Saturday, February 27, 2010

Toile de Joy??

Scrolling through the NYT's slideshow on dressing up, Club Kid style, my finger froze when I came upon this image which I found both intriguing and disturbing.

Not the sailors in JPG; rather, the figure in head-to-toe toile. (BTW, the person under the toile is performance artist Yozmit, who also created the dress.)

I love how artists play with toile, from the wallpaper of Timorous Beasties, to the pieces that Richard Saja "interferes" with via embroidery floss. 

But here is my dilemma:

On the one hand, the look suggests Marie Antoinette on a sugar high, having wrapped herself up in the drapes of Versailles. 

On the other hand, the points in the white-and-red cloth, most prevalent on the shoulders but also on the top of the mask, recall a full-body robe that was worn in the American South during the late 1800s, for decidedly undecorative purposes.

But perhaps that's the element of provocation in this piece. 

I could go into an application of Toni Morrison's concept of "rememory" here (coined in Beloved), but that would be too academic for a Saturday night, during the final minutes of the men's gold-medal curling match, I think. . .  (Oh hurrah!!--we just won the gold.)

What do you see in this dress?

**Here's the look that WendyB references in her comment:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Can You Spell, Christiane Celle?

There were premature hints of spring today: melted snow, bright sun, and  . . . flurries?  Well, yes.

But still my thoughts turned to warm weather and to my annual peek at one of my stand-by summer designers, Christiane Celle of Calypso.

Of course, Ms. Celle has not been with the company that bears her name for . . . a couple of years now, and this is the first collection where I really feel the presence of her absence.  (Oy--that's such a lit-crit phrase; sorry, gentle readers.)

But back to my virtual shopping spree: curiously, Calypso's two signature dresses--the Julia wrap dress and the Pazzi sheath dress--are not included for spring.  Perhaps they will appear later, but they are missed.  They punctuated each collection.

In their stead are very sheer, stream-of-consciousness little frocks (above and below) that resemble pretty nighties.  I don't ever use that word--nightie--but it fits here.  We did wear slip dresses and corsets as outerwear; why not a nightie?  (I'll withhold my verdict until I try one on with a tan and smart sandals.)

There's also a renewed emphasis on the Indian tunic, but this image could easily be from the J Crew website, just with higher prices.

And at least J Crew, with its faux prep-school pedigree, takes the care to spell its copy correctly.  Calypso, however, speaks of this yellow tunic with "pannels" and a fitted "waiste." 

Is this a misguided attempt to invoke the founder's French background by employing charming ESL misspellings?  Of course not; it's just sloppiness.

Once, in a moment of apres-midnight insanity, I visited the Kardashian sisters' boutique online.  The copy there was so atrocious (full of grammatical errors) that I actually emailed them to offer my copyediting services.  They didn't respond.  A quick check today shows that their site is under construction.  Perhaps they heeded my advice (but didn't take me up on my offer.  It still stands!)

So I offer the same copyediting service to Calypso--as well as friendly advice from a long-time client to bring back Julia and Pazzi.  Seriously.

And if you really like an curiously spelled sentence, try this one:

Do not Pazzi go.

Monday, February 22, 2010

When J Crew Met Chloe

Here are two versions of the same concept:

fold-over ankle cuff (not quite a paper-bag ankle) on a stacked heel.

The top shoe is from Chloe,

the other, from J Crew:

There's about $500 between them.

Can you measure that distance in style?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Glitz Is Not My Bag (or is it?)

Glitz is not my thing; can't abide the word "bling"; have avoided Swarovski crystals for years;* prefer matte to shiny.

But this bag by Prada, with its unabashedly glitzy jeweled clasp, has caught my eye. 

Is it the cloudy-day leather?

No, because I also like the bag in white (perhaps even more):

It must just be another instance of that old cliche coming to life: something about a woman's prerogative.

(And by the way, I don't like cliches either.)

*Full disclosure: I do have one thin gray crystal barette for pinning back my fringe.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Of Norway, Sweaters, and Curling Pants

When I was young, I always looked forward to the start of curling season. 

I'd follow my Scottish grandmother to the Wool and Yarn shop to buy her a new curling sweater, then to the Golf and Winter Club to watch her throw and sweep with her team. 

She and her teammates were Club Champions many a time, and although I tried to curl once or twice, the sport didn't stick.

*   *   *  

In Summer 2001 I went to Trondheim, Norway, a beautiful medieval city on the coast, with my 23-month old daughter and Mr. C in tow. While there, I visited Husfliden, a shop that sells traditional Norwegian clothing, delightful hand-knit mittens, and other Norwegian products.

I was looking for a sweater, but not the standard issue Dale of Norway or Oleana; I wanted something unique.  (This is actually a problen for me: in my quest for the unique I can end up with a closet full of separates that have all filed restraining orders against each other.  One must match, even a little, sometimes.)

In the men's section I saw what I wanted: a handknit brown sweater with white flecks that had heavy embroidery on the yoke and cuffs. 

Not to mention silvery hardware on the cuffs as well.

I carried it around the shop while other browsers glared at me, with one woman demanding to know whether I was going to buy it.  I did.

When I got back to my hotel, I looked at the attached paper tag and learned, much to my delight and surprise, that my sweater was the official Norwegian men's curling team sweater for 2001.

*  *  * 

Some call them argyle pants; I call them Harlequin pants: these brightly colored trousers worn by the Norway Curling team are the 2010 Olympic Games' court jester.

They are not a Harlequin Romance.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Something in Carmen

When I first saw Carmen Kass,

a number of years ago now,

I thought that she must be related to Carmen dell Orefice.

That thought has only deepened with time,

for I think that the two women have

(see headline)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Floppy Bow at Bryant Park

In this floppy-bow image, taken at Bryant Park (oh, how I miss you!), the bow is a beautiful pinky brown, and has, to my mind, the perfect grown-up amount of flop. 

Anything perkier would be too Eloise. And she lives (or lived) farther up the Avenue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Garden of the Month at Chanel

Every spring and summer there's a "garden of the month" award given to the prettiest gardens in our town. 

Mr. C and I always laugh because our tangle of leaves and vines is not a realistic candidate. 

But lately we've been thinking that the poppies I planted in the front yard are surprisingly pretty:

Although it's February, I award "garden of the month" to Chanel, who, in this beautifully framed ad, captures the promise of spring in one stunning poppy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Uniforms: Vancouver 2010

How did you think the uniforms looked last night?

I've been reading some vitriolic comments about the Hudson Bay-designed Canadian uniforms, but I think that the ones in the opening ceremony were attractive.  The athletes looked like mini Mounties from a distance (not that this is a stylish goal), and I also liked the Bay scarf/blanket over the flagbearer's shoulders.

A team of fashion students (led by profs) from Ryerson designed them.  Not Roots this year . . .

Team USA's uniforms were, I thought, a vast improvement on their summer Olympics Ralph Lauren Gatsby-esque togs. 

Of course RL kept his polo pony in plain view, but also incorporated looks for which he is well known; the chunky-knit moose caps could have coded as goofy, but with the sleek white ski pants, navy puffer, and thick white turtleneck sweaters they added a playful, folkloric accent.

How Much Is That Dress in the Window?

A variation on the old song, to be sure.

Here is a windowful of dresses, waiting to be vetted by Marion Cotillard at the Chateau Marmont.  Are they lonely, a la Miss Havisham, or full of possibility?

In either case, I like the vaguely ghostly quality of the image, and the almost audible yearming of the structured bodices: "Choose me!"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Puffing Up: A Valentine's Day Skirt

Yesterday my three children had Valentine's Day parties at their school.  They were invited to wear red, pink, or white clothing instead of their usual navy uniforms.

I don't buy them themed or holiday clothing, so we had to scramble a bit to find the right colors.  My middle daughter wore this triple-flounce (summer) skirt, which I had made for her a couple of years ago, using textile designer Anna Maria Horner's beautiful Bohemian collection.

What neither of us expected is that both teachers and parents at the school came up to her and asked whether her skirt was by such-and-such designer. 

When she said no, that her mum made her skirt, they were shocked.

And I must say, when I heard all this, I might have grown an inch or two taller. (Just for the rest of the day.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

H Is For . . . Hayworth or Hathaway?

Was British GQ trying to pay homage to Rita Hayworth in this cover photo of Anne Hathaway (below)?

If so, the designers might take note that they've removed her neck, which also deletes the sinuous line created when Ms. Hayworth raises her arms.  And, of course, Anne Hathaway's arms are scarily shaded.

The oddest area, though, is from chin to breast to shoulder.  It looks utterly unnatural.

Poor Ms. Hathaway is left with a stumpy, very un-Gilda silhouette, which is not only unflattering, but inaccurate.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Last Dance; or, School of Shoes

Just popping in to say how much I adore this NYT article on shoe-making. 

And here's a link to the slideshow of shoe school.  Ahh, the court shoe!

I want to enroll . . .

Jane Eyredale

I'm teaching Jane Eyre at the moment and thinking of a number of Jane-related projects that I've been wanting to work on.  None are scholarly; all would require a great deal of time, and I keep returning them to the back of my mental file cabinet.

But I feel compelled to share one on the (high) heels of a recent comment from my cutting-edge-yet-gentle-reader WendyB on this post

For I have wanted to film, for a good 15 years, now, an all-dog update of that classic novel, which I would call Jane Eyredale

Can you not imagine a noble but gruff Newfoundland as Mr. Rochester?  A miniature poodle as Adele?  And my beloved Marilla (a bulldog) was slated to play Mrs. Fairfax.

If any potential backers are reading this, drop me a line.  And let this post serve as copyright notice!  Don't get any sneaky ideas, James Cameron. 

(The image above is from a Bruce Weber shoot for Vogue.  If I recall, a dignified bulldog played the reverend.  And then probably drank too much punch.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Craving: Black Seamed Cigarette Pants

Perhaps it's in anticipation of skiing events at the Winter Olympics, but I was struck today by a style memory that just won't shake: the raised-center-seam cigarette pant in black.

I had a pair eons ago, which I wore with half-inch platform two-tone brogues, a zipped full-turtleneck sweater (Gstaad-style, you know), and loved, loved, loved until they wore out.**

Here's a detail from a Piazza Sempione pair, in sateen, though I'd prefer matte:

I don't know whether Laura Petrie and Ann-Margret's seams were raised at center, but these iconic photos have the spirit.

Although I can't seem to shake my desire, the above women can, well, shake their seams.

**The Gstaad stuff is ironic; I'm still smarting from the time in 1992 when I waited six months to get an appointment with Frederic Fekkai to cut my very long hair, only to be bumped because he had broken his leg skiing in Gstaad.  I was almost in tears when I saw him cutting hair in his cast--not for him, but for my selfish little self who felt slighted that this first-time client didn't rate.  Long hair story short: the talented Mark Garrison cropped my hair that day.

Gaga for Bedlingtons: Grammy Awards 2010

Did Lady Gaga really wear Armani Prive during her songs?

Because to my eye

--and the divine WendyB agreed over tweets--

these shoulders resemble Bedlingtons.

McQueen, m'Lady?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Tail of Three Heels: Kitten, Mid, or Skyscraper?

Multiple Choice: which heel height is right?

Hello Kitty? (Anne Klein kitten heel, advertised in Sunday’s NYT):

Lioness? (Givenchy mid heel at Browns):

Cats? Puhleessssse. (Rupert Sanderson python skyscraper heel at Browns):

Monday, February 1, 2010

J Crew's Grammar Lesson

Correct me if the grammar police aren't necessary,

but do women really want a dangling modifier

right there

on our bikini?