10 Interiors + Lifestyle Things I Love For May

It's Allan Torp here, and welcome all of you gorgeous cattledogs readers to my favorite things column. Last month, I paid homage to my home country, Denmark. So, this month I wanted to take a closer look at our neighbors to the East, Sweden, which means that everything you see in my favorites this month originates from Sweden. Cool, right? Enjoy today's column and vi ses as they say in Sweden.


It is hard to do an all Swedish column without a little homage to Ikea. Year after year Ikea is leading the way and pushing the limits on great design at affordable prices. In recent years, they have worked with some of the greatest modern designers like Ilse Crawford and Tom Dixon. Ikea’s Billy bookcase has sold more than 60-odd million that’s nearly one per 100 people. Another bookcase that it slowly making its mark, is a new favorite of mine, . A 70s inspired wall mounted unit in bamboo. Very old-school realness.

IKEA unit

2 // ART:

If you are adding one thing to your home this month, it has to be a drawing by . It is the hottest thing in Scandi living right now. Peytil is Stockholm based fashion designer and artist, Eitil Thorén Due. His art is a simple pen drawing often built from minimalistic black lines.



With a focus on interior details and books, the new Swedish brand has launched. The first collection consists of bookstands that come in walnut, cherry and black-stained ash. All bookstands are handmade in Sweden and made out of solid wood, with great consideration for functionality, aesthetics and craftsmanship. This is the bookstand you want to give to the most extraordinary books in your collection.


4 // SLEEP:

If anything, the Swedes know how to build hotels and make you feel like home. The best of the best is of course, (A home). A hotel in a private 1910 residence, which was transformed into a magnificent homey hotel by Ilse Crawford. The result is that Ett Hem is again a happy house filled with the best collection of furniture, Scandinavian antiques and design. Ett Hem only has 12 rooms, which makes it not the usual hotel, it really is a place where guests are treated as friends of the family, a place that allows guests to become part of it and feel at home.

Ett Hem
Ett Hem

5 // LISTEN:

They gave us Abba, Avicii (RIP), and Robyn. I have had a crush on Robyn ever since her first single “Do you know (what it takes)” came out in the early 90ies. It was until mid-2000 when she really broke through to stardom – and who can honestly say they haven’t rocked the dance floor to her mega-hit, “” – if not, then I urge you to go for it NOW.


6 // GROOM:

For years, I have been using Swedish GC detergent, a company that specializes in eco-friendly garment, shoe and skin care. I just love to open the washer to clean clothes – and I have even used their simple and clean bottles of detergent as a different hostess gift. Just recently they also launched an organic skin care collection, which includes four perfumed soaps and two long-lasting and very absorbent hand cream – all so natural in its scents that immediately brings you deep in the fir forest or into a spring garden full of tulips.

When it comes to my hair, I am very low maintenance, meaning, I really cannot be bothered spending too much time obsessing in front of the mirror every day. Right now, I am obsessed with Swedish Lernberger Stafsing hair products – I use their on a daily basis, it gives a matte finish and a little bit of hold. For those long days out and about I have added a bit of the MR Styling Gel, a non-sticky gel, which keeps my flat hair in place all day – even on VERY windy days.

 Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

7 // READ:

Niki Brantmark, or better known as the woman behind the blog, (avid cattledogs readers, have probably seen Niki in Holly’s stories on IG from their joint travels). Not only is Niki one of the top Scandi bloggers right now, but she also has written a few books, latest has become a top seller worldwide. If you haven’t already, you should check it out and get acquainted with the Swedish art of living a balanced, happy life.

LAGOM book

8 // EAT:

Camping is one thing. Glamping is a whole other thing. Once again, whiskey brand Talisker is taking the joy of enjoying their golden drink to a whole other level. For two weekends only this summer, , an island in the Stockholm archipelago, spend a night under the stars in beautiful canvas tents fully equipped with beds and a wood stove. Best of all you’ll also enjoy local produce dinner by Danish chef Mikkel Karstad and cocktails shaken by Mate Castlos. This is truly an exhibition you don’t want to miss. Get a sneak peek in .

Glamping in Sweden

9 // SHOP:

Speaking of Ikea, or so I did in #1 at least, you’ll be happy to hear that they have announced they're stepping on the accelerator to speed up their webshop, so soon we should all just be one click away from . On another totally unexpected note coming from me, you have to check out my favorite kids clothing brand, Swedish . Their clothes would be the sole purpose of me ever getting a kid, it is all just so darn cute. Love the prints, colors, and wish it came it grown man sizes sometimes. They even have their most perfect home collection.

Mini Rodini Home


If you want to be up to date on everything new in Swedish design, I encourage you to go follow Swedish star stylist , who always seem to find everything new and trendy before everyone else.

Lotta Agaton

See you in June for my favorite things! -

[Editor's Note: All grooming products book are gifted as part of reviewing for this column in partnership between and the brands. Allan was also invited to Stockholm to review the glamping experience. This review is provided by Allan Torp for cattledogs, any collaborations are his own. All words and opinions are his own.]

My New Column in FLOW Magazine Germany

Hello friends, how are you? I'm feeling so happy today because I've been working on some creative projects that are lots of fun for me (and challenging), but also because my column in the German edition of is doing well and lots of German readers are writing to me because they are so happy to read me in their own language now. I'm proud of this too. So if you are a subscriber already, or you pick it up regularly at the newsstand, please grab FLOW magazine and look for my column, "Hollys Welt", each month. The first one kicked off in the issue shown below, currently on newsstands or you can buy it - it's issue 33. In my columns, I talk about my position on everything from being an entrepreneur and running a business, mom life, living in Germany as an expat and the crazy world of social media and sharing.

Holly Becker FLOW Germany Column "Hollys Welt"
FLOW Germany new columnist Holly Becker

On a different note, I was so touched to read your responses to my recent post, A letter from Holly. Thank you for that. It was really interesting to read your comments - so many of you absolutely feel the same as I do and I really enjoyed all of your feedback and to hear your overall "concerns" about our online community as well. There is so much work to be done, so much good to be had, but we all need to collectively work very hard to evolve our brands and blogs in ways that go beyond the ho-hum generic, and even the boring "accepted" ways... There is so much a creative, innovative and imaginative community can dream up, none of us need to be slaves to algorithms and apps - eff that, right!?

Tomorrow morning, I'm flying to Poland, yippee!!! I can't wait for many reasons, but naturally, I'm so excited to spend time with my friends and to celebrate the upcoming wedding of and Felice. This is her "hen" weekend in Warsaw, so it's a really big tradition and a big deal to her and all of us too. I won't be sharing it online anywhere, it's private of course, but I will definitely be sharing my favorite views of Warsaw all weekend on my Instagram ( so please follow me over there starting tomorrow (Friday).

Before the end of the week, will be visiting you with his monthly column sharing his favorites, and next week, I'll be back on Monday with highlights from Warsaw and all new content for the week that I've been saving - also a column from Mel (shop tour!), and home tour from Alison (Scottish city apartment), and much more. Next week will be a 5-day week of content on cattledogs, so stay tuned.




A Letter From Holly

Hello everyone, how are you? I hope well, and that you are enjoying a nice Spring/almost Summertime. As per usual, I am doing fine but feeling a bit like talking to you today since I rarely really TALK to you anymore like I used to.

And I'm missing that quite a lot.

In fact, I miss the conversations I once had online, period. The internet, with bloggers and influencers, in particular, has become so crowded - it's like the Las Vegas strip with arrows and blinking lights flashing constantly, "Look at me!", "Like Me!", "Read this!", and of course, it's distracting as hell. There are so many wonderful friends and blogger colleagues whom I rarely read anymore, not because I've forgotten them, but because I remember them and go on my phone to read their blog and within 20 seconds I become so distracted by a million other things that I forgot why I'd turned on my phone in the first place. Can you relate? Yeah, right!

Holly Becker

I guess I wonder where all of this will lead eventually. All of these people, all of these influencers, all of EVERYTHING. In the magazine world, there was always some kind of "cap", right? I mean, magazines are expensive and not just anyone can start one without a chunk of cash, which means exactly that: not everyone can start one. Which almost helped the masses to be able to find a favorite title more easily and to stay loyal to the content longer. Also, magazines fade and die if they're not relevant any longer yet bloggers and influencers tend to keep going even long after their popularity has waned. Magazines cannot buy followers and subscribers, Instagram influencers can. So much about the online world, with its lack of rules, prices, guilds, associations, and everything else that is lacking online (a lot!), also means anyone can and will be anything and say they are anything, even when they are still learning or perhaps, totally unqualified.


Or fake. Or not to be trusted. Not at all. I'm online and I consider myself to be transparent and honest. But, from my 12+ years working full-time in new media, I can honestly say that so much of what we are exposed to each day is not exactly realistic, honest, or even good for us on so many levels. So many reviews are dishonest or definitely hyped up because the brand paid for the trip or the hotel experience or the yoga retreat. And don't get me started on how many recipes I've used from "experts" online that forgot a core ingredient or that resulted in a lasagna that tasted like dog food.

I love bloggers and influencers and this whole online world namely because in the design/decor genre, I helped to form it. I was one of the first group of bloggers in the United States who had a design blog and today, I'm still part of the less than 1% of bloggers who can make a living from blogging. I am proud of the community and of the hard-earned success so many of us have found. Overall, I cannot complain too much. It's been an amazing journey and I plan to stay in it for at least another decade, if not longer. I love the friends and "family" I've made online, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I also see a lot of bullsh*t and sometimes, l want to scream from the rooftops like my friend Sandra says so bluntly, everyone please, "CUT THE CRAP!".

Do you get what I'm saying here?

Like I just want more honest conversations, and well, conversations in general that aren't fluffy nonsense. And I don't want people commenting just to gain a comment from me in return on my Insta. And I don't want to see a blogger whom I respect online today only to learn that tomorrow, she bought Insta followers. I don't want to follow people who are show-offs, obsessed with their appearance, shallow, or who claim to be the best parent or super clean eater only to find out that in real life, they're just the opposite.

I also want more critical conversations too. In fact, my friend Stefan recently mentioned this on his blog and it really resonated with me because most conversations are always about what we love and support but how about saying that we went to a design fair and we weren't so impressed because things felt the same and looked the same as last year. What's wrong with saying we stayed at some hip hotel and it really wasn't what we expected? In some cases, bloggers can't and won't because that hotel or fair paid them to be there in the first place. But, isn't it sort of sad to think that the online world has become exactly what the early bloggers were seeking to break away from - namely, content that felt fake, sales-y and well, lacking real truth and/or a clear, honest voice, and opinion?

Maybe some of us should try a little harder to go back to our roots. What do you think? Maybe we should stop trying to mimic everything and everyone else and these antiquated models for doing business online and change things up a bit and get back to reality. To show more than the sponsored post and the paid-for stuff on Instagram?

Maybe this is going to actually kill blogs and even, in time, kill influencers. Have you ever thought of that, how this model may actually be what eventually weakens the strength of influencers and sinks the opinions of some of our favorite bloggers? Because eventually everything evolves and moves on. How can we evolve "this" and move on and become even stronger as, not only new media writers and content creators but as influencers, tastemakers, trend experts and all of the other things so many of us rightly are and have earned throughout the years?

How can we evolve? Any thoughts?

I know one thing for sure. Bloggers and influencers should get on board with providing paid content and try to break away more from always dealing with sponsored content from brands. It's okay to have sponsored content as part of our model, but why not consider new ways to monetize our sites and utilize our online influence in a positive way to strengthen our brand, gain greater respect from our followers and to also simply do work that we find a lot more meaningful to us personally.

There are so many brands that I love and want to support, but there are billions that I don't and they approach me frequently. I turn them down, but on a few occasions, because I needed to pay the bills, I accepted the work and always felt strange about it afterward. Not because I was dishonest, I picked and liked the product I reviewed or whatever... It was more because I felt like I didn't really want to do the job because I wasn't passionate about the overall brand and their philosophy or production or whatever. Again, I loved the product I shared but I didn't really love the brand and that's when I find it difficult and uncomfortable... And I know I could have avoided those kinds of jobs simply by being more clever, restructuring my revenue model and thinking of new streams that I've not tapped into yet that would have allowed me to simply say, "No thank you."

I've been thinking so much recently about the business of blogging and of this funny word, "Influencer", that I still think sounds so manipulative and strange, though I am an influencer and this is always listed next to my name as almost a title whenever I'm working professionally for fairs or in magazines, etc. I guess it is what it is, and I accept it and feel honored on one side, but is it what I really want for myself  - to influence people? And if so, how?

In many ways, I only want to influence people to be HAPPY and to LIVE A GOOD LIFE and to be honest and always realistic while at the same time, dreaming big and reaching for a better life, always.

I want to "influence" people to think in new directions, to stop following the crowd, to CUT THE CRAP and be honest to themselves and others (because that is when you really start to live and feel joy in your life) and to use the home as the base to build your wildest dreams and as the base to be loved, secure, happy and bask in the beauty there that only you and your loved ones have created.

I also want to "influence" people to take breaks away from devices and be closer to their family, friends and most importantly, their little children who love them enormously. You can NEVER get back the precious childhood years with little ones - so if you have your phone in your hand constantly remember that this isn't creating intimacy or a bond with them - it's creating distance, insecurity (in them) and also you are simply missing out on them and their cute little inner world, the things they say, and the sweetness and beauty that comes with youth - that innocence. It's gorgeous. And I'm a mom who is always close to my phone, so I'm #justsayin all of this because I'm guilty as charged, and I'm working on putting the damn phone down a lot more often.

So, my dear friends, this is my little, "Letter from the Editor", from me to all of you. I care for you all so much and I'm always so touched when you read and share my posts and follow my content elsewhere online.

If you think of some thoughts to leave me today, I'd love to read them. Did anything I say resonate? Have you been thinking similarly too?







10 Interiors Trends Spotted at Salone del Mobile 2018 with Design Diffusion in Milan

I was so happy this year to work for Milan-based publishing house, , to tour some of their favorite spots around with some of my favorite blogger colleagues. Last year, the tour was very good but this year, it was fantastic. I can't wait to share my report and also 10 trends that I spotted as I explored each stand.


For the tour this year, it was very well organized, the stands were inspiring, the blogger group was great, and we had a fantastic lunch together in the Salone 'Red Room' where only 200 people in the world have a pass to eat there! The overall 'feel good' energy was contagious. All of it was a perfect 10.

Out of all of the major fairs I've been to in Europe, the is one that I'm sure not to miss because it's just above and beyond when it comes to scale and inspiration. I'm so glad I went this year, the trip was fantastic overall and I came back home loaded with new ideas and inspirations to share with all of you.

Salone del mobile

I was happy that this year, part of the tour included the kitchen design hall, Eurocucina, which was absolutely mind-blowing. The technological advances being made in the world of kitchen and bath is nothing short of exciting. Kitchens are definitely turning families into chefs and it is no longer, "a woman's place", but men are finally being thought about more in the overall design - kitchens are becoming very gender neutral.

From left to right:  Desiree ,  Stefan ,  Mary,   Agata ,  Niki , Me,  Ulla  and seated on the   floor  , Francesca Russo from Design Diffusion, our fearless leader (  along with Chiara Omboni, not shown ).

From left to right: , , , , Me, and seated on the floor, Francesca Russo from Design Diffusion, our fearless leader (along with Chiara Omboni, not shown).

Our tour group, consisted of Desiree Groenendal from , Stefan Nilsson from , Mary Middleton from , Agata Dimmich from e, Niki Brantmark from e and Ulla Michalak from , had a tight schedule to follow yet it still felt surprisingly relaxed and low key. I always felt like I was the last one being called back to the group, "Holly? Where's Holly?", but this is because I need a little more time than my colleagues to absorb what I'm seeing as I can go a bit into design fantasy land as I look at things I love. When I spot something that resonates with me, or that is just plain unusual, I tend to need a few moments with it, to observe, touch, ask questions, and draw a conclusion. I've always been like this, in school, in college, always... The last one in the group to follow the others... But other than often feeling a bit like I was two steps behind, I felt absolutely interested in each brand we'd visited and found something (or several 'somethings') from each that drew me in.

Who did we visit? I'll summarize with photos below.


Flou was intriguing to me, simply because it's so iconic and vast, and their stand was incredible. This year, in honor of their 40th birthday, they've worked with  Vico Magistretti to design a bed taking a 40-year-old fabric (shown below) from their archives and using it today as a headboard, pillow and duvet cover for this limited edition "" bed (this is my favorite from their collection of beds, I just love the ties on the headboard and the overall comfort and style of this design).


Flou had a heavy focus on wood, nickel, marble and interesting, tactile fabrics. I really loved the makeup cabinet shown below for the bedroom, so glamorous and rich with all of the illuminated mirrors, swoon!



I really liked the presentation at Walter Knoll, particularly the drama mixed with the big black lights filled with plants. Also the carpets, but also the Badawi pillows, which look a bit like a big stuffed carpet that you can use to create lounge-y areas in your home. As I walked through, I imagined a big resort in Bali or something else quite exotic and over the top. I loved the huge murals on the wall too, mostly of black and white florals. Lots of metals in this collection, bronze brass, all brushed and not too shiny. I also liked the curved chairs and sofas, a big trend this year, and the sumptuous fabrics. Accent colors were definitely there in yellows and tones of orange and red.

walter knoll
Walter Knoll
walter knoll
walter knoll
walter knoll rugs
stefan nilsson

3. (kitchens) and (living)

It was exciting to see some of the newest kitchens at Poliform, who really are leaders in the industry for contemporary kitchen design, and have an amazing presence at the Salone each year. Kitchens have gone darker in nearly every stand I passed, including Poliform, where dark wood and lots of dark stone was quite on trend. I really like how Poliform has a new countertop with a groove opening that runs down either side, which is great for clean up and prep (water and food cannot easily spill over onto the floor) but also the groove is there so you can place various pieces into the counter for cooking and prep work - like a cutting board.


About this groove opening, the brand says, "An innovative solution, able to transform a technical detail into an aesthetic detail that harmonizes with every type of finish, from steel to solid wood, and with all the other elements of the kitchen."

Additionally, some kitchens had built in spaces for herb gardens in the cabinetry and they can grow easily with the special lighting the brand uses to mimic sunlight.


Natuzzi's stand was similar to last year, with lots of elegant clean lines, several rooms to peruse where you could imagine living with their products, and lots of grown-up colors that felt very classy. You can tell their focus is on nature and materials. And I always love their closets and beds!


I loved the new Torsion table designed by architect Mario Bellini with its thick glass top and a storm-like base composed of six solid olive wood pieces and inspired by the olive trees from Puglia which resist the inclement weather by twisting. I couldn't take my eyes off of it! Look...


Side Note: It was interesting to also see that Marcel Wanders, whom I had the pleasure of meeting the day before in Milan, designed the Agronomist collection of sofas, armchairs, and furniture inspired by the land, the landscapes, the architecture and the lifestyle of Puglia and also Oceanographer, another collection of seaside inspired sofas, armchairs, chairs, tables and accessories.


I loved Kartell this year and the,"Smart Design For Smart People", themed stand. It was so easy to find products, learn about them, photograph them and to get into the moment because the stand was split into row after row of themed displays where you could see the theme, read about it and photograph it easily since everything was on display gallery-style so no one was lounging on sofas or chairs getting in the way of your photography moments!


"The display involves eight platforms, each for a project representing a macro-theme of the corporate strategy: new research into wood, with the WOODY collection; a focus on BIO themes and new materials; innovation of the SMART TABLES; the placing of value on essential and universal design for the OUTDOORS; the new proposals for LIVING and SITTING; the shapes and plays of light of the LIGHTING line; and, last but not least, the recent collaboration with La Double J for investing the living with colours."

This was such a smart and interesting presentation, I actually loved it. I liked the new WOOD and BIO collections best, I found it so interesting that Kartell would integrate wood into their collection but also that they are thinking more about sustainability and the environment.


6. +

and teamed up and their stand at Salone was most impressive. I think it was my favorite after the Kartell stand because of their gorgeous design, but also their styling and attention to detail were spot on and also I liked the lighting in their stand - it wasn't jarring or clinical, rather it was rela and warm. I noticed a lot of stands this year paid a great deal of attention to styling. Maybe we have Instagram and scoial media to thank, but brands are really seeking to create an interior story for their products and finally seem to know and understand the value of props and good styling to create an ambiance that helps a consumer understand their products better but also, to feel comfortable around them.

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 5.44.28 PM.png
poet light


Some of my favorites (above) from this stand included the Silvia Poltrona Armchairs, the Blendy curved sofa, Fratelli Monti 1954 armchair, , Elementi Lampada (hanging light), Poet lamp.


Our final stop on this tour ended with where we saw their newest collaboration with Diesel and to my surprise, some white kitchens which have definitely taken a back seat in the past year when it comes to sought-after kitchen design. I'll always love a bright, white kitchen though and to combine it with industrial elements and black, along with some plants and pretty, styled opened shelving... Well, I'm smitten for that look and I don't think that will change anytime soon. White and black, classic and always in vogue!


In summary, here are 10trends I spotted from touring these brands at Salone this year:

1. MODULAR seating and kitchens

2. LOTS of dark wood

3. BLACK marble

4. BLACK metal

5. TEXTURE everywhere

6. GROOVED countertops in kitchens

7. DARKER kitchens, more masculine

8. STYLING spaces - a big focus

9. CURVES - sofas, chairs, tables, wall hangings, lighting - rounded or oval

10. SUMPTUOUS fabrics that beg you to touch and sit on them

Holly Becker / Niki Brantmark
Holly Becker / Agata Dimmich
Holly Becker  / Mary Middleton
Niki Brantmark / Stefan Nilsson

Thank you so much Francesca for having me this year at Design Diffusion, I'll never forget it!

If you'd like to see us in action, check out video footage from our day on Youtube.


(This post was sponsored by Design Diffusion. All thoughts and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that give me the creative freedom to pursue work that I love.)
Holly Becker Comments
Dimore Gallery Crush - Milan Design Week 2018

, an interiors company based in Milan, was founded by the genius, creative designer couple Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, and this year their installations really blew me away during Milan Design Week. So much so, that I just had to jump online and tell you all about it here in this report. This year, these extraordinary men flipped everything that was right into a very good "wrong" that worked somehow and stimulated my imagination like crazy. Last year, their gallery was much more literal with rooms and scenes that you could imagine living in. This year, it was a total circus for the senses and for me, it was intoxicating as much as it was challenging for me to fully wrap my head around. And for these reasons, I decided that I really liked it because it was nice to be exposed to something that wasn't comfortable, easy to translate or even relatable... I liked the feeling of being forced out of my comfort zone as a creative person. 

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

Salci and Moran had three locations for guests to experience, though I only had time for two and honestly, that was enough. Anything Dimore does takes so much time and mental/emotional energy for me to experience, then process, that I almost need downtime and a glass of wine after so I can just sit alone and try to figure out what that was all about. I love this though, the mind trip these guys take me on, it's great.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

One thing that stands out about Salci and Moran is how fantastically artistic and creative they are, but also that they possess a strong sense of business, making them wildly successful and sought-after in the world of design - at least here in Europe. They really do everything so well, it is quite impressive. Journalists, designers, tastemakers, trendsetters, you name it... All want to see what Salci and Moran have to show during Milan Design Week and honestly, it's not all hype or more designers seeking some status climb - the praise is based on something very real - these guys absolutely take everything you think you know about design and interiors and give it (and your imagination) a hard and fast spin.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

So, what was it like to experience Dimore this year, for me personally? Their main event was called, "Transfer: an emotive installation dedicated to Masters of 20th-century design". They took their space with its multiple rooms, blackened each room to where you almost needed a guide to take you through, and placed tents in the middle of rooms showing various settings and styles using furniture, fabric and accessories from their collections (that they also sell to the public) along with things you'd have in a typical living area - newspapers, books, ashtrays, etc. Honestly, none of it was really pretty or even something you'd want to copy and try at home. Which, well, was the true beauty of it.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

It was a bit like walking through a movie set, very theatrical and heady, with music piping into each room along with fragrance, that made you feel a bit high and otherworldly. This is something, for me, that truly sets Dimore apart in the world of design that you won't find at the inspiring spaces of Rossana Orlandi, Studio Pepe, or anywhere else really - how Salci and Moran are extremely in tune with all of the senses and use them in wildly imaginative and even sensual ways to bring an interior space to a whole new level - this full-on experience that gives interiors a personality beyond just a good looking sofa, amazing light, or a few well-styled accessories.

Dimore tickles and teases all of your senses as you experience their unusual combination of aesthetics and the overall ambiance. It's so captivating.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

Moran and Salci are so obviously storytellers, collectors, and some of the most artistic I've seen in Milan. They are not interested in being trendy or fitting in. They could care less about showing what's already been seen just to get some good press. They are in love with creating experiences for themselves and for others and beyond that, in making their collections of vintage and antique items come to life in magical, fantastic ways.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

Salci is, what I call, an over the top, creative pirate of sorts - his fashion sense and overall look is so amazingly inspiring in a world of boring cookie cutter fashion... Just looking at him gives you creative energy and makes your brain swirl.

His partner, Moran, is also impeccably stylish and resembles Benedict Cumberbatch, at least to me. He bears no trace of his American background with the exception of his genial manner which is very distinctly southern Gentleman (he's from the Carolinas as I am). His eyes are friendly and full of warmth and his charm is contagious - I was impressed by his overall aura and vibrance.

And yes, I met them both and was happy to spend time chatting with Moran (Salci speaks mostly Italian). What an honor to share moments with them both, who were so kind and gracious to me, which took me by surprise as I assumed they'd be a bit arrogant and unavailable but it was just the opposite - they are very involved in their work and kind to all who stop them for a chat or to simply compliment their artistry and vision. They were even quite modest, a beautiful discovery which made me love their work even more.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

I will wrap up by saying that experiencing Dimore this year felt so different from 2017, a bit complicated, unexpected, and very unique to them. Seeing all of the vintage and antique pieces that they collect and sell, exhibited in such a creative way, was pure magic. These types of experiences stay with me for months after Milan Design Week wraps up, and these types of people really stand out in a world where sameness and the mundane have become almost toxic to my own creativity. Dimore has given me some good energy and fuel for my own work and projects, and I'm grateful for that.

(Photography: Silvia Rivoltella)

Marcel Wanders: The Five Seasons for Alessi, Milan Launch Party

I met Marcel Wanders! Yes! But first, let me explain how and why. It’s all about my collaboration with and his latest with them… Ready to learn more?

Iconic Italian brand, , has produced everyday designer objects since 1921. In fact, most of us have a few products from them in our home, most likely the kitchen. They frequently partner with some of the best designers in the world and I just had the honor of visiting their showroom during Milan Design Week and mingled with one of their brightest stars, legendary Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

Together, they’ve launched the Five Seasons collection composed of 5 fragrances based on the four seasons a mysterious, sensual and spiritual 5th season, all for the home. Best of all, I was at the launch party and was able to experience the seasons, and Marcel, up close and personal.

(I even asked him for a selfie later on, as a total fan should - scroll down for that...)

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

First, the product

With room perfume, candles, and diffusers, this collection will appeal to design fans because the fragrances are sophisticated, unique and the overall design is mostly clean, sophisticated and will fit any décor. You won’t find the typical scents in this collection; instead imagine a candle with subtle notes of bergamot, lily of the valley and musk.

The diffusers, which usually are seen on the market with typical reeds, are much different in Five Seasons. Instead of generic reeds, stylized leaves were designed from mahogany, making the design fresh and unique. These elegant leaves make the diffusers more of a décor accessory as much as a practical, functional room fragrance. Each of the five scents has its own stylized leaf paired with a different fragrance in the collection. The 5th fragrance is also paired with a natural lava stone that subtly diffuses the perfume into the room.

In addition to the overall design, I liked the fragrance and product itself because you can imagine the collection appealing to anyone, regardless of gender, age or even cultural background. The collection doesn’t feel overly masculine or feminine, which I love because so many companies producing fragrance today tend to target women, yet many men also love a home that smells appealing to them and not the typical flower or fruit scents often found when you’re shopping for room fragrances, candles, and diffusers. The porcelain bases of the diffusers and candles can be selected in black or white and the fragrances are definitely gender neutral.

The 5 fragrances are:

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

BRRR: Notes of bergamot, lily of the valley and musk. Fresh, sparkling atmosphere, reawakening the senses.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

AHHH: Youthful, grassy, delicate notes like cardamom, hyacinth, and vetiver.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

HMM: Red berries, fig and woody notes. Clean and elegant.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

GRRR: Incense, cedarwood, and moss. Sensual, complex, smoky notes.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

SHHH: Eucalyptus, rose and patchouli. Intrigue, a mysterious bouquet.

My Favorite

While perusing the Alessi showroom in Milan, lifting each glass dome to experience one of the five seasons, I was focused on selecting my personal favorite. Which one was it, you may wonder? Definitely AHHH (shown below) because it was fresh and pure and I would love this scent in my bathroom while rela in the tub with some wine and good music.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Next, the designer

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

I can't forget the famous Marcel Wanders! I’ve wanted to meet for twelve years, ever since discovering his work while I was still in design school. I’ve long loved how he marries traditional Dutch design with futuristic shapes and modern design, showing the true talent of Mr. Wanders to be so diverse, fresh and a true leader in his field.

I've also long admired his playful sense-of-humor and sparkle, which was so apparent when we met - he is absolutely charming and full of life, which translates into his work – including this collection of fragrances.

As you can see, I was all smiles during this special event and am so proud of Marcel's continued success and his contributions throughout the years to the design industry overall - such a mega inspiration to so many!

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher


Did I mention a party with cocktails were involved? Each of the 5 cocktails served were designed to ‘match’ each of the fragrances. I wish I had taken a photo of each of them – it was such a gorgeous idea to imagine how a fragrance would taste and look if translated into a refreshing drink. Fantastic idea.

I also ran into some friends, made new ones, and had a beautiful evening in the warm and summer-y courtyard with Marcel and the many friends who came out to support his launch.

Here are a few snaps from my iPhone. No evening is complete without a selfie and a shot of the floors, which were very cool and looked great with my silver loafers.

Alessi Holly Becker
Marcel Wanders and Holly Becker
Alessi Five Seasons Collection Marcel Wanders
Holly Becker Alessi Milan Showroom

My evening in Milan with Marcel and the whole Alessi team was a true pleasure and an honor. I’m happy that I was able to experience his collection and also, his big, open and vibrant personality. All in all, a great collection and a gorgeous evening well spent.

(This post was sponsored by Alessi. All words and thoughts are my own. Photography by , iPhone photos from Holly Becker for cattledogs.)