Aficionada

Spanish noun

a woman who is very knowledgeable about an activity, subject, or pastime. a connoisseur, expert, specialist, cognoscente, an enthusiast.


Michelle Lu Creative Director

 Girona Wrist Wrap, Esfera Posts, and Disco III Chain Bracelet all in shop below.

 


Where are you from?
Born in Connecticut, raised in Baltimore, Maryland.

What do you do?
I am the co-founder of Semaine an immersive media platform.

Where do you live now and what do you love most about it?
I live in Paris. I love the beauty of the city that unfolds wherever you walk. Wandering the city, feeling the history of times past, humans that have lived in the city, to be part of that fabric is magical. 

"I do my best to bring positivity and change wherever I can, in ways big and small."


 

Favorite hobbies?
I love to play the piano. My grandmother came to America from China to study to be a pianist at Julliard. My father also studied to be a concert pianist before injuring his wrist and being forced into a career change. As a child, I didn't have a choice to play, but now, I have learned to love it in a different way.

What inspires you?
People, and their stories. Before this COVID crisis, traveling. Being transported into a different culture, way of thinking, way of seeing-it never ceases to amaze me.

What do you like most about your work?
Meeting such inspiring, creative people who have chosen their path and stuck to it.

What’s up next for you? 
We have just re-launched Semaine into a new format in response to the current COVID crisis. It is called, The Happiness Newspaper. In our quest to bring joy and positivity, this paper calls on our network of new and old tastemakers to contribute articles. From tips on becoming more sustainable and growing your own, to looking after your mental and emotional health, recipes, articles to encourage professionals out there who are in a time of major uncertainty, looking at the crisis from the perspective of the ancient Stoics, interactive pub quizzes, and virtual culture guides, there is something for everyone and it is meant to offer a reprieve from our news fatigue. Each article is accompanied by a digital workbook–from coloring books, to seed planting charts, daily do's and don't's for mental resilience... we want to be somewhere people can lift their mood, learn something new, and share the positivity.

 

 

Imaan Hoops in shop below. 

 


When are you the happiest?
Cooking dinner with friends or walking without a place to go.

What are your favorite places that you have travelled to and where do you want to go after the quarantine?
Gosh it's so hard to pick! Tokyo- to be transported into an alternate universe, the English countryside for the rolling lush hills to feel like there is nothing between you and unadulterated nature... I traveled a lot to Peru, Argentina, and Brazil in my old job, and I long to rediscover it on my own. Next on my list who knows when that would be, is Dakar. But right now, I am happy where I am staying put without the next trip planned :)

Biggest luxury?
Time and space.

 

 

1/2" Ring Belt, Thin Rounded Hoops III, and Naked Ear Cuff all in shop below.  

 


What are some of your favorite books/audiobooks, and films/shows?
Any book by Thich Naht Han. Films... oh too many to choose from. Le Grand Bleu is one of my all-time favorites. I'm not the best at watching the shows that are out right now, but my friends recently introduced me to Blackadder an old British show that I am loving discovering right now!

What is your favorite music and latest bands?
A real mix! Ebo Taylor is always on loop. Orchestra Baobab. Cumbia music. Classical and the classics. And more recently, Young Fathers.

Who is your favorite artist?
Barbara Hepworth and Rodin.

What are your rules to live by?
There are so many quotes that have the message of being present and acknowledging that we really just have one life to live. I think this quote sums it up the best.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:

"Man! Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”-Dalai Lama

 


Oblique Hoops Small in shop below. 

 

Do you have a favorite recipe to share? 
I love soba noodles that I make my own way and it's such a simple recipe. I make a tahini sauce, with a tiny bit of soy sauce, tiny drop of sesame oil that I mix all together and make thinner with water. Serve it with scallions, tofu, chopped cucumbers. And I like to use red pepper Korean paste and make it into a little chili oil on top.

Female hero and why?
I don't think I can pick one and for me, it's less about a feminist trailblazer, artist or icon and more about amazing women that I meet who are all heroes in their own way. Whether it's the way they stick to their core beliefs without wavering in the face of challenge, or the way that they are able to juggle being a nurturing mother and have any career at all, or the women that choose to dedicate their lives to raising their children, they're all my heroes!

What is your super power and/or what would surprise people to know about you?
I love mornings and have a lot of energy. I have a photographic memory for faces. As far as my superpower, I swear it's meditation.

How do you unwind or de-stress?  
I meditate. I did a Vipassana meditation retreat a few years ago (10 days meditation in silence, no phones, no connection to the outside world, no walking, no journals, no readings) and after that was pretty hard not to get into a meditation routine. It was the most powerful experience I have done, and best of all it is free and runs on donation. I try to meditate for an hour at least 3-4 times a week.

Do you unplug from devices?
Yes, as much as I can even though it's hard running your own company. I use one of those lamps that wake me up with gradual light which is super helpful in the grey  Paris winter, which means I don't look at my phone to wake me up, which is great. At night, I try to do the whole one hour behind bedtime, no phones, but it's hard.

 

 


Oblique Hoops Small 

 

How do you take good care of yourself?
When I left my old job, (it had me on a plane almost once a week), I burned my body out and learned the hard way of what it's like for your body to have to replenish and reset. Since then I do try to take care of myself inside and out. I swim (funny enough I do aqua fitness which is so much fun), and I have been practicing yoga for years which I love. I do the basics I suppose. I try to lay off alcohol a few times a week, and leave twelve hours from your first and last meal to feel fresh (also it's best to meditate on an empty stomach). I take chlorella in juice in the morning, Zinc and various oils. Sometimes it's the ritual itself that makes you feel better. For me, it's been the meditation that keeps me healthiest in my mind and body.

When do you feel your best?
After I've meditated.

Beauty routine/skincare regime?
In Paris, the water has a lot of calcium and my skin gets very very dry. I use one of those water mists to clean my face morning and night. I love Costa Brazil's oils. They smell incredible and the face oils are amazing hydration. And you're transported by the smell of the Kaya Oil- it's divine. I love baths and take them almost every day with Neil's Yard products. I love the Geranium bath oils and I take magnesium baths. Some anti-pollution sunscreen and then I'm pretty much ready to go. If I am going to wear make-up, my friend Lucia Pica created the most incredible thing called Palette Essentielle (Chanel) that has a little concealer and a red lipstick. It's literally all you need to look fresh and all I carry in my bag.

 

 

Girona Wrist Wrap and Disco Chain III Bracelet, Esfera Posts and Ball Chain, all in shop below. 

 


What is your style credo and style icon?
Quality over quantity. I have quite simple style. I like everything pared back and then one bold thing. All neutral colors, a strong lip and jewelry and so forth.
I love how my grandmother dressed. She had a fabulous collection of clip-on earrings which I have learned to love, and wore beautiful traditional Chinese dresses in her every day in such an elegant way.

What was your favorite KC piece and why?
 I love the Oblique Hoops Small that are in a way a classic hoop but the shape is unique and goes with absolutely everything!

What KC accessories do you like to wear during the day and at night?
Any of the hoops for day and a big cuff at night.

  

 

Choker, Thin Rounded Posts, and Naked Ear Cuff in shop below. 


Which piece/pieces do you want the most?
The Giti Belt Bag. Anything to have my hands free when I walk!

What do you like best about KC bags or jewelry?
The simplicity and understated quality. And that you feel the brand has been made with love and attention from its founder. I love that Kendall encourages people to take care of their leathers and jewelry, and that with time and multiple wears,  it adds to its beauty.

 

 

All Photos by Kendall Conrad Using an iPhone 11+

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