Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kittens & Really, Really Big Dogs & White Embroidered Bedding

The kittens, Killah and Hundred Dollah Billah, are six month old sisters. Pretty little things with Freddy-like claws who practice pouncing and other cute things on my white embroidered duvet. Now I have come to understand, never having had kittens before, that "they keep themselves clean, don't worry" is rather subjective. They do spend a lot of time grooming themselves and each other; that is when they're not performing in front of Papa Bear, my 112 pound Bernese Mountain Dog and his boon companion, Cheese Ball, a 65 pound English Bull Dog who has lost her girlish figure. She does not really have udders, of course ... but sometimes, from the rear; oh well. She's a sleepy girl and the kittens look of horror when they met the breathing monster kept on the other side of the door for the first few weeks ... Papa Bear has a good nature, just a luxurious lumbering lazy beast who can't help the size of his mouth: it's larger than the pair of kittens. They have accepted him and periodically toy with his tail, pawing it until he wakes up, surprised one more time.

They're indoor cats. The streets are dangerous with coyotes prowling at night along with skunks lurking under parked cars. Ir's an urban jungle and pretty little kittens do look like tasty little treats. The playing and pouncing and licking on my lovely white embroidered, lacy, deliciously soft and highly vulnerable bedding has left unknown rips. It's necessary in the middle (it is, isn't it?) of the recession to shop. Recession chic and darning, turning the old cuffs so to speak, can only last so long. Not quite expecting sticker shock and thinking that it would be good to have bedding tax credits ... embroidered, lacy, soft white cotton carries price tags (could you get away with one pillow, I mean of course not ... I have six) of nice vacations or even, aha, another Bernese Mountain Dog (just kidding, Papa Bear.)

I've googled and ebayed and amazoned and it is apparent that they have chosen to ignore good bedding. Oh there is a set of Gucci bedding on ebay but ... did Gucci ever make bedding and would you want it?

Rachel Ashbrook's groovy California girl, spendy but very, very, very fine, Shabby Chic bedding is too, too beautiful. The first two are hers and my first choice. The third is from Anthropologie, very pretty and far less money.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The House of Worth and I Will Return

Haute Couture. The term was invented to describe the extraordinary use of opulent fabrics, luxurious broidery and the painstaking, almost impossible to imagine, hand work of Charles Frederick Worth.  Refined and exquisite, the creations were ambiguous in their simplicity. This confection of tulle and embellishment on Edwardian corseterie was shown today in Paris. Giovanni Bedin was brought in to revive the House of Worth, having worked with Karl Lagerfeld and a "quick season" with Thierry Mugler.  Like so many other couture houses, The House of Worth's perfume lingered on. I once saved weekly allowances to buy a small Je Reviens for my Aunt Ruth when she was quite sick; I didn't want to let her go. A small vanity and an impossible hope that she would get well. Just the words seemed magical to me ... "I will return."  The stringent requirements to use the term haute couture are listed below ...

In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France. Their rules state that only "those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves" of the label haute couture. The criteria for haute couture were established in 1945 and updated in 1992.
To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:
  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

A deceptively simple chemise, circa 1925, with touches of gold lame revealed by the slits, encrusted with hand-sewn glass beads.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Broken Elegance

Cathy Horyn crowds worlds and books of meaning in one hundred forty character tweets. To describe Thimister shows "quite clear in military shapes and broken elegance ... dresses like melted down family silver:" I'm savoring every word, shutting my eyes into another world. Contradictions, juxtapositions and fashion as a second rate art: craft. Thinking about how many, really how few, do craft not fast fashion. Remembering factory owners, nice men in suits shirts ties wingtips and black socks, crowding Azzedine Alaia while he cut, made a pattern, sewed a garment, all in a tiny Rue des Belle-Chasses apartment overfilled with buyers, press, a couple of dogs, Janice Dickenson draped in a black dress just like ... "melted down family silver."

How can a tweet, something light and ephemeral, convey so much emotion and memory.

Just words and tendrils of meaning ... stilettos, pencil skirts, schoolgirl skirts, pristine white blouses, chunky bracelets, lipstick red, frail dresses.

And Paris is all about the Haute Couture and maybe perfume just now.

The Most Beautiful Pink Bag Ever

Lanvin pink pom pom tote bag
Well, it is the most beautiful pink Lanvin tote in the world and the picture doesn't capture all of its happiness.

What to do about the most beautiful bag in the world and paying for it ... it becomes an existential issue and at 1435. a serious one.

The thing is it's lovely in every way and it would make me so so so happy. And if it were an easier price I'd have swooped in like a chocoholic spying a bittersweet artisan chocolate truffle.

Sometimes one has to admire a thing and imagine. But the idea of an indiscreet amount of flowers on a previously modest bag, well ... I have plastic boxes filled with silk flowers of varying quality and beauty. Some are worthy of a glue gun and a brown kraft paper wrapped present - voila, deep unapologetic excess and beauty. Some are fragile, fey, delicate ... immediately under a glass vase to simply admire.

The roads "ponded" this week in Southern California and maybe the hills will burst into happy wildflowers. I want this bag and will stare at the picture now and then and maybe listen to Francoise Hardy ... The Rose.

Friday, January 22, 2010


You have to know about investments.
Black Manolo Blahnik stilettos. Classic, investment-grade shoes.
A good pump starts at $575.
I watched a woman cross Wilshire Boulevard wearing a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black Manolo’s.
Her hair was shiny. Just a person, not overdone.
A business person, or else a really great call girl.
She stopped traffic.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bonzie Crotty's Tragically Romantic Layered Tulle Skirt and Flowers

Bonzie wrote those words ... the "tragically romantic layered tulle skirt." It looks like angels shredded it to see how beautiful it could become.  She makes these to order along with tight jackets, wristlets of lace and flowers, little tops. Dolce & Gabbana had a chiffon ravaged skirt, years ago, caught with flowers here and there. I did a window on an ancient dress makers form that made everything somehow soft and edgey and put a tight wood houndstooth vest on top along with ropes of pearls and piles of flowers strewn on the display floor. I love the soft colors Bonzie works with but this in black with a tight black cashmere cardigan, with a few of her flowers and black boots - another mood, another portrait. Or white for a wedding, barefoot on a beach, a satin bustier under a tight Edwardian jacket. Her website ... Bonzie Crotty

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lena Erziak Oh Pretty Pretty

Something beautiful ... a theme. When I was little, my mother took me shopping for Easter. Black patent Mary Janes, white ankle socks with lace trim, pink or lavender dresses with great big Peter Pan collars (hmmm, a lot like a Marni jacket I have now) and silly hats that I simply don't remember. I hope they were simple straw things, maybe a boater, with a flower or plastic fruit for pure silliness. I remember staring in at amazement at a hat display at a store that doesn't exist now - fantastical arrangements of plastic fruit. When you're seven or so, you could be easily impressed.

Maybe if I said bags are the new lipstick it would make it easier. I love accessories and the great pieces that just are who you are, how did they know, aren't always available. I can't imagine buying a new purse because I "need" one. I'm wildly in love with the fuchsia satin Coach bag I found and this one is just the perfect color, the perfect length and it would make everything sort of Nijinsky or Nureyev - seriously rich hippie ... oh, it's not "IT" bag price range, so ...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let There Be Fashion Shows

Several designers showed their men's collection online  this season. Streaming video and photographs tweeted and blogged from the shows. There's even Iphone designer fashion show applications. 

Lookbooks are scattered over the internet along with blogs from Vogue, Bazaar, W, In Style, WWD and the bunch of front row bloggers: do look at my list, they're wonderful and unique. It's all instant except that stores still have to wait a few months for deliveries.

Change is a good thing, as long as the zippers and hems are hand finished and fast fashion remains that. Fast is really good, too:  H&M and Target and Urban Outfitters nailed it. Retailers and designers are racing to get blogs and websites up, facebook and twitter too. Bloggers are getting book deals and merchandising deals. Actresses are heading up famous design houses and Britney's perfume might be elbowing into Guerlain territory.

Should winter clothes be delivered in August? I don't know. It probably makes sense to be able to shop for bathing suits and shorts in the spring and summer, not during little collections called "holiday" or "cruise." I don't love the idea of fine things acting like hot and fast groups made for Target and H&M. But then I was startled to see a Chloe dress with a Made In Romania label. Startled and sad. Once I fell in love with a Chloe cream chiffon dress with lace edges and tucks. It had short sleeves and I asked if it could possibly be made with long sleeves. I was told it wouldn't be a problem, that Chloe would send the fabric, the pattern, notes and all the other bits and pieces to a lady just outside of Paris in a taxi. She was the best one for that type of work.

I absolutely think it's wonderful that bloggers are at the shows and seated well. The fashion pack has to be there so of course it's taken for granted and the shows are SO long and they lack the joy/love/enthusiasm/emotion that the bloggers share with some of the ladies of fashion that push designers to success, find them backers and sponsor them for shows, patiently call good friends at certain stores, and some are known to just cry for the beauty of it all. There's another time to worry about currencies, deliveries, sell through, mark up and mark down: just for a short period of time, a designer who you know hasn't slept for a week sends the models down a catwalk and it's like the first time, the best time, this time. It's where you fall in love and sometimes sadly move on. It's fashion, it's New York, it's Paris - wherever it is.

There has to be fantasy and happiness about fashion. Let there be fashion shows. Let there be bloggers.

How To Succeed In Fashion: Part The Basics

"You ask me what you need to succeed in fashion. What I did.
There’s no order to it.
You must be able to live with little sleep and food.
You must buy good boots half a size too big and wear thick socks.
You must know how to move to the front of any throng without bumping into anyone.
You must be able to walk for miles in the rain on cobbled streets carrying as much as a good-sized donkey.
You must be rudely healthy.
You must be able to walk back stage after a simply awful fashion show and say, “You’ve done it again.”
You must be able to be noticed as you take your seat at the edge of the runway.
You must be willing to kiss your husband, your lover, your children goodbye for weeks.
You must know how to cry when necessary."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stephen Jones: Milliner, Order of The British Empire

Stephen Jones. Couture, fantasy, designer and street hats. He's made hats for Princess Di, Gwen Stefanis, Dita Von Teese and creates pieces for runway shows for John Galliano, Vivian Westwood, Comme des Garcon. His work is in the permanent collections at the Victoria & Albert, the Louvre. Fashion Institute ...

This is what is possible ... "from runways to racetracks."   Somethings are just more beautiful than other things. And that's all that is required. Nice to have an OBE this January. Well-done.

Where Did Black Come From

I admit it. I lived breathlessly waiting for Ms. Vreeland to let me know that "pink is the navy blue of India" or "blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola." I wasn't allowed to paint my walls vermillion so I did my nails, long stabby things for a while, in Raven Red.  There was no way to disguise my staring that day long ago when she waited to cross Madison.

I was at a Comme des Garcons show in Paris and the collection was, gasp, black. And everyone was whispering another phrase "black is the new black.

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