Beauty & Truth: Chapter IV

19th September, 2013

This week, I’ve been talking to you all about the ancient Egyptian idea of maat, which dealt with conceptions of balance, order, and truth. As with all the stories I tell, I’ve strived to come at it from a place of celebration, a love of beauty, and a simplistic honesty.

Truth+Beauty4_2The quest for truth is a challenging thing. It’s been difficult for me to claim in this medium called blogging (oh how that word makes me cringe!), especially as I have tried to redefine what this site means, making it about something greater, more important, and more interesting than simply myself. I’ve been writing from China this week, where censorship has made posting unbelievably challenging. I have to switch IP addresses with every paragraph, as I keep getting booted off each new server. Is aesthetic expression really such a threat? Well, personal truths do not seem to carry much weight here.
Truth+Beauty4_3It makes me all the more grateful for the freedom I have to talk about what I want, to make the kind of work that I want. For the last two years especially, I’ve challenged myself to evolve this site into something that really matters, while still keeping things light and fun. But it’s not an easy thing to do online or in fashion in general, where thoughtlessness abounds, and both clothes and content are chewed up and forgotten infinitely more quickly than they can be made. I’ll spend eons prepping the various aspects of a post, only to have it devoured and disposed of in a day. That can be indescribably disheartening.
Truth+Beauty4_4 Truth+Beauty4_5But I believe that change is possible, in much the same way that Maiyet believes it so. I believe that if I continue working tirelessly to create really elevated, consistent, custom content for this space, that people’s expectations of what it means to publish work online may one day change. That it will be afforded a real respect.
Truth+Beauty4_6This is not a sponsored post. Very little of what I write is, although the fact remains that clothes ~ and therefore brands ~ are my beat. Because of that, I’m dedicated to finding, shooting, writing about, and featuring ones that genuinely intrigue me. And when paydays do present themselves, I say no far more often than I say yes. It’s a tricky balancing act, art and commerce. But I feel really happy to have carved out a platform and a niche for myself that affords me the ability to demand idealogical alignment from my professional partners.
Truth+Beauty4_7 Truth+Beauty4_8I fought hard to produce a project with this brand and I spent weeks of work and a lot of my own money pulling it off. I share this with you only as a way of saying that truthfulness is important to me ~ not just in terms of transparency, but as it pertains to telling stories from an uncompromisingly honest, celebratory perspective. I have no interest in faking enthusiasm; I care about the work I deliver to you too much. And I’m proud to be able to say that I’m more in love with the process of creating content for this site now than when I naively, enthusiastically started it five years ago, because more than ever I can honestly say that I’m doing the work the right way.
Truth+Beauty4_9I’m not perfect and I will never, ever claim to be. I constantly make mistakes but I do strive for excellence, both in my work and in myself and I, like so many of us, sometimes forget the importance of balance. One must always allow room for self-forgiveness and unapologetic enjoyment. It’s this exact ideology that Heather Lilleston’s business, Yoga For Bad People, is based on.
Truth+Beauty4_15Yoga For Bad People is a retreat for those who want to escape and invest in their yoga practice, but have a raucous vacation at the same time. It allows for both downward dogs and daiquiris. It’s about creating an oasis for people who seek self-improvement with a hint of sinfulness, for offering personal progress while simultaneously celebrating the oftentimes fun fallibility inherent to being human.
Truth+Beauty4_11 Truth+Beauty4_12I worship the energies that Kumi and Sian gave Jamie and me in their photos, but still there’s something extra special about Heather’s. She kills me in these images. She was so game for anything, so comfortable in herself and so unselfconscious in the way she shared that self with us. There’s a frankness in her face, a clear crispness in her eyes and an honesty in the lines of life that she’s not trying to hide. All of these things make her maddeningly, dizzyingly beautiful, a dream to shoot and a delight to share with you. I always feel so honored when cool, beautiful women trust us to style and photograph them ~ and Heather has set a bar for both beauty and coolitude that will be hard to beat. She is just too damned true.
Truth+Beauty4_13Perhaps it’s the truth in Heather’s life and line of work that imbues that extra touch of beauty to these pictures. Ancient Egyptian literature is rife with writings that teach or debate how to ‘live in maat’ in the real world. A hymn from the time when Egypt was occupied by the Persians evokes ‘the beautiful face of Maat’ shining from the heart of the sun-god, Ra. The song urges its listeners to allow that goddess ~ the keeper of righteousness, balance, order and justice ~ to reside too in their tongues, heads, and hearts, so that they may be and do maat. It’s the sort of basic truth that myths conveyed so powerfully, the sort of truth that remains just as prescient and applicable a message to every one of us today. It’s what real beauty is all about.
Truth+Beauty4_14|BEAUTY + TRUTH| starring Kumi SawyersSian Gordon and Heather Lilleston |PHOTOGRAPHY| by Jamie Beck for Ann Street Studio |WRITTEN + STYLED| by Kelly Framel |HAIR + MAKEUP| by Ana Sicat |ALL CLOTHES + ACCESSORIES| by Maiyet

|CLICK HERE| to revisit every chapter in this series

  • Catherine

    I have been reading your blog regularly for two years, and it is really amazing to see how much you have grown and changed in that period. I think we as your audience are lucky to be able to see this growth both in your personal style and in the projects you have been a part of; it is rare in your field to find this kind of depth. The work you do with Ann Street Studio is really remarkable, and it is encouraging to see you and Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg following your passions and succeeding in doing what you really love with people you seem to truly connect with and care about. I look forward to seeing where you go from here.

    • theglamourai

      Thank you Catherine, for this heartfelt comment. It means so much to me to know that readers really see, enjoy, and appreciate all the love and thought that goes into our work. That’s what it’s all about!


  • monkeyshines
  • Christina Ooi

    Bravo! Thank you for writing about this… it really makes your work mean SO much more as a reader. 🙂

  • Rossana

    Seriously gorgeous beautiful posts, Kelly. What you and your fellow artisans share with your readers is refreshing and real and a much needed shift in blogosphere. In addition, I absolutely love the way you celebrate women. That ability comes from such a strong and confident place. You are sharing with us the coolest of the cool. Thank you for all your hard work and strive for excellence. You are an inspiration, truly!

  • Serene

    Balance is a tricky proposition, no? “Blogging” evokes images of a nerdy withdrawn type rattling off self absorbed posts about the latte they drank that morning or the “OMG! Most amazing cupcake EVER!”. I’ve enjoyed your blog when it was mostly pictures of you and your beautiful jewelry creations…..and I have enjoyed seeing the evolution of your site. You’ve managed to highlight luxury items with an “every girl” perspective. And as long as I’m gushing, I might as well say that I also really appreciate your elegant and whimsical personal aesthetic. It’s refreshing and feels real and unpretentious, not easy to do when one is highlighting high end pieces, but you do it with aplomb!

    My favorite features you’ve (and Ann Street Studio) have done are the Mexican Rose (it was truly PAINFULLY beautiful!), the post Morocco trip feature that totally spoke to my own sense of style and what I want it to be, AND the Aigner feature. Growing up, Aigner was what all the cool kids wore and I REALLY wanted to be a cool kid! That feature totally captured the essence of Aigner and its timeless appeal!

    Okay, enough of this! Enjoy your trip!!


  • Arline Jernigan

    I have been appreciating your work (on all levels) as well. I feel resonance with where you are in your process, and I see the power of positive and creative focus effusing through your efforts and intension.

    I too believe that living a fully creative life is paramount. I am a yoga teacher and an artist myself, and I strive to transmit beauty and truth throughout my work as well. Interestingly, I labeled a workshop and a music mix that I created, Beauty and Truth, a few, a years ago.

    I think beauty on all levels is important, at least for me it is. It has been necessary for me, especially here lately, to embrace my beauty, my goddess, and let it emit from deep within, as well as appreciating the external features, that I have been given. In the past (and not so long ago), I criticized my appearance so harshly. Deep sigh, because so many of us do.

    I love how you are bringing this energy to the surface, and I say surface in the best way possible, because what we see, is a gateway to deeper elements. Pulchritude is tricky, and sometimes we get caught up only in what we see. Everything is a factor here. Body, mind and spirit, and those who are willing to look deeper, can enhance all aspects of their magnificence.

    I also appreciate, that you present an energy of thriving and success. I love that, because we should be able to have and enjoy our world. Of course success is subjective, and we hopefully forever continue to strive for expansion in all areas.

    Thank you for sharing your relationships with your sister, friends and boyfriend. You exude love and appreciation through all of them.

    I could go on, because I have more to say, but I just love what you are giving to the world. Thank you for inspiring me on so many levels.

  • Shopopal

    You really have an amazing blog! I love the black clothing on white sand.

  • I want to be more like you. Not in the sense of copying you but your content has evolved and you are a good inspiration and a good read. Your photographs in this post are a work of art, the kind you see in galleries, and I really agree with everything you say. I honestly hope that there will come a day when I will find my balance in the blog-zone and be able to say that what I make is more than just photos that will be forgotten and what I say is heard and understood.I look up to you so keep up the good work!

  • What a beautiful series you have here. I’ve been a faithful reader for about three years and let me tell you, all the work you do on each piece is not in vain. Your work inspires me every day. It has affected how I approach fashion and the way I dress. In a lot of ways you’ve made fashion a spiritual experience for me, even before these gorgeous pieces. It’s also inspired me to share my own thoughts on fashion. You are an inspiration to us all. Please keep going and don’t let anyone get you down! I will always be here waiting for a new post from The Glamourai!

  • Guest

    What does it mean to be “cool?”

  • Dana Jo

    I agree with Catherine, I also have been reading your blog for a very long time and can remember the beginning and your edgy, stylish haircut with the blonde highlights. Thank you so much for sharing so many great moments with us. I love all the pictures and storys. Some blogs I´ve been reading I have forgotten but your blog will stay 🙂

    (Sorry, if I had make mistakes, my english is bad I know, but I try and I will learn)

    have a wonderful week
    Dana, Germany

  • Smart Dresser

    lovely words and pictures. love your blog. thanks 🙂

  • twinklestar

    nice, nice, nice! love what you’ve done here! this last installment’s my favorite of the series – love the lighting and slight blur effect. brava!

  • Such amazing photography!

  • Kari

    I have followed you basically from the start of The Glamourai. It’s really been really cool watching your style evolve and inspire over the years. In the beginning, your blog was so different from what it is today. It was more a diy way to mix vintage with high street. Now, it is like skimming the pages of a carefully selected spread for a top fashion editorial. It’s amazing and refreshing. I also am so happy that you are sharing glimpses into your life, such as Zach. It seems that since him, your work has become warmer and more heartfelt. I say this coming from someone who knows nothing of your life, only that of which you share with us.
    As a reader from almost the beginning, it has been amazing to watch your journey. You are making your dreams come true.
    Please keep sharing 🙂

  • Nelya

    I have been reading your blog for a good while now and you can tell that you put your heart and soul into this. It’s not something just done to be just to ‘post’ but, something so much more. Please don’t ever think that we just read your posts and that’s it. Keep on doing what you do!

  • laura

    you’re an artist in the truest sense kelly.

  • Laura

    I love your blog and I think this series is especially interesting. I too have read your blog since it was daily outfit posts, and you have gracefully made the transition from the “OOTD” posts to this larger content.

    May I just challenge you – why are these models all white? This concept is African, with clothes made by artisans from around the world. If the entire concept is to bring respect and balance between cultures, then how can that legitimately be done with only one type of spokesperson? I guess this is a deeper problem for fashion in general and the type of people who can afford to buy clothes like these. It’s just glaringly obvious to me.

    Thank you for the challenging content. The pictures are beautiful, and I love the natural locations – even the contract between the ocean and the dessert. Fabulous locations.

  • It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
    I’m sure you had fun writing this article. Looking forward to your next post.


  • Kelly,
    This series is breath-taking. I love that you chose to work with an ethical company like Maiyet and to touch on a few of the aspects of the fashion industry that no one can be proud of…I’ve been reading since the beginning, and I echo Catherine’s sentiments. Watching you grow and stretch and pour so much thought and heart into each editorial is inspiring. I love that you choose models that are strong and bold, with features and bone structures that are outside of the “traditional” notions of what a fashion model “should” look like. You celebrate what’s special about the women you work with, and that is truth, that is beauty. Please don’t ever, ever stop! This is what you were born to do. xo ~Rachel

  • Danielle Nordahl

    The photos are unbelievable and the words that went along with it were lovely to read. Thank you.


  • Marina

    Kelly, I’m your avid blog follower and you’ve inspired me to write my own blog


    Beautiful post! I’m so pleased and excited to find this kind of depth and intelligence in the fashion blogging world. I agree that blogging is a great platform for story telling and I admire your ability to explore what lies beneath the surface…

  • Wow. You are so right Kelly! Willing to be better with ourselves & others and better with the Earth we all live on, is a challenge! And I really think this way of thinking is the future. Our meaningless consumption, as you said, has to come to an end, especially in the fashion/luxury industry. This situation is not viable. I’m willing to become a fashion designer and the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about those ethics and now I’m persuaded I want to work that way. Thank you for opening my eyes. ♥

  • Rachael Robichaud


    I feel badly that I never comment on your blog even though I take so much enjoyment from what you produce and create here. I am incredibly inspired by your intellect, your incredible wit and talent, and now by your honesty. You are a force, and I sincerely appreciate the amount of effort this blog must take, especially considering all your other obligations. The honest truth is that as an exhausted stay at home mama I often feel like I don’t have anything erudite to say, so I don’t say anything at all. So, a very belated merci beaucoup.

  • haihquw

    Recently I was extremely low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this!!! – yyvc

  • Kathy Boykin

    I recall an article I read a few months ago and that’s how I found out about your blog. I’ve been intrigued by it, mostly. I didn’t understand where you were coming from, at first. But this series on Truth and Beauty has helped me to understand you a little better. I really appreciate this post. It was so thought provoking, I feel I should start studying again. Not only study, but practice what I learn. Who would have imagined that a blog about fashion (sorry) would embrace ethics. And since I’ve been wondering if I should start my own blog, you’ve raised the stakes in a way that challenges me. Yay!

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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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