Sunday, August 30, 2009

Circa 2017: Circus School

My eldest daughter, my long, graceful swan who can moonwalk like nobody’s business, wants to be a circus clown.

She loves the shoes, the wigs, the colorful costumes, the face paint (she has her own set of it), the absolute silliness.

A sibling of a dear friend runs a circus school in London, so we may be looking to the continent for her higher education.

But until then, she can enjoy her ten-year-old sense of fun (including pratfalls).

Her mother likes circuses too, especially vintage circus posters and gilt big-top decorations past their prime.

And I adore these images from Marcus Bleasdale’s “Exquisite Circus” portfolio in New York Magazine, all stunning looks from the fall fashion shows.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Calculated Whimsy

Calculated whimsy is not my bag, to borrow a phrase from one of Meghan Daum’s fine essays in My Misspent Youth.

Literary name-dropping aside, whimsy loses its je ne sais quois when contrived; indeed, it can verge on the clownish.

Take this sequined cardigan by Kate Spade, for example. Styled differently, with a pair of dark jeans, perhaps a white fitted tee, and an attractively scowling model in front of a graffiti-print building, I’d give it a second and a third look. (Maybe with a different belt, though.)

However, on the Kate Spade website (above), worn by a boop-a-doop model lookalike of Deborah Lloyd, KS’s creative director (below), the cardi becomes too cartoonish for me.

And oh--Nordstrom's tried styling it too, with different, but still ineffective results:

Kate Spade used to have a more understated whimsy in her ad campaigns—remember Visiting Tennessee?—and it would be good to see that return.

Until then, Kate Spade won’t be my bag either . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In Vogue

So lovely to see my *self* featured in this month’s Vogue.

Thanks, eds.!

And no, I’m never coy about my age;

my birth year is spot on—if in fine print . . .

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fall Fashion: English Lit Edition

Have art directors been reading English classics this season?

The proof is in the text-iles.

Above: Virginia Woolf channels her heroine Orlando. A secret: she’s wearing one of these under her jacket.

Jane Eyre and Blanche Ingram engage in a tête à tête. But are they debating Mr. Rochester’s finer points? And what is this Chanel? Must have come from Edward’s Parisian ward, the poppet Adele.

Reel-World Dressing

One of my cinematic style touchstones is the opening-credit scene of Howards End, where Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs. Wilcox wades through a meadow drenched with evening dew, her long silk skirts most pleasantly rustling in the grass.

I adore that sound.

This image, taken at Clise Mansion, brings to mind Mrs. Wilcox’s dress.

I’m an advocate of gowns for day, and this would be lovely for a postmodern Mrs. Wilcox to wear for a stroll by the lake, gathering wildflowers.

But if Mrs. Wilcox isn’t your cup of tea, you could always channel Clan of the Cave Bear:

**images by Nick Bartoletti

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's Cinch A Deal!

Yesterday day this jersey dress from J Crew arrived chez moi. Picture it with edgy heels, if you will.

I like its gray-flannel vibe in slinky jersey (even though it has a temporarily poufy neckline that I must deflate, if possible). And I like its transitional (summer-to-fall) appeal.

I do not, however, like its belt, a hideous self-tie. And worse, there’s an elastic waist on the dress placed a smidge higher than my natural waist. I’m perfectly content with a one-inch waistband above my natural waist, but a skinny elastic one? Oy vey.

So I’m looking for a proper belt that could work with this dress. I literally haven’t worn a belt in eleven years but am looking forward to doing so again.

I’ve been doing some browsing and have come up with three potential candidates.

This is a simple belt from Akris Punto. I like its sleek lines:

Another sleek one (with studs) from HTC Italy:

Here’s a more ornate belt from YSL: (But would the open clasp conceal the dress’s elastic waist enough?)

And a heavily embellished obi belt from Cecilia de Bucourt at Barneys: (This belt really is too much for this dress, but I like it.)

I’d also be happy if you’d like to make a suggestion; but remember: the belt should be at least 1 ½ inches wide to fully cover the elastic waist. I also want the belt to be black leather or a pewter-y metal. No animal prints!

Can we cinch this deal?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's a Cinch?

I’ve noticed a trend emerging over the past months: the belted cardigan.

But, oh! you say. That’s been around forever.

Well, yes, but I’m noticing that more and more cardigans are being belted but not buttoned.

DVF did it in Fall 2008:

Paul Smith did it:

Michelle Obama does it frequently (and often with coats too):

A little girl in the new Boden catalogue is also belting her open cardigan:

As is this woman in the new Anthropologie catalogue:

And this one is belting her sweater coat:

With this style, there’s a fine line between looking attractive and looking like you’re wearing a cardigan that’s too small (one that won’t button!).

I think that the unbuttoned belted look would annoy me—I’d want the cardigan buttoned at the waist.

But you, gentle readers: would you button or unbutton your (belted) cardigans?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sea Treat

Last night my daughter had a sleepover at a school chum’s house.

They went for a night swim, made a treat, went to bed, and got up for a morning dip.

I am thinking of asking the mother whether I could do the same.

If I can't, then here is a soothing sea of green that will have to substitute. Do note that the actress/model is wearing my treadful Prada shoes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ever Madder

Even though my inner Mad (Wo)Man is Joan Holloway (apparently!), I’m still drawn to Betty Draper’s style, especially when she’s in full equestrienne mode.

Here, in the new Vanity Fair, is a more modern horsey ensemble.

Love the jodhpurs and the boots.

And I just checked: my cable TV (which I’m banishing come Sept 1) does indeed have AMC, so for the first time in years, I’ll have a date with the set on Sunday night.

I nev. er follow a show any more, so this will be a test of my ability to survive TV commercials. Will anyone else be watching the premiere of MM?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Silly Rabbit? Je Pense que Non!

Dear Juicy Couture,

Nice try, but I really don’t think there’s anything silly about rabbit ears.


Miss C

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Grundahl Time in Soho

When in Soho I avoid its mallification side but never miss IF, a boutique that carries eccentric European clothes.

My favorite designer there is Ivan Grundahl, who has a wonderful way with layers and pleats and smocking and asymmetry and ruching.

I tried on this dress, which was too large, but I loved the way the layers of net and pleats floated.

If the dress weren’t too big, I would have popped next door to the jeans shop to show Mr. C, so do I love wearing a gown during the day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Knuckleheads a la McQueen; or, Pun for the Road

Alexander McQueen’s tiny clutches are finally available stateside; you may recall that I blogged about this one last year.

I still like it, but I’ve moved on to the clutch pictured here.

McQueen calls it a knuckle duster; I prefer “Knucklehead(s).”

Isn’t that what Lucy used to call her long-suffering brother, Charlie Brown?

But do check out the price of this clutch; it isn’t offered for Peanuts.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Think PinKK

If it’s late summer, I must be thinking about Christiane Celle’s new colors of silk wrap dresses. I love them all this year, and present this hot pink color for your approval.

I’m complementing Celle’s pink with pink fabric from a past exhibit by KK Projects (that KK in my title wasn’t a typo after all!). It's called "Hot Pink Cape Sale; or The Mallard," and uses some of Brad Pitt's fabric, but I won't hold that celebrity lustre against it.

KK Projects is the brainchild of Kirsha Kaechele, who moved to New Orleans to create a living installation gallery within one of the communities most damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Not long ago I met a young woman from that city who’d visited KK Projects, and she raved about the installations.

Miss Cavendish will be shuttering for two days (Monday and Tuesday) while I travel again. I hope you’ll visit me when I arrive at my destination, and I’ll be knocking on your virtual doors too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Going Dutch?

Although I adore eccentric headpieces, these are a little too, well, homely for my taste.

But I do appreciate their Little Edie can-do spirit.

Images from Dutch Seen, at the Museum of the City of New York.


I do appreciate old-world accessories.

Rather than have an electronic gadget vibrating or ringing in my bag—or worse—I like a more leisurely pace: bicycle instead of car, landline instead of mobile, hand-written letter rather than email. Except when I don’t, naturally.

One charming-but-dated accessory is the ladies’ fan. Being Canadian (or at least that’s my explanation), I prefer to be cold, but if I must be hot, I like an ocean to be rightthere for refreshing dips.

For those close summery evenings when there isn’t a breeze, or for flaunting, à la Undine Spragg (that misinformed Wharton character) from one’s opera booth, here’s a golden yellow vintage fan, from the Museum of the City of New York. I’d almost look forward to still air.**

**Not really.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The New Bow-t-Her Hat

As you know, I love hats and headpieces, and am rather sad to have grown out of hair bows.

This D&G creation combines a hat with a bow, and gives hope to those of us over twelve.

I love its slightly rumpled, underdone chic, with the bow giving way to what vaguely recalls fingers on a glove.

This kind of headpiece is charmingly worn for day, as styled, with some clunky boots and a trim silhouette, to avoid looking too costume-y.

Is it the ladies’ version of the gents’ boater?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sole Food; or, A Recipe for Pad Try

And in keeping with my food theme du jour, here’s a little, well, you read the title.

It’s taken me a while to warm to this style of shoes, with the funky little ball/toe pad, but this pair by Nicholas Kirkwood (on sale at Browns) has won me over.

They’re 5 inches tall, but would feel like a *mere* 4 because of the platform pad.

Gorgeous, but a wearable ingredient for work?

In other words, pad try?

It's Hip to Eat Squares

I rarely write about food, but “squares” have been on my mind ever since I visited Prince Edward Island.

I’ve never seen a true square in the United States; sure, there are brownies, blondies, even lemon squares (ignore the name; it’s misleading), but these are all specialty treats, likely to be found in a smart American bakery.

I’m talking about the squares that are served at small-town strawberry socials, at church functions, at down-home lobster suppers, the recipes of which are lovingly passed down from generation to generation and are decidedly not available to the publique for purchase.

These squares are layered—homemade strawberry jam between chocolate, for instance—and often have thick, buttery icing. But the key to the squares is variety—you want to see platters groaning with an abundance of tiny squares, so you can assemble a dessert-y feast.

One of my favorite childhood memories is the chocolate marshmallow square, which, for a child, is simple to make. For an adult, it’s a grown-up s’more, without the fire.

My complaint about a s’more is that it has too much graham cracker, and I’d prefer the chocolate to be thinner, if possible. Chocolate marshmallow squares resolve this issue.

You simply grease (butter!) a baking pan and line it with graham crackers.

Then melt a package of chocolate chips and mix in one cup of butter, two cups of icing sugar, and two beaten eggs.

Let this mixture cool a bit and add four cups of miniature marshmallows. Mix it up.

Spoon the mixture into the baking pan and let cool in the fridge. Cut into tiny squares.

Disclaimer: I haven’t made this recipe in *years,* and I’m not in my own kitchen for another week, so I’m unable to do a taste test. But this recipe is pretty standard, if anyone wants to try it.

Also: the image above contains peanuts but does not have the graham cracker crust.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No Doubt

Just a quick peek at the home of playwright John Patrick Shanley, who happily embraces color and language, which are also two of my favorite things.

Love this chandelier with the mermaid figurehead.

And this shower? It’s you-know-what in motion.

Or at least in suds.

Genial Clutter; Personal Style

I love highly personal spaces; couldn’t imagine having a decorator do up my environment. I also love layers of textiles, faded rich colors, and books throughout a house.

One space that caught my eye last week was the apartment of documentarian Albert Maysles (of Gray Gardens fame, etc.). He lives in Harlem and his apartment is full of paintings by his children, delicious wilting colors, and genial clutter.

It’s the grumpy clutter that I don’t cohabit with well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Betty Draper, Betty Draper

During the past rainy days I’ve been watching Season One of Mad Men on my laptop. After pondering the gleeful antifeminism of the first episode and noting that there were some well placed comeuppances throughout the following ones, I can say that I’m smitten and am going off in search of a boxed set of Season Two, just as soon as this wretched rain breaks.

In terms of style, I was in thrall to the elegant click, click, clicks of the ladies’ heels on the floor, the frame handbags, the gloves!!, the nail lacquer, and the beautifully fitted dresses.

Pencil skirts are an easy “get” to riff on the show’s working girl style, but I have a soft spot for Betty Draper (thanks for the nod to Betty Friedan, series creator!) and her gently draped(!) shirtwaists.

Buttoned up the front, nipped in at the waist, with full, full skirts, these dresses could look like costumes in 2009, but worn with the right smart, edgy shoes, you won’t look like you've just come from an AMC audition.

I’d consider the purple dress above, by J. Peterman. I’d wear it in late August with my mermaid-yellow four-inch heel L.A.M.B. shoes.

Their heel is longer than Don Draper’s cigarette.