It’s noon on the dot — although there’s no watch weighing down my wrist, I know this because the town’s belle tower is emitting a vibration that fills the air, and shakes the streets. It’s the sound that signifies so many things. Time for repose, time for a warm tarte, time for the farmer’s market to pack up and return to their own family’s table. I’m reminded that it seems the only thing I ever do in this country is eat, sleep, repeat. It’s appropriate to have a glass of rosé at this hour, and so my siesta is heavy and often lasts well into the late afternoon. I hardly feel guilty, I’m on vacation, and plus the streets are practically barren during these hours anyways. Back home I don’t prepare meals other than the random dinner. I throw things on a cutting board, wolf them down, get back to my keyboard. Here there are days when we prepare extensive salads of fresh produce, burrata, thick with balsamic. Others we purchase fresh ravioli from the Italian’s at the market. When boiled they become much larger than we ever could have anticipated but we gorge ourselves silly on them. And then there’s bread, there’s always the warm bread from the baker just down the street. We plan to get there early so we can snatch up the best baguettes before the working crowd. I’ve stayed so many days in this town that I begin to recognize faces. Not just the vibrant blonde girl that serves our morning cappuccinos, but during these mid-day hours as people flood from their offices on to the cobble stones. It almost makes me think I live here. There’s more than a handful of reasons why I come back here every summer. One being for now it’s easier than the paperwork for a work visa. But truly it’s because there’s a lifestyle here that reminds one what the core of joy itself is in such a tumultuous time: our loved ones, delicious dishes, and moments of meditation on beauty.
AZ: When I look in the mirror I see strength, I see grace and I see growth. I am always changing, and allowing for that growth is acceptance. I meet myself with an open heart.
V: If you could send one message to young women everywhere what would it be?
photo credits, from top to bottom: Nikki Ormerod, Antrom Kury, Gillian Walsworth.
It’s his mastery of hues that attracts us first, noses risking to threaten the allowed museum proximity from the masterpiece — Matisse has been on our minds a lot lately. The woman, and the still-life are naturally the most magnetic of his subjects. In portraiture that captures both so festively, we look back on his works and find our inspiration for summer’s wardrobe.
First comes the crisp white blouse, interrupted with a few open buttons, or by a purposeful tie at the waist. This isn’t the place for the mundane. Then there is the sleeve — a season that has been dedicated to re-writing the volume of such an appendage. Third, is the most unassuming of gold jewelry, placed just right to attract the viewer just an inch closer. Lastly, a nail polish (featured is Cuba Libre by Odeme) inspired directly by Henri Matisse’s painting The Dessert: Harmony in Red.
When a friend insists you have coffee with and rack the brain of Spanish beauty, and designer of the Ready-To-Wear label Cortana you just say yes. We can’t even count the reasons why but here are a few: she creates insanely stunning and minimal pieces that embody true female beauty, she has that bold sexiness saved for Latin women — and we’re hoping some might rub off, and finally she’s got some serious pearls of wisdom to share. We spent hours with Rosa Esteva hashing out clothes, sex, taboos, and even mind-altering states — because how could we not? Meet Rosa.
Vérité: So let’s talk about your line Cortana. What was the inspiration for starting your company?
Rosa Esteva: I’m just so inspired by women, and I feel like Cortana is like I’m in service to women. I just want them to feel very comfortable. Cortana doesn’t pretend to eclipse a woman’s personality. We believe what’s important is the person inside the dress, and the woman has to be seen. Sometimes you see the clothes but you don’t see her, so it’s good to know what looks the best on you.
V: Yes, and as a woman you can be dynamic, it’s always changing.
RE: Yeah, because we are all many women. A color can give you a vibration, can make you feel happier, can me you feel sexy. Fashion is transformative. It’s so much fun to be a woman huh?
V: I agree — and more so to be a woman that’s tapped into that.
RE: Yes, to have the freedom! We believe a lot in fabrics and cuts because we like very much the way you’re going to feel because this is the way you’re going to show yourself to the world, the way you’re going to reflect. It’s not how you look in the mirror, it’s how your energy will change. It’s not about the dress without you in it, it’s about you in the dress.
RE: Yes, I started my own label when I was 25. I went to fashion school before I did art school.
V: What have been things that shape the way you design?
RE: For example, I knew that I had this talent all my life because I feel so comfortable making women dress. For me it’s like a game, it’s very natural, and I just want it have beauty around. It makes me so happy to create beauty, and to see how a woman blooms when they find the right thing. It happens and it’s magical. How I started, when I was about ten my mother came back from India with a saree — an eight meter piece of cloth, it’s nothing itself but for me it was so telling because I was in front of the mirror, and now that’s the way I design. I also draw so much but from a fabric I see a dress, and from a woman I see a dress. But this saree was very revealing because I could see the fabric itself, the fabric talks, it has it’s own personality. Whatever you think of at the end, it’s the fabric that takes you there. It’s going to tell you how to deal with it because it moves, it has a life of its own. No matter how you want to control it you have to let it go because it will find its way — you have to always be open to what’s coming.
V: I recently had the conversation with someone about how right now with everything going on in the world it can seem silly to create something that could be received as frivolous, but then I realized actually no, this is the time we need that kind of beauty in the world, we need that uplifting element. What do you think about this?
RE: We need beauty more than ever because beauty is love. It’s a way of loving. If you look beautiful and you love yourself you are better to people. We do it because of love.
V: So it’s more of a partnership between you and the fabric when you design?
RE: Me and many other things — for example the person who makes the patterns, the model who’s going to try it on, the way she moves. I always try the clothes on because I like to know how it feels. Even when I was pregnant I was trying them on. You have to feel it for yourself, see the color, see the cut. I think Cortana is to feel more than to see. We take lots of care of the interior almost more than the exterior because we believe the thing that is going to be in contact with your skin.
RE: It’s always like this, if you don’t love yourself you can’t love other people. I’m inspired by other women and myself, but I’m very very inspired also by dance. I love the way things move when you dance. And the bodies of dancers, I’m very much inspired.
V: I can see that in your designs in the way they flow. Do you think being a mother has taught you about being a woman?
RE: Being a woman definitely. I was a girl before, and I discovered I was a woman only after I had my daughter. What it changed for me was my way of working. I spend less time working and I’m more focused because I want to be with my daughter and do other things — but everything is part of the same process of being a designer. It’s like walking on the street or hiking — my life is my work.
V: When do you feel sexiest?
RE: Naked! Bikini is the best dress.
V: You think the way your clothing fits women also instills this? It breathes, it’s lightweight?
RE: Yes, yes, to be almost a second skin. Something that moves with the body in a natural way. It allows freedom, which for me is so important. When you’re naked you feel free and sometimes when you get dressed you don’t. With Cortana I would like people to experience that.
V: How did you get into bridal?
RE: I got into bridal because when I got married I made my own wedding dress. I thought it was a nice thing to share because at that moment I found I had my own vision of wedding dresses that are also making you feel very pretty because love is freedom also.
V: So, beauty is love and love is freedom?
RE: Yes, and it’s truth also — Vérité. Do you think that only the truth can be sexy?
V: I would have to think about that, what do you think?
RE: Sometimes no. Sometimes it’s better not to know the truth. Sometimes creativity can be very theatrical and be very fake. It’s stepping out of our reality, and can be very sexy. Sometimes fashion can be like this and it’s amazing also — it’s surprising and fresh. Fashion is supposed to surprise also.
*at this point in the interview we look over to see a girl across the coffee shop, arm erect in front of her shamelessly snapping selfies.*
RE: there’s no shame in America! But I love it. I love it because everyone can be themselves and no one is going to judge you.
V: Yes but to an extent, but then there’s still so many things that are taboo in America like nudity.
RE: Yes! I was in boarding school in Massachusetts when I was in high school and I remember wow they were so conservative about some things. I remember one day talking about masturbation and they were like no way. I was like what!?
V: Yes, and it’s still something that’s not talked about, it’s not a publicly discussed thing.
RE: That’s a pity no?
V: I think so, because then we’re not educating people as well.
RE: So you should be ashamed of menstruation but not…? (Rosa looks over at girl taking selfies and we have a good laugh).
V: This is a question we always ask, but is there a book that has changed your life?
RE: I think actually I change my life every second because no matter what input you receive things will change but you have to be open. Sometimes a book can be very revealing but sometimes a movie, sometimes a song, sometimes a conversation with a friend, mushrooms or iowaska. You just have to be open to the revelation. Even a sentence will stick with you. Every minute, it just depends on how open you are. Some people travel and travel and travel, and read, read, read and aren’t open.
V: Have you done iowaska?
RE: No, I’m not scared but now I feel like everyone is doing iowaska now.
V: Do you believe we make our own story or it’s fate?
RE: I think we make it.
V: Especially as women.
RE: Yes, as women we are creators. We don’t need to have children, we are naturally creators. We are in a very good moment as women. We can change many things because feminine energy is magical. It’s more subtle than masculine but more changing. But women right now we have aspects of masculinity that are helpful to really do things.
An editor tends to be someone with an innate interest for the zeitgeist one might say. We always have a trick, or two up our sleeves keeping us just ahead of the packs. That’s why we partnered up with Nudwear to bring you some of our top secret life hacks for all things style, beauty, and wellness.
Vérité Hack One | Hot Lemon Water
We’ve said it before, we will say it again — a morning without a cup of hot lemon water leaves us feeling off. Not just a metaphorical feminist nod to Beyoncé (or is it?), but because of the long list of ways it purifies and jump-starts our insides. This citrus cocktail is the best way to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your skin from the inside out, and improves movement in your digestion system. For an extra jolt, add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Vérité Hack Two | Nudwear Bra
The Vérité editorial team believes strongly in ulterior options when it comes to undergarments (or lack there of). That’s why we stand behind Nudwear for on set moments, jet-set moments, and evenings in a plunging neckline. Nudwear’s sleek design and strong hold adhesive allows for multiple wears (just rinse!), and no nip slips to fear. Shop our favorite styles below.
Vérité Hack Three | Lish Glow Natural Scrub
It may not come as a surprise that we use our kitchens more for beauty concoctions than fine cuisine. The basics of our kitchen beautician tendencies? This delicious three ingredient scrub. Just mix equal parts sugar, and ground coffee into extra virgin olive oil (or warmed coconut oil). Stir, and scrub. The caffeine gets blood flowing to the skins surface, rejuvenating its cells — this allows stagnant fat cells to hit the road. The oil will replenish moisture in skin, and leave you polished and glowing. Shhh… this one’s our Mediterranean ancestral beauty secret. Vérité Hack Four | Lush Brows a la Gloss
Our biggest hack for perfectly lush brows is all due to a beauty trend we thought we had long forgotten — lip gloss. Brushing brows with a clear gloss helps keep them in place without looking stiff. It only adds to your glowing summer look. The layer of lacquer catches light in just the right ways to ignite those killer eyes.
Shop our favorite Nudwear:
- Daisies Waterproof Adhesive Nipple Covers
- Adriana Strapless Backless Adhesive Bra
- Sofia Strapless Backless Adhesive Bra