Sotheby's: As a tastemaker, you have an instinctive eye for curating beautiful experiences and images. What is your single most important source of inspiration?
Travel! When I’m on the road, no matter where I am, I’m more open, and this is when I’m most inspired.
The travel industry has been severely shaken up during the pandemic, with plenty of turmoil and uncertainty over international travel. If you could only go on one more trip in your lifetime, where would it be?
Greece! Although Italy is my favorite place in the world, I have to say that Greece is the most calming, centering place I’ve ever been. There’s a simple beauty in the daily rhythms there that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
Yolanda's Picks from Life is Beautiful: Cologne
What was the catalyst that made you start YOLO Journal?
When I was around 10 years old, I asked for a subscription to the NY Times for a birthday present, and my favorite thing to do was to find any mention of travel intel, cut it out, and put it into travel files. I became the person in my family and friend group collected travel ideas the way others collect recipes, and everyone came to me for advice. Simultaneously I was very into fashion photography—mostly for the locations that were so dreamy—I just knew I had to find those places!
When I ended up as a young adult working at Conde Nast Traveler in the photo department, I noticed that all the best travel ideas came from the photographers who were coming in to show me their portfolio—there was such a disconnect between their cool finds and the places we were discussing in our magazine meetings. Many years later when I was the creative director at Traveler, this system was still in place. So when my company downsized and I lost my job, I decided to make the magazine that I’d been wanting my whole life. It isn’t all about me and my travels (although I do include those too!), it’s a collection of stories and experiences that I curate, from a group of really interesting and creative people. It’s like a collective travel mood board—and for the hard intel on where to go and what to do, I put that in my newsletter, Yolo Intel.
How would your friends describe your personal style?
They would all say that it’s pretty classic with little dashes of the unexpected from something I’ve picked up on my travels.
What would you say is your favourite piece from the Life is Beautiful sales?
I’m in love with the Series 3 Defender! My husband and I have a deep car obsession, and this would fit into our collection beautifully. Plus, Bond!
Do you remember the first piece that started you on your collecting journey?
My grandmother was a war bride and came from the English countryside to the Bay Area as a young woman, with many treasures from home. She had these pearl handled forks and knives that she brought out on special occasions, and I always coveted them. They definitely were the first object that ignited the collecting obsession—in high school I started going to flea markets, and have never stopped. Eventually my grandmother gave me the set, and the traditions continue.
What is your relationship to jewelry - is it a daily thing for you, or brought out to wear on special occasions?
There are some pieces I wear daily—like my signet ring and my watches, and others that I bring out to match the occasion.
Sourcing/collecting souvenirs are an exciting part of the global travel experience. Aside from physical objects, what do you try to take from each of your travel experiences?
There’s always some moment on a trip when I feel “this is it, this is the moment—the one that answers the why are we here”...it might be the way the light is dancing on the water, the sound of the cicadas, or churchbells at dawn. It’s these moments I try to hold onto—they’re so visceral—and it’s not that we don’t have them back at home, it’s that we are living at our most vibrant when we travel. And that vibrancy, that awareness—that’s what I try to bring home and keep alive as long as possible.
Is there one item of clothing or jewelry that comes with you on every trip, regardless of the climate or destination?
I have several gold bracelets and necklaces that I never take off—they are an extension of me.
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