Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Review of L'Oreal UltraSleek Shampoo Because It's Amazing

I don't know if sulfates in shampoos strip color and dry out your hair. But just in I've sampled several and all have lacked that delicious slip that means clean. Each companion conditioner was simply dreadful. Struggles to gently swipe a paddle brush through longer hair was a complete failure. The amount of MoroccanOil product needed to drag the brush through resulted in limp, oily hair. 

Skeptically buying yet another contender, L'Oreal's UltraSleek Shampoo and Conditioner, I expected more of the same. Much to my delight, this amazingly wonderful product has slip, a distinct lack of silicone but extreme shine and the brush glided through my wet tangle as if it were silk. Air drying or blow drying, my frizzy struggles ended and you need to try this immediately. All the rest of your shampoo and conditioner combinations will be insanely jealous and you will be so happy. Completely unlike the others in the L'oreal sulfate free line. Heaven ... and how about that under 8.00 price!! 

The wonderful blogger BritishBeautyBlogger wrote about the issues of so many products with Argan Oil ... totally a must read.

Simply Lovely Leopard Ballerinas by London Sole

I love fashion shoes made entirely of straps and imagination, wedges, platforms, stilettos (no kitten heels, don't worry) with twisty windy bits with price tags that could make the sales person churlishly advise you as she walks away that if you have to ask the price, sniff, they're not for you.

Fashion shoes have become too special, sigh. Bad attempts to mimic the Chanel flipflop with the obligatory camellia have launched a plethora of (bad, really bad) plastic shoes with prices in the hundreds.

All I really wanted was something cozy and cute to slip into that works as well with summer's white skirts as jeans, maybe even something that makes me happy when I look down at it.

Oh and please ... not $$$$$$$$$$.

Voila. From a selection that spans two shop walls and two gorgeous tables littered with indie ballerina flats, I do believe leopard spots are the new black.

‎"Every breath you take today should be with someone else in mind. I love you." Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor ... late to her own funeral. Goodbye beautiful lady.

 AIDS became a diagnosis in '81. Maybe. Gay men were dying quickly, horrible deaths. Fashion houses just decimated of their handsome young men. Adriano Gianelli had left Armani for Biagiotti but it didn't help. He was only sick for six months before wasting away to his death. It was ugly and people were terrified because there was no clear understanding of how it was contracted. Mosquitoes, a kiss, drinking from the same glass, a vacation in Haiti, a bathhouse ... 

By the time of Rock Hudson's death from AIDS, there was no treatment and no research funding. Jerry Falwell screeched that AIDS was God's punishment while Ronald Reagan ignored pleas for funding. Dame Elizabeth sidestepped the deep rampant fear and disgust for the "Gay Plague" stepping into the void, knowing that the media would follow. Her commitment and willingness to drag others with her to the '85 Aids Project LA Commitment to Life and raising money to form amFAR with Dr. Mathilde Krim's AIDS Medical Foundation along with David Geffen and Dr. Arnie Klein changed AIDS from the hopeless death sentence over years of well-funded research to a chronic disease that many could manage and live with.

Tina Chow sat across me from at The Ivy on Robertson shortly after her return from Japan. She'd been hospitalized there with pneumonia and still looked frail, her beautiful eyes too large for her face. I'd had pneumonia that summer after spraying my roses with something toxic and breathing it in. Her eyes were wet and wild. "I've got AIDS." Without thinking, my own hand covered my wineglass, wondering for a second if the alcohol would kill the virus. She understood and sat back. I stopped and reached for her hand because she was my friend. She died at home in '92.

It's hard to put together what happened to Angelo, my roommate. Janice Dickenson had sent him to rehab and then he came to live with me. He'd been sober for years, visited his friends with AIDS in the hospital and tested every few months to just make sure. Having avoided dentists for years, he relented only as horrid toothache forced him into treatment. He kept a few sober friends around who watched as his dentist visited him at home, giving him shots for an infection. The dentist visited nightly that week, sticking Angelo each time.

 Angelo's Jaguar was still in the garage we shared, remnants of the perfume he'd sprayed lingering in his car. I found him sprawled on the floor with a needle nearby, unconscious. An ambulance came quickly taking him to a hospital. An overdose, maybe some nerve damage from lying so awkwardly. He came out of it and asked me to bring a sweater to him from his closet, his voice sloppy and thick. Rummaging around his closet,  a prescription slip crisp and white, abandoned in a drawer. It was for AZT, the first and only drug then for AIDS.  Angelo had AIDS. He'd said he wouldn't live with AIDS, that he wouldn't stay sober but would go on the binge of his life. He'd shaken his head and laughed. It was unthinkable that he'd do that but he did. Alone at the end.

"Every breath you take today should be with someone else in mind. I love you."   Dame Elizabeth Taylor's last tweet.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Very Scary Privacy Limitations On Twitter, Gmail and Blogger

"Well well well ... look who it is! I have been waiting a long time to cross your path again! A LONG TIME"

I stared at the tweet for a minute trying to unscramble the words which felt ominous in a bad way. I'm lucky ... I sorted this out in twenty minutes and put this away, and of course immediately blocked the sender.

I discovered that you can block someone absolutely on Facebook and that if you decide to peek, you can't block them again immediately. Facebook blocking is absolute, there are no remnants.

Twitter has a block function which will remove the tweet and prevent the blocked person from tweeting you again: that's about it. You can continue looking at their Twitter home page and see their tweets flashing by if you share contacts. Untwining the complex trails of contacts is not easy.

Gmail and Blogger will not allow you to block someone but suggest a separate folder for the emails and removing a bad follower. That's it.

I don't use Quoro or MySpace and long to figure out how to get away from LinkedIn and can't speak about their privacy policies.

Blogger allows you to moderate comments ... one more level of security. I don't love the security letters "to show us you're human" because I usually fumble the first time and sometimes more. I do cross my fingers when I leave a comment that I can just leave it.

And just thinking with the limitations of blocking someone completely how very dangerous social media can be. In my opinion, Google and Twitter have completely failed to offer serious privacy protection.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shannon Tackett: If You Don't Have Beautiful Gray Hair

Beautiful silky sexy gray hair. I wish!! My grey roots creep down into something not familiar and course. Course and yet incredibly fragile. Mistakenly thinking anyone can do roots, wandering into a busy local suburban shop and leaving with a bit of Dennis The Menace stand up broken hair on top and bangs that Angry Bird in the guise of a mild-mannered hairdcutter attacked. Edward Scissors Hands would have been welcome. I retreated into ounces of MoroccanOil to keep the broken sad bits down and  shortly thereafter, weeks actually, more grey roots appeared. Dark hair doesn't ease into silky sexy grey hair alas.

Frightened and not really a good candidate for the sleek shorn hair of Jean Seberg or Mia Farrow, I let them grow a bit. A family member leaned in closer and with nary a trace of irony asked why I'd let myself go. Great ...

I think I wasn't the only one saddened by Frederick Fekkai's research that showed formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowouts: silky frizz-free hair was a nice solution for course covered up gray hair flowing through formerly silky straight hair. Between my proliferating gray roots and patches of frizz topped by flyaway broken hair I was lost.

One step at a time, I thought, walking slowly to Shannon Tackett, a gorgeous blond with thick healthy hair. Perhaps she could fix my broken bangs. As her other clients include Belinda Carlisle, Illeana Douglas and Perry Farrell, I did have hope.

Her hands were gentle and her sharp scissors barely rustled. I trusted her immediately and asked for help.

"The best gray coverage comes from taking one extra step with a product designed by I-Straight called power control helps open the cuticle prior to ensuring color saturation. Another procedure that addresses dull course or frizzy hair is the I-Straigh reconstructive process which lasts six to eight weeks, giving instant smooth shiny results."

The non-toxic Hair Straightening is a mild chemical enriched with keratin allowing negative ions to break water molecule clusters into micro particles thus allowing the formula to penetrate the hair shaft without breaking its internal structure. Gentle, gentle ...

Shannon gently applied color on my roots and placed me under a helmet of moist warm air, gently gently helping color penetrate.  A bit of balliage (painting bits of hair with a brush using cotton strips to keep the color from dripping throughout: children naturally have that) and the touches of oxidized brassiness all gone.

Shannon is at The Harlot at 1621 Abbott Kinney, Venice 90291 ... 310-399-6525 adjacent to Lemonade. Her cell is 310-745-9773.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Falling In Love With Polly Mellen

Wikipedia defines Ms. Mellen's career this way: Polly Allen Mellen has been a stylist and fashion editor for more than 60 years at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. 

Nicholas Ghesquiere recently had a conversation with Polly Mellen for Interview Magazine, and I remembered a night long ago.

My eyes had been scratchy on the flight to Milan and by the following morning at Armani I had begun squinting while tears rolled down my face. I tried to take notes on colors and swatches while every bit of light made me weep. Taupe, stone, moss, greige ... I couldn't squint long enough to know the difference. Reluctantly I agreed to go to Giorgio's mother's eye doctor. I opened the door into a waiting room as dark as a movie theater with a few elderly people wearing large black sunglasses. The doctor gave me drops that burned and cautioned me against bright lights.

It was a season of Milanese designers having elaborate dinners for buyers and the press, and Versace's that night was grand. Long tables with candelabras and only a few dim lightbulbs. The eye drops helped but that night even candlelight was too bright. We sat with Barbara Schwartz, a glamorous American girl with who did their p/r and appointments.

As coffee was served, Polly Mellen and a few others stood against a back wall. Polly began to talk about the brilliance of Gianni's collection and as she spoke a few emotional tears rolled down her porcelain cheeks. The room of buyers and press fell in love with her. Not just another front row editor taking notes and nodding politely, she laughs about the inevitable question after shows ... "Did it make you cry, Polly?" And many times it did.

Which was one thing ... but like every great lady she said something that Kelly Cutrone also believes in ... "Your heart may be broken, but don't show it when you leave your front door. Do your crying at home."

Marina Rust's recent interview of Polly for Vogue is here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Madame Chic De France: bits of vintage lace, destroyed flowers ...

I spent yesterday searching for beautiful shoes, frail Victorian skirts and accessories of ravaged beauty. In plain view on Etsy, whilst searching for Edwardian white skirts, I came across the exquisite work of Madame Chic De France in her own shop. Along with the dark elegance of a vintage Demeulemeester and a fragile Yohji ecru crocheted shawl, her own work took my breath away.

In her own words:

"My name is Jenny Eve.

I am a Frenchwoman , fashion designer and I have recently moved to Sweden to unite with my sweetheart.

Many years ago, when I was a young teenager, I developed a passion for contemporary fashion designers Japanese , Belgian and for the "old fashion" and its history.
I travelled from the South of France to Paris in order to study, for 3 wonderful years, the techniques and savoir-faire so specific to French Haute Couture.

For years, I then created, in my name or for others, collections of garments, bags, jewels, hats and shoes.

It is as a teenager too that I began to collect vintage "treasures" (essentially bags , jewels , fabrics , lace , garments ) belonging to my favourite periods: the 1920s, 30/40s .
The research I carried out regarding those periods (fashion, lifestyle, photography, art), all the finds gleaned as the years went by, have influenced my aesthetic tastes, my designs and my creations , mixed with a contemporary and avant-garde vision of the fashion .

To create new garments and accessories with old materials, is to give them a second , a new and different life, to bring them out of oblivion.

In Madame Chic De France , i propose a mixture between my own creations , vintage creations of Japanese and Belgian Fashion Designers , a treasury selection from 1920/30/40s .
The atmosphere , the character , all these "mixture" that you see in Madame Chic De France , it is as I am.....
Coco Chanel said "Fashion fades, only style remains the same" , i try for many years to create timeless garments for a timeless style."

 Bits of vintage lace, destroyed flowers, her own baubles and eccentricities ... her description of the last photo, which I imagine over a tweed jacket, a tshirt, at the waist of a frail Edwardian white skirt:

Arsenic 11 : Capelet / Shawl made in white veil cotton , ruffled and dyed with tea , to have a subtle skin colour tone .
Soft tulle ruffled like a collar and big bow in tulle "destroyed" with embroidery vintage mother pearl buttons .
Tulle dyed tea. This garment has unfinished hems . The raw edges will fray with repeated wear and cleaning. Available $77.00. 

Madame Chic De France shop link here ...

Do remember to breathe.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Francesca Woodman: Crumbling Walls And Suicide

In January 1981, a girl of twenty-two leaped to her death in New York. Francesca Woodman left a haunting legacy of crumbling walls and haunting self portraits: eight hundred pieces. The top two are mine from Victoria Miro, the next was the cover of for a Christie's Photographic auction.  Using herself "because I'm always available." 

It's been thirty years ... the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is doing a retrospective of her work this year which will move to the Guggenheim.

Her story is here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Christian Dior Fall 2011/12

March 4, 2011

Tears and Applause at Dior

PARIS — It should have been a moment of fashion glamour — the spring sunshine lighting up the Rodin sculptures of romantic love. But not a petal of a flower welcomed guests to Dior ’s latest show on Friday, where a black tent with black chairs marked the last and final collection of its disgraced designer, John Galliano.
“It’s more like a funeral,” said the photographer Mario Testino, who, like most of the audience, had witnessed the tumultuous rise and extraordinary showmanship of the last 15 Galliano years at Dior.
Delphine Arnault, the daughter of the LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, who was noticeably absent, wiped away tears at the show’s end, when the entire atelier team in their white coats lined up at the end of the runway, with the audience on its feet to applaud them.
Before the first swashbuckling cape or pretty dress, with each model tossing loose curly hair and swinging the inevitable bag, had walked the runway, Sidney Toledano, Dior’s chief executive, made a speech. In it, he described the firing of Mr. Galliano, after allegations of disgraceful and anti-Semitic comments, as “a terrible and wrenching ordeal for us all.”
“Christian Dior’s values, his genius and his legacy have contributed to enhancing France’s image and culture for more than 60 years,” the executive said, adding that ‘’the heart of the house of Dior, which beats unseen, is made up of its teams and studios, its seamstresses and craftsmen.”
If it is true that Mr. Galliano, now in rehab for alcohol problems, could not do much preparatory work for this autumn 2011 collection, the show was a fine tribute to those “petites mains,” or little hands.
The swirling capes worn with velvet breeches and laced-up boots that opened the show had the usual touch of theater while a flow of short, flirty dresses, under fluffy furs or pert jackets, followed the romantic path that Mr. Galliano had forged.
The creative partners who supported Mr. Galliano over the years hardly had a look in: the milliner Stephen Jones had only a sprinkling of sensible felt hats and the makeup artist Pat McGrath created none of her dramatis personæ. There were none of Michael Howells’s extraordinary stage sets.
Gone too were the outré accessories. Just a cameo at the throat was the main embellishment, although there was the usual complement of frills, bows and feminine prettiness.
Was it passable as a show? More than that, it was pretty and witty, with soft shorts as an alternative to skirts and a couple of those transparent evening gowns that are a house signature.
So Dior has not yet lost its soul. And it will find a new one — since the brand, which survived the death of its founder, Christian Dior in 1957 after only 10 years at the helm, is more powerful than one single designer.
Yet this sorrowful show marked the end of an era of flamboyant, tempestuous fashion going to the outside edge of decency and wearability — yet bringing an unparalleled creative energy to the once classic Paris house.
“It’s just so sad,” said the supermodel Natalia Vodianova. “But Dior has to survive without John.”
Outside the Rodin Museum, the crowd bursting over the sidewalk included one man who carried a banner declaring: “The King is gone."


On the Runway: Painting Viktor & Rolf Red

Roland Mouret: Impossibly Chic Fall 2011

Roland Mouret's beautiful clothes are so deliciously feminine and perfect. Maybe I'll always think like a buyer and dream of severely edited collections. I'd buy these and imagine they would sell out. And of course ... one for me and one for you.

Mr. Mouret could as easily have named this collection Love, Roland Mouret.

Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess. — Edna Woolman Chase 

Something Beautiful: Trasi Kromer Photographer

Trasi Kromer picked up a camera about a year ago while shooting a remarkable ice storm over Lake Erie, on Catawba Island ... where she'd lived as a child. Her blog Midwest Couture is a photo blog focused on her love of fashion and nature. 

"What began as a means of expressing personal style and inspirations of the moment became a passion for capturing the beauty and romance in the details of life from behind the lens. Attracted to texture and movement, moments in time left in a broken or untouched state ... bits and pieces translating my personal style with a story worth telling.

I stumbled upon photography a little over a year ago while shooting a remarkable ice storm over Lake Erie, on Catawba Island ... where I grew up as a child. After moving to New York in the Spring of 2010 to pursue a career in fashion pr, I simply fell in love with the camera instead. There is no greater calm for me than being behind the lens, true serenity."

In order ..

Trasi Self Portrait
Eerie Beauty
Random Beauty
Winter Blues

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stefano Pilati Is Named Design Director At Christian Dior: A Rumor

Ending the speculation of whom would replace John Galliano quickly was imperative. This was a simple and pragmatic decision. The air will clear and the fingers of Stefano will craft another image for Christian Dior. As it turns out, this may be a rumor. If only it were true and this saga could end.

It will not be similar to John's wildly dramatic shows with insanely beautiful clothes.

Perhaps a return to lady-like and approachable fashion will please ladies. Hauntingly beautiful clothes are not always easy.

I hope that John gets the appropriate help he needs. While he may have hidden a secret love for Hitler all of his life, it's as likely that John has descended into a devastating mental illness that has sabotaged a career, ended friendships and may land him in jail.

There is no doubt with the release of the video that John uttered words of hate in something stronger than just an anti-Semitic rant while drunk. Dreaming of gassing the couple who had offended him seems maniacal.

Then again it may be as simple as John actually being a monster.

It was a year ago that Alexander McQueen perhaps impulsively hung himself. Something his close friends and associates would have saved him from is only they'd known.

I don't know what happened to John. It's incredibly painful to watch knowing that this cannot be equivocated.

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