Friday, September 30, 2011

Shakespeare in the Scarf

Fair is fall and fall is fair. 

Maybe the three "weird sisters" might have cackled that instead that if they had seen the pretty new fall scarves from Liberty of London.

I felt like putting on a scarf this morning, and any of these three (related, but definitely not "weird") scarves could have been enchanting. . .

Liberty of London and Lemon Drops

It has been raining here, most uncourteously, all week, and there is no sunshine on the horizon.

This morning, while driving my children to school on yet another dark, wet morning, I thought of a favourite children's book, called The Lemon Drop Jar

In this charming picture book, Great Aunt Emma offers her niece a lemon drop when the weather starts to turn.  The lemon drop brings some welcome sunshine into their winter visit.

Perhaps this lemony travel wallet from Liberty of London, with pretty floral lining might do the same on this blustery, wet day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Comme des Martians

Why do I like this Comme des Garcons cardigan for J Crew?

Is it the plush hand of the beautifully coloured wool?  No . . .

Is it the high v-neck, so high that the sweater could easily and chicly be worn on its own?  Well, no . . .

It's the intense eyes peeking out from within the black heart.

They remind me of Marvin the Martian, who in turn reminds me of happy childhood weekend evenings watching Bugs Bunny on TV.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Edie Sedgwick in Color

On page 300 of Edie: An American Biography, which I memorized in the mid 1980s, there is a tantalizing photo of Edie in Vogue magazine.

The caption gives only the date, March 15, 1966, and the picture credits list Gianni Penati as the photographer. 

I can't tell you how many times I absorbed that black-and-white photo, imagining what the clothes would be like, assuming that they were black and white as well.

This summer I received the technicolour shock of my life when I saw this image:

It's that shoot, in colour.

At first I was dubious, thinking that it might be Sienna Miller in Factory Girl, but as I took a closer look, realized that it's Edie, in glorious colour. 

And what colour!  Ultra Violet bodysuit by Venus! (A dig at Warhol's superstar, perhaps?)   Acid yellow stockings with crimson flowers by Givenchy!  A deep-pink hairband (I had always thought that the band was Edie's own hair, wrapped).

I wonder whether there are any others shots from this shoot . . . I would love to see the top image, the one from the book, in colour.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Minnow: "The Romantics"' Biggest Fish

This weekend I watched The Romantics, which has the loooooongest list of executive producers and producers that I have ever seen. 

If I were an SNL writer, and thought that my audience would be familiar with such overly long credits, I'd make a short film that would never actually begin because the opening list of producing credits would eat up all the film time.  I'm amused just thinking about it (insert wry smirk here).

Anyhow, the film was written and directed by Galt Niederhoffer, and based on her novel of the same name.

Once I realized this, I watched with more interest, because I knew the author's ex-husband a decade ago. 

And then, after the 100-or-so producing credits, while the opening scene introduced a Hilfiger-esque Woody,

I remembered how the cast had cupcaked its way into a J Crew catalogue, and cried, "Cliche!"

But!  I'm very glad that I did make it through the film, not because of Anna Paquin's perfect ponytail, or the artfully scubbed white-wood staircase risers,

certainly not because of Katie Holmes' valiant attempt to portray a successful "writah!" (her drafts of her maid of honor speech wouldn't make it past a first-year composition class, let alone a Paris Review article),

but because

of glorious fourteen-year-old Minnow.  

Played by Glee's Dianna Aragon, Minnow is younger sister to the bride, and her scenes steal the film.  One of my favourites comes when she goes to the attic to lovingly but sneakily try on her sister's wedding dress. (See opening image.)
The dress rips (see the film if you want to know why), and Lila, the bride (Paquin), athletically and angrily chases Minnow through the grand old house.

Here are the pages from the novel:

I might have a read, because I am certain that I can imagine more realistic Yale English majors than the ones portrayed in the film.  But Minnow has winnowed her way into my imagination and there, she happily resides.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pop Cats: Victoria Beckham's Dress

UPDATED below, with video

Last summer, on Nantucket, I really liked an animal-print dress at Erica Wilson's shop. 

It didn't have the expected stripes or spots, but was a tan silk jersey shirtdress from Italy with tiny purple bulldog silhouettes all over it.  This week I couldn't remember the designer, and when I called EW today, I was told that it's Herno.  But Herno shows up on the Web as an outerwear company and I know that I found the proper site last summer (but neglected to bookmark it, alas).

Anyway, if you're at EW on Nantucket, do take a peek; there are other animal-print patterns as well.

A more accessible animal-print dress hit the news the other day, when Victoria Beckham carried wee Harper in a dress with large housecats all over. 

In the spirit of Princess Diana's black sheep sweater, there's a stray cat or two in a different colour to break up the ivory images.

Beckham's print dress is too novel for me, but it does remind me of Andy Warhol's cat illustrations, and I'd like to think that his work inspired it. 

Here is a link to the WSJ's video report on animal prints--there's the high-heeled Marc Jacobs cat shoe, the Louboutin high heeled cat paw, the H&M antelope sweater, and more . . .  I may have to break out my vintage black sheep sweater after all!  Thanks, Belle de Ville, for the heads up regarding Sunday's WSJ story

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dr. 10110 (Manhattan)

Do forgive this foray

into the poppiest of pop culture

(as well as the extended stay in menswear),

but has Dr. 90210 (Robert Rey)

been moonlighting

on his day job

with the fashion house

Paul Stuart?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Of Sebastian Flyte and the Duke of Windsor

Sure, it's Rex Mottram, the cadish Canadian in Brideshead Revisited who's labeled chic, being pals with the Duke and all, but I'll take the ex-Pat position and venture that the sometimes Oxfordian Sebastian Flyte would look better in the Duke's tartan "lounge suit."

I think it would be fantastic if tartan suits and trousers for men had a resurgence.

Not like these:

Rag and Bone has given it a go:

For a more feminine version, here's Linda in her tartans:

And Mrs. Simpson, though not known for tartans, exactly, does decorate with a mean pug pillow, particularly formidable in packs:

A pug bowl would also be very nice with a side of tartan:

Pug images from here; tartan trousers from here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 and the Gift of Writers

On September 10, 2001, I was delighted to learn that I was pregnant with my second child. The world looked rosy and full of happy possibility.

On the following morning, I walked into my modern literature class to have my students tell me about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (I chose to have neither a television nor at-home internet at that time).

Rosiness quickly gave way to fear and deep, deep sadness, as I listened, ceaselessly, to NPR over the next weeks. I wanted to hear the stories, about people's lives, to try and comprehend and process what had happened, to stand, somehow, symbolically, with those who had died and with those who had lost their loved ones.

I remember when the New Yorker's issue with Art Spiegelman's poignant black-on-black cover came out shortly thereafter, and how eloquently the contributors--journalists, novelists, poets--wrote about the tragedies as well as the humanity of New Yorkers, of passengers, pilots, and crewmembers on airplanes, a humanity that would not be quelled.

And five years later, the double cover that evoked Philippe Pettit, the "man on wire" who walked between the twin towers while they were being completed, reminded us that a daring act (stringing tightrope wires between the towers and then dancing on them) can result in beauty.

Today I am reading the New York Times, having completed this week's New Yorker issue on 9/11. I remain grateful to the writers and artists who so compassionately and skillfully put this sad anniversary into context.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Girls and Cars

The first couple of times we meet the beautiful but emotionally distant Julia Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited, she's in a car, looking out at her observers.

I always think of this self-portrait by Tamara de Lempicka, so perfectly does it capture the essence of the Julia I see in my mind's eye.

Some years ago I saw de Lempicka's work at an art deco exhibit at the wonderful Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. 

There was also a white 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton, with lipstick-red interior:

De Lempicka's paintings complement snazzy cars, and vice versa.

But back to Brideshead: Just before Julia gets engaged to a Canadian chap who has distinctly rakish qualities, she receives from him, as a gift, a bedazzled, blinged-out tortoise. Her initials, via diamonds, are set in the tortoise's shell. 

I much prefer a vintage tortoise-shell comb, with blurry sapphires and pearls.

The Cord could always offer the tortoise shell a lift . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Road Thrill

If someone were to drive through the eastern Prince Edward Island countryside, while staying close to the shoreline, she might find, an unusually picturesque house across the road from my father's childhood home. 

She'd probably stop in wonder, for the old farmhouse would be painted a bright, almost burnt, orange colour, accented with white wooden gingerbread and wrought iron details.  It's been that colour for as long as I can remember, ever since someone used some paint that was left over from lining the middle of the roads.

A textile artist lives there now, appropriately, and the road-line orange is set off to great effect with a collection of fancy white heirloom chickens, with red accents, and a lush garden.  There may be a garden schnake, but I've never checked.

I was reminded of this road-line orange gingerbread house when I saw Bottega Veneta's new bag--made from alternating stripes of burnt orange velvet and python.  To me, it's a high-end country road bag, the orange stripes marking the middle of the road, the python leisurely crossing.

Do tell, gentle readers, is this bag in a passing or a no passing zone?