Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Way I Remember ... Julie Anne Rhodes And A few Other Moments


 Julie Anne Rhodes (her award winning blog is Jewels From The Roving Stovewas sleeping in my bed. I'd flown home from Paris arriving at LAX and plucking suitcases from the trolley,  hoping that US Customs would ignore me and let me walk outside to hunt for a taxi. It was about midnight when I unlocked my front door, leaving my luggage in the kitchen, petting my elderly sleeping dog and very ready to brush my teeth and slip between the cool white sheets in my bedroom. Just as I did, I startled. Why was someone in my bed?? Julie Ann smiled and sat up. Angelo, who was no doubt sleeping soundly in the back house, has tucked her in. She'd flown out alone and I'd forgotten to let Angelo know when I'd be home. Angelo had been on the road with Duran Duran and gotten very close to Julie Anne. 

I asked Julie Ann if she could sleep somewhere else and she immediately got up, kissing me good night. Angelo's house had a guest room and she'd be cozy back there.

Julie Ann said that's not the way it happened. I think she's wrong. We do agree that every time she flew out here,  we'd immediately pile into my car to pick up Popeye's Chicken on Hollywood Boulevard. And eat it on the way back.

I drove from Venice Beach to Beverly Hills, a black silk ruffled dress (very Black Swan) over All Saints jeans, to meet her for lunch and to visit a designer showing pieces from Summer  Fall '11 in the penthouse at the Hotel Lux. Stefanel is an old Italian house known for working with knits, passed from the father to the son who had grown the venerable company to over 500 stores in Europe. The company had worked with Calvin Klein and Romeo Gigli in the '90's and now is looking at America as a new market. Mario Testino is doing the campaigns and there is a ton of money involved in the revamp of Stefanel from a classic Italian house with good quality but rather staid designs to a younger, hipper fashion customer. The kind of girl who gets her picture taken, I think.


I chatted with their Italian p/r girl who'd come from Dolce & Gabbana. The Santa Cecelia leopard and gilt showroom was now Domenico and Stefano's offices: everything changes. She couldn't confirm the rumor that D&G will be shut down. She was traveling with the Stefanel collection to meet with stylists, people from William Morris and CAA; no plans to meet buyers or press which vaguely confounded me, but it might have been the sun. The precise business plan did elude me. 


I walked to the edge of the balcony for a panoramic view of Rodeo Drive. A warm day with tourists in shorts and sandals, snapping photos against the glimmering yellow Rolls Royce parked below. My memories of it were long ago; I remembered a street of resort boutiques, a Gucci that closed for lunch, Fred Heyman kissing the ladies walking into his store while his butler offered each customer a glass of wine and a "you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen." Herb and Norma Fink's Theodore had moved to Camden Drive near Mr. Chow's and now the bright white shop at the corner was a Missoni boutique.  I wouldn't miss this version ... but the other was wonderful.  Stories, so many stories.

15 comments:

  1. You can't be right - I'm the grouchiest person on the planet if someone wakes me! It was the running joke at summer camp. When the girls where playing truth or dare - the dare was usually "go wake up Julie Anne."

    Well maybe I just instinctively knew I would love and adore you. So wish you still lived in that house on Genesee, because I need a passport to get to Venice. Sending cyber Felini kisses, and dreaming of a shopping spree with you in Paris and Milan.

    Jewels xo

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  2. I love to go on your walks down memory lane :)

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  3. Great story. I covered a story on Stefanel a while ago about how they were trying to revamp the brand. I think it was around the time they'd managed to secure Gisele Buenchen for their campaign. Great product, but the marketing needs to be tweaked.

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  4. What a life! "if you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story"
    cupcake
    xo

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  5. Julie Anne, I have believed this for years!! And been embarrassed at kicking you out. No one ever could be grouchy around Angelo so there!

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  6. Dear Haute, Interesting ... so much involved. Stefanel owns some of the 500 stores but the rest are franchises. The thing that mattered most to them was not the designer - they work with a team, homogenized at that - but Mario Testino and Gisele. And coming here (each penthouse was 1000. night minimum) to meet with a few stylists and William Morris, not local blogs and press. I felt rather numb, is this how it is?

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  7. Cupcake, it was all Angelo mixing our lives up!!

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  8. wow I adore this. a great great story! And I love the way you are describing things; simple but sounds very powerful.

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  9. I can see it now... I love that feeling of calm, luxury and comfort and all in the sun, Gucci only a stones throw, makes life worth living. Retold well.
    The Madam.

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  10. Lovely story!

    Eternally yours,
    Stephanie

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  11. You're a really good writer! I love this post and story because it was so beautifully told. I love fashion, but I have a great love of language. Words are beautiful and this is an example of what I mean...It's so hard to come across on blogs...what a treat! Thank you!

    Quench Fab

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  12. This is an amazing story :) I cant see you and Julieanne eating popyes lmao xo Awesome post :)

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  13. Licking our fingers and dripping honey from the biscuits drowning in butter!!

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  14. What a fantastic story, your telling of it is almost like a fairytale, it's that enchanting. I *love* being able to see some of the comments, and your responses, especially the Popeyes biscuits scene!

    Sending you a smile,
    tp

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