Recently, lifestyle designer and creator of the digital inspiration destination EyeSwoon Athena Calderone immersed herself in the two newest scents from Donna Karan: Liquid Cashmere Black and Liquid Cashmere White. Playing off the rich notes of the one and the airier aroma of the other, Calderone developed two distinct sensory experiences. We spoke with her about these two beautifully developed vignettes (An Indulgent Sensory Experience and the Purity of Scent Memory) and how she creates ritual in her stylized life.
We know you’re a visual person, which definitely comes across in the photos you share on EyeSwoon. Each tells a story all its own, and they’re always so gorgeous. How do you plan the photo shoots?
For shoots, I love creating mood boards to gather all of my inspirations. Nothing brings me more joy than creating beauty. Many of my decor ideas or recipes are simple ones that are executed in thoughtful ways.
Speaking of the perfect photos, you so strikingly evoked the feel and fragrance notes from the Donna Karan Liquid Cashmere White and Black eau de parfums visually. When you first smelled them, what were one or two favorite things about each?
Liquid Cashmere White immediately struck a sensory cord within me. I love the freshness of citrus notes—Italian bergamot and lemon. We really do all have such duality within us, and the contrast in each of the fragrances really does speak to me. Liquid Cashmere Black truly evokes that darker, more sensual side. From our personalities to the scent to the visual scape, I swooned exploring both the pure and indulgent part of who I am.
We love the idea of making a personalized ritual by creating custom bath salts for a rejuvenating soak. Do you have any tips for selecting the salts/scents/ingredients and putting the perfect bath together? DIY can feel so daunting!
I suppose the purpose of the ritual is to lose yourself in curating beauty. Carving out that sacred time for yourself, which is so rare as life gets so hectic and busy. You really just need to choose some flowers and essential oils that resonate with you, tune out, turn the music up and relax. I suppose the goal is to enjoy that process for one’s self rather than having it be daunting—if you can.
The macarons in the recipe you shared look so very delicious. What are a few of the other recipes you’ve made that have been absolute favorites?
I recently returned to making a classic French almond and pear tart—so swoony! I also love to make a whole roasted fish with citrus and salsa verde. I also roast veggies all winter long!
EyeSwoon is so much more than a blog—it’s like a beautiful digital lifestyle destination—but what was it like to get it off the ground? How did it start, and what advice do you have for other people out there who aspire to do something similar?
A few years ago, I felt a lull in creativity and I started EyeSwoon as the answer to that lull. I love making things beautiful—whether it’s my immediate physical environment or the food that I create—and I wanted to share those little sparks of inspiration and see what journeys they would inspire for others. When I’m designing a space, I can always trace the inspiration back to a singular moment or image that gave me the vision for the complete room. The same thing happens with an amazing bite of food. Suddenly I’ll find myself running out to re-create it and add my own twist. EyeSwoon became a way for me to group all those fragmented moments and give them one voice that speaks to all the sides of me: the design-addict, the fashion-lover, the food-obsessed, the mom, the wife. Hopefully, it can do the same for people that share those interests and seek out inspiration.
Lightning round! “I can’t live without these three items in….”
- breath spray
- mophie phone charger
- business cards
- mandolin slicer or microplane
- cast-iron pan
- mini food mixer
- Gianvito Rossi pumps
- wide-leg jeans
- cozy knit sweaters for winter
- 1942 tequila
- Spanish wine glasses
- full-bodied red wine
My makeup drawer:
Shop: Donna Karan
Images courtesy of EyeSwoon