Inspired by Supal: Chevrons & Eclairs

Photo Cred David Cox - http://www.coxweddings.com
Photo Cred David Cox - http://www.coxweddings.com

I first fell in love with Chevrons & Eclairs via Pinterest; it was the first account I followed that I didn’t know, personally. Splashed with femininity, it’s a guilty pleasure that surfaces my passion for fashion, interior design, and entertaining. After having the opportunity to get inside the brain of the lovely geopolitical strategist (whoa!) behind it, Supal, I am even further intrigued by her sophistication, wisdom, and endless beauty.

I sensed hesitation in Supal as my questions were inevitably directed at the creative field while she classifies herself as more “corporate,” but I think that’s up for debate, her creativity shines and her answers were undoubtedly perfection for my #write31days theme, ‘31 Days of Creative Inspiration‘.

  • Design Sellout:

    You mentioned in a recent post that you struggle to add personality to your 9-5 style. Do you have a regular full time job, besides running your gorgeous blog?

  • Supal:

    I am a geopolitical strategist specializing in the Middle East and Central Asia. Very different from my blog world, but the creativity that fuels my blog enables me to come up with creative strategies and tactics for my day-to-day work. I want a life that allows me to satisfy my intellectual and creative curiosity.

  • DS:

    When you started your blog, did you anticipate you would have such a following, and it would become such a success, or was it initially more of a personal log of your adventures?

  • S:

    Not at all! I started c&é as a place for me to document my experiences and growth in both my professional field and culinary adventures. I traveled a lot during and after college through the Middle East for fieldwork. During those visits, I stayed with Arab families to learn ingredient variations and learned to make dishes of distinct Arab communities. I always kept a journal to document those moments and thought sharing with my friends and family would be special. That is how c&é evolved: my love for culture, history, politics and art.

  • DS:

    How do you find the design spaces you feature?

  • S:

    My equation for a space is quite simple. I look for a space with natural sunlight pouring through the windows, Victorian accents, a clean palette and a bit of personality. My favorite types of spaces are homes that integrate experiences, history and culture.

  • DS:

    Have you, personally, tried each of the recipes on your website?

  • S:

    Yes, I have. I make all my recipes and it’s actually quite the process. I usually make the dish a few times before it is perfect to my standard. At home, my family and I come together in the kitchen and often make a spread, lunch or dinner together. We test each others’ dishes for an extra kick or a twist of a lemon–I find the cooking process to be delicate and romantic and I like to exude that through each of recipes I share.

  • DS:

    Who influences you in your career, style, and creativity?

  • S:

    Because I like to marry my blog and professional lives, I often share stories about strong women in history, stories about my mother and my grandmothers, and stories about women in the developing world. For me, it’s women like Audrey Hepburn who spent later life away from the fame and spotlights devoting time to UNICEF. Women in literature, like Toni Morrison, that wrote prose that exuded power and beauty. Women in countries like Bangladesh maintaining small businesses to send their sons and daughters to school.

  • DS:

    Of all the places you have traveled, can you tell us about one or two of your most memorable experiences, perhaps that changed your outlook or inspired you in some way?

  • S:

    There are so many memories and experiences! From camel rides through to the pyramids of Giza, floating in the Dead Sea, the sunset over the Taj Mahal, exploring the Alhambra. My most memorable experience has got to be visiting the Umayyad Mosque and the adjacent market in Damascus, Syria. I had just taken a course in Ancient Middle East history where my term paper talked about the role of religion in imperial state building. I used the Umayyad Caliphate as a case study, though what made this experience so memorable was reading numerous biographies on key actors that shaped the Umayyad Caliphate. Reading those alongside walking the exact steps taken by some of these leaders was such an exciting feeling. You can just imagine what Syria was like all those years ago! It made me think about how every culture in the world has evolved and adapted through the years and how we, from each corner of the world, influence and inspire each other. It’s the type of message I like to promote through each post on c&é!

  • DS:

    Pick one shop. It’s the only shop you can ever visit for the rest of your life. Which one is it?

  • S:

    Reiss! I discovered Reiss when I first moved to Scotland on my many visits down to London. They are equal parts trendy and classic. As you probably know from my blog, I like to go for more classic pieces that can be carried on from season-to-season year-after-year. Reiss’ clothing is perfect for the modern man or woman who wants to make a statement.

  • DS:

    When you’re ready to sit down and work, writing, editing photos, whatever it may be, what album or radio station do you listen to?

  • S:

    It’s funny because I think what I’m listening to really has an impact on the final product I share on the blog. I usually share a sampling of what I’m listening to on my Weekend Note series, which includes anything from The Black Keys to Ella Fitzgerald–I prefer something mellow where the lyrics can influence my writing.

  • DS:

    For my young, creative followers, what is some advice you can give them on navigating the next steps in their career, and finding a way to do what they love?

  • S:

    Though I can’t talk about the creative field specifically, I think every field has the opportunity to take risks. I took a risk and just moved out to London with very little knowledge of where I was going and what I was getting into. I had zero expectations. Even if you fail, you learn about the process. It’s a win-win at the end.

  • DS:

    Lastly. You’re all about fashion, and have perfected the art of meshing individuality and class. Describe the ideal outfit to wear to an interview for a creative/designer position.

  • S:

    Why thank you for the compliment! Honestly, I think my style is always evolving. I’m learning about colors and patterns and textures everyday. I think any interview needs a great blazer. A blazer brings an outfit together. In the creative field, show a little personality by adding a vibrant pocket square or choose skinny lapels. For a girl, I really love a feminine tuxedo look. Skinny cigarette trousers with black loafers or stiletto heels, a white silk blouse and a tuxedo blazer with silk or velvet lapels.

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