Friday, October 18, 2013

Chic of the Week :: Luke Aaron at Boston Fashion Week

I want to be Luke Aaron's Barbie doll -- plain and simple. He’s one of the few emerging designers who really get it. And by "it," I mean the modern woman’s pursuit of classic style. Don’t get me wrong, I love trends from the avant-garde runway just like the next fashion enthusiast and glossy magazine reader. But often times I just want to walk into a showroom or the turn the pages of a lookbook and completely fall in love. With Luke Aaron, I can do that. He draws for the modern-day Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

A native of Boise, Idaho, Aaron began designing costumes for theater productions while studying at Tufts University. Following graduation, he went on to the Yale School of Drama where he honed his expertise in garment design and immersed himself into fashion history. He worked with award-winning costumiers in New York City before returning to Boston to launch the Luke Aaron brand.

In 2011, Aaron opened his first workshop on Fleet Street in Boston's North End, a neighborhood offering him a rich connection to the past. "It feels quite European in the way that there is a sense of discovery - coming across small shops on side streets," he said.

Aaron draws inspiration from literature, art, history and nature. He has long synthesized the magic of storytelling with the artistry of style. Aaron’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection at Boston Fashion Week was an awe-inspiring blend of soft draping and crisp tailoring. "Spring's muse is the dashing adventurer. In the romantic tradition of Kipling and Stevenson, looks combine the rugged appeal of utilitarian workwear with the soft draping and ornate embellishment of far-off lands," Aaron said. 

Models took to the runway at the Union Club of Boston in layers of semi-sheer fabrics and rich textures. Brilliant gems, courtesy of Chic to Chic, illuminated the likes of organza, taffeta and twill. Silk bodices adorned in metal appliqué added glamour, while cropped jackets paired with trim pants radiated a refined look to the already coveted collection. "I am seeing the more relaxed gaucho silhouette and a lot of white." Aaron said of what's trending this season and next spring. 

There is so much to love about Aaron's Spring/Summer 2014 line. Like his romantic approach to clothing, I've been experiencing my own fantasy with his entire collection, but particularly with a silver satin stunner (pictured above and below). As an admirer of grey and one-shoulder garments, it was truly love at first sight and a dress that will grace my silhouette. Bravo Luke Aaron!

                           Photos courtesy of Jan Bloch Photography

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Boston Girl's Guide to Bar Harbor

As a girl on the go who also relishes the tranquility of life on the coast, I generally favor two types of destinations when it comes to getting away from it all -- sand and city. When Mr. Chat and I began making plans for an extended weekend, we were thinking: San Juan (Puerto Rico has been on our list for like ever); Montreal + Québec City (a taste of France close to home), Napa + Sonoma (wine not?!), and Bar Harbor (my mom and our friend Mitt suggested Maine).

With Canada a top contender, but with Maine on our minds, we collectively paused our "parlez-vous" and traveled 280 miles north along the New England coast. We arrived in Bar Harbor on a sunny afternoon to a panoramic picture book of majestic mountains and a spanning sea. The town immediately reminded us of an East Coast version of Alaska.

We settled into the West Street Hotel, a boutique harbor-view property with a beautiful nautical-themed lobby. The hotel was impeccably clean and each floor offered a self-service laundry room (with washers and dryers) and mini-kitchen complete with complimentary coffee, tea, bottled water, snacks, board games. And how could I forget treats for guests traveling with dogs. No cat treats though.

Don't miss 2 Cats for breakfast. If you love cats like I do, you'll purr over the tables imbedded with cat prints. And the food is delicious too. Order the wild blueberry pancakes or lobster eggs Benedict and wash it down with an iced or hot cappuccino. And grab a cat paw print muffin for the road.

The Terrace Grill at the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa offers stunning views and a deliciously expensive lobster roll. The hotel is also home to the BEST wild blueberry pie (my opinion) in all of Maine. For lunch, I ordered the lobster roll followed by a slice of wild blueberry pie à la mode. Mr. Chat wasted no time helping himself to a piece of flaky crust oozing with wild blueberry goodness and topped with vanilla ice cream. On our last day, we returned to buy an entire pie for the ride home. Surprisingly it lasted us a few days.

La Bella Vita has seriously the BEST chicken parmesan I've ever had...and I've had a lot of chicken parm in my day. Two other options for dinner are Fathom and Havanna -- both were very good. Don't skip Stewman's Lobster Pound on West Street for lunch and cocktails. If it's a nice day, dine and drink on the back deck.

Take a guided tour of the island via Oil's Trolly. I know it sounds like something your grandparents would do, but it's the perfect way to learn a little history. I'm a sucker for narrated tours. If shopping's your thing, Bar Harbor has you covered from antique emporiums and art galleries to handmade jewelry vendors and specialty food stores. Shop 'til you drop. Literally.

Acadia National Park is an obvious must-see. We only had one really nice day (weather wise) to dedicate to the park, but you can easily spend two or three days exploring the wonders of Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Precipice, Thunder Hole, Sieur de Monts Spring and Jordan Pond. One piece of advice, skip the food at Jordan Pond House (I was not impressed) and pack a picnic.

Walk the sand and gravel bar, which appears at low tide, from Bridge Street in Bar Harbor to Bar Island. Discover sea life along your stroll then hike to the summit of the uninhabited island, but be mindful of high tide. 

Bar Harbor is not big on nightlife, so we were pleasantly surprised to discover Improv Acadia. The performance was hilarious...and even more so because Mr. Chat was chosen to be an onstage volunteer. Embarrassment at its finest! 

A majority of the town's hotels and businesses close for the winter season beginning in late October and open again in the spring. However, there are a few hotels that remain open year-round. Personally, I would recommend Bar Harbor in the summer when the puffin tours are operating. Sadly, we missed the beautiful birds by a few weeks. No matter what time of year you visit, don't forget to pack hiking attire, rain gear, lots of layers and something cute. The weather is so very unpredictable and changes by the hour. And with a new year fast approaching, it's never too early to start thinking about your summer plans...again.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wine Wednesday :: Chateau Ste. Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle // Woodinville, Washington

Today’s Wine Wednesday is introducing you to the fermented grapes of the lush and temperate Pacific Northwest by way of Chateau Ste. Michelle. As a personal favorite, I was thrilled when the acclaimed Washington state winery invited me to their upcoming “My Chateau” event in Boston.

What is “My Chateau” you ask?! Well, it's certainly different for everyone, but for Chateau Ste. Michelle connoisseurs it’s that special physical place or spiritual space where they restore and rejuvenate…with a glass of wine that is. Whether you’re a brand loyalist or newcomer to the name, the vineyard is inviting Bostonians to celebrate their zen on October 10 with an evening dedicated to innovative pairings of wine and food.

In addition to reserving your space for the event here, attendees are encouraged to create their own “My Chateau” equation (see samples below). I would like to think that I have many equations in life, but when it comes to unwinding my favorite variables include: Me + a glass of wine + a basket of breads + an assortment of cheeses + an ocean view + Mr. Chat = My Chateau. 

Join Chateau Ste. Michelle and celebrity chef Louis DiBiccari tomorrow night at Space with a Soul in Boston's Seaport District. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and don' t forget to use #mychateau while tweeting the night away.

Make Your Own "Chateau" Equation

Friday, October 4, 2013

Falling for New England

Today, I'm going to make you fall for New England...if haven't already. It's also a shameless plug for a Boston Globe piece I wrote recently. I mean sometimes a girl just needs a little self promotion. With fall in full swing and winter whipping its way around the corner, there's no time like the present to indulge in New England's most quintessential season. My favorite destinations, which include a blend of little known art villages and well known port towns, offer picturesque views, rich history and an abundance of activities. Read my full story at and for tips on planning perfect day-trips.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cat Chat :: Boston Ballet's 50th Anniversary

Joseph Gatti // La Bayadère by Gene Schiavone

If you’re a regular reader, you already know how much I love the performing arts. If you’re new to Rue Le Chat, there's still time to catch up on my ballet reviews of The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Boston Ballet's Fall Program. In addition to my affinity for the arts, I also savor the richness of fall which heralds in crisp air, wool ready-to-wear and the birth of a new season at Boston Ballet.

In honor of the company’s 50th anniversary, Boston Ballet memorized the masses on September 21 at Night of Stars. The free performance welcomed thousands to the Boston Common for an unforgettable evening of sight and sound. With music director Jonathan McPhee leading the orchestra, dancers swept a stage spanning 3,520 square feet (the largest outdoor performance space built on the Common). The audience reveled at the footwork and flight exhibited in Don Quixote, Rooster and other works. I must say that when I saw Rooster for the first time last year, the music (hits by the Rolling Stones) and movements (choreography by Christopher Bruce) made a lasting impression. 

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with three Boston Ballet dancers about the upcoming season and their part in Night of Stars. Sylvia Deaton, who hails from Kentucky, has captivated ballet enthusiasts in Boston for eight years. Deaton performed in George Balanchine's Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements. Under the artistic direction of Mikko Nissinen, she believes that Boston Ballet has evolved in the past decade. “He [Mikko Nissinen] has made sure that each season is different and more exciting than the last,” Deaton said. “The repertoire consistently blends old with new and exposes Boston to groundbreaking art.

Diana Albrecht has been with the Boston Ballet family for three years. In addition to performing in George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, the Paraguay native poured her heart out in Rooster for the fifth time in her career. “I see it [the choreography] as a battle of the sexes and the fight for the pursuit of power,” Albrecht said. “You can identify feelings of love, anger, passion and pride expressed through the movements.”

Albrecht described the upcoming season as majestic and with Boston Ballet’s current blend of classical composition and contemporary rhythm designed by world-class choreographers and delivered by top-level dancers; I see that as a steady possibility.

Since 2007, Brittany Summer has been on pointe with Boston Ballet. Summer, who grew up in North Carolina and performed in both Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements, described Night of Stars as a thank you from Boston Ballet to the city for their continued love and support.

Among Summer’s favorite works returning to the stage this season are 
La Bayadere and Balanchine’s full-length Jewels. She admits that there is something for everyone at Boston Ballet. “There is a new contemporary work for our company including a world premiere and Alex Eckman’s Cacti,” Summer added.

Boston Ballet opened 2013 on a high note with performances at the London Coliseum. As momentum continues into 2014, performers will once again dazzle audiences in Boston and close the season at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York. For tickets to Boston Ballet at the Opera House, click here. See you at the theater.

Sylvia Deaton // Balanchine’s Serenade ©The George Balanchine Trust

Diana Albrecht // Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements ©The George Balanchine Trust

Brittany Summer // Balanchine’s Serenade ©The George Balanchine Trust
Photos courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor