In Portraits no. 24 we take a closer look at the life and – aesthetic – style of designer Odette Blum (1966). Born in the small village of Luttenberg, in the east side of the Netherlands, this youngest of eleven children was raised by many brothers and sisters!
Unfortunately her father died when she was nearly seven years old, so she grew up without him. But the fact that he was a tailor, and nowadays Odette works with textiles, makes that she continues his job. To preserve the legacy of those who work with their hands, is important to her.
When she is not travelling, Odette partly lives with her husband in Amsterdam and partly in the east side, in an estate surrounded by acres of woods and meadows dotted with Scottish Highland cattle. She feels so lucky to experience the best of both worlds.
In essence, she can best be described as a true connector. On her online platform, Odette brings the different worlds of artisans and contemporary luxury together.
After 12 years of having her interior design company, Odette was ready for a new challenge. During her travels in remote areas she discovered soulful objects and textiles made by master artisans. Products which turned out to be the answer to the – often – empty fast fashion and interior consumption. This lead to the concept of Humble Luxury, her own brand that brings more authenticity and softness in our homes and lives. Her inspirational Instagram account reflects just that.
How do you feel about being over fifty?
Being over the fifty wasn’t a problem at all. Life becomes much easier! I am aware of the fact that I really live the life that was meant to be. Before you can say that, you need a lot of experience and become a wiser person.
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
My favourite period is my current period, I have the feeling that I can handle the difficulties life brings more easily. At the end, every problem will be solved, even if you don’t pay attention to it.
I learned that the two most important words in life are health and love. Maybe this sounds a little predictable, but it is so true.
What would your ideal day look like?
My ideal day starts at the top of the world, non other than the Himalayan mountains. I see myself going to an outdoor yoga session at the The Ananda to start the day in balance. This award-winning luxury Ayurvedic retreat resort in India is breathtakingly beautiful. After that I walk to Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world for a long meditation.
After a morning filled with balance, my friend Marieke will join me for lunch at De Tuinmaker. This small restaurant in Schuinesloot, Holland is only open for the Summer months. Another perfect example of humbly luxuxry. Guests unwind in the greenery while chef Alwin Leemhuis prepares an organic meal. Paired with a good bottle of wine.
My afternoon stroll will be in Puglia, Italy. I love so much the Trulli Houses in Alberobello, I love the Italian people, I love the food and their wines. This all comes together at Trulli Salentini, made up of 11 trullo houses. These stone huts with conical roofs are unique to the Itria Valley. Another example of traditional craftsmanship with a distinctive 21st century style. Humble luxury is everywhere!
But back to dinner at Trulli Salentini: the outdoor kitchen is surrounded by a vegetable garden and several fruit trees. You can literally take your pick from fig, pear, apple, citrus or walnut…
Apart from my husband there is a group of people I admire joining us at the large table. Celine’s Phoebe Philo and architect and sculpture artist Vincenzo de Cotiis together with several master artisans from around the world. We connect since we all believe that the true luxury of the future is handcrafted, indigenous and heritage crafts, re-interpreted into high-end fashion and interior.
Tired but happy I will fall asleep under the stars on the Tibetan Plateau. In my Norden yak hair tent.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
All the lessons in life, such as being disappointed and being hurt, makes a person stronger. That applies also to me.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
I start the morning applying pure Q10 Hautgel on my face. Tiny pipets from MSE Pharmazeutica in Germany, I order them online. Sisley skin care products do the rest and my favourite bathroom products come from Skins Cosmetics. For years I use Philip B. shampoo and body wash (Chai Latte).
Perfumewise, I am married to my Oud Immortel fragrance from Byredo.
Which book and/or film and/or music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
The book with the title: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life written by Dr.Wayne Dyer. As simple as that. This book is based on the translations of the Tao Te Ching. Dyer applies this ancient wisdom onto todays modern world. I think I already read it 3 times; it is still learning me new insights.
Apart from that every interior book or fashion magazine I read, every colour I see, can be an inspiration for me.
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @adeledejakthebrand african luxury jewelry and bags
- @carlafernandezmx Mexican fashion designer
- @abigaildoanstudio true visual poetry
- @norlhatextiles timeless Tibetan yak khullu
- @marcellaechavarria constant traveller, story-teller and textile expert
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : Berlin and the Uyuni Airstream Experience in Bolivia
- Hotel : the Aman in Tokyo, urban luxury
- Museum : Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico city. As if Frida and Diego are still there
- Restaurant : Zuma in London, real Japanese food
What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table. And which childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?
I am not a good chef. I prepare quick, simple and healthy meals. The good thing is that I love to use oriental herbs like garam masala, ginger and curry. In my childhood we ate potatoes, vegetables and meat. Every Friday we ate fish, as the good old Catholics did ;)
Trivia time, make a choice and share your favourite brand:
- Nailpolish or Lipstick?
Lipstick or more defined: a little lip gloss in a nude colour, by Laura Mercier
- Heals or Flats?
Flats, I love to wear long skirts with sneakers. The perfect balance between looking sophisticated and sportive. Celine’s or Valentino’s.
- Dress or Trousers?
Both… Dresses are more easy to wear. In the morning you don’t have to think about a good combi. If I wear trousers, I prefer the loose-fitting ones from Celine and The Row. A male garment with a feminine touch.
- Coffee or Tea?
Tea, I am addicted to all kinds of herbal teas. (after my 2 cups of coffee in the morning)
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
None of both, swimsuit nor bikini, I don’t like to swim. I seldom lay on a sun bed. The rarely times I do, I wear a kaftan from Norya Ayron.
Follow Odette Blum on Instagram.
Fore more inspiring interviews, read our Portraits series.
Want to share your life and style in these series or recommend an inspiring friend over fifty? We love to hear from you. Please send us an email.