hello closet! giveaway

giveaway

The Hello Closet! event is over, but the giveaways are not! And even better, I have two giveaways for you in store! The only thing you need is a suitcase, a partner and a passport. You can take part in both giveaways or just one of them, it is up to you. This is what you have to do?

Instagram challenge: win 2 tickets to and from London with Eurostar!
- Take a photo of an item you want to take with you on your trip to London.
- Post this photo on instragram with the message 'Ik ga naar londen met #eurostarxmrsk en ik neem mee'.
- That's it!
- The winner will be handpicked by me. So make sure your instagram photo is wicked and original.

Facebook challenge: win one night for two at HotelO Sud Antwerp!
- Check out my Facebook page here and follow two simple steps.
- The winner will be picked randomly.

Both giveaways close on May 6 at midnight
For belgian readers only
Big thanks to Eurostar and HotelO

télescope paris

téléscope

Our generation isn't on a quest for gold, instead we look for the most extraordinary coffee in town: artisanal brewed, served with a genuine smile in a relaxed atmosphere. The coffee bars where you have to walk to the other side of town, the ones that are hidden away in a small and unexpected alley.

more parisian gems here

hello closet!

Schermafbeelding 2014-04-22 om 08.10.05

Let's meet! 

Hello Bank! teamed up with four blogs and the girls behind the blogs to create their own store at the Hello Bank! pop-up store in Antwerp. Join Emma (my fashion blog), Ruth, Nathalie (the merrymakers) and myself on april 26 to shop our closet. For this occasion I have picked out some great items and big names. I don't know if my heart can cope, but I'll be selling some of my favorite Delvaux bags, Versace, Cos, Essentiel, Dries Van Noten, ... items. 

That's not all, we will spoil you with great giveaways and the occasional chitchat. Let's not ruin the surprise, but are you ready to pack your suitcase and go? 

Join us on April 26 from 12h until 18h at Hello Bank! pop-up store Meir Antwerp (former Disney store). More info and updates about items for sale: Hello Closet! Facebook. 

PS You don't need cash, we accept bancontact 

why do people start a blog?

'Why do people start a blog'? This simple question has led to numerous and well-founded opinions from in-and outsiders of the universe of blogging. And to be honest, most of the conceptions aren't pretty: are bloggers in desperate need for fame, attention, front row tickets, goodies, free trips or are they pure narcissists? So did these assumptions arise from jealousy or frustration? Or are they based on facts that merged into a general truth? Unfortunately the answer to this topic isn't as simple as it looks. 

Let's start with a much easier question 'why did I start a blog'? Well, because Marc didn't want me! That's right, my hero Marc Jacobs wasn't interested in me. Naive as I was I had sent him my application because I truly believed that his company was doomed without me. After all, I had just graduated from the University of Leuven, cum laude. Being an alumnus from one of the best universities in Belgium (they say) can only mean one thing: I proved the world that I was smart! Besides the fact that I officially could declare my intelligence, I was gifted with a pretty unique style (they say). So in the end, this clever and eclectic Marc Jacobs devotee would have been a perfect asset to his company. But after a few months with no answer it slowly hit me: Marc doesn't want me! 
Okay, plan B! How could I convince this planet of my deeply rooted love for fashion and my peacock style? I started browsing the internet and I discovered that you can manifest your true fashion personality by posting photos of yourself wearing a certain outfit. Hallelujah, that's it, that's what I want to do, that's the answer to all of my prayers. This was a sign from god and so I became a blogger, plus I needed a hobby. 

My daddy always told me that a big part of your success has a lot to do with networking! Roger that daddy-o. So I started to interact with other flemish bloggers and I adored them. But networking as a blogger also means that you need to interact with PR-companies. This was another part of blogging that I did not know of and didn't know how to handle. 
My first frustration: the events. PR-agencies organize events to promote their clients or to launch new products. But how the hell do you get invited to these events? In other words, why wasn't I invented? Did they not know of my existence as a blogger, wasn't I good enough, did my photos suck or did I? Besides the fact that I wasn't invited, I realized that some bloggers who didn't fit the product (in my opinion) did manage to get an invite. The invitation became even more important than the actual event. And so as some say, the infestation of the bloggers began, unstoppably! 

Besides the events, PR-agencies indulge bloggers with goodies, frustration number 2. These goodies come with an unwritten and unspoken code: you need to blog, instagram, tweet and Facebook about this treat. Au fond there is nothing wrong with this 'quid pro quo'- principle. But again, why doesn't the product always fit the blogger? This leads to all kinds of misunderstandings and misbehavior. Instead of sending the product back, I did nothing! And instead of not posting it, I did. This means that I was slowly losing my unique identity that I was so damn proud of. I promoted stuff that didn't match my personality because I wanted to get more and more and more ... . Ultimately the free stuff became my extrinsic motivation to keep on blogging. How in the world did I get into this catch-22 scheme of covetousness? 

It even got worse! Not only was my need for incentives insatiable, I became jealous of those who did get the good stuff. The stuff I deserved, the city trips that related to my travel-DNA, the goodies that matched my profile and the secret projects I wasn't asked for. My god the people I adored became my enemies and the greed led to frustration and negativism. Before I knew it, I was selling my soul to the devil, frustration number 3. 

All of a sudden I realized that my fellow bloggers weren't the only ones to blame! Okay, we may like to receive and ask (yes ask), but the truth is we didn't start this unflinching wave of goodies! And to be honest, there is nothing wrong with receiving gifts! Yet the modus operandi of some PR-agencies on how to handle bloggers is not always that adequate. Their gift policy seems so arbitrary, random and based on a minimum of research. 
Maybe my perception is created by a misconception, but the reason for this is the lack of communication. We simply do not communicate with each other about our true identity. Unfortunately my identity is keen on high-end labels; unfortunately high-end labels (or their PR) are not keen on me as a blogger. This has probably something to do with stats and numbers and benchmarks and league tables. But being assessed on quantity instead of excellence or uniqueness is pretty denigrating and wrong. To be honest, it breaks my heart that they don't recognize my endless love for big names. Isn't this what blogging is all about, the distinctive personality of the blogger? 

There is no such thing as a blogging codex and the nonexistence of it makes it even more complicated. If you go to a cattle market you know the rules and you need to live by them. However if you contact a PR-agency, or vice versa, you don't always get what you see. I'm known for the fact that I like to kick someone in the shins every once in a while. So call me the whistleblower of a kamikaze pilot who is on a suicide blogger's mission, but this system needs a wake-up call. Frankly, I am sick and tired of beating around the bush and from now on, what you see is what you get! 

Do I blame those who are trying to marginalize us, the bloggers? No! Because at some point, they are right. This system of greediness has reached grotesque proportions. And we all, PR and bloggers, are in desperate need of some good old critical self-reflection! In other words this 'give and take'-system needs to be overviewed and overthought. If we want the respect we think we deserve, we have to face the truth, a reality nobody dares to talk about.

'the wrong suite' Prêt- à-Porter

the turning point ∣ a paris fashion week story

I went to Paris fashion week, I came, I saw and I lost my religion. And yes dear folks, this sounds as dramatic as it is, so are you ready for my dark point of view on PFW? It all started with Suzy Menkes' brilliant article 'The Circus of Fashion'. Of course I was offended, how dare she mock my one and only fashion motto 'express yourself'. I'll put feathers everywhere when it comes to declaring my fashion identity. For god's sake I have been doing it since I was 5 years old, so who does she think she is to tell me not to? In other words, she put a dagger right into my feminist fashion heart: I have the right to be a peacock, online and offline! It is the first law of the fashion constitution. 

Completely convinced that she was wrong I packed my suitcase for PFW with all the feathers I could find and ended up with a 20kg heavy bag (for one night) filled with the crème de la crème of the fashion industry fully paid by my credit card (and with a little help from my mom's one). There was more Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Miu Miu and Diane von Furstenberg in one cubic meter than in Anna Dello Russo's town car trunk. My suitcase should have come with a warning: In case you want to abduct me, steal my luggage it is worth a lot more. After all, I was going to PFW, wasn't this what it was all about? High-end girls wearing high-end names? As a 35 year old eclectic and slightly odd lady I desperately wanted to be a part of it all. At that point I still firmly believed that the Paris fashion scene was going to give me a warm welcome and embrace me in their fabulous-not fat-fashion arms. 

And then the moment of truth! I am a walking display for designer goods, not so tall, not so slim, not with a toned and tanned body (Menkes, 2013) ready to check out the Chanel show, with NO invite that is. With great care and prudent steps I entered the Grand Palais area. Not knowing what was going to happen and how people, as in street stylers, were going to react. Okay, this was it, people started to pop up to take my picture. A little smile appeared on my face. All of a sudden a photographer made me stop and within a blink of an eye other photographers joined him. Mission accomplished: my outfit and I were good enough to be photographed. My god have you got any idea what that does to a woman's ego? It is magical, you grow 3 inches instantly and your complete body posture changes from a scared little girl into a peacock that wanted to scream 'look at me, I'm wearing Chanel or Dior or Prada or Céline or every other it-brand'.  Still not so sure about what just happened I stopped at the entrance to observe the situation. An then it slowly hit me, this was a circus, the circus of fashion

Within 5 minutes you realize how Darwin's natural selection works and how the fittest survive. The beautiful if-folks with an invite who are waking towards the entrance of a show and are wearing clothes that are not even for sale yet, have the best chance to 'survive' the street stylers. It is not an or/or story, it is more of an and/and story. These are the qualities you need to obtain your fashion week goals (whatever they may be). But what about the real fans? What about the clients with no invites? The nobodies with no vigorous online avatars who spend thousands of dollars on a high-end brand? What about them mr. Arnault? What about your true fans who are scaffolding your million dollar company and turning it into an even bigger one? As if they are good enough to buy whatever they desire but not cool enough to wear it in the open. With a lot of bravoure you will open the gates to your boutiques for those who are flapping the green ones and indulge them with the best service ever. And with a lof of bravoure you will explain them your no-gifts policy. 

But your client-strategy and your pr-strategy are not a match made in heaven. Apparently you are willing to overwhelm the great & powerful online Mousketeers of fashion with designer gifts. Not to introduce them to your brand or because they have been unconditionally supporting you. Nope, you simply bribe them so they would use their online power to show off your creations to the world of street style madness. This mechanism can be described as 'the Skinner-box experiment of the multimedia era' and shows us who is in control. The subjects, who are driven by their insatiable urge for recognition, attention and goodies, will enhance this behavior until the reinforcers stop. Karl and his Chanel supermarket- the equivalent of the Skinner-box- even proved that you can actually provoke certain behavior. In other words, even the most powerful fashion gurus on this planet could not control their actions when unlimited access was granted to objects pimped with a certain fashion logo.

However there is unintentional effect when you have created the circus of fashion. Your pr-strategy did not take into account that some of the it-folks are losing their religion fashion identity. These walking ad machines are wiling to pull tricks (literally) in front of the cameras and feed their mutliple online statuses almost 24/7 as long as you reward them with the finest goodies and the best seats in the house. They are no longer capable to determine wether they like your brand or not because their deliberation system has been blurred by your gifts-policy. Even I, as a blogger, am not free of guilt. With open arms and a big smile I welcomed numerous goodies, even if I didn't like them.

I went to PFW because I was convinced that the circus of fashion was an exuberant celebration of an art form. Not the Circus Mrs. Menkes was talking about, but a high-standard and glorious festival created by those who understand the power of 'expressing yourself'. Some call it 'the democratization of fashion'. Every single being on this planet has the opportunity to take part in it and to be honored by the ultimite reward: to be eternalized on any kind of street style website. But don't be fooled, this so-called democratization of fashion is as faux as Chanel's supermarket. So in the end I have to agree with Suzy Menkes! Instead of elaborating the empowerment of the individual fashionista, PFW is a well organized orchestra led by a rigorous conductor. At first the ensemble may look like chaos, but look closely and you will discover the order in this chaos. There is only one rule: if you want to be a part of this symphonic jungle you need to be somebody. Maybe somebody who has lost his/her individuality, but at least you have one certainty 'for two months a year it is all about me'.

This fashion adventure has left a devastating impression on me and changed my relationship with fashion. I lost my faith in fashion and because of this a deeply rooted part of my human being has been let down by those I trusted and admired. People change and right now I am at a turning point not knowing yet what direction to go. Will I ever be able to fully trust Mr. Arnault and his cronies again?  Will this mean the end of 'Absolutely Mrs. K'? Or will I rise as a phoenix peacock into some other kind of online avatar? To be honest, I don't know. I still believe in the 'fashion peacock' and Mrs. Menkes had no right to marginalize this endangered species. But I agree with one thing: I only believe in those who are true and genuine and those who understand the power of 'expressing yourself'.

To be continued or not …


senteurs d'ailleurs


I told you before that I am pretty determined to discover Brussels a little bit more. Determined to step out of my comfort zone and enter places I am a bit apprehensive about. And this is exactly why I visited Senteurs d'Ailleurs for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Pretty ironic because I know the area damn well, it is located right in the middle of my shopping habitat.
The only thing I knew about the venue was the fact that it was a beauty store with not so ordinary products. We are talking about Asop, Kiehls, Laura Mercier; Bumble & Bumble, ... . And maybe that is the reason why I was scared and never had the guts to explore this beauty store. To be honest, I hate to enter a store I know nothing about. People would notice that I am a complete novice and clueless, they would notice my insecurity and I would not be able to pretend any longer.

Come on Mrs. K don't be a wuss! Enter the store. And so I did. Thank god I was welcomed by the most welcoming team ever. First things first so they gave me an elaborate talk about the new Deborah Lippmann collection. All I can say, spring is in the air. And then the truth, nothing but the truth. I needed hair help. To describe the current condition of my hair: coma status and the dead ends. All I wanted was a product to create a 'pushing daisies effect' and make it come back to life. The lovely lady recommended me Bumble & Bumble mending complex. My response: nope, it doesn't work! And then reality hits me: Excuse me Mrs. K but you are using it in the complete wrong way! Oh, right, hmm, well, point taken, in other words buying things when you don't know what the hell you are buying is NOT the solution. Follow their advice and be amazed!