Luna Pines: A Unique Jewelry And Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Brand Featuring A Great Passion For Its Craft And Love For The Natural World.
Luna Pines is a jewelry and lifestyle brand sporting a deep connection to nature. Started by Amanda Lachapelle in 2012, it offers natural crystal jewelry that is thoughtfully designed and carefully pieced together to allow the natural elements to truly shine. Every crystal is lovingly handpicked by Amanda herself to create everlasting jewelry that is well-balanced aesthetically and energetically. The brand's name, Luna Pines, gives away the designer's love for nature, implying her strong connection to the moon (luna) and the beautiful pine trees of New England, where she grew up and began her artistic quest.
Photo courtesy of Luna Pines
What stands apart in Amanda Lachapelle's work is clean design mixed with a pleasantly surprising twist. The attention to detail is evident in her design aesthetic, artistic process and careful branding. As you look at each individual piece, you will always find a unique detail, whether it is in the form of a sweet moon charm or an interesting chain extension, marking the jewelry as uniquely hers. Amanda's multi-faceted design aesthetic represents every element of the brand, from her thoughtful Eco-friendly packaging to her care for using environmentally friendly materials all around. She goes beyond aesthetics, inspiring a socially conscious change using Luna Pines as a voice.
Amanda Lachapelle of Luna Pines
Each piece is carefully crafted in her Clinton (MA) studio, where she spends most of her time designing, making jewelry and sometimes finding inspiration among busy days crafting and filling orders. Her studio is where she feels truly happy, motivating her to keep designing and evolving everyday regardless of the challenges or success she attains. As you'll find from the inspiring conversation to follow, Amanda of Luna Pines is a well balanced artist that understands the importance of paralleling her work with her family life, maintaining consistent love and care for both.
Explore a story of hard work, dedication and true passion for her work in this week's interview feature with Amanda Lachapelle of Luna Pines.
How did the name “Luna Pines” come about? What is its significance/meaning for you and the brand?
My friend actually came up with the name for me. I’ve always had a strong connection with the moon and celestial bodies and this has been evident in my work. She suggested “Luna” as a reference to the moon, and “Pines” to acknowledge my New England roots. I had just moved back to Massachusetts from Oaxaca, Mexico, so this name felt like a perfect fit.
Photo courtesy of Luna Pines
What is the greatest point of inspiration in your work and how does this connect to your design aesthetic?
My greatest point of inspiration comes from the natural world. I’m so fascinated by it! This comes through in my choice of materials. I draw inspiration from everything around me when it comes to designing. Currently, I’m very interested in minimalist style, mid-century modern furniture, and abstract gestural paintings. I think it’s really neat how this influences my work.
Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we are all deeply connected to nature. In a world where technology has taken over just about every industry, discovering a brand that goes back to basics in the most thoughtful, user-sensitive way can be a gold mine. Incorporating a slice of nature into wearable items that you can take with you wherever you go in whatever assortment you desire is a concept that seems almost far-fetched, right? Not for Petal and Clay, a brand that has come up with a solution to bring you closer to the beauty of nature regardless of your location.
Rose Otter of Petal and Clay. Photo courtesy of Myray Creative
Nobody captures the vibrancy and essence of nature more efficiently than Petal and Clay, a jewelry brand that is sensitive to what earth and mother nature has to offer. Feminine with an outburst of color combinations, their beautiful necklaces allow you to take a piece of nature with you wherever you go. It is a concept born at the hands of Rose Otter, whose deep connection to nature, and especially flowers, originates from her childhood in southern Oregon where she played in its rich flower fields as a child. Petal and Clay is a user-conscious brand allowing you a canvas to mix and match assortments of flowers, leafs or fresh springs in a necklace style featuring delicate, handmade clay vases.
Photo courtesy of Candace Molatore
For those that are caught in the bustle and hustle of the big city, a little reminder of the beauty of live flowers you can actually wear and hold near to you at all times can certainly make the day a little better. The beautiful work you'll see below captures a dreamy, romantic quality that is bold yet feminine in a clean, pastel sort-of-way. Rose Otter, the brand's creative director, tells us a little bit more about her unique concept and the carefully crafted process that goes into building every piece from design to production.
How was the name “petal and clay” born and what is its significance?
I had been playing around with different names for a while but I didn’t have one that I loved. I spent a weekend with my childhood friend and she actually came up with it! We knew right away that it was perfect. It felt even more special that she came up with the name because her and I grew up playing in flower-filled meadows together.
Photo courtesy of Myray Creative
There is a special connection to flowers in your work. Can you talk a bit about where this passion for nature, and especially flowers, originates? What connects/attracts you to them?
Zippers are perhaps the most intimidating to sew for beginners. Needless to say however, they are essential in ensuring the full functionality of a clothing item. Zipper closures come in a few different style variations and are mostly used with woven garments, especially those that are more formfitting. Knit garments do not usually require the use of a zipper closure as they are stretchy and flexible enough to be taken on and off without the need for closure.
Before diving deeper into basic zipper application styles, it is important to understand the three main types of zippers available in dressmaking:
Conventional zippers: Are closed on one end and sewn into a seam that doesn't fully separate.
Invisible Zippers: Invisible zippers are always sewn into a seam and are designed to actually disappear into the seam with only the tab visible on the face of the garment. Although different in style and installation requirements, just like conventional zippers, invisible zippers are closed on one end.
Separating Zippers: Separating zippers are open on both ends and sewn onto garment openings or into seams that separate completely.
The 3 types of zippers described above are chosen based on the construction finish, design, fabric and functionality requirement of a garment. They are available in a variety of different lengths and weights, from very fine to heavy duty. All zippers, regardless of type, have these basic shared elements:
If you are the kind of person that loves surprising loved ones with one-of-a-kind, special gifts, you are probably always going the extra mile in your search for unique products. What catches your eye is most likely something that is seldom available in brick and mortar stores and quite difficult to come across in general.
Whether you enjoy being the best gift-giver in your family or the smile on that loved one's face, putting some thought into that special gift, especially around the holiday season, can be truly rewarding. Needless to say, if you are reading this, you love to give that special woman in your life gifts that she is sure to remember. The good news is that while you love gifting them, we have the passion for creating them at Doina Alexei.
These fashion products (as we like to call them) have truly inspired us and are all about YOU. They are constructed with your needs, your passions and your little indulgences in mind. Whether you are searching for something educational, functional, unique, or simply aesthetically flattering, the special gift items we hand picked below might prove to be just what you are looking for this gift-giving season. There is a sense of whimsy and excitement about every single one of them.
It is worth to note of course, that every item is handmade and individually tagged and packaged with care to safely arrive at your doorstep right before Christmas (or that special birthday!).
Whether it is for a wife, girlfriend, mother, grandmother or your favorite aunt, here are the three fashion products that will prove to be some of the most one-of-a-kind, successful gifts this Christmas season.
The 11:11 Jacket- A Jacket Convertible To Shoulder Bag
The 11:11 Jacket- the convertible jacket to bag is bound to put a smile on the face of everyone gathered around the Christmas tree. The name of it has already partially given away its secret- As you might have guessed, it transforms from fully functional jacket to fully functional shoulder bag in just a few easy steps.
We've all been fascinated by convertible products especially in the apparel industry. Quite often however, we shy away from wearing them due to their heavyweight, hardware-rich characteristic. The goal with the 11:11 Jacket was to construct a piece of apparel with no overwhelmingly visible hardware which risks being heavy and aesthetically uncomfortable to wear. When in jacket form, it resembles more of a trench coat giving no impression that it is a convertible garment. If you do look very carefully, the separating zippers, which are sleekly sewn into the side seams, give you a little hint that this isn't just another boring jacket.
A clothing item that serves us in more than one way is always a great investment and worthy of becoming a life-long item in your closet. For that reason, the 11:11 Jacket offers a classic silhouette that is appropriate to style with just about anything in your closet.
It is not bulky or thick but rather lightweight, making it interchangeable through transitioning seasons. The length stops right above the knee featuring a subtly curved hem at the back which adds softness and increases flattery.
Now for the fun part: How does it work? How does a seemingly classic jacket with no visible heavy hardware on its surface transform into a fully functional, roomy bag? The secret is in the back panel.
The back panel itself provides for a hidden compartment that houses two light yet extremely durable D-rings. Once the side separating zippers are zipped fully to form the bag compartment, the back panel is simply flipped over the neckline and shoulders to expose the D-rings hiding the neckline underneath. This panel not only creates a straight bag opening edge, it also provides a clean look on the inside of the shoulder bag by hiding the neckline opening underneath.
Each clip on the bag strap, which is naturally housed inside the jacket, is then attached to each one of the D-rings completing the formation of the bag. Because no bag is complete without a means to close it, the bottom of the jacket folds over the bag opening in a unique fashion to create a beautiful ruffle flap. The curved edge of the back hem hides all the layers of the jacket's bottom underneath, which increases the authenticity and functionality of the bag.
As you play around with the conversion steps, you'll find that you cannot tell either item is of the convertible type whether it is in jacket or bag form. That was truly the goal in the creation of this design- being able to interchange the two whenever necessary without compromising their ability to fully serve their functional purpose.
When you are out on a walk, running errands, or simply going to work in the morning you may be faced with changing temperatures throughout the day. Start with the jacket during those cool early mornings and convert it to a bag as you deem necessary. We think that this simple idea of interchangeable products is the true beauty of functionality.
The Learn To Sew Box
The Learn To Sew Box is perfect for those that steer more towards educational gifts. It is just as enticing for a student as it is for the person looking to add an extra skill to his/her repertoire. How many times have you heard the phrase: "I wish I could make my own clothes..."? Well, now you can with the Learn To Sew Box as it includes all the basic necessities to get started.
The world of modeling is just as much glamour and mystery as it is hard work. What we don't see in an ad campaign or the final images of an editorial are the long hours of behind-the-scenes work in grueling weather conditions using sometimes uncomfortable garments and props. What truly separates the weak from the strong is the ability to produce beautifully crafted and effortless images regardless of the unpredictable conditions endured behind the camera. A model that works great under pressure, adjusting to different settings and offering variety in her/his look is the result of not only talent but years of practice and experience. On the "strong" list is Melanie Blankenship-A talented, versatile model we've had the pleasure of working with on numerous occasions.
Whether it is beauty, bridal or fashion, there isn't a topic not covered in Melanie's portfolio. She can do commercial just as well as she does editorial easily transitioning from classic-feminine to punk-rocker without losing her personal edge. As you'll see in some examples of her work below, Melanie's ability to adapt to different styles and conceptual looks allow her to be greatly sought after both in the Washington DC area, where she currently lives and works, as well as various major cities across the US and abroad.
In the array of questions to follow, Melanie lets us in on her background and work, piquing the curiosity of anyone interested in learning a bit more about the modeling industry. Topics like what it is like to work as a freelance model, should you work with an agency, and what are the industry moments that have helped her build thick skin are just a few that Melanie Blankenship shares with us in the interview below.
How did you get involved in modeling? How old were you when you did your first photo shoot and what was that experience like?
One of my really good friends and photographer Stephen Archer got me into modeling in high school. He would always ask me to model for him for his college portfolio. Stephen interned with photographer Roy Cox, and when I was 17, Roy asked me to come into his studio for a professional photo shoot with a makeup artist. I was hooked on modeling and the whole experience of it from there. The first shoot was a beauty shoot with a few different makeup looks and also the first time I worked with a makeup artist- it was really fun!
It is so often that we fall in love with unique styles yet tend to shy away from actually buying them if they appear to be difficult to style or wear. If you feel intimidated by more challenging-to-wear clothing, rest assured that there are plenty of options to style even the most difficult items without forgoing comfort.
Here is a list of commonly difficult-to-wear clothing and how to fix some of the styling issues associated with them:
Backless or Open-Back Tops and Dresses:
So why are backless and open-back tops and dresses so intimidating yet so appealing to us? It is true that an open back garment can feel like a risky choice yet if designed and worn properly, exudes elegance in evening wear and more casual styles. If you learn a few tricks to comfortably wear and style them, open back garments can become regularly used clothing items in your closet.
The main challenge when it comes to backless clothing is what to do with that pesky back bra strap. How can you achieve comfort and support without going fully braless (unless you feel comfortable doing so!)? The good news is that there are plenty of accessories and products on the market that allow you to have comfortable coverage and support without the inconvenience of the back bra strap. You can choose whichever product works best for you based on your comfort level and style.
Truly, the easiest way to wear a backless garment is going completely braless- That of course, is if you feel comfortable enough doing so. If you invest in some pasties for nipple coverage, you’ll be able to tackle wearing any backless style you fall in love with. If going braless is not up to your comfort level and you need a bit more coverage and support, there are some adhesive products and invisible back-strap bras that offer additional comfort and coverage.
Get creative! Just because a clothing item features an open back design does not mean the back has to be completely uncovered. If you have a black or contrast color bra, allow the back strap to show for a more relaxed, casual look. Don’t forget to hide or trim any tags the bra has at the back. Try to avoid tan or white bra colors as these colors are more suitable for wearing underneath clothing. If you are feeling a bit more risqué, a colorful lace bra can add a flirty, feminine flare when paired with more casual backless clothing.
Another option for styling backless clothing items includes pairing them with racer-back bras. These style bras add a unique design touch to open-back garments. The most common racer-back styles on the market include crisscross and bandeaux shapes. If you are lucky enough to find a color match, these styles will incorporate with you backless garments beautifully giving the impression that they are part of the design. If you prefer more coverage and support, a racer-back bra will work with most of your open back clothing providing a more casual look that does not jeopardize comfort.
Spaghetti Strap Blouses and Dresses:
The beauty of spaghetti strap tops and dresses is that they make great layering pieces. Believe it or not, spaghetti strap styles can become everyday items easily adjustable from an office setting to an evening out afterwards. During the late spring and summer months, spaghetti strap dresses and blouses will make a versatile, feminine addition to any closet.
It is certainly true that spaghetti strap clothing can be a little bit tricky to wear if you particularly dislike your bra strap showing. For that reason, many women shy away from purchasing spaghetti straps all together and may sometimes become a bit uneasy with this somewhat junior-esque style.
When it comes to wearing a spaghetti strap garment, we encourage you to embrace your figure regardless of size or shape. If you feel comfortable enough going braless, do so, especially if wearing a bra has always felt a bit too confining for you. If you choose to go braless, pasties are a great way to add a bit more comfort and solve the issues of the nipples showing through the lightweight fabric.
Adhesive bras on the other end, are another suitable option if you prefer more coverage, support and maybe a bit of extra padding. The adhesive nature of these products are often a hassle to wear on a regular basis but will become a go-to with more formal eveningwear and cocktail dresses that feature spaghetti straps.
On the other hand, a traditional strapless bra may be quite suitable if the spaghetti strap item in question features a horizontal seam underneath the bust line. The main issue with traditional strapless bras is that they shift down during movement which can be frustrating and uncomfortable. A horizontal seam underneath the bust line may provide more stability for a regular strapless bra by preventing it from shifting down during wear. If you are lucky enough to fall in love with a spaghetti strap item that already has built in padding at the bust, you do not have to worry about bra straps all together.
In the case you don’t mind having the bra straps showing, spaghetti strap dresses and blouses can actually handle this look very well if you choose a neutral bra color. The combination of the straps will create a more casual look and allow you to get creative when pairing the bra strap color with the spaghetti strap item at hand. Keep in mind that wearing a simple black bra with black straps will work with almost any spaghetti strap dresses or blouses. Even better, if you find a bra color that matches the dress or top in question, pairing them might give the impression that the bra strap is part of the spaghetti strap design. You can also go for a more color blocked look by combining a bra of contrasting color with the spaghetti strap items you own. We do encourage you to stay away from styling spaghetti strap items with tan or white bras as most of them are designed to be worn under clothing.
If you get a bit too warm during the fall and early spring months, layering a spaghetti strap blouse or dress underneath heavier pieces will provide a great balancing act temperature wise. Spaghetti strap blouses work great with light cardigans and blazers and can be paired with almost any bottoms. They make a perfect addition to an office setting while easily adjusting to any environment outside of work. These styles are lightweight enough to be tucked into higher waist pants and skirts while also eliminating bulkiness in the layering process.
Low, Plunging V-Necklines:
We’ve all fallen in love (in theory) with a deep V-neck dress or blouse at some point or another, but are we daring enough to wear them? It is true that not only are they a bit difficult to style and high maintenance to wear, they are certainly not suitable for every occasion.
Deep V-necks are commonly added to evening gowns, cocktail dresses and formal/evening blouses. While they may not provide an everyday style suitable for the office, a plunging V-neck garment is feminine and sexy yet still maintains an elegant flare.
As is also the case for backless garments, lower V-neck clothing often requires investing in a few additional items in order to wear and style comfortably. The problem area is usually the bust- Specifically, choosing between the right support and coverage such that it does not show in the open V area. Needless to say, a regular bra just won’t work.
Let start with the simplest solution: Going completely braless. If you feel comfortable or have the courage to do it, simply going braless will create a clean look and eliminate the need to hide any unwanted bra elements. If you do decide to go braless however, you may want to use pasties to eliminate the nipple-issue. Invest in some double sided adhesive tape to hold some of the unstable fabric edges down thus avoiding those risky “peek-a-boo” accidents. If you are looking for a quick fix and don’t have time to go on a search for adhesive bra tape, use duct tape. It adheres just as well (if not even better) and nobody has to know your secret!
If you are not so daring as to go completely braless, or you need some additional support and cup-enhancement, there are plenty of products on the market that will fulfill these requirements. For starters, if the V-neck in question is very low, whether it is open or sheer, you may want to invest in adhesive side cups. These adhere to each side of the bust leaving the center completely uncovered. Some adhesive bras are more padded than others providing an option for size enhancement as well.
In the case of a garment that features a higher cut V-neck not extending all the way to the belly button, there are some specialty bras on the market that are designed to accommodate less exaggerated V-neck styles. These bras replicate the V shape of a V-neck garment by extending lower than a regular bra. They also feature a thicker band under the bust area providing more stability and support.
You might find this difficult to believe, but a basic sheer blouse is truly an everyday item. If you familiarize yourself with some simple styling tricks, it is incredibly easy to transition most sheer blouses from the office to an evening out afterwards. They are lightweight enough to be layered with cardigans, sweaters, and blazers which classifies them as multi-seasonal. See-through blouses like those made of chiffon are elegant and appropriate enough work just as well with a pair of blue jeans as they do tucked into a tailored skirt.
Don’t be intimidated by the transparent characteristic of the fabric. If you invest in a few spaghetti strap tank tops in different colors you can effortlessly pair them with all the chiffon blouses you own. Not only does this fix the see-through issue, the spaghetti strap tanks provide enough warmth thus counteracting the lightweight characteristic of the blouse.
Vise versa, you may layer a sheer blouse with a slightly revealing dress to make it more formal or work appropriate. The best example is a spaghetti strap dress that requires a bit of shoulder coverage- Throwing a chiffon button-down blouse over it can make it more elegant and appropriate for a number of different settings. You may tie the bottom edges of the blouse at the waist area for a more playful, casual look.
Corset-Imitation Tops and Dresses:
As opposed to actual corsets, corset-style clothing features less complicated seams and often forgoes the use of boning, padding and other structural elements. A corset silhouette can be quite flattering to the waist and bust area but it can prove to be a bit tricky to style and perhaps not quite appropriate for every setting.
When it come to a corset-style top, choosing the most suitable bottoms in the styling process can be a bit of a challenge. For a more feminine look, pair a softly draping skirt with more form-fitting corset items. If you like to juxtapose your styles a bit, pair a corset fitted top with tailored trousers and skirts. In the case you prefer a form-fitted look from head to toe, a pair of fitted skinny jeans in combination with a corset-imitation blouse can accentuate your waist and hips alluding to a more elongated figure.
As is common with all styles that are trickier to wear, some corset-imitation clothing can sometimes cause challenges at the bust area. Due to the increased cost, many corset-imitation tops and dresses do not have built in padding at the bust area. This means that if you are a smaller cup size, you may experience some fit issues in this particular area.
However, corset-type clothing is very friendly with various styles of removable padding whether adhesive or non-adhesive in nature. This is made possible due to the placement of the seams which provide enough stability and structure to support added padding at the bust area. If you usually steer clear of adhesive bras, you can cheat the system and use regular, non-stick cup enhancements. With most corset-inspired clothing, the form-fitted silhouette and horizontal seams underneath the bust line (if any) should be enough to hold them in place during wear.
Dropped Shoulder or One-Shoulder Clothing:
When it comes to dropped shoulder or one-shoulder garments, the main challenge is the bust area- What to do with those pesky bra straps? It can be somewhat of an undertaking to incorporate bra straps into the styling of a dropped or single-shoulder clothing item. While perfectly matched color bra straps might give you some pleasantly surprising results, adding the extra strap risks altering the look and design of the garment. Needless to say, the extra strap will jeopardize the one-shoulder look.
The solution? This is where those adhesive products can really come through for you. If you are comfortable not wearing a bra all together, some simple adhesive pasties will provide an easy, quick fix. If you are after a bit more coverage and support or perhaps an enhanced cup size, adhesive bras will work great with dropped shoulder or one-shoulder styles. It is true that adhesive products are not always suitable for everyday use and can be a quite a hassle to apply and remove on a regular basis. For that reason, they are more suitable for occasional rather than regular use.
If you prefer to steer clear of adhesive products all together, you can always go for a traditional strapless bra. One shoulder garments provide an additional advantage when paired with a regular strapless bra- You can actually leave one of the bra straps on for additional stability and support by hiding it under the covered shoulder portion. Doing so will prevent the bra from shifting down during movement which is such a common issue with traditional strapless bras.
If you own a lot of dropped shoulder and one-shoulder clothing, it is a good idea to invest in a specialty bra specifically designed to tackle the challenges associated with this style. Single shoulder bras are available on the market and come in a few different designs and support capabilities. Most of them feature a wider single strap resembling somewhat of a sports bra look.
A wider strap will allow for increased stability and support without jeopardizing comfort. Other options include thin, removable straps that can be used with one shoulder garments featuring thinner straps themselves. In many cases, multiple thin straps are preferred in order to maintain stability. Regardless the design, investing in a one shoulder bra, especially if you own a large number of single-shoulder clothing items, will take the hassle out of styling and comfortably wearing these challenging styles.
As a side note, single shoulder and especially dropped shoulder items are not particularly easy to layer. Their asymmetric nature is designed to work best alone and not in a layered combination. That is not say that you should completely shy away from pairing them with other pieces in your closet- if you get a bit creative you can certainly make one-shoulder items work in a layered outfit.
Crop tops are looked upon as a younger, more junior silhouette. If you feel like you are past the age where crop tops are appropriate, you might still get away with wearing them if you learn how to style and use them in the appropriate setting. While crop tops might not be a winner at the office, they are a great option for a night out with the girls weather you are going out for a drinks or risking it all on the dance floor.
The secret? Pair them with high-waist bottoms.
There is nothing wrong with showing your belly button in your teens and early twenties but when you get a bit older it is always safer to lean on the elegant side. Believe or not, crop tops can still be elegant while providing a casual, playful edge. As mentioned above, the principal rule is to combine them with higher waist bottoms. Not only does this combination provide comfort and allows for more coverage, it also creates the illusion of longer legs thus elongating the figure.
Due to the shorter length, crop tops offer a great option for women that have a longer torso by providing somewhat of a balancing act proportionally. In addition, pairing crop tops with high waist jeans, trousers or skirts will further accentuate the waist allowing for a more slender appearance.
A cropped sweater works great in combination with high-waist, blue jeans providing a more casual, everyday look. On the other hand, cropped silk blouses mix beautifully with high-waist tailored skirts for an elevated, more elegant style. Needless to say, cropped tops can provide a lot of versatility regardless of age if you apply the right styling tricks. They are a great tool for layering especially with longer cardigans and blazers for a flattering, elongating effect. When styled in this fashion, the variation in hemlines provide a visually balanced appearance that enhances the waist and hip area.
A journey into our design process, sewing tutorials, fashion tips, and all the inspiring people and things we love.
Today, allow yourself a few moments to explore and feel inspired and don't forget that everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. Never stop searching for what makes you truly happy.
LEARN TO SEW BOX
MICROFIBER BEACH TOWEL
11:11 JACKET CONVERTIBLE TO BAG