Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summertime and Jeans: JBrand if You Please

"I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes." Yves Saint Laurent

"Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola." Diana Vreeland

Jeans are everything. At the moment, I prefer a pair of shocking pink Havianas with mine, an acceptable antidote to all black or all white. Nothing is quite as fine, I think, as the worn, dearly beloved pair of 501's and maybe those skin tight super light Genetic jeans I accidentally bleached to death. For everyday perfection, a little spendy but not catastrophic, JBrand rocks jeans to somewhere between fashion and nonchalance. This selection would be my dream summer wardrobe at the beach.

JBrand I love you, website here.

Cane and Basket Supply: Old School and Good

The perfect antidote to Home Depot was meandering through Ramon's Cane and Supply, established 1934, searching for bamboo stalks to be cut into curtain rods. Bales of straw and raffia, piles of bamboo, heaps of basket making supplies, sheets of rattan, reed fencing: heaven.

Bamboo stalks twelve feet long are only 3.00 each and each cut .55cents. Very chic and breezy, perfect for miles of mosquito net or white canvas.

Link to website here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lanvin and Home Depot ... What?

Lanvin's mood for its Fall '10 mens collection, Lucas Ossendrijver the designer, is raw, hand worked and very rare. Not many of the hand knit duffel on top will be available, a few for Lanvin boutiques in Europe. The work is extraordinary and absolutely is heirloom as well as virtually indestructible. Hand pieced and knitted from over twenty seven hundred feet of hiking rope. It's so amazing, more art than craft, and so labor intensive that the price becomes reasonable as you dwell on it. 5500 Euros is a lot of money, heaps of money actually; the duffel is priced at its intrinsic value, a very fair arrangement. There will never be, should never be, a similar bag - it's that defined and special.

I thought of it today as I walked through looming aisles at Home Depot (looking for redwood for a gate, hardware, wood screws too.) The eighth of an aisle of hiking ropes was simply too functional and evocative, deserving of more than being stuffed between knee pads and light bulbs. I retreated to lanes of wood (as pictured above), pondering why so many people were looking at lumber. I thought about the fashion capitals of the world and wondered how many men would be willing to wear the orange aprons that are the uniform at HD. I've spent hours imagining what things lined up in  hardware stores could be used for, not usually thinking about the objects' stated purpose,  and I think Mr. Ossendrijver may do that, too. The spindles of twine are so elemental and tactile; I wonder if they were a contender.

Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist, in a conversation with Mr. Ossendrijver here.

A + R On Abbott Kinney Is Wonderful

Venice has rejected the usual shopping formula: there's not even one chain store. Mystical books, art galleries, restaurants, mid-century furniture, indie clothing and shoe boutiques (even one that I must avoid, must try to avoid: a random and perfect selection of Lanvin, Dries, Pierre Hardy, oh I must stay away) and there also is A + R, link to website here.  There may not be any reason to leave Venice. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moving: Ten Things Not To Do and One Thing You Will Love

1. Maybe you really shouldn't move.
2. Maybe you should just leave everything, lock the door and forget about it.
3. Maybe you should postpone the move for another six months.
4. Maybe you should admit that the movers will slightly damage about half of your favorite things, lose about one eighth of your favorite things and forget the rest because the boxes are still on the sidewalk (are they really still there?) and the lady next door to you just posted about free things on the curb on Craigslist.
5. Maybe you should throw away your toothbrush, hairbrush, perfume and vitamins because it was the first box left on the sidewalk and the first one taken away for "curbside, free.' Throwing it away instead of hunting ever more desperately for the box you really, really need.
6. Maybe you should laugh when your mover promises not to go over $_________; he belongs to a secret society that has pledged to find reasons to double the guaranteed quote.
7. Maybe you should wear black leather to speak to your landlord because that nice accommodating person that showed you your new home is a member of another secret society that pledges to break every fourth window sash cord and then say you can move, can't make you happy. Black leather, especially those fabulous '80's Claude Montana coats with shoulders about the size of your new front door, allows for a level playing field. You know about people who wear black, don't you?
8. Maybe you should accept that the lights in the fixtures will have been removed and you and the movers will fumble through darkness and moon shadows.Oh and they took the toilet paper too.
9. Maybe you should accept that the boxes and packing paper will not be accepted by a "free, curbside" Craigslist post. And they won't fit into the recycling bin either.
10. Maybe you should accept that the cable person, utility person and security person are also members of yet another secret society and that they will honor their pledges to wait until you must walk your dog to tap on your door, sigh in regret as they leave a "sorry I missed you, call for a new appointment" note.

However there is a new business in West Los Angeles on Santa Monica Boulevard, near Cafe Fifties and those amazing old-school milkshakes: Lucky Feet. Indeed.  The kind fingers and warm water, the endless familiar looping on a flat screen TV of Godfather, the chairs that recline ... you can live through your move happily.

Lucky Feet is an amazing open room with quiet and lovely people waiting to soak your weary feet while rubbing your head and shoulders and then gently lifting one supine limb at a time to caress and wrestle the stress caused by the M word right out of your mind. The opening price of 25.00 an hour is so pleasant that you may begin calculating how many hours you can afford to live there. It's immaculate and attractive. At capacity there could be perhaps sixteen people relaxing in their own area in the commodious room; at no point does it feel public.

It's a wonderful thing and may I say that Lucky Feet is sufficient reason to move here.

Dear Lucky Feet, Thank you for being there. Happily ...

You Are Cordially Invited ... by - And You Will LOVE This

Kate Sekules favorite garment is "a kind of highway woman's swagged coat dress from 1986." That piece was very early John Galliano, a piece that is so beautiful (the word could be tired when used with anything other than early John Galliano; it simply belongs to him) my breathing catches when I think of it. If you understand that about her, and agree that "clothes are not neutral for us who love fashion - they're little friends you've lived with for years, or fallen in love at first sight with, or had to have, even if it's the wrong size," you will sit down a little more slowly to use the following invitation to her site that she's  set up to be a sort of micro-economy.

The pictures of pieces that are gone are up - I love that. It's not all vastly vintage, just a delicious mix of the pieces you always wanted and somehow let slip through your fingers. The photography is simple, just the way you want to see a garment. It all passes through her editor's eyes and is very personal, many pieces with short stories. The Pauline Trigere soft yellow dress and scarf comes from Ms. Trigere's fit model. Ms Trigere has always been a sort of role model for me in fashion and life - impossibly American casual elegance and her business meant the world to her. But in her earliest days, when just staying in business would have been intensely challenging, she fell in love with a Picasso and it became hers. That kind of passion touched me.

The pieces in order are Ms. Trigere's yellow ensemble,  YSL Dali-esque heels (sigh),  Christian Dior dress with that nipped in waist and sash, Dries Van Noten's sleeveless print dress, and a Miu Miu (perfect, so perfect) bag.

This is a wonderful world Kate has created. And you are cordially invited ... simply email with your reasons for wanting to join. As I have done for the sheer unadulterated pleasure of  lounging through some of the memories of fashion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Autumn Leaves and Hot Chocolate

Hello! This is my first stint of guest blogging so I hope I don't disappoint... This morning I woke up to such a grey day - where has the sun gone? I fear that lusting after winter layers has chased it away. Am really looking forward to the winter fashions this year - I think there is just more choice with winter layers. I like the Topshop autumn trends, the colours are just perfect!!

Here are a few little outfit choices I have made on Polyvore inspired by these gorgeous colours and looks.
Now I am greatly looking forward to Autumn and Winter and am not so fazed by the weather outside! Hope you have great days and if you enjoyed this blog post please check out my blog -

Best Wishes
Fashion Fantasist x

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lindsey Needs A Little Room

Riff ... nothing to do with fashion really.

I can't imagine what it's like to be a celebrity with a headline grabbing addiction and facing lock down time. In this case, Ms. Lohan is everyone's child, not a poster child for anything. Addiction is horrific and sadly so many of us have loved someone caught up in it as we watch helplessly.

Not everyone gets the help the need. Sometimes help looks too hard to endure - prison, hospitals, year long recovery programs, detox.

Ms. Lohan is a beautiful girl, an extraordinary actress. The public is not entitled to gloat over the sadness of what is going on now. The attention grabbing headlines castigating her are shameful, each and every ugly letter is wrong.

Addiction is pure pain for everyone. Kindness and caring are the basic requirements. Can you imagine if your child was lost in this sadness and people made these crass and cruel remarks?

I respect the struggle she will go through and hope she comes out well, beautiful, strong and employed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Patricia Von Musulin Lucite Bracelet Was So Beautiful

Obsessed with black, obsessed with Baskin Robbins chocolate fudge ice cream: nothing has changed. I'm terrible at organizing photos and when I read that you can send all your photos and slides to companies who will scan and then make neat dvd's you can upload to your computer, I sent am overflowing bankers box. Bankers boxes filled with photos just beginning to curl, some sticking together and a general mess: somehow there's a dust and fix feature on the equipment that normalizes saturation and contrast somehow. Alchemy maybe. Five weeks later the originals are shipped back neatly lined up with two dvd's.

Uploaded onto my computer and laptop, and copied to external hard drives, the photos are memorialized and I hope quite safe. No more moisture problems or three stuck photos, one at least which will be destroyed no matter how gently you peel them apart. Pictures are just like songs - memories that come rushing back. That "and what I wore was" thing remembered.

I stopped when I saw this picture. All in black except for the yellow sling on the black flats and then the bracelet. Patricia Von Musulim creates sculptures and somehow they are bracelets. It's missing in the way one or two socks go missing in the laundry; I've looked everywhere and wishing hasn't brought it back. Here's a link to her wonderful things ...

Maybe another cup of chocolate fudge ice cream at Baskin Robbins will jar my memory. I know I took it off that night.

"and what I wore was black"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Talking About Haute Couture and Then You Think About Didier Grumbach

Haute couture season is as much about Didier Grumbach as the collections (except for John Galliano because he is haute couture). Didier defines so many things - soignee, cool, droll, chic, amusing ...

Without ready-to-wear, couture simply would not exist”.  (YSL hid in the doorways of Paris during the Student Demonstrations of '68, bringing the street to couture: precedent.) And so, after producing clothes for Yves Saint Laurent and his own collection, he began to change fashion from the bourgeois choices of madame clothes copied from couture or sportswear influenced by, ahem, Bonnie Cashin, Claire McCardell, American movies with wardrobes by Edith Head and blue jeans to French Pret a Porter. It was so like Coco Chanel's observation (ridiculous amount of name dropping today) that fashion is  everywhere, in the air. 

Didier's Createurs & Industriels was presented in Paris in a massive fashion show showing Issey Miyake, Emmanuelle Khan (oversized "Nicole Ritchie" sunglasses), Ossie Clark, Jean Muir and Jean Charles de Castelbajac. (And setting the precedent for shows that begin an hour or so late, no doubt.) Very, very forward fashion: Andre Putman's Boulevard Saint Germaine boutique for these designers promptly failed. Well, it was an odd moment in fashion: Jerry Magnin's former wife, Erin, opened a YSL Rive Gauche boutique in Beverly Hills that also failed.  Marilyn Lewis, owner of the Hamburger Hamlet chain, took the lease for Cardinali, her collection; Cameron Silver did a retrospective two years ago. Oh, and Cameron now has a haute jeans collection, too.

Didier was president of Thierry Mugler, before the explosion of that moment of Thierry, Claude, Azzedine. Those days ... Paris. Thierry lost his Mirabelle to Azzedine; she manged the sales, an unwieldy job with stores clamoring for good show seats, exclusivity and could you make it a little less, you know, fashion and a lot more, you know, commercial.

Ah, the small (name-dropping) riff brought on by the exquisite, take your breath away haute couture shows is due to Didier, of course. He took on the presidency of the French Federation of the Haute Couture, preserving it, accommodating it.. Anachronistic, arcane and as endangered as our own American Bald Eagles. But if that sensational world ended, it would be the same as museums tossing Rembrandts and Monets in the basement and showing only (quelle horror) giclees and prints, things that everyone can understand and afford. 

He is a busy man afflicted with the love of fashion, I think.

In retrospect, I think Tavi's appearance (and the scandal of her Stephen Jones hats) last season brought a flurry of new press and attention, a very good thing. Perhaps a Tshirt with "Save The Haute Couture" could help, too.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

If You're Blue And You Don't Know Where To Go To ...

"and what I wore" ...

I could wander through fashion weeks in any country, drifting through exhibitions, showrooms, hotel rooms, anywhere ...  letting my eyes and fingers drift through entire collections, a smile, a thank you and goodbye. The feel of the fabrics really tells all - it's right or wrong.  I think that's how buyers survive. It's right, it's wrong; it's in, it's out.

It's so hard to write about it. Pages and pages to tell the story of early Galliano bias cut crepe skirts and crepe de chine blouses with the sleeves curving in and high waisted skirts. A sort of a fashion fairy tale, being in Paris without a lease and hoping; everything felt new and yet I'd been there so many times with Charles.

Weaving the story together with the bits and pieces of my life and fashion, reams of pages later, the thing to bind the story still ephemeral, still only an almost. Two very good agents probably rolled their eyes as they each asked for cohesion, a chapter by chapter breakdown, a final edit.

Susan reminded me it's all Scruples (Judith Krantz wrote that book - fashion and friends and boyfriends - romance, jeopardy, the Oscars) and all about the memory of "and what I wore."

The perfect way to remember everything about my first buying trip, not quite understanding what to do - maybe x's next to a style that you want to order (not wanting to ask, of course). Halston must have sniffed that awkwardness.  Elsa Peretti with those sensuous silver belts of hers, Charles James lost in a cigarette and very quiet: not even knowing that this was totally fashion memorable.  Halston approached me, maybe with sympathy, maybe disdain, and plunked a gigantic black straw boater on me, stepped back nodding.

"And what I wore" was a mid-calf paisley cotton Sonia Rykiel dress, the sleeves very narrow, my shoes were YSL dark purple platform and for the whole trip, Halston's gift. Fashion ...

Talking About It - Another Way To Communicate oops, the fword too

Maybe because I've been looking for a (small as it turns out) house near the beach that my dogs and kittens and Jackson and I can fit in, I'm been glum. There was the middle of the night trauma drama nightmare where we are all living in my car in my driveway. Since I have an '88 Mercedes 560SL which is a two seater, this is kind of horrific.

I did find something on a walk street in Venice two blocks from the beach. My piano won't fit, there's no garage to stuff things I'm not ready to give up and the closets are old time small. Beach cottage and I love it.

I've watched the iPhone-Evo video over and over and think in the age of recession not-recession it's good to laugh. Agenda Inc posted the Joseph Campbell Looney Toons video which is kind of wonderful too.
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