Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Pot of Pucci

I was charmed by this tiny pot of Pucci, presented in the Styles section of today's NYT. 

It's lush and green like the promise of summer, with signature swirls.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kate's Wimbledon Dress

Wimbledon tickets are generally very pretty collectors' items; I have Mr. C's 2001 ticket, an illustration of graceful ladies playing in long skirts, framed. (The ticket pictured here is from 1991.)

As tennis fans will note, being seated anywhere near the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge the other day was also a hot ticket. 

Much has been made of the duchess's dress: it's off the rack!  it's now sold out!  it cost xxx amount of dollars! (pounds!)

But amid all this lobbing back and forth, I didn't read anyone saying that they actually like the dress. 

I can't say that I did: with its cascading-tennis-ball straps and its tiered skirts, which reminded me of tennis nets, the dress seemed too novel. 

So what would you suggest, then, Miss Smartypants?

I'd have dressed the duchess in this broderie anglais dress by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania:

I like its full skirt, as a slim white skirt can be too slenderizing on the duchess.  And the bow on the bateau neck would not be too jeune fille for this young bride. 

Call me, Kate, and we'll talk frocks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

You Zetter, You Zetter, You Zet . . .

So that I can properly source the vintage textiles that continue to catch my eye and imagination, I am taking a virtual trip to London, where I shall be ensconced at the Zetter Townhouse.

I shall, through the power of my imagination, climb these stairs that remind me of a Kaffe Fassett crazy log cabin square:

My room will be this one, draped in Union Jacks, all the better (the Zetter!) to immerse myself in Anglomania:

I shall take a daily pint on one of these banquettes:

and I shall spread out my fabrics in the library,

perhaps enticing fellow textilophiles who pass through the lobby:

Although my mind will say "Do not Disturb," my door knob might just say this:

And how does that song go, again?  "When I say 'I love you,' you say, 'You better . . .'"

But more importantly: Who's coming with??!!

Vintage Needlework

Wisdom has it that one pieces together quilt tops during the summer (quilt tops are cool) and quilts all winter (quilts are hot).

My schedule doesn't permit that, so I've been quilting up a summer storm over the past week, using embroidery floss instead of quilting thread, allowing my normally tiny stitches to stretch and be seen.
It's a Chaucerian virtue of necessity (time! eyesight!), but also rather pretty, I hope.

Speaking of time, let's travel back to the British arts and crafts movement for these snippets of glorious needlework from Meg Andrews' collection.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Slice of Orange

During athletic matches, players snack on slices of citrus at halftime to recover their energy.

And visually, too, citrus can be an excellent palate cleanser, an amuse bouche for those of us who have overindulged in other colors.

To the right,  a slice of Roberto Cavalli,

Below, a slice of a corset by Rosamosario.

And if you are feeling very athletic today, why not take more than just a slice?  Enjoy the whole fruit!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Barbara Brown's Blue Panel

Feel like I am tumbling, very contentedly, head over heels down Alice's rabbit hole, into a deep, lush world of textiles.

My Alice isn't wearing her traditional blue and white, though; she's dressed in this gorgeous vintage cloth designed by Barbara Brown in 1955 for the London company Heal's, which has been operating since 1810(!)

Although my Alice's fabric was designed a few decades later, it would fit into the Charleston/Bloomsbury vibe of the early 1900s seamlessly:

 "Paint me," this fabric says.  And Vanessa Bell would, I'll bet.

Here's the fabric in another colorway.  Both are available through Esther Fitzgerald Rare Textiles, which I discovered, to my delight, this rainy evening.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Second Cup of Cappuccino, with the Duchess

Readers may remember my post on the semantics of ordering more than one cappuccino in a cafe.

Here's an instance, though, where one cap would be just perfect.

I've been storing a mental image of the Duchess of Cambridge wearing this hat at Epsom, and return to it time and again because it is such a compact, cunning shape, and has a terrific color.  It's called cappuccino, but also reminds me of a delicious cookie dunked in said cap.

The hat is made by the stately house of Whiteley and, for those of us who love to look at winter plums, here's a smart version for the colder weather.

Would you eat this plum if it were in the icebox? (Poetry alert!  Name that poet!!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coach-ing Techniques for Reed Krakoff

Remember that New Yorker article on Reed Krakoff not too long ago?  The one in which his mother and wife kept correcting him?

The article was about how Krakoff had developed his own line of clothes and bags (see photo, right) as well as his Coach line. 

At one point he said something like this (and I paraphrase from memory): he designs his Coach bags for a specific
customer, not one whose aesthetic he shares, but stated that his Reed Krakoff line is more a reflection of his own taste.

And the article does note what good taste Mr. Krakoff has. (Take a second look at the photo, now above.)

Certainly, designers design with a client in mind, but it is my (naive?) wish that they would design aspirational goods--not super-expensive pieces, but elegant, beautiful pieces that would respect and perhaps enhance the consumer's own taste.

For in the past decades, Coach has moved from a rather charmingly stodgy line of thick, train-case, horsy leathers to become the blinged-out love child of Juicy Couture and Roberto Cavalli. 

Did Mr. Krakoff seem a tad embarassed of the recent bags he's designed?  Perhaps not, as they have made money for the company, but perhaps he should, as they have made money for the company. 

He clearly has the aesthetic vision to create something lovely, as a counterpart to gaudy; why not do so for his Coach customer?

In related Coach news, five classic bags have just been reissued.  Available through Net-a Porter, as well as Coach, they are the grand dames, the foundations of the Coach legacy.  I will be interested to see how they are received.

Will women buy these:

or these?:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bound to Liberty of London Binding

I enjoy making my own half-inch binding for my quilts, but if I didn't, I'd be singing the praises of thie beautiful Liberty of London bias binding. 

It would be glorious to dress up the edge of a white or even a patterned pillowcase (particularly a patterned pillowcase?).

A tablecloth or a pair of curtains would instantly become cheerier as well with a floral edge. (Floral edge?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  Not with Liberty, I say.)

Because the binding comes on its own wooden dobby, I could also collect the lot and simply display them--on my spice rack, for instance, or in my china cupboard, so that my pulse would quicken while my eyes stopped to linger.

These dobbies loaded with Liberty binding are available through Selvedge magazine's dry goods link.

And although I've written for Selvedge a few times, I'm not reflecting a bias, only presenting some beautiful bias binding.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

To Be Perfectly Frank; Oh! Such Lovely Libeco Linens!

Whither Mr. Franco, literary PhD candidate? 

I didn't see him at Yale this past week, but that was just fine, for I happily indulged my inner Francophone by chatting en francais avec a fellow Canadian at the delightful Atticus bookstore (wonderfully edited-and-presented books; terrific cards for sale--they were mini works of art--decadent espresso and pastry bar too).

I also delighted in the French textiles at Metaphore, which offers a small but beautifully presented (there's that word again; am clearly in thrall to presentation) selection of European table linens, bed linens, and tableware. 

There I could have spent many a Franc--O, I could have done so, but I took home simply a rustic table runner from Libeco, made from Belgian linen. 

Je suis contente.

This post is not sponsored; I simply like the Belgian linen logo.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tran-Sportation Issues

I've just returned from my academic sojourn to the Ivies, which was utterly invigorating but not without challenges. 

Going and returning, to be specific.

My departing flight was delayed for six hours, which I spent in the airport, and my returning flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the following day.  Fortunately I was in Boston at the time and was able to enjoy an unexpected day in the city.

One item I always look for in the tiny boutiques of any city is a tiny hairpin to hold back my bangs.  In the 1990s the jeweler Gerard Yosca made some delightful pins for hair, but I haven't seen anything to match his casual elegance. 

However, I was charmed by some Jane Tran hairpins that I found at Moxie on Charles Street.  Tran has a vast line, ranging from feathery hairbands (above)

through this delicate jeweled starfish hairpin,

through this crowing peacock clip,

to both this set of pins,

and this set of clips that would be perfect for my daughters.

I bought a pair of tiny enameled yellow flowers on a pin and popped one in my bangs immediately.  But--oh dear--by the time I had finished my walk, the tiny flower was missing!

So I had a third tran-sportation challenge this week, alas!  (I am trying to be a good "sport" about it, though.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

iSad? Liberty London iPad Case Proves Elusive

While I was working on my iPad yesterday, Mr. C looked at me and said, "You need a stylist."

"Puh-leeze, dude," I shot back.  "I certainly do not."

Fortunately, I misheard him, as he had said "stylus" when he saw me typo-ing away on the tiny iPad keyboard.  An iPad stylus magically appeared at breakfast today, a gift from my dear children.

I had fully intended to buy myself an iPad accessory as well.  Gentle readers will know that I have long adored Liberty of London prints (just finished my crazy LoL quilt and will photograph it soon), and I was delighted to learn that Liberty is collaborating with Apple on some cases.

Some are available at Liberty proper, like this one:

It's pretty, but white and canvas will not wear well in my life.

Then I saw this Ianthe-print embossed-leather iPad case at the Apple UK store.  Perfection.

I particularly like Ianthe; it's the border for my newly completed quilt, and think that this case would be both beautiful and useful (thanks, William Morris).

But could I order it from the Apple UK store?  NO!  They do not ship to the United States! 

The kind Apple UK employee suggested I call the New York Apple store to see whether they could get it in via special order.  Could they?  NO!  Apple US does not tangle with imports.

Liberty, however, ships gladly, and while it carries the Ianthe sleeves for the iPhone, it does not offer Ianthe for the iPad. 

Portmanteau word for the day:  iSad (but only in great good fun.)
Still, there will be no Apple for this professor, unless I hop a plane to London and pluck it from the tree myself.