Tonight, I attended a musical performance in an art gallery.
During the second part, after interacting briefly with a woman who helped me get water out of the near-empty water dispenser, the woman approached me:
W: As a mother of three boys, I have to ask you: Are you married?
H: [quiet laughter, because the concert has resumed in the next room of the gallery] I am not, no.
W: Good, because I like you… I have a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead, so you can take your pick.
H: Didn’t you just say that one of them is married?
W: Well, yes, the redhead is married.
H: [quiet laughter]
W: … But that might not last… you never know… And then you could have him… I’d be a good mother-in-law… I’m great at presents… I’ve had to deal with multiple mothers-in-law, so I’ve learned… I can be a very good mother-in-law… and I wouldn’t live next door.
Another 45 minutes or so later, the concert had ended, I had had several more reasons shared with me as to why I ought to consider marrying one of this woman’s sons, and I left the gallery with her e-mail and phone number, not because she had me convinced with her son who looks just like the (absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion) guy in “Fantastic Beasts” (though I remember him from loving him in “Les Mis'”), or with the fact that his job is a promise of absurdly high amounts of money for the rest of our lives, but because of her job…
You see, I was thinking to myself just his morning that I was interested in learning more about this specific something in Houston… and here I was tonight, under hilarious pretenses, handed a woman who works in just that specific something.
I plan to e-mail her this week to set up a meeting about her work.
And, who knows?… perhaps I’ll end up going out with her boy after all. 😛
H: [totally cracks up, alone in her room, as she considers the scenario]
Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda. Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell. St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.
Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors. When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop. Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs). The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results. It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell. And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.
On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.
Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell. I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda. Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell. Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides. She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.
Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!
Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream. Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front. When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell. And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂
Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen. I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines. Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead. Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.
The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively). The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know. Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit. And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.
When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen. If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!
Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.