This week on Wynne's World, my chic, talented friend Danielle Fichera
offers her suggestions for holiday gifts. Danielle is the Creative Director and visionary behind her eponymous collection of resort wear, which is made in New York City with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship.
(Danielle): This year, I found I was leaning towards unique items for the home along with cozy sweaters and cashmere wraps. I find vinyl records and books are some of the best gifts I have given and received. Nothing says I know you or love you, more than a vintage record of a favorite song. Vintage books can also speak volumes to the ones you love. Setting a cozy mood with colored candles at your dinner table or scented candles throughout your home can make a long winter a bit more manageable.
Our friend Riggs in front of Battenfeld's with his family's Christmas tree
Bell's Christmas Tree Farm in Accord
Pulling up to Bell's
We also paid a visit to Battenfeld's
Jason and John at Battenfeld's
White Pine Trees at Battenfeld's
Jason enjoying the trees
One of our favorite farm stands, Migliorelli, also sells trees
The trees at Migliorelli Farm Stand
We picked out a wreath at Adams Fairacre Farms
Kate Best's Country Retreat
This week on Wynne's World we visit the stylish country home of Celebrity Makeup Artist Kate Best. Kate and I share a very close friend and have been following each other on Instagram for several years. Last summer when my usual makeup artist was not available for a photoshoot due to travel, our mutual friend suggested that I contact Kate. I had always admired her work and knew she was highly skilled however she exceeded expectations. It was an honor and privilege to work with her and she is such a lovely and compassionate human being. A consummate professional, Kate is not only talented, she has exceptional attention to detail and went above and beyond to ensure that the shoot was a success. She has since become a dear friend. I've always wanted to learn more about her esteemed career which includes loyal relationships with legendary beauty icons J. Lo and Vanessa Williams. In addition to being a top makeup artist, Kate has a sprawling country home with a menagerie of animals that she has rescued. Think Brigitte Bardot however replace Saint-Tropez with the Pocono Mountains. I asked Kate to describe her career and tell us about her country home and animal sanctuary in her own words.
Celebrity Makeup Artist Kate Best with J. Lo
Kate Best: I've been a makeup artist for 30 years now. I started out as a model and worked in Paris and other parts of Europe. I first came to New York with Richard Burbridge, a fabulous British photographer, and established myself In the editorial world with him, working for Vogue, ID Magazine and many more. Another very special reason for coming to New York from London was to design the makeup for Kiss of the Spiderman. This is where I started my career as a theatrical makeup designer and also where I met Kevyn Aucoin. He was originally asked by Chita Rivera however Kevyn was busy with Liza Minelli so I was was the next one on the list.
It changed my life! I fell in with love Kevyn instantly, like all of us did, and assisted him for a while and then was on his team at fashion week. I pretty much haven't stopped since!
I went on to design many more broadway shows but I've spent most of my career being “celebrity request”. I have had the amazing luck to spend my career with incredible iconic women who have been clients and friends including:
I met Vanessa Williams while working on Kiss and we have been working together ever since on movies, television shows, editorials, broadway shows and red carpet.
I met J. LO when she requested me three years ago for the television show Shades of Blue and I've worked with her ever since. We just finished a soon to be released movie called Marry Me and we’ll be working on another new project soon.
I feel incredibly grateful for longevity in a career that I love and have met so many dear friends and clients who mean the world to me. In fact, these woman have shaped my life.
Cut to .....Vanessa was always encouraging me to “get that horse farm” I've always dreamed of and when I finally did she bought me the most impressive cupola to go on my barn roof. It made it so real for me! She’s always been so supportive of everything I've done.
Kate with one of her horses
As time went on, I realized that in order to keep creating and working hard I needed to fill my soul and after 25 years in New York the country was calling. I made a decision, one that many people thought was nuts, however I knew it was time and what I needed to be happy and continue to be a creative active artist. I sold my Riverside Drive apartment on the Upper West Side and moved full time to the country to start my animal sanctuary. It has been the craziest, scariest most rewarding thing I've ever done and I don’t regret it for a minute. Even now with Covid and almost no work to speak of, caring for the animals has been so rewarding. The horses bound for slaughter need a soft landing and someone to give them a voice. I couldn’t look away and felt compelled to advocate for them.
It has been a very enriching though painful journey and one I know I’m meant to be on- no question! Funny where you find yourself! The mix of makeup glamming and mucking out horses stalls seems somehow to be the perfect balance!! Lol!
The simple beauty of these animals and their pure love is so inspiring and gives me such a sense of peace that I find myself also feeling the same about my humans. Caring for them and nurturing them is so fulfilling, not just on a superficial level but deeper, to me it is the same thing. The beauty business and the animals- it all makes sense!
I spend my days caring for the horses (which also keeps me very fit ) and prepping for makeup work. When I travel I have someone who stays here to take care of things. I also do the occasional wedding. The brides come here to the sanctuary for a consultation and some rosé. It’s a beautiful place for people to come and recharge surrounded by animals and nature. It really has become a very special place for both people and for the animals. We have photo shoots here on the property and soon it will be open for Airbnb (which pretty much takes care of my interior design obsession!) so we will be able to share this retreat with everyone.
I think that in these times we really need to find our bliss and when we do we need to share it and give a little back. I think that’s the magic!
You can follow Kate on Instagram and see more images of her 4500 square foot home on 17 acres here: @kateland7
From rooftop dinners as the sun sets to Sundays spent listening to Nina Simone and The Velvet Underground, designer Danielle Fichera has been quarantining in style. This week on Wynne's World, we learn more about how Danielle has been spending the summer in her chic Nolita apartment. As someone who normally travels quite a bit, this year has brought quite the change from Danielle's usual summer plans, however, she has found a way to make city living look like a luxurious vacation. The slower pace has also allowed her more time to focus on her eponymous collection of the most beautiful resort wear. Many of my favorite dresses are from Danielle's collection and her sustainable brand is also a favorite of Amanda Hearst, Indré Rockefeller and Petra Nemkova.
(Heidi) What have you been cooking this summer? (Danielle) I have been cooking very simple and healthy food. I am an avid cook, but cooking 2-3 meals a day for 5+ months has left me to cook a lot of pasta, chicken and vegetables. I am a huge fan of the Barefoot Contessa!
How are you staying inspired? I have found Instagram to be incredibly inspiring the past couple months. I ended up setting up a giant mood board in my space, full of my favorite images - which I absolutely love and will stay up post lockdown.
What have you been reading this summer? E.E. Cummings, Selected Poems and The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac
What have you been watching? Just about everything! Some of my favorites are “Killing Eve”, “The Bodyguard” - the UK suspense show, not the US movie, "The Stranger”, “Liar”, “Normal People" and reruns of “The Office”.
Current Playlist? (Danielle has exceptional taste in music):
“I Wish I Knew How It Would Be To Feel To Be Free” by Nina Simone … My favorite song!
“Girl From North Country” by Bob Dylan
“Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds
“Indian Girl” by The Rolling Stones
“Piazza, New York Catcher” by Belle and Sebastian
“Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend”
“Quelqu’un m’a dit” by Carla Bruni
“That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” by Leonard Cohen
“Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground & Nico
Favorite summer beauty products? This year’s heat has left my skin very irritated. I found Chantecaille’s skincare has been very helpful to calm my skin. I recently discovered Gucci Westman’s line of makeup and have been loving her line of foundation, cream blushes and eye shadows.
How have you been unwinding during this challenging period of time? I found that after being locked inside for over five months, I have been slowly reintegrating myself back into society … however most of my time is still mostly spent at home. I kept thinking my life would go back to the way it was, but then when July 1st hit I realized it was not going to. In order to move forward, I needed to create a new normal and a new routine in order to get my life moving along again.
How are you making your home more comforting during this time? I have been ordering flowers from FlowerBx weekly and indulging in Jo Malone Candles … I recently discovered their Wood Sage & Sea Salt Candles (which smells like the most delicious beach!).
One of the many benefits of Instagram is having the opportunity to get to know fascinating women from all over the world. During the past week, it was so nice to learn that many of these women who I respect and admire for their style also share my values regarding equality and social justice. Rolla Wazni, who is based in Paris, happens to be one of them and I am so honored to interview her and allow us get to know her even better.
Rolla earned an MA in Fine Arts in Drouot in Paris. She then spent several years working and honing her experience in the art world. Her long passion for art, fashion and interior design as well as her love for music and film made her entry into the art industry inherent and intuitive. Known for her trending yet elegant taste, she directly found a major role in the art and design industry. Rolla started as a Director at Carpenters Workshop Gallery focusing on expanding the gallery's reach into the MENA region. After 5 years with CWG, Rolla decided to take on a new challenge and shift from contemporary design to contemporary art by joining Kamel Mennour.
She was first posted as a director at the London Gallery and lead the gallery's operations and sales as it first entered the London market. Rola decided to move back to Paris, her second home, while remaining a key member of the Kamel Mennour gallery as the Director of Sales. Rolla's esthetics and elegant style made her an influential and inspiring figure in both the art and design industry as well as the fashion and entertainment world.
If you aren't already following Rolla on Instagram, please do and I promise you will not regret it. One of my favorite activities is watching classic films, especially when they feature a stylish wardrobe. Rolla's feed always catches my eye because in additional to posting inspirational images and songs, she has exceptional taste in film. I asked Rolla to share some of her favorites and I look forward to watching the ones that are new to me.
La Chamade by Alain Cavalier, 1968
Belle de Jour by Luis Buñuel, 1967
La Piscine by Jacques Deray, 1969
Les Choses de la vie by Claude Sautet, 1970
Les Choses de la vie
Dangerous Liaisons by Stephen Frears, 1988
The Edge of Love by John Maybury, 2008
The Edge of Love
Anna Karenina by Joe Wright, 2012
Atonement by Joe Wright, 2007
The Virgin Suicides by Sofia Coppola, 1999
The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola, 1972
Great Expectations by Alfonso Cuaron, 1998
Unfaithful by Adrian Lyne, 2002
9 1/2 Weeks by Adrian Lyne, 1985
American Gigolo by Paul Schrader, 1980
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Sharon Maguire, 2001
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Anthony Minghella, 1999
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson, 2000
Against All Odds by Taylor Hackford, 1984
Against All Odds