an attorney and was a State legislator from Oklahoma. He was a member of the house of Representatives at the time of my birth. I studied criminal justice at Arizona State University. I had planned on being a lawyer, following in my father’s footsteps, then discovered my passion and fire for television journalism. I have been at ET for a total of almost 18 years on and off and really just could not imagine having any other career. Well…… actually- I would be a really great publicist.
Coco Channel, Warren Buffet, Barry Diller, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Gabriel GarciaMarquez, Guadalupe Marin ,Ernest Hemingway, Arriana Huffington– and Nelson Mandela.
Not being prepared for an ET Interview. Sitting down and having no idea what the movie, television show or book is about. I think that happened before actually so maybe that should go under the most embarrassing moment question.
I’m living it! We call it the GYPSET life- a term coined by author Julia Chaplin- It’s a mix of the Gypsey and Jetset lifestyle. Currently-Living in a tropical bohemian esoteric paradise by the sea watching my children grow frolicking in the water-moving forward with their passion of Surfing, academic Studies and aquiring the ever so beneficial skills of being bi-ligual -Bi-cultural along with learning about other lifestyles away from the sometimes stressful conventional society. My children have the opportunity to be children- Super connected to Nature with less attachment to technology during their formative years. What a gift! We are grooming them to be world influencers. I have always adored existing in the bohemian enclaves where the authentic Gypsetters abound- being the ultimate SURF MOM on the beach with the jungle behind and my beautiful children in front taking wave after wave in the crystal blue waters of life -Then being able to hop back on a plane to the Glamorous world of Hollywood and Fashion. I especially adore coming back for the fabulous Genlux parties! I am so blessed to be living the best of both worlds!- We are off the Hossegor France again for the summer to surf the waves there- Oh I am indeed living my favorite dream.
Fortune favors the bold!