Love and Design in the City of Lights

(This article first appeared in the October 11, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)

With Kasia Dietz 

 (those are her handbags)

 & mutual friend, artist Kevin Berlin (holding up my article in Luxury Living Magazine)


It was another gorgeous, warm, sunny day in Westhampton Beach. Main Street was alive with beachgoers, shoppers, and residents strolling through town. I was on my way to meet Kasia Dietz, Westhampton native turned Parisian handbag designer. At an outside table at Beach Bakery Café, there she sat in a white dress, picturesque like the season. After being connected through famed artist Kevin Berlin, who used Dietz as a model in one of his paintings, I came to learn of her many travels which inspired a successful business.

“I started my bag business [in Paris], which I did a bit on the side in New York. And then I started designing,” Dietz, who lived in New York City for 12 years, explained. With labels made in Paris, her prints are from Holland. Each bag is reversible, fun, and funky- and they fold up!

“The beauty of the bags is that they’re really good for traveling.” Fittingly so, as Dietz finds inspiration through countless countries.

After quitting her job in advertising, Dietz visited 32 countries in 13 months in 2006. “I’m always inspired by the tiles in Spain or the colors in Italy.” Her visit to the Andalusian region of Spain, the southern part of the country, created prints like the Cordoba, Granada, and Seville. Drinking our coffees, we swapped stories about the streets in Old Marbella; artistic pathways throughout a historic city with an enriched culture.

However, it was love that galvanized a permanent move to Paris. Upon meeting her now husband on the streets in SoHo over eight years ago, it took a mere five months for an Italian man to convince an American woman to go on a lifelong adventure. “Coming from New York you have that kind of ‘I can do anything’ attitude. I love Paris, it’s an amazing city.”

Walking along the Seine river has become a source of insight for Dietz, sitting alongside the water with paper and pencil during the warmer months. The city of love and lights reveals itself in its evolving neighborhood of the North Marais, awakening her creativity.

With small collections ranging 15 to 25 pieces each, her bags are comparable to art work, “they sell out and then they’re gone.” Having just launched her new Downtown collection, reminiscent of the colors and energy of downtown New York City, Dietz maintains that she is “forever a New Yorker.” Abroad, Dietz collaborated on limited edition shirts with Parisian boutique Aoshida, expanding her line from bags to clothing.

Kenya will be the inspiration behind an upcoming collection, where a portion of the proceeds from sales will go toward saving the elephants in the region. For 2018, fashion lovers can expect more larger totes in stock in addition to expanding her hand-painted collections, incorporating leather as well.

In a world that remains a constant source of creative enrichment, Kasia Dietz follows a “live mindfully and follow your heart” lifestyle. From the beaches of Westhampton, to the streets of New York City and the lights of Paris, this designer is evolving as quickly as the pathway that takes her there.

You can purchase your own Kasia Dietz handbag on the East End at Hope Around the World located at 124 Main Street in Westhampton. Or shop online at

Read more about the fascinating life of this designer abroad at her blog

Pelush: Join The Refauxlution

(This article first appeared in the June 28, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Recently featuring some faux fur coats at Southampton Animal Shelter’s Catwalk for Canines, Anna Tagliabue is the future of fashion. Launched in February of 2014, Pelush NYC is a PETA-approved vegan, 100-percent cruelty free line of faux fur designs.

“I wanted to give the best possible alternative to real fur, to reposition and transform the way people think about [it],” Tagliabue said. “There is nothing that is really truly luxury faux fur.”

Milan native Tagliabue is seasoned in the industry after eight years at Fendi in sales and then 13 years at Prada on Madison Avenue as a personal shopper. Upon entrance into the luxury style industry she envisioned a world of ethically produced and wearable lines.

“It’s something that was implanted in me while I was working at Fendi,” she explained. Back then no such profound technology existed, but times have changed. The sheen, luster, softness, and appearance of animal-free textiles has become so advanced that it’s increasingly difficult to note a difference. “It’s amazing what we can reproduce now.”

Diamonds, fast cars, big houses, and expensive leather or fur coats come to mind when the word “luxury” is considered. But all of these things come at a price much higher than the tag listed: the exploitation of communities and countries that produce these products. Yet, because the product is deemed exclusive or high-end, society turns a blind eye.

“Luxury is pain, so why not feel luxurious while representing the good? The integrity of the brand is very important,” Tagliabue proclaimed.

Pelush is much more than a faux fur line, it’s the new definition of luxury and arguably the best-kept secret in Manhattan (until now).

“I try to give the best possible answer to real fur, by creating a product that is extremely luxurious, extremely glamorous, one of a kind.” Her goal is to recreate an emotion, answering the question “What does a woman feel in real fur?”

Each style is dedicated to the people, or pets, closest to her, many of which are inspired by the women of her family growing up in Milan and Portofino.

My look at the Catwalk for Canines was the Lilly coat, named after her recently deceased cat. With each unique name and design, every individual piece represents a part of Tagliabue.

She has high hopes for the future. She dreams of creating a foundation to help endangered animals. Through education and awareness, actively on the social media accounts, Pelush is a brand of forward thinking and education.

Join in the #ReFAUXlution, or learn about cruelty-free fashion, by visiting