Thursday, March 31, 2011

All the News That's Fit to . . .

I love reading newspapers in newsprint.  But wearing one is another matter.

Indeed, when I think of "below the fold," I don't usually imagine, well, the body and accompanying dainties. 

(Could you imagine being covered, head-to-toe, in newsprint smudge?)

That said, Gary Harvey has made some very smart dresses out of newsprint. 

And for those times when I'd rather read a paper on my iPad (with a new paid subscription, of course, NYT), this Kate Spade iPad cover might be just the thing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Figaro, Figaro, Figarooooo!

I usually don't give cars a second look, or include them on my blog, but I do love the color and attitude of this Nissan Figaro

Does it bring a song to gentle readers' lips?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Gorgeous embroidered Penguin Classics by Jillian Tamaki.

See the series here.

*Discovered via a Maria Popova Tweet @BrainPicker

Investigative Reporting

I watched The Kids Are All Right last night and was reminded once again, of my crush on Annette Bening (I have even chopped off my hair like hers, on occasion).

Mr. C and I have often chatted about how much she resembles the Columbia Pictures logo, so I thought it was time to engage in a little investigative reporting.

The hypothesis: Columbia adopted Annette Bening's face for its logo in 1993.

The sniff: Bening's star illuminated particularly brightly just before 1993, with leads in The Grifters, Regarding Henry, and Bugsy.  Plus she had married Warren Beatty in 1992, which was kind of like claiming a torch (as in the logo).

Bening and Clyde?

The minimum info necessary to write this blog post:  Some external source that links Bening with the Columbia logo.

The research:  Columbia used a model, Jenny Joseph, for its 1992 logo: 

But Columbia's face was a computer composite.  Kind of like when ELLE ran a cover of its "perfect beauty" back in the 1990s, which was a computer-generated face.  Could Annette's features be part of this composite?

The findings: Apparently my hypothesis is an urban legend.  The 2000 film What Planet Are You From starring Bening and Garry Shandling riffed on this myth by superimposing Bening's face on the Columbia logo.  (I think I've even seen this film.)

But still: that "composite" description nags.  I'm not sure my investigative report is completely closed.  What do gentle readers think?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Puffed Sleeves and DNA

How could a lass from PEI* not like puffed sleeves?

This pair is from Marc Jacobs, as seen in British Vogue.

*Cf. Anne of Green Gables, chapter 25: "Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Miss C: The Label

I recently discovered that Miss Cavendish is also the name of a 1970s London design label.

Here's a vintage Miss Cavendish dress for sale, floor-length, in what I'd call an Ossie Clark silhouette (note the cut-out below the buckle).*

Are any London readers familiar with this label?

*Of course I am familiar with this Ossie Clark cut-out thanks to the fabulous WendyB and her gorgeous Ossie collection.

Get a Grip Before You "Never Let Me Go"

I've been trying to get into the film Never Let Me Go, but its grip is not that strong, ironically.  My favorite character, played by Sally Hawkins, has just been fired, and I will warm up the DVD if you tell me that she reappears later.

Sally Hawkins is a remarkably compelling actress who played an impossibly upbeat schoolteacher in Happy Go Lucky.  Her character in that film was challenged by a--shall we say *difficult*--driving instructor.

[I remember when I learned to drive: I was nineteen (who needs to drive in the city?) and signed up for a course with Young Drivers of Canada, which sounds quite martial to me now.

My instructor arrived at my home and got our lesson off to a terrible start when he told me I looked like his ex-girlfriend.  I replied that he looked like my ex-driving instructor.  And requested a new one.]

In Never Let Me Go, though, Sally Hawkins shows warmth, compassion, a sort of engaged distraction, and commands the camera every time she's in the frame. 

I've just learned that she's playing Mrs. Reed in the new adaptation of Jane Eyre, and I am wondering how she will inhabit that unlikeable character.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Knit One, Pearls: Two? Knit the Royal Wedding

This book, which teaches one to knit the forthcoming Royal Wedding, is definitely worth a look.

Since my mittens were not successful (although I have knit sweaters, hats, and scarves!), I doubt I will be taking on this task.

But if I were, I'd be tempted to knit a Princess Diana who could float above her son and his bride, sending them good wishes.

**As discovered via the lovely Needleprint blog.

Margaret Kilgallen and Joanna S. Rose: Skate, Surf, Stitch

I was recently introduced to the work of Margaret Kilgallen, the late San Francisco artist who painted strong, crisp images directly on walls. 

Many of her paintings were in red and white (with a black line), and I can see them these cool surf and skate images

paired with antebellum-style redwork or red-and-white quilts, like the ones from Infinite Variety, a stunning exhibition of 651 of Joanna S. Rose's quilt collection at the Park Avenue Armory.  651!!! (One more than the publicity material states.)

**Kilgallen is featured in the April issue of Juxtapoz magazine.  You'll need Google Chrome to see it, as my (obviously mainstream) Internet Explorer was informed that it was not cool enough to do the job.

**Rose's quilt exhibition, which she put together with the assistance of American Folk Art Museum, is open to the public March 25-30 at the Park Avenue Armory.  Admission is free, as the exhibition is Rose's gift to the city of New York.

If you go to Rose's exhibition, do let me know.  I had hoped to be in the city this week but didn't make it :-(((

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Windmills of "Volver"

I've been thinking about La Mancha recently.  Through a serendipitous coincidence, I'm reading Don Quixote on the (wedge) heels of having watched Pedro Almodovar's Volver, both of which are set in La Mancha.

Indeed, La Mancha is Almodovar's childhood home, and he builds the famed windmills into his plot.  As the characters drive from their Aunt Paula's home to Raimunda's home, they pass a row of modern windmills,

much different from these, which Don Quixote probably would have engaged in a jousting match.

All this rumination on windmills reminds me of the song "The Windmills of Your Mind," first performed by Noel Harrison, with music composed by Michel Legrand, who has written music for a number of films.  "Windmills," for instance, was used in The Thomas Crowne Affair (1968). 

I won't mention The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, for which he may be best known, because I've already mentioned it here, but will pause to give a fresh shout-out to the beautiful film Cleo from 5 to 7 by Agnes Varda, in which Legrand performs. 

Returning to La Mancha, to borrow from the title of Almodovar's film (volver means "to return"), a monument has been erected there to honor Almodovar, one designed to "frame" La Mancha in a cinematic manner. 

The architects used the "wide-screen" approach:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Those Violet Eyes . . . Farewell, Elizabeth Taylor

When I was a girl I'd go to the Saturday matinee at the Capitol Theatre in Charlottetown and watch Elizabeth Taylor: first in Lassie movies, then in National Velvet, which confirmed me (and no doubt every little girl in the audience) as a want-to-be equestrian. 

The list of influential films goes on: I didn't suspect that Raintree County would fit my dissertation; watched Suddenly, Last Summer with the "male gaze" in mind; was delighted to see how A Place in the Sun complemented Dreiser's American Tragedy.  All three films were made with Monty Clift, who could move fluidly between lover and psychiatrist.

Sometimes I think that the Taylor I remember best is the actress of Giant and East of Eden, but then I'm reminded of Ash Wednesday or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as films I didn't see, like her iconic Cleopatra.

And then I remember her marriages.  One headline I always show my journalism students is this one:

How Many Husbands Are Enough?
Liz Says 6

because it demonstrates that the only appropriate way to have a question in a hed is to answer it. (This hed was obviously pre-1991.)

But then there's her groundbreaking activism for AIDS research, her friendship with Michael Jackson, her jewelry, her perfume, and always, throughout each film, each fundraiser, each friendship or business venture, there were her shockingly beautiful violet eyes, for which technicolor was truly made.

What do gentle readers remember most about Elizabeth Taylor?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


If I didn't know better,

I'd wager that one of those little pixies over at Christian Louboutin's website

visited Steven Meisel's photo campaign for CK One

and pixelated the whole lot.

But seriously, Meisel's techstyle ad looks more like a gritty reboot than Louboutin's whimsical touch: 

Why, here he is, the Pied Pixie, in glorious Technicobbler, charming all these heels into following him . . .

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tickled Blue, and Red, and Gray

One of my favorite fabrics is the homely ticking stripe.
Although I did wear a proper ballgown in my last musical, my favorite costume was a long white flouncy petticoat, a ruffly white overshirt, and a corset (worn over the white garments) in blue ticking stripe.

Below is a (regrettably tiny) green version that is very close to my blue. 

I felt like one of the actresses in Picnic at Hanging Rock as I tightened the corset (after lacing it with a needle) and though I temporarily enjoyed the nineteenth-century feel, realized that I could not sing, let alone breathe very well with the laces sotight, and loosened them accordingly.

This spring I've been noticing some shoes that riff on this ticking stripe.

Take these three from Christian Louboutin, for instance:

And these two from Tabitha Simmons:

Gentle readers, are you tickled pink by these stripes?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Men's Soles

When I was in boarding school in the 1980s, a sharp male pal read GQ every month.  He'd pass them on to me when he'd finished , and I'd marvel at the shoe adverts. 

It was always the sidebar ads that caught my eye, with pointy-toe loafers in easter egg colors--lavender, yellow, even pink!--and in exotic textures. Could all this be for men? 

On my childhood home of Prince Edward Island, the men wore two types of shoes: snow boots or Kodiak Grebs. 

And maybe a pair of North Stars, circa 1978, for dress-up.

(Of course my grandfather wore nothing but Daks lace-ups, but he was a Scottish gent in his seventieth century, and those were exclusively brown or black; pastels would not cut the mustard at his gentleman's club, where he would read the newspaper in the library and enjoy some Glenfiddich, neat, with his cronies.) 

(And in a double of course, "gentleman's club" had a entirely different denotation as well as connotation than it does now.  Think tweed, bookshelves, pipes, and conversation.)

To return to my original thought: those appealing colors in the GQ sidebar ads of my teens have come rushing back, this time in a full-page ad for Cole Haan starring musician Theophilus London.

His oxford lace-ups, which look to be a combination of pistachio/minty green and caramel tan in the image are so pretty, yet so masculine, that I am once again that seventeen-year-old-girl, yearning for . . . men's shoes, of all things.

To have a closer look, I visited the Cole Haan website, where I learned that not only are the shoes in this colorway sold out, the shoes are quite different close up. 

First, the pastel color I loved in the photo is more of a yellow-green (called Green).

But also: the caramel tan saddle (called British Tan), which might look ever-so-slightly textured in the ad, is a true crocodile print.

My yearning halted like a scratchy record.

And herein lies a lesson that I continue to learn, over and over again:  sometimes desire is best left unexplored, so that it remains in its most delicious state. 

And I do not mind being reminded that sometimes distance is kinder than a close-up.  As Cindy Crawford famously said when she pushed away Douglas Keeve's camera in Unzipped: "My pores aren't that small!"

I shall then return to another view of Mr. London's gorgeous shoes, in their state of unexamined gorgeosity:

Now: what about his coffee cup?  I feel a yearning for a cappucino coming on . . .

Cream of Wheat; or, Rodarte for Breakfast

Breakfast just became considerably more sophisticated, with this beautiful wheat-on-cream dress by Rodarte.

Another stunning version is Rodarte's wheat-and-sky dress,

which transports the wearer directly into an Andrew Wyeth painting, as far as I can see . . .