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Ever since I could remember, my Papa, Eric Maurice, has always been the beau of the ball. His dapper demeanor never goes unnoticed when he enters a room. He is in a class of his own with his salt and pepper hair, fierce walk, impeccable style, and that sexy french accent to top it off. Papa is definitely not your average 56 year old man. He manages to live a 007 lifestyle between Los Angeles and Paris while staying fit, fashionable, and fearless.

Over the years, he always made it imperative that he dressed for success. Growing up with a European father with exquisite taste made shopping 10x more fun. Papa never believed in leaving the house in pajamas or sweats, he believed in dressing how you wanted to be addressed. Every season, he would take my brother and I to the big outdoor outlets in Camarillo or Pam Springs, located in California. Together, we would shop all day, maybe get a Auntie Anne’s pretzel in between stores, then continue shopping until we heard  “Attention! the shops will be closing in 15 minutes”. During those long days of shopping, my father taught me color swatches, fabrics, quality versus quantity, and the essentials I needed to have. If Eric Maurice was going to look his best at all times, his kids were going to as well.

Since my father blessed me with dual citizenship between France and The United States, we’ve had many shopping dates that have occurred in Spain, Paris, and London. I’ve been so fortunate to see different cultures and fashions around the world because of my father. He has opened my eyes up to see that fashion everywhere, it is inspired by architecture, food, and people. Still to this day, Papa reminds that having one style or being good at one thing isn’t good enough. Yes, you should have a signature look that represents your style, but also be able to diversify your style. Being able to show people that you can tap into different genres of fashion and life, expands how people view you as a person.

The best lesson that Papa has taught me about style is that there is power when entering a room well dressed. No matter how many designer brands you buy, it will never equate to confidence. Along with Papa’s Sean Connery looks, his confidence is what makes every outfit perfect. To me, Papa is Mr.007 because he isn’t an ordinary man who allows the suit to wear him, he wears the suit. He knows that he can accomplish anything when he looks good and that fuels him to make every mission possible.

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Photographed by @Mamadivisuals

http://www.mamadi.co/ 

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       SHOP MY LOOK:

I recently took a weekend trip to Washington D.C. and I made it imperative to do some sight seeing. Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States but I didn’t know it also a capital for impeccable art. Growing up in a european and caribbean household I’ve always had a deep fascination with art. My mother and father collected different works of arts when I was a child and it was a trait I picked up. When I travel I enjoy going to museums and monuments. I have been blessed to travel both domestic and international. Having a French father, ever since I was a little girl I fell in love with Paris. I love the fashion, architecture, food, and one of the most famous attractions, The Louvre Museum. The Louvre is a big “must see” when in Paris because of the Louvre pyramid, but the museum contains amazing pieces of artwork. At night, the pyramid lights up and has a red light that beams down the center, total Harry Potter vibes. If you’re ever in the D.C. area, I highly suggest visiting the reflective pyramid that is located right across the street from the National Mall Art Museum (east building). The pyramid is so beautiful that it allows you to feel like you are in Paris for a few moments, for me it was a few hours (haha!). It isn’t as grand and big as The Louvre Pyramid but it is definitely a site to see.

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Photographed by Anne Kim

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Valentine’s day is less than a week away and you’re probably thinking what you should buy for your lover or yourself. Yes, that’s right, I said YOURSELF. Valentine’s Day is about love, so don’t forget that self love is very important. To me, it’s important that I spoil myself here and there. It’s nice to gift someone with the traditional chocolates and flowers but you can never go wrong with a new bag. Whether you are shopping for he or she, the Dagne Dover Landon Carryall is a must have! This bag comes in three sizes (small, medium and large) ,four colors, and is unisex.  It’s perfect for going to work, the gym, or a quick weekend trip. My favorite feature is that the bag is 100% neoprene fabric. The fabric is so high tech that you can wash it and dry it.  There are multiple compartments, one for your phone, laptop, and it comes with a mini pouch.

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Different sizes come with a different prices but the good thing is that all the bags are UNDER $200. Step out the Valentine’s day comfort zone and buy a bag without breaking the bank!

Photographed by : @underground_nyc 

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I’ll never forget  February 2008, at my all girls catholic school in Los Angeles, CA. My middle school wanted to be “inclusive” so they renamed black history month to “multicultural month”. As a 13 year old black girl who went to a predominately white school, I felt like I was the only one yelling “Black Lives Matter!” while my ruler whipping nun of a principle was yelling ” Well, all lives matter!”. Back then, I felt I couldn’t change the 15 year old tradition of my schools “multicultural month”, but I knew I could change perspective with words. I rushed home after basketball practice on February 1 and bolted into my mothers bathroom. She was ecstatic to hear about my day but I was just ready to tell her about how my crazy catholic school really renamed black history month. I thought she would be ready to be my accomplice and march up to my school the next day to speak to the principal about this preposterous notion, but all she said was “look up Sojourner Truth”.

Sojourner Truth was a black female abolitionist, civil rights leader, and women’s rights advocate, who is best known for her speech “Ain’t I a Woman?”. After my mother said her name, I did tons of research on her. I read her memoir, books, and multiple sources. She was so cool to me because she spoke dutch, made her way out slavery, and led her people to freedom. My 13 year old self became so obsessed that I started dreaming of conversations between the two of us. At the end of February, my school held a multicultural potluck for the students and their families. The students were allowed to bring in foods from their culture and make speeches. Only 5 girls in the entire middle school signed up to make a speech and I made sure I was one of them.

The day of the potluck my mom had to catch a flight for a speaking engagement, but she made sure I looked good and went to school with the best Jamaican fried plantains. My mom is talented when it comes down to motherly costume design. Between 6:45 AM to 7:30 AM my mom took the time to transform me into looking like Sojourner Truth. She slobbered a big ole kiss on my face and said “Baby, today is the day you speak your truth!”.  At 10AM, I walked into my school gymnasium with 200 of my school mates and their family members. I waited for my care taker Ms. Mae, who is like my second mother, to bring my fresh plantains to school and tell me that I could do this speech. At noon, I began making my way to the stage podium. My heart began to race and my hands started to shake, but as I looked in the audience, Ms. Mae was entering the gym with the plantains and she had the biggest smile on her face. I left the podium, took center stage and began reciting Sojourner Truth’s speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?”. I felt like I was Sojourner leading men, women, and children to freedom, declaring my rights, and speaking my absolute truth. After my speech the entire gymnasium was on their feet roaring, clapping, and whistling at me. I walked down to the floor level with a huge smile on my face, knowing that I killed my speech and ready to eat Ms. Mae’s plantains.  An older white gentleman, that was freakishly tall, tapped me on my shoulder, shook my hand, looked me in my eyes and said ” you are powerful, that was powerful, and thank you for teaching me”. I looked him in his eyes and said ” thank you”, knowing that my BLACK HISTORY MATTERS!

xoxo,

Ivy Coco

Photographed by Castle

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