Friday, July 30, 2010

"X" Marks the Dot

Some of my favorite destinations are unmarked: L'Express (perfect bistro) in Montreal, the Paramount Hotel in New York, certain police cars . . . 

And today, the little jewelbox location of Manolo Blahnik, on 54th St, across from (the other side of ) MoMA.  I'd been strolling along, looking at the pub where Mona Simpson tried to have a cup of coffee with her interviewer, and a few doors down, there it was!  A simple, clean front with a very discrete plaque announcing its distinguished proprietor.

I didn't go in (had two anxious lassies en route to American Girl, which is decidedly NOT unmarked), but did develop strong feelings for the pumps in the window. 

They were genially marked with polka dots(!!!).


Was that Julia Sarr-Jamois on 5th near 57th this afternoon?

My daughter and I thought so.

If so, or if not, she was lovely.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bobbing for Apples

It is, I hope, no secret to my gentle readers that I do not like to shop.  I love line, silhouette, colour and texture, but I prefer a process other than combing through shops to find them. 

So it was with a steeled constitution that I set out today for L'acheter meilleur and Le marche aux pommes. (They read much more prettily that way, even if my conjugations are off.)

L'acheter meilleur was exactly that, even if the salespeople were both scarce and unknowing.  I had asked for one of those Toucher things to be put aside for me and when I went to claim it it was a Nano.  Or a Nono, in other words.  Fortunately, I had completed my research online and was able to purchase what I wanted.  And the shop matched its cosiderably lower online price.

The shop was, however, sorely lacking in style, so off I went to Le marche aux pommes to find a case for the Toucher thing.  Have you ever been to that shop?  It was packed! 

And so I am rather worn out from my expedition but feel satisfied that my mission was accomplished.  Now I can avoid shops for another good long stretch!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dorothy Parker, Updated

What fresh heel is this?

J Crew has entered the demi-shield/
monkstrap category with its Walker boot.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why I Might Not Make a Good Witness

member those pink ballet flats from a couple of posts back?

When I was in J Crew today, I had LOTS of time to kill, as the sales associates could not find my daughter's correctly sized "right" shoe, which had been paid for in advance. 

Backstory: before we went on vacation she tried on two different sizes, selected one pair, and found one of each size in the box when we arrived home.  After phone calls to J Crew to locate the correct right shoe and hold it, we went on a jaunt.  Upon return, the properly sized shoe was not waiting for us at the shop and I politely but firmly refused to leave until it materialized, one way or another. (Cue Blondie here.)

So, while I waited amidst a flurry of SA activity, I attempted to calm myself by looking at (more) shoes. 

And to my complete shock, I saw the coveted ballet flats from Nantucket!!

Even though I promised you that they were a sandy, even peach-juicy pink, as you can see, they're a little more coppery (but still pink).  And that grosgrain bow that was so perfect?  Satin.  (But still perfect.) 

And in a fit of self-indulgence, may I suggest how great they look with a tan? 

But I was resolved NOT to give J Crew a single cent more until my daughter's "right" shoe appeared.

Happily, and finally, it did.

But don't count on J Crew for efficient customer service, and, as I've learned, my witness skills might be coloured by a bit of imagination.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Johnny Is?

The Irish wolfhound is certainly a selling factor in this tableau, but my real attention goes to the second scarf from the right. 

Silk scarf by Johnny Was (!), a brand I typically see in the back pages of the Neiman Marcus B-team catalogue.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pink Flats

Last week I saw a pair of shoes that I can't shake from my memory bank.  I really should have asked the wearer where they were from, but, being quite private myself, I didn't. 

They were ballet flats, in the prettiest sandy pink, not pink-pink, but a pink that had fallen into a bowl of peaches and came out the better for it.

The leather looked like glove leather: supple yet substantial. 

The bow: of the handsomest grosgrain, and neither frou-frou nor girly.

Of course I cannot locate them, so I am wearing them vicariously.  But if you do see such a pair, do let me know!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Krista Larson at the Beach

Perhaps it's the Mistress Thespian (to be pronounced a la Jon Lovitz) in me, but I do love theatrical clothing.

My taste runs toward dressing like an extra in a Victorian chinney-sweep drama: full skirts, with nipped-in waists, ruffles and layers.

This is not the kind of clothing that one would expect to find in a sunny resort seaside town.

But find it I did, in downtown Nantucket, in the skirts designed by Krista Larson.

This skirt, the bakery skirt. has ruffles in front, but I'd turn them around to the back.  It also has subtle striping.

Here's a sketch of the saloon skirt, which I would not wear to my local pub, but about town with flipflops or whatever.

And this crazily romantic skirt is knotted strategically. Maybe I will get out some elastic bands and begin knotting the contents of my closet. 

Anyway, these skirts are made for starring in your own dramas, wherever your stage may be.

Monday, July 19, 2010

High Style and Selvedge

I'm delighted to contribute to the latest issue of Selvedge, which focuses on American textiles.

Here's a snapshot of my book review of High Style (which details the Brooklyn Museum's marvelous costume collection). 

It's a beautiful book and, as always, Selvedge has produced a lavish issue.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Gin and Tunic

In almost every Nantucket shop you'll find a tunic. 

Some are made of Indian cotton prints, with or without extensive embroidery; some have been bedazzled within an inch of their hems; some are sturdy solid tunics, with a solid, trusty trim around the neck.

I really wanted to buy one; specifically an Amaya tunic (that's a hand-embroidered detail, to the right), but found that I was between two sizes, and one does want a tunic to fit just right.

So I shall simply raise my glass to this elusive garment.

Seriously: "gin and tunic" sounds like a good summer drink to me.  Bartenders: you read it here first!

Thread Social in Nantucket

In any other town I'd never enter a joint named
"Legends," lest I be
ed by patrons
 to Run" via karaoke and drinking snub-nose beers.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

But in Nantucket, Legends is a savvy little boutique, owned by a charming Englishwoman, which stocks, today at least, some threads I liked.

And by chance, there was a preview of a trunk show for Thread Social, which offered perfect little dresses and skirts.  Here is a sneak peek of Thread Social's fall line:

Dresses for "tramps like us." 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Something Natural

We've found our favorite sandwich spot on Nantucket--one, ironically that reminds me of California.

Something Natural is located just outside of town.  You order a sandwich, made to order, inside, and then take them to the large back yard, dotted with picnic tables undergracious, shade trees and a beautiful hydrangea garden.  It is ideal.

Today I had cheddar, chutney, and avocado on seven-grain.  I think that the avocado brings the California flavour.

(again, photo not by me)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Self-Conch-ious Post

Here I am on Nantucket, having the loveliest time walking up and down the beach, gathering tiny shells. 

My favorites are the shells that are paper thin, translucent, and either gold or silver. Upon return to the mainland, I plan to put them in water, in a glass bowl, to encourage their shimmeriness.

My middle daughter found two pink conch shells on the water's edge today.  For this PEIslander, they were like buried treasure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Rogue Brogue

At least I didn't throw
"rouge" into the mix up there.

Today, while buying my daughter two different-sized shoes (quite by accident), I noticed how the brogue is fast becoming the shoe of the late summer, as designers attempt to double their profits with pre- and apres-Labor Day brogues.

So we have brogues in (light rouge?) pink (above, by Steve Madden).   They remind me of 1982, in boarding school, paging through my friend's GQ and marveling at the zany pointy-toe lavender and yellow men's shoes that were advertised.

And Steve makes a "kilty" model in white:

Spied at Nordstrom. Are they Great Gatsbyesque or my grandmother's golf shoes?

These shoes are rather gently priced, especially when comparing them to their richer cousin-brogues by J Crew, which come in at double the Maddens:

These look too dainty for my taste.

However, I fear that I am once again falling under the east coast summer spell, one that makes me crave sherbet-y colors and styles that I would normally not.  Does anyone else suffer from this geographic seasonal affliction?

Monday, July 12, 2010

An Apolitical Platform

Or maybe not.

The other night I ventured out to Nordstrom, to take a peek at its fall sale preview.  This time of year is a bit of a purgatory for shoes, with the last dregs of unsellable summer sandals looking up wistfully from their display boxes, with a few fall shoes floating in, without an anchor.

And then there's the mysterious sale curtain, akin to Hawthorne's veiled lady in The House of the Seven Gables, behind which lurk generally unattractive shoes, the likes of which generate great excitement because they are:

a) on sale

b) behind a curtain

c) available for prepurchase only (you can't take them home till Friday).

But I digress, for in this post I want to conjure Miss America and talk about platforms.  Hidden platforms, in fact, which is a very un-Miss America-like strategy.

I really do appreciate hidden platforms.  My two favorite pairs of shoes feature them: my beloved Loeffler Randalls and my well-liked Whyreds. Both of those shoes work, I think, because they have an architectural, sturdy heel to balance the (hidden!) platform.

But the new hidden platforms at Nordstrom give way to spindly, spiky heels, and I find the effect less than attractive, rather schkanky, if you will.

Indeed, the (hidden!) platform looks even taller (even though its hidden) because of the extreme heel height.

It is only July, but I am not yet tempted by fall shoes.  This is not a bad state of mind, but I do hope for some inspiration come August.  And for a platform I can support.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Tale of Two (almost) Lilibets

Queen Elizabeth comes to New York today, having spent Canada Day in, well, Canada.

I remember when she visited PEI in 1973 to celebrate our centennial.  She attended a performance of Anne of Green Gables and I imagined how her crown would glitter during the show. (Note to eight-year-old self: the Queen probably did not wear a crown to the play.)

I also liked her childhood nickname, Lilibet, because I thought it had a whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland type of music. 

Is it any wonder, then, that my desired drink today should be Lillet, which is decidedly French in provenance, but in name recalls the charm of the then-future Queen's own diminutive?

Monday, July 5, 2010


I forgot my pareo at home. 

Would that a pistachio-aqua truck from Roberta Roller Rabbit made house calls.