Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gone Native

Last night I tried a little fashion experiment: I dressed for the place (Cape Cod).

Buoyed by all the pinks and greens and soft reds, seeing how pretty they looked in the light of the Cape, I went native for a jaunt to Buffy’s.

Here’s what I wore (and please note that I’ve owned all items for a couple of years; nothing was purchased to be an “outfit”):

Peppermint green Lacoste polo (collar flat!). Mine is much greener than this—it closely approximates the Bonanno sandals below. Seriously, if you're going to match, you'd better match, right?!

J Crew stone shorts (of Chatham Bars Inn fame). No need to show these . . .

Bonanno Palm Beach sandals in pomme with creamy white whipstitching,

and my own individual touch—ENORMOUS Kate Spade tortoise sunglasses.

By the way, my preppy name is Cappy. What's yours?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chatham Dining

Every summer on the Cape, we celebrate birthdays of my husband’s family at the Chatham Bars Inn. This is a gorgeous old inn, dating back to 1914, with a wrap-around porch for drinks, and an elegant dining room (jackets required!) with a lovely ocean view.

I find the formal dining room a little too, well—formal—and much prefer Chatham Bars’ more laid-back beachhouse restaurant just across the Shore Road.

That’s where we went this year and had a sumptuous buffet of mussels (I can’t get enough), swordfish, and risotto. And—oh—the desserts: tiny apricot tarts, mini cannoli, strawberries with crème fraiche.

So what did I wear? Comme toujours, I like to subvert native style, and donned a short coral tunic with brown bugle beading around the neckline (by Michael Kors), stone-colored shorts cut to show off my pumped quads from the great hill jogging (yes, I have leg vanity too), and my Chie Mihara gray sandals.

Hippie/boho luxe, if I had to attach a label.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beach Style

Greetings from Chatham, Cape Cod! Your intrepid blogger is suffering through long days at the beach, homemade ice cream in the evenings (Buffy’s!), and pots of PEI mussels (any irony there?).

But there are also fashion discoveries to be made.

To wit: I’ve known about Roberta Freymann’s fabled stash of textiles for some years now, but have never made it up to her Manhattan shop. I had hoped that she had an e-boutique or sold her wares elsewhere, but the time I looked, she didn’t.

So I was thrilled to find her line of Indian hand-blocked printed tunics and pareos in a little Chatham shop. Called Roberta Roller Rabbit, this line of light, beachy clothing has delightful prints (a grown-up monkey print to go with my hypothetical chair) and delectable cottons (a hot pink embroidered with white).

As I’m in town a week later than usual, sales are in full swing, and, alas, the only sizes left are L and XL. And as much as I’m tempted to purchase and tailor, I know that I really don’t have the time. So I’ll enjoy from afar and maybe trek to Freymann’s store when I visit again in December. (I’m a true beach girl; I wilt on the city macadam.)

My true discovery, though, was a perfect miniature clamshell, open, but with its hinge intact; the size of a baby’s precious fingernail.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cape Girl

Tomorrow morning I drive to Boston, where I’ll overnight at my b-i-l’s digs on the Hill and on Saturday I’ll drive to the Cape, where I’ll stay for a week.

I hope to be wired, so I’ll do my best to post as many entries as I can, but with all the beach time on my lazy schedule, volume may decrease (can’t have sand in the laptop, can we?).

I have some lovely reader mail to respond to and hope to think up proper answers while wading in tide pools.

Marmee and Me

I adore Linda Evangelista. It’s part Canadian pride, part absolute respect for her talent at striking the right pose, exuding the right attitude. If memory serves, Steven Meisel once praised her ability to flare her nostril (just one!) in exactly the right manner.

But I’m not sure whether this gorgeous woman can convince me to wear a snood.

Take a look at the Prada photographs for fall 2008 in any good magazine: Linda’s hair is wrapped in a snood in each image. From the Renaissance to the 1800s, snoods were practical; they kept a woman’s hair neat, tidy, and off her face, with very little effort.

Think Marmee from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Or for a more glamorous visual, how about Juliet Capulet?

To me, the snood is simply too costume-y, too nostalgic to wear on the street. I’d feel old, antique, really, and I’d rather leave that vibe to my furniture.

So if you hear a “Knock! Knock!”

followed by “Snood’s there?”

Don’t open the door.

Zippity Zappos

I never wax rhapsodic over customer service from internet companies; it’s usually fine, just as expected.

But Zappos has so distinguished itself as superior on two separate occasions that I want to spread some Zappos love.

Last spring I ordered my eldest daughter a pair of Sugar shoes (absolutely not worth the money) and I noted, several months later, that the fabric around the buckle had frayed. No problem! Zappos sent a new pair out overnight!

Earlier this week a pair of pewter cut-out booties arrived for me in my usual size (8.5) that were, alas, too large. When I went online to reorder, the price had risen by $30.

With a telephone call (very quickly answered, unlike at J. Crew, where I was kept on hold for at least 15 minutes on three separate occasions this week and had my email query go entirely unanswered), the friendly representative honored my original price, switched my original payment over to the new shoes so I didn’t have to pay again, and overnighted my new shoes free of charge.

I was almost expecting him to offer me a chocolate cheesecake.

So cheers to Zappos! I’d do business there again any time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Monkeying Around

OK, so I know it’s uncool to like Pottery Barn furniture,

that it’s much cooler to go to ABC and pick out a vintage Suzani-covered chair,

and that it’s much cooler yet to high tail it to Marrakesh and go shopping with the lovely Maryam for your own Suzani to take home and bring to the upholsterer,

but I can’t help coveting this wildly cheerful adult armchair from the PB Kids catalogue for my deep reddish-pink fireplace room. (I'd accessorize with a gorgeously embroidered/appliqued pillow of some sort.)

Monkey see, monkey want.

Redressing the Issue

The other day, on Cathy Horyn’s blog, I quipped about “redressing,” a term that I (think I) resemanticized to represent the phenomenon of a design house lending a special dress to two individuals, each woman thinking that her dress is unique.

If memory serves, this has happened (at least) to Kristen Dunst and Reese Witherspoon (redress by Chanel) and Lauren Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker (redress by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci).

This practice annoys me, as it’s duplicitous: an actress debuting her film or attending a swishy event should be secure that she’s wearing something unique. That’s fashion.

But what about the other version of redressing—an individual wearing the same dress twice?

Blogger Melissa C. Morris, who attends many a New York party and event, confidently announces that her dress for the Parrish Museum Midsummer Gala is the same one she wore to a wedding in Nashville this past May. That’s style.

And across the pond, Jemima Khan so liked her girlfriend’s emerald green dress (what is it with emerald-green dresses in England?) that she wore it the following night. That’s style too.

Although I’d like Chanel and Theyskens to redress their wrongs, I also like the idea of a woman redressing—on her own terms, of course.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flower Power

How does that old song go? Red roses for a blue lady?

How about blue roses?

And not the Tennessee Williams kind, either.

Here are two lovely Vera Wang dresses, both with rosy embellishments, as are becoming de rigueur for fall. Except, of course, if you avoid obvious trends.

I do not own any Vera Wang pieces (yet), but I love her philosophy, as stated on her website: she has “studied fashion from every angle—historically and critically, cerebrally and emotionally”; indeed, for Wang, “clothes are [her] passion and [her] knowledge.”

That Wang unrepentantly combines intellect and emotion puts her on my list of favorite designers, even before I look at her clothes.

And when I do, I’m smitten. I love that Wang designed her bridal wear as beautiful dresses first, the wedding occasion second. (For any new readers, I’m staunchly anti-traditional-wedding clothes.)

I love her sense of layering, of texture. And her use of color is often bold—deep lavenders and greys, aubergines and twinkly olive—but rich and always spot on.

Anyway, I’d definitely wear the navy dress above to my wedding (which took place almost 18 years ago, so I’m really not in/on the market ;-)) or this pewter one.

Could pewter be the new white?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Icon Alert

Isn’t it enough that a shockingly new dress—the emerald green frock worn by Keira Knightley in Ian McEwan’s irritatingly overplotted Atonement—was deemed the "greatest movie costume of all time"?

Watch out, movie costume judges: Another British literary novel is hitting the silver screen and it, too, features a jewel-tone green dress in its poster.

When does iconic become ironic?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fun "Fur" for Fall

Have you seen Louise Bourgeois at the Guggenheim? Here’s the Mapplethorpe photo that advertises her show.

I love Bourgeois’s postmodern cavewoman, with her great bone (ahem) and artfully ratty fur.

It reminds me of this Burberry Prorsum dress, as shown in Allure.

Though the dress is actually silk organza chiffon, it visually approximates fur in a lighter, chic manner. And to the touch? Probably delightful.

I’d be content patting my dress all day.

**I’d say “nay” to the purple lips, though. At Nordstrom the other day, the Bobbi Brown assistant tried so hard to get me to purchase a fall make-up set, which included a cocoa mauve eye liner (loved) and a mauve lipstick (hated; I looked like a corpse). Whatever happened to the days when the assistants actually helped you choose colors that worked with your coloring?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Indian Summer; or Yes to Anokhi

When I was an undergraduate in Ottawa, I took my second year off and went to work for a local designer. Her boutique, Sarah Clothes, sold clothing, linens, and unparalleled silver jewelry.

Sarah designed the clothes and collaborated on the hand-blocked prints with Anokhi in Jaipur, India. The results were simply stunning fabrics.

In fact, I met my husband (some six years later) the evening I was wearing a blue/green hand-block printed sundress. (I’m probably going to make it into a couple of quilts or somesuch for my daughters one day.)

Although I’ve thought of the Ottawa boutique from time to time, Anokhi had completely slipped my mind until yesterday, when I was browsing through the July/August issue of Selvedge, the gorgeous textile magazine. (It’s light on text, heavy on textiles.)

The theme of the issue was “Indian Summer,” and one photo spread highlighted the Anokhi company, which is now run by the founder’s son and his London-born, fashion-designer trained wife.

Anokhi makes beautiful bedspreads and scarves, as well as bohemian dresses and jackets. Here’s a sampling from East Clothing's Web site:

Casual and easy boho pieces for summer.

No, I Said No

It’s always a lady’s prerogative to change her mind,

especially in the light of day.

So although Molly Bloom may be saying “Yes,”

I’m saying, “Credit my account, please.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Marilyn's Reply

Today, for the first time in ages, I went to the cosmetics section of Nordstrom.

I had a mission: a perfect pedicure color.

Earlier this week, I saw two shades I liked in Bazaar: YSL’s “Sublime Red” and Chanel’s “LA Sunset.” The YSL color baffled the salespeople and the Chanel is available only in California. I’m on the east coast.

Note to Mr. C, who’s en route to CA tomorrow: Think “LA Sunset” by Chanel.

I thus became cranky with Bazaar, which is my usual mood, anyway, after I look at that magazine (note that I didn’t say “read”). Why feature two nail polish colors if they aren’t available??!!??

So I regrouped and took another spin around the Chanel counter. I saw a red, popped it open, and tested the pigment on my fingernail. Even Nordstrom’s creepy lighting couldn’t detract from its perfect redness.

The polish is called “Dazzling” and is part of the Holiday 2007 collection. Holiday, schmoliday; this polish works for the summer city and beach. Something tells me I should buy another bottle or two in case it’s discontinued.

And I even bought a very subtle, lightly red-ish lipstick too: Chanel Number 104. 1 + 0 + 4 = 5. Chanel No. 5. And what do you wear to bed?

To Catch a Convertible

It’s completely unlike me to fetishize a mode of transportation.

When I first moved to the States for grad school, I thought of buying a motor scooter because they looked so adorable (think Audrey in Roman Holiday, or one of the Jetsons), but the thought of exercise prevailed and I pedalled my mountain bike for ten years. I craved a canary yellow Cannondale bike for a short while, but its steep price deterred me and I stuck to my red Miele.

If someone tells me he or she bought a fancy new car, I won’t bat an eyelash; I’m simply not interested in transportation as status, or anything as status, as I hope I make clear on myblog.

For me, it’s all about beauty, all about the line. High, low, or in between, I’ll take something aesthetically enchanting wherever it may fall; and I’ve fallen for many a diverse silhouette.

So all this preamble is to prepare myself--me, really, not my gentle readers--for my unlikeliest crush yet . . . on a car.

In the town where I’m staying there’s a 2004 Ford Thunderbird convertible in mint green for sale. Mint green doesn’t begin to describe this color. It’s more of a pale verdigris, beautifully bleached after years in the sun, yet a verdigris with depth, a gorgeous sorbet. It’s a color I’d never tire of (ahem).

Above is a photo from the Web (not the actual car I saw), which I think captures the color. I love how the white convertible top complements the body paint.

I’m sure I could catch a few thieves in this. This car has already stolen my aesthetic heart. My romantic heart beats for Mr. C, of course.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Revolutionary Rosettes

One of my favorite bags of a few years ago is this Yves Saint Laurent Nadja rose, presented by Christy Turlington.

It was available in smooth leather or suede, and the size I coveted cost about $900.

So I ordered it from Bergdorf Goodman in dark brown suede and counted the days till it arrived.

But alas, the edges were shoddy (hanging threads!) and the packaging was surprisingly slipshod for a luxury item, so I happily sent it back, having satisfied my fashion fantasy. (Sometimes I’m happy when the item doesn’t live up to my imagination; it saves me money and I can banish it from my thoughts.)

Earlier this week I was paging through a magazine and saw a gorgeous black-and-white ad for a Valentino bag with three visible rosettes. I tracked it down at Neiman Marcus and saw that everything’s coming up roses once more.

I like the draping on this bag (the one from the advertisement):

This is my favorite:

I find this one a little ho-hum, something I’ve seen before:

Black patent rosettes? Possibly. This bag reminds me of some Hostess cupcakes I devoured in Canada as a child. (I really had to reach to remember that brand name.) They came with pink, white, and chocolate rosettes. Delicious:

Thanks to inflation, these bags cost almost three times the amount of the “vintage” Nadja, but I’d be tempted to fly one in for an interview. Anyone want to join my HR team?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Eye Sigh

I have a tale of sunglass woe. When I left Canada in 1990 for graduate school in the States, with me were my new Christian Roth sunglasses, probably the most pricey accessory I had purchased to date.

I’d entered an Ottawa eyeglass shop on a lark, and the bronze metal Roth glasses had me at hello, if you’ll pardon the cheesy movie reference.

I paid more than a month’s rent for them, but the price was worth it: these sunglasses complemented my summer skin tone (golden-y bronze from growing up on a beach), my dark blonde hair, my dark flax-y linen Jaeger suit. Reader, I would have married them if I could have.

During my first summer in grad school, as I wasn’t a U.S. citizen, federal law dictated that I had to find a job on campus, so I worked in the costume department of the music program, sewing up leather vests and arm casings for the large Icelandic singer in our university’s opera, and the like. I also worked front of house for performances.

One evening a troupe of high school kids booked the theatre for a workshop. I put down my sunglasses in the green room washroom while I washed my hands, left the room, remembered my glasses, and returned to an empty sink. Gone forever!

So between tears, I called up Joel Name, the wonderful NYC eyeglass shop, in its “old” location, right where the Village meets SoHo at Houston. The proprietor shipped me an almost identical pair—a little more almond shaped, but the exact same bronzy metal. I felt complete again.

And I wore those sunglasses for fourteen years.

Two summers ago, while vacationing on the Cape, I fell down a flight of stairs at the Canterbury leather shop, spraining my ankle (oh, the swelling!) and crushing my glasses which were in my hand. They were beyond repair.

I haven’t been able to replace them. My philosophy is always to buy a timeless article of the best quality and then to keep that item for infinity. But I haven’t found something comparable to those perfect Christian Roth sunglasses.

For the time being I wear a simple pair of Lulu Guinness's glamourous shades (think Annette Bening wearing Oliver Peoples circa 1992 in Vanity Fair, channeling Old Hollywood), but I don’t love them and would not be sad to lose them.

What to do? Does anyone have a super-beloved pair of sunglasses? If not, what’s your dream pair?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Pazzi Sleuthing

Now that my summer sandal gap has been resolved, I’ve returned—to use Wendy B’s good word—to stalking another item: the Christiane Celle Calypso Pazzi dress.

Sure, I could simply visit the NYC boutique, but that would diminish the intrigue and pleasure I’m getting from my sleuthing.

On Friday my daughters and I watched a special edition of What Not to Wear set on a cruise ship—Stacy London handled the styling all by herself on this “girltastic” episode. During the “reveal” segment, Stacy wore the Pazzi, in a bright yellow color (more yellow than this image) and heels.

Although I wanted to like the dress on her, I couldn’t. Perhaps it was the heels (I’d prefer flats with the dress), perhaps the cap sleeves (too little-girly?), perhaps the fact that Stacy, like her clients, looks best when “the smallest part of her body” (her waist) is emphasized.

This sighting gave me some great material to ruminate on for the weekend. I plan to visit the Boston shop in early August, where I’ll make my decision between the Pazzi or the silk Julia. Or maybe I'll leave empty handed, overwhelmed by the extensive array of gorgeous silk colors.

Did anyone else see Stacy in the canary Pazzi? And if you did, of course you have an opinion . . . Do tell!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anatomy of a Sandal Purchase

I’ve chased these sandals around and around for months.

In March, Bergdorfs was sold out of my size when I was in town. So I tried them on at Nordstrom, and tried to imagine how they’d look with a tan. I couldn’t quite conjure the right image.

In June I ordered them, just before my trip to Canada, but didn’t really have time to inspect them until now. I wore them around the bedroom for a couple of days this week, hemming and hawing, and finally took a road test today.

I’m so glad I did: these Chie Miharas are now my perfect go-to sandal for shorts. They combine just the right amount of polish and casual attitude for my lifestyle, and the gray color is a terrific neutral.

I’m never going to take them off. Except maybe at the beach.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Maternal G(u)ilt

My three-year-old son thinks that this car is called Alexander McQueen.

However could that have happened?

Off, Kilter!

I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

Remember last winter/early spring, when L.A.M.B. showed a boy’s crested shrunken blazer? Now the NYT has confirmed that prep school chic is the rage for fall among the teen/twenty-something set and places the blame on Gossip Girl.

I’ve never watched GG, but I confess, that during my stressful grad school years, while not parsing the hypertheoretical sentences of Donna Haraway or Homi Bhabha, I watched Beverly Hills, 90201. And I loved it, with the possible exception of when Brenda was accepted into drama school in London, which truly tested my suspension of disbelief. (I wonder whether she’ll return to the new 90210 as an accomplished thespian of the English stage? Dame Brenda Walsh.)

I don’t recall BH 90210 setting any bars for fashion (except perhaps when Kelly turned up with short hair in a season opener), but apparently GG is a virtual department store; or, rather, an exclusive boutique.

According to the NYT, designers are even looking to the show for inspiration, and an accompanying photo shows a model on the catwalk wearing a teeny kilt with a slouchy sweater. (Hit me baby, one more time?)

I am not , I believe and hope, the target audience of this fashion trend. For those of us in our 30s and 40s would probably do best to stay away from short plaid kilts. Especially those of us who attended prep/boarding schools and have already had our GG look. At my boarding school we wore navy pleated jumpers, red blazers, white shirts and our school necktie. I don’t want to revisit that two decades later.

I can, however, see my peers looking chic in a plaid pencil skirt, a la McQueen or Westwood with a smart cashmere T and some wildly eccentric shoes to funk up the look. I won’t be rushing out to buy a kilt and jacket.

And so, inspired by the immortal final lines of Anthony Lane’s review of Braveheart, what else is there to say but “Faster, Pussycat! No kilt! No kilt!”

Lane , my favorite film reviewer, wrote in the New Yorker: “Faster, Pussycat! Kilt! Kilt!”

Sunday, July 6, 2008

One of These Models Is Not Like The Others

Did you grow up watching Sesame Street? Remember the singing game “One of these things is not like the other,” which invited you to pick out the thing “that just doesn’t belong”?

Let’s play this game with Estée Lauder’s advertising campaign for Sensuous, the company’s new perfume.

My pick for the model “that just doesn’t belong” is Gwyneth. While Estée Lauder has typically picked women with expressive faces (though I prefer Liz Hurley in her earliest shots for Beautiful, before she lost twenty pounds and plucked her eyebrows), the company is unfortunately off the mark with Ms. Paltrow.

Gwyneth’s beauty is in movement, not stills, as I think is evident from every single photo campaign she’s done for Lauder’s Pleasures. In both of the Pleasures photos below she looks strained, waxy, and, for a Lauder face, exceptionally Photoshopped. In fact, I’d say that these images are all about her hair.

While the Sensuous photos are more flattering, they still reveal a certain discomfort. Gwyneth is not like the others for a reason: she’s an actress first, model as afterthought. Interestingly, she’s the only model who’s NOT speaking in Bloomingdale’s “Sensuous video lounge” on the NYT web site, though there is a video of her on the Lauder site.

And speaking of models that just don’t belong, we might also consider the quadruple punch of the four Sensuous spokesmodels securing prime real estate (40 editorial pages!) in July’s Harper’s Bazaar. Indeed, fashion and commerce have a necessary relationship; fashion for fashion’s sake doesn’t sell ad pages, but if I had my druthers, I’d do my best to keep separate advertising and editorial, if only to maintain the illusion that magazines have integrity.

In my perfect world, then, I’d have models representing perfume, and magazines that didn’t so blatantly cow to their major advertiser. And let’s leave that singing game for Ernie and Bert.

Sensuous images by Craig McDean, via The Fashion Spot.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Whether the Leather?

It’s prime bathing suit weather, but last night I was on a search for leather. I haven’t had a proper leather jacket for some years now and I think the time is right to add one to my closet.

My search came to an abrupt halt when I discovered this coat by Alberta Ferretti at Bergdorf Goodman.

I love its vaguely medieval studded fringe on the bottom, its collar, its color. Its cost, not so much.

But I think this would be perfect for wearing over a dress and heels in the fall.

The leather jacket quest, however, will continue.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Butterflies Are Bea

My week in Canada has given me a taste again for all things royal.

At the theatre my girls and I sat in the row where Queen Elizabeth once sat (red carpet, more leg room) and we ate ice cream outside Province House where I once took Polaroids of a new Princess Diana on tour with her husband. (Yes, I still have them; perhaps they'll be a fall post.)

So I devoured the news that Princess Anne’s son Peter married a Canadian, Autumn Kelly, with relatives from Ontario and New Brunswick.

I particularly liked the fact that Princess Beatrice took a chance and wore McQueen to the wedding. Above is a shot from Zink magazine; below is Beatrice from PopSugarUK.

And I looove her hat. Although it may match the dress, it’s got enough personality that it’s not matchy-matchy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Science of Glamour

Idealist that I am, I always thought that the allure of eccentric glamour was that it couldn’t—or shouldn’t—be codified.

After all, it’s eccentric style; it isn’t supposed to follow a chart or be reproduced.

But in today’s New York Times, Simon Doonan (whose creativity for Barneys I adore) held forth on house gifts for a cadre of eccentric glamour girls—the socialite, the gypsy, the existentialist—all of whom appear in his new book Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely Fabulous New You.

I’m going to dash out this weekend to leaf through a copy, because I hope that the book is a treasure trove of visual delights—much like Doonan’s Barneys vitrines.

But here’s my concern: eccentric glamour is individual, and while I’m thrilled to see a visual representation of glamourous eccentrics (not exactly the same thing, I know), I resist the scientific approach. And this excerpt offers more classification than I want from my definition of eccentric glamour. In fact, I wouldn’t even dare to define it, because it would then lose its allure for me.

So I’m doubly steamed: first Steampunk hits the NYT Styles, now a guide to eccentric glamour. What’s next to enter the mainstream?

A Postmodern Daisy

It really, truly, is too hot to wear a coat these days, but this white confection from Aquascutum somehow seems just right.

I love the side buckles, the embroidery, and the face-framing collar. Think a postmodern Daisy Buchanan floating about New York City.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Simply Red; or, In Character

I’ve returned to the States from a glorious week on Prince Edward Island, my birthplace, and am full of blue, green, and red, the colors, respectively, of our salt water, our fields, and our uncommonly pretty soil.

I loved rediscovering all the different reds—the deep coppery reds in farmland furrows, the dusty pink reds that wouldn’t be out of place on a powder puff.

When I wasn’t admiring the landscape or presenting at my conference, I was looking at another red: the stage curtain at the Charlottetown Festival, home to the musical production of Anne of Green Gables since 1965. I took my two daughters to see it and loved to hear them laugh at Anne’s irrepressible philosophizing and mishaps (green hair, anyone?).

We also divided up the family (the three-year-old lad is too young for evening theatre) and saw a musical revue called “The British Invasion: America Strikes Back,” in which dancers and singers got to strut their stuff, belting out numbers by Dusty Springfield and Heart, hoofing to Cher’s “Believe.” Terry Hatty, the sixty-something year-old former singer from the Guess Who was a lead, and he gave all the youngsters a clinic in performance—from Garfunkel to Bowie to Keef Richards.

But what I especially loved at the theatre were the shoes—character shoes in particular. Although I didn’t grow up in dance, I literally grew up at this Festival, which I attended every year from age four onward, where I worked front-of-house one summer, and where I took dance and voice lessons from the cast.

At the end of the season, the cast always puts on a benefit show and I sang and danced in it, wearing some sort of spangly flapper dress. I also wore character shoes from the company’s wardrobe and was thrilled to find Lenore Zann’s name inside them (Canadians: anyone remember/know her?).

The Festival brought back my dreams of being a triple threat and though I may run the risk of channeling Zelda Fitzgerald, who rather clunkily took up ballet in her thirties in hope of being a dancer, I may see whether I can’t find a local musical theatre gig when I return to my current home state.

After all, those character shoes are just magic.