guest post: martha in paris!

by now you guys have seen the lovely martha hunt on our website and in our catalogs, but did you ever wonder what her real life is like? martha was kind enough to put together a post about a recent trip she took to paris for our blog!

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I had the lucky task of jetting to Paris for a couple of weeks to schmooze with clients. The City of Lights has a lot to offer, so I try to fit in as much as possible in between castings!

I checked out the Montparnasse Cemetery on the left bank.  It is a hauntingly beautiful cemetery jam-packed with tombstones of many famous names, including the legendary Serge Gainsbourg and philosopher Jean Paul Sartre.  Rest in peace!

Donned a black bob – I loved my Mia Wallace moment. Elderflower juice takes me to my happy place– you just can’t find it in the states!

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Luckily I bumped into one of Free People’s very own, the lovely, Lauren. I hung out with her and her friend, and one of my favorite photographers, David Bellemere. Tres chic!

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Je ne sais pas?

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The American explorer in me values a good road trip. My boyfriend and I drove to a town called Cambremer, two hours northwest of Paris. We visited Chateua Les Bruyeres, which happened to be the perfect spot to rock my new Free People skirt! We rode bikes, tried local cuisine, checked out a few Normandy towns, but mostly enjoyed the country view. Not too shabby! One hard lesson learned: tripe is a delicacy that consists of intestines, not fish.

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“Je moooooo fous!”

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Never miss a photo op…

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…never leave a field un-frolicked.

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Back in town, stolling through the Place des Vosges.

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I can’t leave Paris without having grilled-over-an-open-fire-steak at my favorite restaurant, Robert et Louise! It’s located in the heart of the Marais district.

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Model or C.I.A. agent? I’m a woman of many faces, er well— hair do’s.

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I shot at Hotel Le Meurice with famed photographer Guy Aroch. Just another hard day at the office!

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Not a bad view. The Eiffel Tower in the distance fades away. Until next time, Par-eeeeeh! Bisous! X

fp travels in stockholm

remember when i posted about some of our fp girls in paris the other day? well they also went to stockholm and met up with swedish blogger minna of the blog vintage (a love story). minna posted about it on her blog and i wanted to share some of her beautiful photos along with a translation of her post about their day in stockholm!

On Friday we had a very nice day, the sun was shining, we had toasted sandwiches for breakfast and then we got dressed and went to Skeppsholmen to pick up three girls from Philadelphia – they are designers for the brilliant brand Free People, and made a one-day stop in Stockholm during an inspirational trip to Europe.

Some of the stores we visited were Beyond Retro, Tjallamalla, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and Lisa Larson.

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Then we went to one of the coolest stores in Stockholm, Unionville. The Free People girls were clearly impressed by the shop and studio.

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Douglas showed us bits of turquoise and gold, which they dug up in the Nevada desert.

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At Unionville the sound is a mix of vinyl, thumps of a hammer, the drone of a chewing machine and creaking floors, and smells of denim.

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for lunch we ate at Nytorget Urban Deli.

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Kristal was wearing a terribly beautiful vintage necklace from a shop in NY.

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On to Judith for more shopping! Beautiful as always with pink roses and GW Persson.

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At Beyond Retro at Zinc, we found an amazing 40’s dress – it had everything, model, color, fabric, details!

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In the evening we had drinks and food at Heather’s.

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Then we said goodbye …now I really know where Free People’s fabulous clothes come from. They have designers that feel genuine and very different from each other in many ways, and perhaps that is precisely what makes the result so very very good.

thank you so much minna for your kind words and this sweet post! view the post on her blog here.

final guest post from honestly…wtf

Thank you to our friends at Free People for including us in their Guest Blogger Series. Honestly, it’s been a blast! We thought we’d finalize our series with another set of photos that truly inspire us. xx, Erica & Lauren

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thank you so much ladies! it’s been an honor having you on our blog :)

so sweet

i went over and checked my mail today and was surprised to find a package waiting, from an unknown address and marked “do not bend.” i carefully opened it and out slid two pieces of cardboard taped together, inside of which were two pieces of art and a card.

“dear julia…here is a little fan art i created for free people. i am an artist and budding textile designer from queens, new york.  i have been wearing free people for years now and i am a faithful follower of the building 25 blog. i love the free people aesthetic. it’s refreshing how interactive the company is with their customer base.  free people is more like a community than just a brand. thank you for all the cool clothes and inspiration. love, melissa.”

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this means so much, melissa! thank you!

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as if that wasn’t enough, i was also sent this amazing bouquet of flowers from sullivan owen.

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made my day :)

introducing our march featured guest bloggers!

i am very excited to welcome our guest bloggers for the month of march, erica and lauren of the amazing blog honestly…wtf! these ladies are a constant source of inspiration for DIY projects, art, fashion and more, and i’m thrilled they will be sharing some of their projects and inspiration, as well as an exclusive DIY for free people this month – and keep an eye out on our website for some items from erica’s awesome line the 2 bandits!

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Lauren and I, a fashion stylist and designer respectively, started Honestly…WTF several months ago as a way for us to document a shared love of art, DIYs, travel, and most importantly, fashion. We were beyond thrilled when Free People asked us to contribute to their guest blogger series with a few things that inspire us. Honestly, we can trace our love of Free People as far back as we can remember (circa 1990s)! And so in true FP spirit, we are sharing a handful of images from a DIY Tepee Sewing Workshop we hosted on my family’s ranch in California last Fall. After 3 days of handling 400 yards of heavy canvas, sewing 160 button holes, carving 40 willow pins, attaching 36 stress patches and ripping through 20 spools of thread, we successfully made a beautiful 20 foot tepee. Stay tuned this Spring when we paint the outside of the canvas and decorate the inside!

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if you haven’t already, check out erica and lauren’s blog here.

studio visit: sullivan owen

earlier this week i had the wonderful opportunity to visit the studio of floral and event designer sullivan owen, which just opened in queens village in philadelphia. i love talking to people who are passionate about what they do…their love for their craft is infectious. i could have spent an entire day in her beautiful studio listening to her talk about the artistry behind floral arrangements and watching her work.

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when designing her studio space, sullivan wanted to use a soothing palette with shades of soft gray and white so that when entering the space, your attention goes straight to the flowers. indeed- when i walked in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the pops of color peppering the studio.

when she was younger, sullivan worked at one of the first urban outfitters stores. she recalls the president of the company visiting often to chat with employees and see how the store was doing, and it was a huge inspiration for her to see someone with a dream who was able to make such a successful career out of it.  her dream was to tie together her fine arts background with her love of flowers, which is exactly what she is doing today.

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in addition to floral arrangements, sullivan owen offers complete event design – from mood boards and color palettes to textiles like bouquet wraps and table linens. to her it is about creating an entire atmosphere- an idea that reminded me very much of our free people stores.

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bits of inspiration from around the studio: vintage knick knacks, beaded belts, books and handmade table linens from her own wedding.

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a beautiful wall of vases and jars that can be rented for events – with the exception of the shelf of vintage glass bottles, which are her private collection inherited from her grandfather and serve as inspiration.

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when i arrived, sullivan was in the back finishing up an arrangement, and i sat and watched while she talked excitedly about how the floral industry is starting to attract a younger audience of people who appreciate the fine arts.  with her own background in the arts, her approach to putting together an arrangement is very much like an artist painting a picture – paying special attention to color and texture, and layering in a way that is also almost like fashion.

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a mood board hangs over her work table and incorporates fashion, color and landscape – all things she thinks about when putting together a bouquet.

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the flowers sullivan works with are all very special – for example at top left, a ranunculus that comes from japan where these delicate flowers are designed to be perfect. the one at bottom right is a dutch variety of the ranunculus, with a really unique color gradation. at top right is the anemone, a beautiful black and white flower with hints of purple that is one of her favorites to work with.

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above and below are what she calls the “spare parts vase” – where the flowers go if they’re cut the wrong length, the stems break or they just don’t make it into a final design. she doesn’t like to throw them away, plus they’re quite beautiful!

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she gave me a quick little lesson in putting together the above bouquet, and then i tried my own:

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i think i could use some help… luckily sullivan is going to be holding classes at her studio so you can go learn all about how to put together the perfect bouquet, and then take it home with you :) i will definitely be attending! you can find more info on the classes here.

the studio is open by appointment only – i definitely recommend checking it out. go see the website for more info and to see more photos of her incredible work: sullivanowen.com.

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last image via sullivan owen website.

inspiration from our fans

our fans never cease to inspire me! here’s a batch of awesome photos from our facebook page

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one of our fans made these amazing quilt-like signs for her specialty boutique that carries free people!

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some beautiful and inspiring images created by our fan rhoda.

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reader bridget made sweet valentines inspired by this post.

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and alissa attempted the umbrella chandeliers – with amazing results!!

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becky gave her dresser a makeover by painting and decoupaging it!

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and i could not resist posting this awesome photo from jani of her alphabet soup :)