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Mid-September when the summer light begins to fade, I feel a distinct urge to refresh my closet and embrace the inevitable season shift. For years, Associate Publisher Hayley Saunders and I joked that it felt like it was time to head back to school. That feeling persists but is a bit different these days. Life is busy and booked up, so I’m always seeking moments of focused gratitude amidst the rush. Here’s to romanticizing that back-to-school feeling this season.

While the world anticipates the launch of designer Phoebe Philo’s line, I’m looking at ready-to-wear from Khaite, The Row and Nili Lotan for inspiration. Long hemlines on timeless coats, thoughtful tailoring, plush knits, sheer silks and elevated basics are all of the makings for a beautiful transition to fall. When it comes to handbags, I’m lusting after the handmade Dragon Diffusion Santa Croce to swing over my shoulder.

Artful Living |

Photography provided by Moda Operandi, Dragon Diffusion, D.S. & Durga, Amika, and Alpyn Beauty

D.S. & Durga’s enigmatic I Don’t Know What redefines perfume. It’s formulated as a transparent layer to enhance any perfume or oil. I’ve worn it over Frédéric Malle, with Nuxe Dry Oil or alone for a beautifully unique scent. I was so impressed I even gifted it to my mom, who is the most discerning perfume collector I know. Here in the Twin Cities, you can get to know it at Martin Patrick 3.

The Amika Hair Blow Dry Brush 2.0 is a game changer, transforming my locks from damp to blown out with bounce in minutes. Given my perpetually tight schedule, this gem perfectly suits my needs, especially paired with the brand’s Soul Food hair mask once a week for ultra healthy strands. It’s no wonder Amika’s styling tools have famously gone viral and sold out time and again.

In the ever-evolving skincare world, Alpyn Beauty out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, stands alone. Founder Kendra Kolb Butler pairs resilient local plants with clinical-strength actives to create powerful combinations. The Willow & Sweet Agave Plumping Lip Mask is so incredible that I stopped using other lip products. Plus Alpyn is a member of 1% for the Planet and donates a portion of proceeds to support the Grand Teton National Park Foundation’s rewilding efforts.

My very best,



Emma Cutler Velez, Publisher

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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