Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Which I Review An At-Home Jessner Solution Peel

While purposefully striding through the sorely missed, now defunct, Bullocks Wilshire to pay for the only pair of Charles Jourdan raspberry heels maybe in the world, I was intercepted by a silver haired lady. Planting herself directly in front of me in an aisle between counters of perfume and Estee Lauder products, I stopped. She peered at my skin and said "let me show you something." I didn't forget about the urgency of my errand but she was lovely and her skin was almost translucent, just lovely laugh lines (really, who came up with "crows feet") at the corners of her eyes and maybe because I was just twenty, I really wanted her to guide me though all these products. She handed me an Estee Lauder blue jar and leaned forward again to almost whisper that I wasn't to worry when it rinsed blackheads down the drain. I was horrified (I might have blackheads? Where?) and so used to playing sophisticated grownup, having added five years to my age to get a job when I was seventeen, that I nodded as if I understood. I paid for it and she told me to come back after using it for two weeks. My skin would wake up, she said. Really, this was my entry into the world of Grown Up Beauty. My own mother had used Ponds Cold Cream to take her makeup off and that was it. Skin care beyond Clearasil was unheard of.

A few weeks ago I agreed to review the Jessner's Solution from Maybe because of that lovely lady at Bullocks with such translucent skin, I'd always been rigorous about good skin care and products; even when I'd baked in the sun with a bit of baby oil to really get dark. My dermatologist had begun doing pretty things, astounded by the stampede for Retin A when it was released. I hated it: my face turned red, peeled, failure.  He was still doing deep chemical peels that really were scary: ladies hiding away under veils and big hats, like the damaged ladies in B-Movies where there's a crazy scientist who throws acid at beauties and then collects them (all because his true love had killed herself or a similar dark scenario) and emerging a long time later with skin like white velvet. Really matte and different than real skin: almost alien. Nothing was gentle then. Scary. Not for me, no.

Eventually papaya peels and almond/honey scrubs, avocado mashed with egg yolk, egg whites, etc were not enough... and so I graduated to dermatologist-given light glycolic peels, something new. Delicious but the cost was at least double a very good facial: but it also killed cystic acne and all traces of my rosacea disappeared. My doctor stayed with me along with his nurse who gave me a purple plastic fan to cool my face. Even the beginner version of 30% felt very hot within a few seconds and "frosted." After two minutes I was rushed to the sink to splash icy cold water leaving my skin looking very healthy and feeling tight although a bit red (that wore off in an hour or so). A series of six with increasing strength and application time was recommended: every six weeks or so. It was nice: more radiant, little discolorations fading away and that delicious tightness. The mild irritation was thought to stimulate collagen: all good. 

I was very pleased, albeit a couple of tummy butterflies, to review the Jessner Peel. And if you decide to try this before December 31, the company is offering a 20% discount with the code "SHEBLOGS".

Their product arrived in a clear plastic cosmetic case containing one bottle of the Jessner Peel, a neutralizer spray, a box of gauze squares for the application and instructions. reminded me of the FTC requirement that bloggers acknowledge gifts: acknowledged.

I washed my face and patted it dry. Having read the instructions about twelve times, I was ready to  gently dab the Jessner solution on my face NOT my neck or around my eyes. Gently dab, not douse. The alcohol smell faded immediately and it was not unpleasant for the sixty seconds (30 - 60 depending on your comfort) I paced before rushing to spray the neutralizer (refreshing) and then splashing cold water. You can do two to six passes; you will become increasingly sensitive to the point (five passes for me) that you cannot bear the thought of one more. Oh and increasingly red, not burnt. If one is burnt you stop. Period. No more.  Red like a fresh light sunburn and that old tight feeling, I layered gobs of moisturizer on. The red diminished as expected and by the next morning my face just felt tight. Three days later a gentle peeling began. Very gentle ... lasting five or six days. Nothing that anyone would comment on. Your skin feels so soft and fresh, more radiant (well, yes: you've just taken a layer of dull old skin off). The truth is that I loved it and will do it again in a couple of months.


If you've had this done by your dermatologist several times, you'll know what to expect and when to stop. carries other products such as lactic acid, glycolic acid that are safer and yet dermatologist strength. 

"The Jessner's Solution should be applied by experienced professionals only ... t

Chemical peels have been used for hundreds of years and have a proven safety record (when applied by experienced users). Chemical peels, however, are not for everyone. Active infections and certain medications (ie Accutane) may preclude the use of certain types of chemical peels (especially medium and deep.)"

The very best thing would be to ask your doctor about this, perhaps even apply it for you. Things like the thickness of your skin, its color, what medications you're taking, your sensitivity and discomfort level matter. Antibiotics, cortisone, other medications make your skin more sensitive. 

Honestly, I love it. More than mashed avocadoes and egg yolks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh For A Kind And Good Tailor and A Few Do's

Tweets roll by until there is The One that makes you gasp. Well, I did just gasp, roll my eyes, smack my table, get up and pace for a minute. 

First you need to know that I've always cheered for the Don't Do This group, a by-product of my middle school years where I had almost daily visits to the Vice Principal of Skirts. Slouching didn't always work to get my skirt to touch the floor while kneeling awkwardly and her almost gleeful glints of something I couldn't name made me cross. In my thoughts, of course; in real time I apologized and promised to do better. I'd really thought my years of kneeling in Catholic school classrooms (catechism, not punishment; rulers were the scarier thing then) were over. My first lessons is fashion prejudice. 

Years later in Paris near Claude Montana's Rue St. Denis quirky neighborhood (a mix of sex shops and pizza stores) I tried to remember to carry a YSL shawl I liked to boldly throw on with the name showing. For some reason, labels and recognizable designer logos embarrassed me (I liked Bottega best back then because they didn't do initial bags). It was necessary to not look too fashionable (Issey Miyake coats were rather grand) because the drivers preferred neat to edge and it always rained when we needed a taxi. Most simply disappeared and the rest had drivers wagging a finger at us for trying to hail a cab in the rain. Sigh. Season after season. The magazine editors had cars, by the way.

Maybe because fashion requires so many judgements as a buyer, I hate being judgmental about fashion and beauty.  My favorite, sometimes very humbling, exercise is at airports with the requirement that I find at least one thing that I like about each person I see. Yelling people excused. Shudder.

The tweet is very friendly and actually comes from a fashion professional. Well, that makes it worse, I think. The tweet is this:

Don't bother saving anything that just doesn't fit you anymore. Ill-fitting clothes are absolutely DEADLY for the self-esteem #fashion

Oh dear. That is so not what I believe. I recently took two Gary Graham chiffon sort of Stevie Nicks wonderful dresses (ok, they were identical but I did get them on sale) to my alteration lady. There were three layers of dreamy chiffon and sort of a handkerchief hem that made the dresses so special. Actually too special for me. I love to wear beautiful dresses like this with tights and boots, sometimes with (I never got over grunge) skin tight jeans and someone's ballet flats. Nancy shopped the hems to make them all straight and it's "normal" with most of the Stevie thing removed, just the memory left. Two lovely skirts seemed just too long and the waist needed to be taken in (several of my skirts were meant to be worn below the waist and I'm very tired of that look). Maybe because we once had two seamstresses in our Beverly Hills store (it was normal back then to absolutely adjust everything to perfection) I picked up the habit of changing things to my way. OK, maybe I shouldn't have to some early John Galliano jackets from his earliest collections when fit was more unusual (nicely said, thank you) - they were his pieces but they did have to fit to be sold.

DO make friends with two tailors (seamstresses, alterations people: not sure how to phrase this). One for serious work involving taking things in all over, adjusting narrowness of sleeves and pants, removing waistbands to change the fit - this one will charge a lot and it's worth it. One step closer to custom. I think that most dry cleaners offer amazingly inexpensive hems for skirts (plain skirts, not those doubled ballooned picquet hem things) and simple hems for pants. Do it. Smile and say thank you; you'll have someone who cares.

DO remove the plastic bags by the way. Many (most?) dry cleaners use things that linger a bit on your freshly cleaned clothes. Air them out, change hangers (Mommy Dearest in mind here) and do not stuff them into your closet.

DO look at your shoes, boots, bags and at the first scuff, smudge, seam ... get them to the best shoe repair shop you can find. For some reason, my black Balenciaga motorcycle bag became my security blanket during the darkest days of my divorce (years, sigh). Twice a year I gave it up to be moisturized, cleaned, attended to (spa day?) and then when Lehman's collapsed and we all had financial insecurity, I stuck with it. The divorce ended and I do have an obscenely extravagant fuchsia Lanvin bag with those floppy flowers (my kids bought it for me).

DO get rid of anything that is frayed, that you hated every time you wore it guiltily, that is no longer your style, that reminds you of someone and you do not want to go there. Donate, trade off with friends, eBay ... choices.

DO have a system that you like for your clothes. I like dark things together and then whites (well that's about it for me) and then the handful of prints or (gasp) color.

DO stuff your boots, shoes, bags with the tissue paper that nice shops wrap your things in. It's just nice.

DO NOT get rid of things you love that you haven't worn in a year. Silly rule - ignore it.

DO take your suede shoes, boots and bags to the shoe repair shop to waterproof carefully. It's a nasty spray that can glop. It costs hardly anything and it works.

DO NOT listen to other people's rules because they are in fashion ... Take what you like and leave the rest behind works here too.

DO NOT ever ever ever wear a white anything that should have been washed. That's not grunge; that's a serious mistake.

DO what you love. Life is short and once you're out of school, there is no Vice Principal of Skirts.

DO find that nice thing about someone else because you'll be happier.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tina Turner and Janet and THAT Dress ... A Year Later

Just a little story from Tina Turner's biography I, Tina: My Life Story ... about a dress she just had to have and how it happened.

"I went shopping even though I didn't have a dime. I went into Charles Gallay, a shop I had found when I was with Ike. Charles definitely had what I wanted -- quality things that cost a lot of money. Yeah, I got to tell you -- I love it when the clothes are expensive. You know why? They look right and they last. It's not just about price -- there's got to be quality there.

Now I've got to tell you about Janet. I love Janet. She could understand me and relate to me. There was never a time when I walked into that shop she thought, "Oh, no, Tina doesn't have any money." Janet was smarter than that.

Well, there came a time when there was a very expensive dress that I had to have. I loved it and I wanted it. It felt like gold in my hands, but I said to myself, there's no way I can spend that kind of money. So I said to Janet, "Janet, kinda -- don't sell this dress." Now how can you say that to a saleswoman? But Janet wasn't just a saleswoman, she was Charles' ace boon top saleswoman. So she could hold the dress and she knew I was going to find a way to buy it. She had a few buyers that came in, but Janet didn't push it; she didn't tell them you can wear it this way and do this with it.

And finally -- a year later -- I did find a way to get that dress!"

I remember that gold dress, like molten silk woven by angels. It was made by Roberto Cavalli's sister who showed at in Florence next to her brother at the Pitti Palace. I can tell you everything about that dress but I can't remember her name, alas.

Monday, November 15, 2010

@Zandra_Rhodes: Welcome To Twitter and A Few Memories

"The Zandra Rhodes show for Charles Gallay at Mr. Chow was so good that it's hard to describe it."

Well, yes it was. Two shows because it was very very good. Groucho Marx stayed for both. Carrie White did "heaps and mounds of hair." Zandra pressed everything and kept the models away from trouble. When it was over, the ladies flocked across the street with cameras following to try on the clothes.

And a few days after the show,  we went to Disneyland with Zandra and Tim Curry.

Flirty, Naughty, Funny and Wonderful: Mary's


Mary is a fashion student with the most seductive lingerie blog. Naughty and nice, Flirty Skin (Link here) is irresistible. I asked Mary for a list of her favorite things; Chantal Thomass stockings and Paris and sleeping are on mine, too. 

12 things i cannot live without:

My Lover


Numéro Editorials

My cat Elliott, named after suicidal Singer/Songwriter Elliott Smiths & My dog Maurice,the cutest Bernese Mountain Dog ever

Transparent Lace & Mesh


Paris & red vine ( these things belong together forever for me)


Chantal Thomass stockings

sleeping the whole sunday ( god, I miss this since I am working on my diploma haha)

My Iphone, seriously- this stupid thing makes you become an addict

Marie-Antoinette by Sophia Copola.Favorite Film of all times.

"I started blogging because:

It's been some time I wanted to do a  blog and this summer I went to London for a 3 month internship at "Bordelle".
So the timing was good and we had the opportunity to either make a documentation about our internship or to write a blog.
So I took the jump into the cold water. I am lucky to have a very talented  Boyfriend who loves to experiment in Photography and so we started to take pictures whenever I find some cool lingerie-pieces. I always loved writing and since I am working on my own Lingerie-collection the time seamed perfect to start a Blog about the thing I love most.
Right now I am unfortunately more glued to the sewing machine than to my computer, but I try to keep going and share whatever moves me.
 And it's so worth it, I met great people and got opportunities I wouldn't had without flirtyskin, like going to the Triumph Inspiration Award or visiting the Lingerie Collective where I met some very nice people and got a first sneak peak  into the industry-
 my Blog was my little wingman who opened me many doors in such a short time."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jean Muir: Not That Demure, No

We sold a lot of Jean Muir in Beverly Hills. Her things looked prim  on the hanger but the way the bias cut matte jersey fit, clinging ... it was anything but demure.

The sedate beautiful white building at 22 Bruton Street had wide wooden stairs that we climbed to Jean's second floor studio and cheerfully knocked on her white door.  A muffled voice on the other side hushed us with a crisp "so sorry, there's a Royal in here and we can't let you in." We waited not even wondering who the Royal was, just cross at something that couldn't happen in America. There's a lot of waiting in fashion for things: taxis, fashion shows, dinner in Milan at Bice or Rigolo and now Royals.

Harry Leuckert, Jean's husband, swept us in with a laugh and a cough that all British men seem to acquire although his was not as masterful as the doorman at the Connaught who could cough the rowdiest American into a quivering neurotic mess.

We met Harry and Jean at Mr. Chow's that night. Charles ordered a lobster and his waiter whipped out a bib for him, even tying it for him. Jean gasped as she ripped it off without a word while Harry kept talking. Something about their farm in Scotland, completely glossing over a ripped bib that had disappeared as Jean tossed it toward a passing waiter.

I wondered if Mr. Chow reserved bibs for jovial Americans.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yes, I Won The Shopping Spree Last Night At Decades 2

"You have been selected as the winner of the $250 shopping
spree to decadesTwo.1 and VIP Ticket to this Thursday's shopping event
mentioned in this article ... "

The thing is I'd won an absolutely gorgeous Geoffrey Beene book from one of my favorite websites a few days earlier ( and maybe I'd won the $1.00 lottery a few times. Winning feels wonderful. This was a big deal ... and more than a little ironic. Decades has the most beautiful pieces of vintage designer clothing, a boutique littered with pristine pieces from Chanel, Missoni, Chloe, Balenciaga, Marni, Prada, Manolo and Louboutin and more. Many designers I'd carried in my own store.

The Decades 2.1 pop-up was crammed with women carrying armloads of clothes to try on while eyeing tables covered with Loubs and Manolos. Not to fear, more clothes will be brought in and then Sunday is the wake-up-early to get in line for the insane shoe sale - those beauties left will all be marked down to 150.00.

The prices were mild by the way. There was a silk Prada dress ... mine.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Little Fashion Story: Pino Lancetti, Janet and Staying Late One Night

Do you ever ask an old friend "do you remember this ..." and then of course you remember all of it.  

Pino Lancetti made the most ethereal (he was of the Rome Alta Moda group: haute couture in small ateliers) white blouses for evening to be worn with his black bias crepe long skirts but there were a handful of decadent loose, flowing tops and caftan dresses with fringe. I remembered that Barbra Streisand and Sue Mengers had the same caftan dress. We'd worried about that because Sue was Barbra's agent. I'd completely forgotten about the other customer. Janet emailed me this morning and it all came back ...

"Do you remember this. Close of day and all the salespeople wanted to leave. I chose to stay and help the young heavy girl with her "mum." June Scott (a Beverly Hills real estate lady that picked her clients up in her chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce and only wore designer clothes with serious jewelry) had told me to always look at shoes and she was wearing expensive skin shoes. The alteration lady stayed and sewed two Lancetti dresses to fit her!! Natural hemp color with colored embroidered top and kimono sleeves with long fringe. The young girl purchased a lot and came back the next day for more! Huge sale for that time.

She was Sharen Arden. Her father was Don Arden who owned ELO. He'd disowned her because she ran off with Ozzy Osbourne! 

I still help her and the entire family 20+ years later."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dangerous Beauty: Brazilian Blowouts and Formaldehyde

Fact: Brazilian Blowouts actually have the same concentrations ( 8 - 10%) of formaldehyde that embalmers use. A hair product with at least some formaldehyde and a flat iron at 450 degrees (which is also hot enough to create steam, which is breathed in) does gorgeous things to your hair for about three months: hello shine, goodbye frizz. I loved it. Very disconcerting to read the Brazilian Blowout  silly promise to sue OSHA for something I'm not sure they've thought up yet, promising to disburse the award (ahem) to the stylists who used the product (I would not be surprised to discover that there are legions of product liability lawyers gathering to begin a class action suit); the company has refused to acknowledge the formaldehyde with ever-more ridiculous reasoning.

It's banned in Europe but not here. Some salons are doing it after hours so that other stylists and clients aren't affected, a few are offering air filtration systems in special rooms and other stylists are scouring the world of hair care for safer alternatives.

The major candidates are the Coppola System, Keragreen, Kerasure and Global Keratin. My last Brazilian was in July and with the beautiful beach mist my hair has reverted to puffery, frizz and all that sleek shine was gone; brillo hair. All my googling convinced me of the importance of sulfate-free shampoos and the longer you can get away without shampooing, the better (especially to stop the after coloring fade). There was no clear best choice to replace the Brazilian.

I almost went with the Kerasure, which claims to be organic (I think it uses a 3% permanent solution to open the hair shaft; not sure, conflicting information).Kerasure and Keragreen have no formaldehyde but the ironed in product must stay in your hair for up to four days; very unappealing to me.

Global Keratin comes in three formulas - a wee bit of formaldehyde, 2% and then 4% for very course curly hair. I just want to kill the frizz and a wee bit, admitted to, was acceptable (formaldehyde is even used for dry-cleaning, it's everywhere). It lasts up to five months with a two day wait before you can shampoo. The application is very similar to the Brazilian;  clarifying shampoo, brushing the solution on, blowdrying it and then ironing (450 degrees) which leaves your hair shiny and sleek although plastered to your head. No unpleasant odor, no eyes burning; mildly uncomfortable leaning my head back during the ironing.

 I used the Brazilian Blowout Shampoo after the required forty-eight hours to shampoo twice, catching a faint whiff of the chemicals going down the drain. A ton of conditioner which did not leave my hair soft (worry, worry); four squirts of MorrocanOil cream and brushing (Aveeda paddle brush which is excellent for course or curly hair) before blowing it dry. The end result was thick and soft hair with minimal frizz and movie star shine.

There was no odor during the two days and maybe I imagined a chemical smell as I washed my hair. While it's advised to do color before the treatment, color can safely be done after a week without changing the results (you couldn't color after a Brazilian). The charge (Beverly Hills salon) was 150.00 plus a tip.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shamelessly Romantic, Sometimes Practical ... Again and Then Again

If you're really lucky, you might have a friend like Judith. She has helped me through every crisis and saved trinkets and pages too. She worked on this newsletter and sent me a copy a few weeks ago.

I still love kraft paper and what you can do with it. It was a theme then, kraft boxes drowning in decadent amounts of white tulle bows. Gift boxes wrapped in kraft and then silk (faux, of course) flowers hot glued.

In the last week I won an artisan-crafted Geoffrey Beene book (fold-out photos assembled in storyboard fashion from a collector) from the amazingly wonderful and then last night the email from the LA Times Style Section informing me that I'd won a shopping spree at Cameron Silver's Decades pop-up in Brentwood. Two wins in one week have left me gushing and deliriously happy.

There's a touch of irony in the shopping spree ... Decades carries many of the designers I used to sell in my own shops, much from one or another of Charles' stores.

Happiness redux.

Here's the information on the Decades Pop-Up Shop in Brentwood from the LA Times Style Section:

After seeing the recent success of his Pop-Up shops in New York and Chicago and the debut of his first e-commerce site, Christos Garkinos is now bringing the magic of DecadesTwo.1 closer to home with a four-day shopping event at Post26 at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Shoes and accessories from Chanel, Chloé, Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Gucci and more will be sold at up to 80% off retail. Shoppers can also complement their purchase with the latest contemporary wares from Post26.
The four-day shopping event begins on November 11th with an exclusive VIP cocktail shopping reception. The following days on November 12 and 13, the pop-up shop will be open to the public with the retailer’s infamous $150 shoe sale on Sunday November 14. Inventory will be replenished daily, so plan to make multiple visits.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Most Wonderful Hand Knit Throw Blanket Ever: Cricket Creations

My roommate Angelo (Angelo DiBiase, who did Ellen Barkin in Sea of Love, drove up one Sunday afternoon to "create" the style for Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct - haircut and a few polaroids - and billed the studio a cool $3,000.00. Jonathan Antin credited Angelo for starting the 300.00 everyday haircut.) had flown his mother and step-dad out to stay with us for a few weeks.

Angelo's mother stirred absurdly large pots of pasta and we waited impatiently for her marina sauce while her husband, Carmen Basilio, helped her. Angelo shook his head and drawled his slow "yes, darling - come on over" to clients and friends that were dying to talk boxing. And Thursday nights we declared Knitting Night: his mother teaching and feeding us while we watched LA Law. Helena (Jack Nicholson's Helena: she'd just closed her crazy-hot club in a sketchy part of Los Angeles) sauteed slivers of garlic to toss in an angel hair pasta with a touch of olive oil and shredded basil.  Gabriel Byrne and George Malkemus stopped by to eat and knit while Ryan and Farrah sat with Carmen.

I've forgotten how to knit but those days left me with a great appreciation for yarn and the artistry that some can bring to the craft.  I don't remember how I came across Crickets Creations; Celeste understands yarn and its possibilities. The lacy blanket and the extravagant fringe arrived last week, all white with a touch of shimmer in the fringe. She sent photos showing the process of selecting the yarns that she uses; selecting textures that are all light and airy. Her work is custom and can help choose the colors with you. I sent her pictures of my white Starck daybed which is washed in light throughout the day. She understood the mood - sort of a Scandinavian light woods and white - and sent the photo of the yarn she proposed, which I totally loved. Soft and cozy ... and beautiful.

Just about time to send in orders for the holiday. And the things she does for babies are amazing too.

Celeste (Crickets)
Crickets Creations: Fringie™ Photo Portrait Props & Fashion Scarves 
Read about my new home accessory interior design blankets on my blog

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rhubard Raspberry, Cherry Blackberry, Strawberry Black Peppercorn and Peach Rosemary: One Kings Road Could Be Heaven

Rhubarb Raspberry Thyme: A subtle rhubarb tang and a wholesome raspberry sweetness blend with an herbaceous thyme surprise to make a versatile and intriguing low-sugar conserve. Slather it on a croissant, stir into yogurt, serve alongside a lamb chop, foie gras or ice cream—being adventurous will only bring gastronomic pleasure.
Peach Rosemary: Experience the unexpected pairing of a tincture of rosemary with the refreshing wash of sweet summer peaches. Perfect with savory brunch fare, as a yogurt stir-in, on your midnight turkey sandwich, alongside roast pork or biscuits, as well as with goat cheese on bruschetta or atop mahi mahi. A panorama of possibilities!
Strawberry Black Peppercorn: Whether at your breakfast table or as a delightful accompaniment to savory evening dishes, this lively pairing of succulent strawberries and the brilliant pop of ground peppercorn works with everything. Lay it down next to an assortment of hard and soft cheeses or make a mouthwatering statement with your next steak.
Cherry Blackberry Sage & Clove: While lusciously sweet blackberries temper tart cherries, a delicate mingling of sage and clove amidst the fruit creates a festive, multi-layered conserve. A perfect complement to roast beef, lamb, or goose, as well as on popovers, muffins, or a fine triple-crème Brie. May we suggest a sweet supper at sunrise?

Totally just lifted this from their website. Too delicious to ignore and so special that my first sweet and generous thought after I immediately ordered this was to share it. Thinking of savory pancakes and brie with a taste of this, maybe a little smoked chicken on rosemary olive oil bread with butter lettuce and this and then a topping of one of these insanely divine flavors on a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream.

Join the site and get amazing emails every day. and link here for these ... 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Hate Fakes I Hate Fakes I Hate Fakes

Marie Kettering

Sells replica hermes handbags and replica hermes wallets on the internet. You can get fake hermes replica handbags and other famous brands like gucci handbags.

What to do when you run across, in places that are not supposed to support shady FAKE and/or REPLICA Hermes wallets? 

In this instance, I blocked and reported spam on twitter. Of course this is a all about the money and if Twitter removes this one, there'll be little leeches springing up. A languid action when I was dying to find a button, not there, that exploded the site and sent the evil-doers off to do community service somewhere for years. I have a disturbing (and true) image of women and children, probably some hapless men too) working way too many hours in overheated factories for not enough money to live comfortably. Whilst Hermes and others have programs   to preserve the craft of fine work. It's evil. Period ...

Finally it's up to Hermes/Chanel/Balenciaga/etc to guard the brand. 

Christian Louboutin doesn't just make edgy sexy shoes with red soles. He's the Lone Ranger setting up a pretty serious site to expose FAKES. Frightening to see how many sites are sending out FAKES. It's a must visit and the enormity of this is grim. Link here ...

I'd love a genuine Hermes wallet at the moment, frustrated with the relative flimsiness of wallets I replace every year or so (faded, stitching issues). Not a FAKE, no. Stuck with a FAKE Chanel Baby Cabas bag which I can never take to Italy because it would be confiscated and there's that pesky 5,000.00 fine.

Not that I'm judgmental. But I really would like that red button to take them down.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Charles Anastase: The Most Beautiful Dresses In The World

It's entirely possible that these are the most beautiful dresses in the world. Charles Anastase ... and I have had a thing for plenty of Charles' in my life ... did these. Rae Kawakubo is walking somewhere wearing his dresses and that is exactly what I want to do. On sale too ... oh what to do. Here at's amazing other site, just window shopping the Sale and sighing, reaching for a silk fan that is not there (and wondering how expensive clothes can get, prices are flying like a jet plane),wishing as hard as I ever have ... the other site is The Corner linked here (hurry, really breathtaking fashion on page after page).

Charles Anastase, I think I love you. His site is linked here. In which the most beautiful dresses in the world become the new black, or something like that.

Having finally seen Social Network last night with gorgeous blogger Julianne Rhodes who writes the  Jewels From The Roving Stove blog, my mad crush for everything internet extended to Federico Marchetti who put most of the world's fashion designers on the internet in some way for his company as well as His story is here.

I am sure that if I owned just these two dresses, I could walk with Rae anywhere considering the things she does. Happily too.

A Conversation With Judith Miller About Costume Jewelry

I had the opportunity to send Judith Miller a few questions about her newest book Costume Jewelry. Do look through her books and guides ... this is like having a best friend who knows everything. Very cool. Ms. Miller answered in red ...
This is a delicious book, yummy with information and illustrations and a sort of where in the price race the designer currently is. I was really fascinated because I sold several of the designers she's written about. Herve Van Der Straetten amazed ... his pieces were grabbed, literally, by the more intellectual ladies who wore the savage black of Japanese designers, highly intellectualized and deconstructed. Robert Lee Morris, way back to the Artwear days, whom she correctly said was more about art than fashion (he sold Ted Muehling and Cara Croninger in his shop on West Broadway). Having sold a bit of Butler & Wilson in the mid-80's, it was wonderful having them anchor Sunset Plaza with a memorable boutique (I had the other end). I carried gobs and gobs of Eric Beamon (there really was an Eric, a very talented man) before it was Erickson Beamon. I've sold it new and fresh, as accessories to fashion, with an appreciation for refinement and fantasy, not thinking collectible: at the end of the season it was a markdown. But I do have a Chinese wedding basket where I keep almost everything I ever fell in love with because accessories should be forever.

The pieces, as they should be of course, are all pristine and that is part of the allure and the spendy part of it all. I'd imagine there are people that love the romance of a particular period/designer and look for something personal that speaks to them and then again there are thousands (literally) of items on eBay, in dank cabinets at antique shows of varying quality and price.
And you can still find some absolute bargains everywhere – from charity stores, to estate sales, to job lots at auction ...but also on eBay I have just bought a beautiful pair of unsigned multi-faceted earrings in glorious shades of blue for $9.00
To be sure beauty and want would matter tremendously but plunking down 500. and up for a piece from a previous season - there's clues in the book but is there failsafe advice on how to buy and what to do if there is a patina issue or one itsy missing stone or a loose screw? Is the price sliced or ???
Condition is of course paramount and missing stones can make a piece unsaleable. However I have bought job lots of costume jewelry at auction and have many stones that I can set in pieces.
Special shops with "estate or vintage" pieces, such as the hand picked selection at Barneys and Bergdorfs, a few very fine boutiques, carry pieces that while exquisite are at least at the top of the price range. For the piece you can't live without it seems that would be the best way to find a well-edited, valuable piece that probably oozes half its value on the way to the door?
It is amazing what you can pick up. I went with a friend to a really sweet little store in Galveston Texas a couple of years ago and boght really good Haskell, Joseff and Hagler for very reasonable prices and some very good unsigned pieces too.
Interested in your thoughts on Coco Chanel in 1924 making a chic set of faux pearl earrings (one black, one white - so chic) and setting the tone for costume jewelry as chic as the relatively inexpensive jersey she cut for refined elegant simple chic) vs the American commercial (?) use of plastic (is that bakelite). Was that a sort of middle of the road commercial implosion to make things pretty, seemingly coincident with womens rights (so to speak, not many) and red lipstick with all that sexuality and freedom it implied? Or was the plastic tres chic and expensive albeit mass produced?
I think the joy of costume jewelry is that it was all things to all women. Chic, trashy, in your face, outrageous, humorous......The time was right for girls to have fun and copy their favourite film star or take the little black dress and add that little ‘je ne sais quoi’...
And of course, the pieces used in the book are incredible examples, exquisite and perfect, no dings or shadows. Could Ms. Miller speak about the selection of designer and pieces and how she came across these pieces.
The designer selection is really like my top favourites. Many of the pieces are mine or belong to friends. We also photographed the whole stock of friends Yai and Steven at Cristobal here in London and friends at Also two friendly dealers in Philly and New York.
Is there a best way to preserve the beauty of these at home - what to do when we let the last clasp go?
Pin to cushions, decorate mirrors
Not important but terribly curious on the exclusion of Tim Binns, another mad designer whose exquisite edgey work is grabbed at by fashion people and accessory lovers (I'm half mad about his work.)
Unfortunately some designers do get left out. I tried to get some Alice in Wonderland pieces but couldn’t in time.
Importantly and because it's become sadly rampant in fashion and handbags, what about mirror copies and fakes of good quality? Is there protection or proof?
No protection – just handle as much of the real stuff.
So many idiosyncratic people made statements in jewelry. I remember a just away from being a Playboy bunny Elsa Perretti at Halston adjusting a leather strap on one of her first sterling seeminly rolled by her dainty fingers belt buckle, all organic shape. Tina Chow, my friend, and her crystals she worked in Japan. Berry Berenson making beads and sewing pillows. People are drawn to jewelry .. making it and buying it. Almost a genetic requirement? Any thoughts on this?
I think you are right. ..from staring into my mum’s jewelry box in the late 1950’s, to finding vintage ‘stuff’ in Edinburgh as a student in the late 1960’s jewelry is very individual.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Judith Miller's 101st Book: Costume Jewelry

Judith Miller's delicious and newest book, Costume Jewelry, is actually her 101st book, I think. She's the co-founder of The Antiques Price Guide and Miller's Collectible Price Guide, she's a specialist on the BBC's The Antiques Roadshow and a visit to her website is like dropping in at your dear friend's houses to have a cup of tea and show the little trinkets you just happened to find at a tag sale. 

Costume Jewelry is segmented by Major Designers (Chanel, yes), Classic Designers (Givenchy, LaCroix, Lagerfeld, Lanvin, YSL ... ), Future Designers (Erickson Beamon and the photos made my toes wiggle with pleasure), a list of dealers (websites too, marks, glossary ... the works). Logical and precise, it's how you can swoop into the perfect piece at a lawn sale, at one of those musty antique shows or even into your own jewelry chest. 

There's code - a letter grade - to indicate a price range. Voila ... how to troll eBay (careful, really really careful: that is an amazing place when you absolutely can trust the seller).

1924 and Coco Chanel showed simple faux earrings: one black pearl and one white. Simple, chic and that was The Moment. 

In this case the dictionary needs a quick update ...

costume jewelrynounjewelry made with inexpensive materials or imitation gems.

The Pearl by Guy de Maupassant is online here ... the great ending: 
    "Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! . .  

Judith Miller's Costume Jewelry is at Amazon.

Louis Vuitton, Strange Houses, Mr.Murakami, Revok & IT Bags

Actually Louis Vuitton houses should not exist. It's a serious company that frowns, most of the time, at random expressions of art and photoshop, although it did recently allow the (why why why) destruction of some fashion and bags for a group of fashion students in New York to experiment with for a class in fashion design.  LV was livid over a Japanese installation using LV-like material to create little imaginary animals; a benign and loving tribute I'd thought.

Marc Jacobs roused the Snorlax of spendy luggage, bringing in the street cool of Stephen Sprouse with that amazing graffiti slashed on tranquil bags following up with Takashi Murakami blowing out of stores with painted cherries and flowers; top of the eBay fake pile, a nasty place to wade through.

 In the middle of MOCA Los Angeles, the LV/Murakami shop was busier than a Starbucks on Madison Avenue at 8:55am. I stood in line for an hour while Shepard Fairey DJ'd and the cutest boys and girls served drinks, thinking it was art loving holding everything back. It was shopping time in the middle of the museum in a suddenly there LV boutique! My clever girlfriend bought a bag when she spied Mr. Murakami in the doorway and decided to smile her way through the milieu to ask for his very nice autograph for the newly bought IT bag (very few men would say no to her); he said yes and did a spiffy little sketch of her in her new bag and signed it. Commerce, indeed.

 Mr. Murakami stepped up to buy the billboard near the museum, loving the graffiti dancing (billboard buffing by Revok) on it. The art of the bag, the street and LV all at once.

It was a couple of years ago and it seems sweet (it was). I think Mr. Murakami paid 30,000. for the billboard ...  a fair price. Lots of money all around that event. The commerce of IT bags. Which now require true country of original labels ...
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