Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bedbugs: The Spray and Then Isabella Rosselini

The video was tweeted by Glenn Belverio (you must visit his website and get his book Confessions From The Velvet Ropes, link here)  Isabelle Rossellini is a must-see ... beautiful and, umm, sublime in this.

A visit to B&B Hardware in Santa Monica, family owned and in place for forty seven years, for cup holders and standing in line to pay I noticed the almost sold-out supply of Bedbug spray next to a tidy display of miniature pliers and screwdrivers that were so cute I almost bought them. Although not sure what to do with a miniature pliers ... or most of the wires and pipes and things. It's not a dull store; its personality is distinct. Its owner has produced a series of conspiracy cd's available for 1.98 each, a veritable bargain for conspiracy lovers.

Excuse me while I look at my luggage ... and my bed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Judith Plans Our New Orleans Adventure : A Travel Plan

We will go to Galatoires, Commanders, Stella, August.  Jake will want us to go to Jacques Imos.  We will take the trolley up Cartes.  We will sit and sip in the courtyard of the W, or one of the other, older, beautiful historic hotels in the Quarter.
We will browse.  We will dream.

Laissez le Bon temp rouler...
in NOLA again!

This post is a natural product.
The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its
individual character and beauty,
and in no way is to be considered flawed or defective.

Start your day with beignets and coffee from Cafe Du Monde..
Go next door (almost) and check out the French Market, a flea market of sorts, but some stands have baby bottles of hot sauces and there may be a find for you there!  Lots of food products, if I recall.

Walk to River Walk.  Stroll along the Mississippi.  Do NOT take the boat rides. 
Walk up to Jackson Square and take a horse carriage ride....
You are across the street from the Aquarium. They used to have rare albino or white alligators I think.  I am not sure about now.
It was rebuilt and restocked after Katrina. Interesting that they lost many species, dolphins ended up in the Gulf (they were recovered!), and had to 'farm out' lots of their stock to aquariums around the country.  Then, the world helped them restock after they rebuilt.
From here walk up into the Quarter:
Take a walk down Bourbon St.  It won't be too active in the morning, so plan to walk it again at night if you can. Once is enough!  Music wafts out from the bars and restaurants and there should be street performers.  Other streets, including Chartes, are where there are some interesting and wonderful antique shops, and lots of interesting places to peek into.  Royale is another lovely street to stroll. One of my most favorite places in the world is the Gallery of Fine Photography.  The owner Joshua Mann Pailet is a long time friend of one of my long time friends, and this Gallery is renown, famous, amazing, a virtual history of photography.  I could spend hours. I have spent hours!
It is on Chartes, almost across from the W (the W in the Quarter, there are two Ws in NOLA.  The restaurant next to this W, where we last stayed, is Bacco, one of the Brennan restaurants.  The Brennan's are one of the famous NOLA families, who also own Commander's Palace, and I love it.   It is not a must eat place, more Italian, but I think it is very good and I had possibly the best Eggs Benedict I have ever had in my life there, and I have had many!
Another Brennan restaurant is Ralphs on the Park, and is supposed to be wonderful (not in the Quarter, however I have never been so cannot say. My son loves it.   But I digress.  I will come back to this. The courtyard of the W is lovely, sit, chill, have a cold drink! 316 Chartes St.

You really should consider taking a cemetery tour, very interesting!  Actually to see these cemeteries, a few of them, is fascinating and the burial customs of NOLA are unique.  These tours are walking tours, and it will be hot.  Don't forget a small umbrella, as it can rain or shower at any time!  Tours are given by many companies and I think very, very worthwhile. Never go into cemeteries alone.  Here is a link to the various walking tours, but many companies offer them.  The famous Lafayette Cemetery is across the street from Commander’s Palace, so maybe you can do both. 
The cemeteries are referred to as the "Cities of the Dead."

Music I cannot be very helpful with, but Preservation Hall is world famous. No reservations, I believe.  Jake has a couple of suggestions toward the end of this document!  Preservation Hall:

Museums are many. Museums in NOLA include the D Day Museum and for fun, although it is across the river and you have to take a ferry (not sure) is Mardi Gras World.  I have never been, but believe they have floats on display.

A couple of places to grab a bite in the Quarter are the Acme Oyster Bar and the
Gumbo Shop.  I love, love, love Acme Oyster Bar.  Here I ate my first crawfish (don't think they are in season, not sure) and they are famed for their oysters. Felix is also well known, but I would go to Acme.  There is almost always a line, but worth it. Acme has much more atmosphere.   Gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, hamburgers!! 
Acme Oyster House
Have a Muffeletta, the famous New Orleans sandwich at the Central Grocery where it was created:

Casual Creole in the Quarter is the Louisiana Bistro.  Fantastic!!!!!!!

Galatoires in the Quarter is famous, if not the most famous NOLA restaurant, but the action happens downstairs and they don't take reservations for the downstairs. It is famed for its Friday lunch.   This is fine New Orleans cuisine, not a place for a quick bite.   They may have a dress code, I am not sure. 
 There other old famous places I have never been to, such as Antoine's, which I believe is one of the oldest and one of the most historic.
Remember, NOLA is not Cajun, it is Creole.  There are many Creole restaurants, but the newer ones are doing more of a 'take' on Creole, updating and using local ingredients, such as Chef John Besh.  More on him later.

Commander's Palace, love it!!!!!!!!!  It is in the Garden District across from the famous Lafayette Cemetery.  Dine in the Garden Room if possible.  If not the main dining room or upstairs are just fine!   Go for lunch or dinner, and they are famous for their Sunday Jazz breakfast.  This is fine dining, world class service and amazing food. They do have a dress code.  This is a meal, and in my opinion everybody should go at least once! 
Unfortunately the Gospel Hall I mentioned no longer exists.  Sadly, Praline Connection it was called was a victim of Katrina, so I really don't know where to suggest Gospel, maybe House of Blues.

Some miscellaneous sites to explore
The above is a fabulous site, some of the info is old; some is fresh and new with fabulous links.
Tom Fitzmorris website:

About Tom Fitzmorris:

The above is from the Times Picayune

Voodoo!  You can't think of NOLA without Voodoo!
The most famous practitioner of Voodoo is Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen.
She is interred in New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. (not Lafayette).
Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo and Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo
have the same owners, so share a website, I believe.
Voodoo Authentica Cultural Center and Collection link below...

French Quarter shopping:
Chartes, Royal, each street has its own personality.

The oldest bar in NOLA is
Lafittes Blacksmith Shop.  It has an interesting history.
I would not suggest you eat here, but it is famous as the oldest, most historic bar in NOLA. Peek in.  Or, try a Hurricane at Pat O'Briens.  Let me know if you have one and can still walk!

A must do:
Take the famous trolley up St. Charles (or down). 
Jump off and check out Tulane University.  You will go through the Garden District, Uptown, and the University area.  The beautiful park across from Tulane is Audubon Park.

A fabulous place to eat Uptown is Jacques Imos.
Unfortunately, reservations but just too much fun, probably my son's favorite place.  It is casual, and a hoot!  Especially if Jacques, or Jack!!!,  is in the house.

Magazine St. is not in the Quarter, more Uptown/Garden District.  It is long, with many blocks, and of lots of fun shopping, small restaurants, nice!  We first drove it deciding on which blocks to stop and stroll
An exceptional place to dine, casually (but still is chic!), is a true neighborhood restaurant called Lilette on Magazine St.  I have been going since the day they opened.  One of my absolute favorite spots!  It is a neighborhood bistro:

 Let's talk about food! Again.  If it were me, I would try to reserve at Restaurant August.  Chef John Besh is as hot as they come right now.  It really isn't Creole, so research and decide if this would be where you would want to dine.
I also adore Stella, but is quiet.  It is very beautiful.  Almost romantic. It is beyond fabulous. 
Restaurant websites to explore are:

for po' boys:

(Uptown/Garden District, look at the photo, not much more than a shack!)

Here is a hip district to explore if you have time:
 Julia Street for art galleries:

Tipitnas (Uptown)

The Maple Leaf Bar (Uptown/University area)
Another great way to check out restaurants is:
Check out the New Orleans Board:
I have never been to either Mother's or the Court of Two Sisters, nor do I want to.  They are known for their brunches.

From my son!!! At last!  He says:
The big thing is to explore the French Quarter.  Jackson Square, Cafe du Monde.  While touristy they still should be done just to get a feel for everything.   Jacque Imos is great.  I like Ralphs on the Park a lot and the Besh places are very good.  During the day Audubon Park is nice, same with the zoo across the street.  Strolling up and down Magazine looking at the shops.  Lunch wise Parasol's, Domilises are good for po' boys.  Taking a tour of the 9th ward is interesting and checking out Frenchman in the Marigny which is nearby is also good.  Of course taking a walk up Bourbon once is very interesting and going to Julia Street during the day is cool since that is where all the art galleries are.  Music wise there is Preservation Hall, Tipitinas uptown, the Maple Leaf next to Jacques Imos, and the Marsallies (or Marseilles?)  Club in one of the hotels (I forget which one). 
Is my guy spoiled or what?  Imagine being able to live and eat in NOLA everyday!
Lower Ninth Ward tours:

For the future:
Swamp Tours:
Google New Orleans swamp tours and dozens will come up.  They last several hours. It is a half day adventure.  The airboats are more expensive, and very loud.
The bigger boats cannot get into some areas.  So, something smaller is better.   It is too hot in 4444440-                                                     vvvvvvvvvthe summer (although the critters would be out sunning), and honestly, I not even sure if they are running them since the nasty oil spill.   The swamps are beautiful, almost surreal. A must do if ever possible.   This is the company I took a tour with many years ago:
And finally….
It has been joyous thinking about and writing about all the fabulousness of my beloved NOLA.  Please, do not forget how much this city has suffered, and continues to do so.  The tragedy of NOLA is not over.  The tragedy of the Gulf is not over. 
Please watch Spike Lee’s heart aching and breaking masterpiece:
When the Levees Broke:  A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
I personally believe this should be required viewing for every human being in this country.  New Orleans is this country’s personal shame, in my opinion.

Its sequel:
If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise (2010)

(John Galliano of course)


When there's a trend, and in this case vignette designer videos that are avant garde or have distinguished directors attached, it swells to overdone and then yawn. I almost missed this JC de Castelbac video as I rolled my eyes at the thought of another rather esoteric film.

Not this one. It's real life with better hair and JC's presence in fashion is whimsy (cannot get enough of that) and the clothes are singularly happy and broaching collectible in a different way than vintage clothing is referred to. I want the long hair, the cake smooshed in the face, the champagne and the clothes. Always the clothes.

And the memories of Farrah Fawcett wearing only JC's clothes, a sporty American-French chic, creams with large blocks of red, easy and her smile.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burberry and Immediacy

Thomas Burberry was twenty one when he opened the doors to his shop in England in 1856 and in 1870 he created the gabardine which henceforth and forever would be the Burberry raincoat material. "A Burberry" would suffice whilst previously it would have been the generic "a raincoat."

Last season Burberry streamed its fashion show in 3D to the world as its website invited readers to post photos of their Burberry, changing from just another designer website showcase to a social experience.

Burberry has decided that it will sell a "substantial" amount from its Summer 2011 runway show at its website directly to its customers - and deliver in about six weeks. The promise of six weeks is actually more shocking than its new business model; the typical scenario involves writing orders in October for pieces that will be shipped from the end of January to the end of April. The adage of first in first out at shops is somewhat subverted here but still appropriate. And Christopher Bailey is a designer that has taken a rather established staid house to the heat of fashion. Even in these odd recession/not recession days, Burberry has grown and grown and in the verbage of finance - it's stock is riding up in the winners circle: the upward trend is steady and the profit potential of serving the customer directly (scoot over dear Burberry retailers) is immense. The markup is 2.2 to 2.5 of landed cost (3 to 3.2 for imported goods), Burberry having only net wholesale and yet full retail potential - the profits will at least double and without the pesky real world expense of rent (the internet is essentially free apart from server costs and a few minor expenses related to maintenance), one could expect the trend of its stock to continue upwards in the same way that Apple's profits are immense and its stock commensurately shows that.

Dolce & Gabbana sold a "limited" edition of several bags from its website directly last season (those prices, sigh) as did Proenza Schouler. It's a business model that is all money and there is no doubt that this has been noted by every single designer on the planet.

There is no turning back. Retail shops continue to deal with trying to hold costs in check and minimize inventory and even the best are warning for next season's earnings. On the other hand, Yoox.com and NetaPorter.com increased their sales 50% last year and each have exponentially explosive seasons coming as more customers migrate to online.

At the recent Financial Times Luxury Conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel, it was noted that there is an entire younger class of customers that prefer shopping online as they find the experience in store rather daunting and sometimes intimidating. Whereas online one can order in their jammies with spills of coffee not stared at and many of the best companies make returns completely easy; small real world boutiques still shudder at returns.

Shades of what Apple did to the record store and Amazon to bookstores. Things change.

It's a big thing that Burberry is doing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dermacyte, I Really Do Love It and Then There's The Giveaway

I think Dermocyte is wonderful. I blogged about it a while back, and my relief at absolutely loving the blister packs of oxygenated heaven. And I decided that reviews are too difficult - I would hate to say bad things about something ... unless it was really called for.

Oxygen Biotherapeutics is actually a biotech company working on oxygenated products for brain injury and decompression. Its research and knowledge of oxygen is immense.

I prefer the pump version just released that lets you decide whether its a little dab or plenty; we all have different days. The company kindly sent me these last week and it's wonderful.  The oxygen delivery gives you radiance and softness. It's really lovely. A bit addictive actually.

The company is doing a giveaway for the full size of each product. I'll randomly pick a winner August 30 and contact you for your name and address; the products will be sent directly to you from Dermacyte.

I spoke to the company and asked for a bit of clarification ... their response is below:

Dermacyte was in fact developed as a by-product of the company research an effective delivering oxygen mechanism. The same oxygen carrier that was developed and is being studied for traumatic brain injury as well as decompression sickness is the same oxygen carrier being used in all Dermacyte products.  Our scientist were able to create a cream/emulsion with the oxygen carrier maintaining all its benefits. It really is a unique story and product. To know that the same oxygen carrier is used intravenously to supply oxygen to the brain simply demonstrates how effective that patented oxygen carrier (oxycyte technology) is when it comes to delivering oxygen. It also gives us a unique competitive advantage since we are able to deliver oxygen to the skin without the negative side effects of other oxygen products in the market. For example, natura bisse has an oxygen line. However, they use hydrogen peroxide to delivery oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide bleaches, dries and damages the skin.  Dermacyte, in the other hand, does not use any chemical reactions to delivery oxygen. The patented oxygen carrier has the unique ability of sequestering atmospheric oxygen when it comes in contact with the air and delivers it to the skin.

You asked a very good question regarding the loss of oxygenation by switching to pumps. The answer is no. There is no loss of oxygenation. The product only becomes oxygenated when it comes in contact with the atmosphere. This also creates a very unique advantage since there are no issues of the product oxidizing, losing oxygen, or becoming corrosive if not used within certain time frames.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kate Moss, Misia Sert, Gala, Pattie Boyd : Muse

Banksy, Alex Katz, Marc Quinn, Chuck Close, Richard Prince.

 Kate Moss, Muse. 

Misia Sert, muse to Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Vuillard, Renoir, Diaghilev, Cocteau, in another time. But not the same, no. Misia survived time in the work of others and Kate on her own.

Salvador Dali and Gala, inseparable until her death. At Lucas Carton, I watched Dali lift her arm kissing it slowly from her wrist to the crook of her elbow, return it carefully and continue eating as though it hadn't happened. Their language of closeness was simply accepted. I wondered then if an entire lifetime of being the muse, the all day all night muse, overwhelmed Gala even as surrealism did not.

To muse seems especially generous and fettered with unknown expectations. Pattie Boyd, wife and muse to George Harrison and Eric Clapton, said "To have inspired Eric, and George before him, to write such music was so flattering. Yet I came to believe that although something about me might have made them put pen to paper, it was really all about them.” Not about her, and still in love with the men and the music. Her memoir, Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me (link here).

(Repost from April 3 by request)

Then: London Fashion Week

Then: Many American buyers and press skipped London Fashion Week. The British designers tended to be very indie, very small and very under capitalized; which made it absolutely fabulous for indie shops and just a handful of majors but frustrating to chains. Really its fashion industry had always rattled with its wealth of hand knits, proper ballgowns, fair isle sweaters, tweeds: it was artisan to Milan's industrial capacity while Paris was forever Paris: frivolous, wonderful fashion.

Zandra Rhodes and Thea Porter had sumptuous and exotic evening clothes - maybe Beautiful Punk or (very) Rich Bohemian while Jean Muir's demure matte jersey dresses belied their sensuality and you just had to scoop them up by the armful. (Even as we paced outside the showroom waiting to be let in and told we couldn't until a Royal left.) Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb, Anthony Price, Joseph, Ghost, Manolo Blahnik .... the list is endless.

Then there was John Galliano, straight out of St Martin's with his graduation runway collection in Brown's windows; it sold out and just a few photos of heartbreakingly beautiful pieces remain.

I found this screen printed invitation today, missing for years. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear Angelo and Ten Things You Should Know About Angelo DiBiase

Dear Angelo,
I miss you. I really, really miss you.

1. Angelo really did spray our garage with perfume.
2. Angelo could not be pushed into the pool, not even for the 100.00 reward I offered.
3. Angelo really did make more money on Sea of Love than any of the crew and only traveled  to the set in Ellen Barkin's car.
4. Angelo's step-father, Carmen Basilio, made great spagetti.
5. Angelo's mom taught us how to knit; Thursdays became knitting night so we could watch Joyce Heyser on LA Law while Helena whipped up a nice angel hair with sauteed garlic.
6. Angelo sometimes cut hair in our kitchen: I might walk in to see Jimmy Spader's hair on the floor and Lorraine Bracco with Uma Thurman waiting for him.
7. Angelo lived with women. Period. Janet Factor, Janice Dickenson, me.
8. Angelo stayed sober until his AIDS diagnosis.
9. Angelo was actually the first celebrity lifestyle profile on the E channel.
10. Angelo was my best friend and I miss him every day.

Opening night on Sunset Plaza and yes, we ran out of champagne.

Then: What Was I Thinking aka Really Bad Fashion Moments

My own personal Don't Do This series. I loved the navy Yohji Yamamoto vest and skirt, never noticing that one is supposed to wear a few yards of fabric, not miles. The cape was so convenient - just throw it over everything else and I didn't see the resemblance to a pack mule. Not then anyway.
After that is the one in which rather than risk being cold, I apparently decided to put every piece of clothing I'd brought to Europe on. Layers ... peeling them off would have taken quite a long time. The result was rather uncomfortable inside with steam heat and staying awake was about all I could manage. Men's shirts on the tables - I mean really, that wouldn't keep me awake. Not folded politely like that anyway. Oh the taxi lines. Shudder ... usually a line such as this would  provoke the clouds into a brisk downpour.

Kermit Tesoro The Interview

You are very talented, doing a version of art and fashion.

I know nothing about you. Just awestruck at your work which may push and prod fashion and inspiration a little faster.

You're young ... were you at fashion or art school? Did you come from a family of artisans that encouraged you?

Yes, I was learning arts in college (University of the Philippines- college of fine arts) and I went to study fashion in our local fashion schools: Fashion Institute of the Philippines and School of Fashion and the Arts. I believe that I still overlap both disciplines (art and fashion) by combining both sensibilities. I’m from a middle class family, and most of them have artistic inclinations that I think was never pursued due to practicality and with our social condition. I think I’m quite lucky that my parents never questioned or doubted my capabilities as an artist.

What is your process? There's so much work in your unusual forms.

My process varies from one project to another. It’s important to learn the whole manner of basic construction before you modify it. That’s why I’m into learning new technologies and its methods. Sometimes I learn by collaborating or just by merely observing things around me.

Are they made to order or is this commercially available.

The commercial side isn’t on my horizons yet. Right now it’s made to order and one thing; I’m just a person operating my line, so it’s quite hard for me to suffice the demands.

Your work will provoke people and many will appreciate you but some will not - how are you handling this.

I always say, there’s no agitation without provocation. No matter how hard or how flattering it may seem to be. The importance of people’s various reactions speaks nothing but recognition. Meaning, they acknowledge the presence of your work.  

Do you think you will stay in the Philippines or move to a more usual fashion capital?

I’m willing to go and explore places. But I will only identify Philippines as my hometown. This is where all my cerebral tendencies came about.

Has Bryanboy sought you out?

I met him once, but that was way way back during the hype of Fluxxe in 2006. He was already Bryanboy and I was just an eccentric beginner…

Is there some language you'd like to include and do you have a website?

I don’t have a website. Clients, friends and followers had me pushing for a site, but it hasn’t been done yet…

I'm very fascinated.

by the way the collection was part of the Philippine Fashion Week not a grad collection for the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, graduated there since 2007. Thank you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In Which Japanese Designers Win Love With Oversized, Droopy, Dark Clothes

Then: Sheltered within oversized and droopy, dark and deconstructed, Japanese fashion that displaced pretty pink and baby blue, and putting all those layers on in August the moment they cleared customs. Sweltering, sashaying and preening ... puttin' on the Ritz. This could have been Yohji in a Paris showroom, maybe Yoshi Inaba in Tokyo. The pencil marks on the back with the style number, price in yen and colors or sizes (black and one-size) have faded, the look books lost by Rick Owen's movers.

Jeffrey Felner has begun a group on Facebook to remember Then:



The Model As Muse ... But Always It's Kate Moss

1. Greek Mythology Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
2. muse
a. A guiding spirit.
b. A source of inspiration.
3. muse A poet.
4. muse  The model as muse, embodying fashion.
a. Kate Moss 
Word History: The Muse has inspired English poetry since Chaucer invoked her in 1374. Muse comes from Latin Msa, from Greek Mousa. There are Greek dialect forms msa and moisa, and all three come from an original *montya. As to the further origins of this form, a clue is provided by the name of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the Muses. Her name is the Greek noun mnmosun "memory," which comes from *mn-, an extended form of the Greek and Indo-European root *men-, "to think." This is the root from which we derive amnesia (from Greek), mental (from Latin), and mind (from Germanic). The reconstructed form *montya that is the ancestor of Greek Mousa could then mean something like "having mental power." 
The July release of Vintage Muse, a follow up to last year's Vintage, is Kate's perfume. The tag line is "Kate Moss is the ultimate muse." 
Patrick Demarchelier's photographs are easy to recognize but from across the room, I thought one was Farrah Fawcett and another Kim Basinger, muses in other times ... and not forgotten.
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