A Phoenix Rising

By Jessica Masse

(WINDSOR, ON) – When most people think of fashion or style their minds usually drift to wealth, and riches; however, some of the top influential fashion designers had something very different to say about the terms. “Fashion fades, only style remains the same,” said Coco Chanel, while Yves Saint Laurent mused, “Fashion fades style is eternal.”

imageGabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel, the Queen of Haute Couture was an influential French fashion designer noted for her practical designs in bold black and white, Chanel No. 5, the little black dress, and the big elaborate hats. She was the only designer to be named on Time 100 – The Most Important People of the Century, but what was it that got her to the point of success?

Coco Chanel was born to Albert Chanel and Jeanne Devolle. Her mother was a blue collar laundry woman for a charity hospital called Sisters of Providence located in Samur, France, while her father, a street peddler, lived a nomadic life, causing the family to reside in rundown dwellings. When Coco was twelve years of age she experienced grief due to the un-timely death of her mother, and following the traumatic event she was given more disappointing news when she was sent to live at the Sacred Heart of Mary Convent of Aubazine; which was a home of the poor and rejected orphaned young women.

When she became 18 she moved to a Catholic boarding home where she embraced the sewing arts, and began to sing in Cabarets frequented by Calvary officers. It was during this time she acquired the name “Coco”. Shortly after she learned business skills and began to open her shops selling her own clothing line Coco Chanel. In 1947 her income exceeded 25 Million dollars/year, making her the richest woman in the world during that time.

Now let us mentally travel from France to Windsor Ontario.

Mike Cerveni is another example of one who has effectively turned his emotional pain into beautiful art. He is a Windsor native who started playing guitar at the age of 11 years old, heavily influenced by his musically inclined family, he started writing his own songs at the age of 16. His soulful sound speaks to the heart, triggering emotion from his listeners as they hear each note. The World You Know is Mike’s debut album, released in 2010 featuring songs such as “On Your Mark”, “Right Now” (which is a production of Gavin Michael Booth and Marie Jeanette), and “A Moment.”

In The World You Know, he effectively utilized his Mike-Cervenifeelings of grief to write songs about coping and getting through loss. Words of wisdom from Mike Cerveni; “We all have tough times, and go through heartache, for me, writing was a way to help get out things I couldn’t express”. With the debut of his music video “Right Now” (a song he wrote for his mother during her battle with cancer), he has consistently gained exposure from radio and television.

Mike has had several radio interviews along with his television appearance on CTV.”He says it was a tough period for everyone as well as himself and because he did not know how to express how he felt about the whole situation, he wrote two songs in dedication of his mother, ‘Right Now’ and ‘A Miracle’. Shortly after the release of his debut music video “Right Now”, Mike flew to Serbia to perform a show at a venue called “Club Underground”.

So what is it that can help transform our thinking from feelings of grief and despair to being fabulous, full of style and appeal, creative and marketable? It is something called our emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to learn how to process feelings in an intelligent manner, and find creative ways to make our emotions work in our best interest. Emotions influence how we perceive and react to life, which in turn, determines how content and successful we are. We achieve emotional intelligence by attaining our goals and managing negative emotions. Unmanaged, negative emotions take control of life. It is impossible to manage our lives until we can manage our negative emotions. (Candy Lawson Ph.D.)

In my own personal life I have experienced many hardships and traumatic events. I can identify with extreme poverty and feelings that come from being traumatized. Mike Cerveni and Coco Chanel have captured something which we all can benefit from and that is the ability to access our emotional intelligence turning unfortunate situations and circumstance into works of art. Maybe you’re not someone who is attempting to be an artist or a famous designer; however, you can apply the same principles to mainstream life. It is not the clothes you wear that gives you swagger, elegance, or class, or even success. It is much deeper than the outside apparel, ones physical stature or body measurements or whether or not you are musically inclined, its how you view life and how determined you are to use what you have to the best of your ability is what gives you a launching pad for success . Intelligence is the new black. In my upcoming articles and reports I am going to expose fashionable clothing, styles, and cosmetics and how to rock your look and bring your A game; however these are some very important principles in how to get to the point of being fabulous!

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between.

His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States.

Contact Ian with story ideas.