Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grey Gardens

I know many of us have certain films we look to for visual cues and styling ideas, and one of my personal favorites is the cult classic Grey Gardens. It has all the East Coasty Havisham chic in it that you could ever ask for. The film is an intimate look at the relationship between mother and daughter, between social classes, and what happens when things don't quite go to plan. If you haven't seen it I suggest renting both that and the musical inspired by it which I find equally interesting visually. It's all very eau de decaying streetcar with a dash of whatever happened to baby jane. While watching the film at points is heart-breaking their eccentric style is unmistakable and has inspired both fashion and interior designers. If after seeing the film you find you want more there are two new books that may tide you over, Eva Marie Beale's Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens: A Life in Pictures and the cleverly named MemoraBEALEia: A Private Scrapbook About Edie Beale of Grey Gardens First Cousin To First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (that is a mouthful) from Walter Newkirk. By the time you have made it through both books you may be just in time for the film adaptation with Jessica Lange, Drew Barrymore, and Daniel Baldwin, to hit a theater near you.

Drew Barrymore, on set, as Little Edie in "Grey Gardens"

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have to say October is really bringing it pictorially in many of my favorite periodicals. One of my favorites right now is the Harper's Bazaar photo shoot/interview with Kirsten Dunst. For some reason there seems to be a lot of division on the interweb about Kirsten's personal style etc. I personally think she is both a talented actress and beautiful girl. In the Harper's photos she rocks one of my favorite Bill Blass Resort 2009 ensembles and the photos call to mind the photography of Slim Aarons and, dare I say it, the beautiful C.Z. Guest. While I may not be picking up any of the Bill Blass items from the photos I may invest in a one of the beautiful parasols from Bella Umbrella Kirsten carries while poolside.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Falling for Autumnal Colors

Every year as Fall approaches i want to repaint all the whites and blues to colors like aubergine or something the color of butternut squash, pumpkin pie, crisp and crunch apples, roasted turkey (ok maybe not roasted turkey). You might be able to guess what is governing my color choices; my stomach! But seriously, don't we all find ourselves gravitating to tattersall, glen plaids, and velvets in deep rich colors that say warmth and comfort? That being said I think sometimes these seasonal cravings take on a life of their own and become, dare I say, a touch contrived/kitschy. Somehow lumberjack plaids don't always equally convey comfort and elegance.

While flipping through October's House Beautiful I became so taken with Hal Williamson's design for a New Orleans home filled with dusky lavender, a strangely appealing mauve (?), and a beautiful apple color. It doesn't scream HAYRIDE! PUMPKINS! CIDER! but seems to whisper a seasonal shift in an understated versatile way. With simple seasonal editing of decorative elements this home has year round appeal. OK and to be honest even if these don't make you think of fall, who cares because are these disgusting gorgeous or what?

Photographs all John Kernick for House Beautiful

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


With Halloween right around the corner my mind turns to the fabulous gothic creations of Douglas LIttle and Company. You may know him from his exquisite candle line featuring scents of poisonous plants as well as signature fragrances for Barney's and a special edition candle honoring Tony Duquette. For those unfamiliar with the young style maker, think of him as Oscar Wilde with a dash of Dickens and a gothic bent. One of my personal favorite's offered from Maison Little has always been his collaborative effort with Mrs. John L. Strong to create a set of stationary labeled with the seven deadly sins. The set also comes with seven black votives inscribed with the sins in gold script in a beautiful black silk box. It is of note that limited edition black dessert plates with the golden vices were available as well. In the last week as retailers have begun to set out the beginnings of the Halloween merch I have seen two different sets of deadly sins dishware. The first set below was actually featured in the Fall edition of O at Home and is available from Trixie Delicious at Etsy. The second set is from the ever ...ahem..."trendy" Z Gallerie. So is this the beginning of a trend? Or just something seasonal? Would you purchase any of them? And what does Mr. Little think about this all?

the real deal

Little Redux?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The "New" Jackie?

Dressed by the French House of Dior, by English designer John Galliano, Bruni-Sarkozy is femenine, polished and quietly sexy in well-tailored conservative ensembles.

So, anytime someone hails something as "The New" whatever,( e.g "Orange is the new black!") I am skeptical. When France's presidential couple, Nicolas and Carla-Bruni Sarkozy made their way to London several weeks ago to forge friendships and gain the hearts of the English people, the newly anointed Mrs. Sarkozy garnered just such a label for her stylish Dior ensembles; "The New Jackie." For those unfamiliar with Carla Bruni she is a former supermodel and most recently had turned singer-songwriter to some success (yes, I have her CDs). I personally think she is a stunning beauty, obviously since the modeling background, and a talented singer, but it is difficult for me to make the jump that she is the NEW Jackie. I mean, the same week that she was in London they were auctioning off nude photo's of her at Christie's. What page of "What Would Jackie Do?" is that on? Headlines read, "Carla Bruni, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Wife, Channels Jackie Onassis During State Visit To Britain"; and my personal favorite "Carla gets a make-O-ver." Fashion wise I have to agree she is light years ahead of any woman in the American political landscape, however, wasn't Jackie more than just a fashion plate? Jacqueline Kennedy is for most a beloved icon that continues to inspire women of all ages not only because of her classic looks and good taste, but she also continues to inspire by her attitude and actions. I am anxious to see how the Bruni's public persona as the First Lady of France develops. I really hope she does disprove my skepticism and turn out to be just as poised, elegant, graceful and benevolent as Jackie. The world could use a return to style and grace.

For comparison....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Well-scripted scents...

For the book-addicted out there, a lovely new reference(?) book has just hit the shelves. Perfumes: The Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, is an in depth chronicling of over 1200 different fragrances. The scientist and perfume critic (respectively) give the reader a description for each fragrance, offering historical anecdote, the notes contained in the fragrance, and finally a review. The introduction reads somewhat like a beginner’s guide to fragrance F.A.Q, answering burning questions like the difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum, when does a perfume expire, perfume seasonality etc. However, even if you are a self-styled fragrance expert I’m sure you will find something interesting that you did not know before. Big bonus points, this book has a delicious and snarky sense of humour at points.
Lalique Anemone Perfume Bottle, available through Vivre

This book would be a great gift for the avid perfume collector or even for someone interested in beauty and style (Early reminder, Mother’s Day is May 11). Perhaps you could package a lovely perfume bottle with it or a favorite fragrance. My personal fragrance suggestions are:
For Ladies:
Burberry Touch For Men- I know this is a men’s fragrance but every time I wear it both men and women almost immediately compliment me. Likewise it smells absolutely fabulous on both.
Creed Virgin Island Water- This is an excellent for summer. To often I find that limited edition summer scents smell like a variant of either sunscreen or one of those fruity tropical drinks served in a gigantic glass with umbrellas and whatnot. This smells exactly like its name, crisp, cool and tropical. It is such a beautiful smell.
Narciso Rodriquez For Her: I love this smell, and apparently so does everyone else because almost every time I try to purchase this it is sold out ( I guess we are all running out at the same time). This fragrance is for sexy nights out. Wear with caution, it also garners "compliments," of the unsolicited amorous variety.

For Men:
Creed Green Irish Tweed- This is what a man should smell like. Period.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

India Indeed So Sublime

This weekend I had the pleasure of viewing the Rhythms of India exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art. While it focused mostly on the artist Nandalal Bose it also featured beautiful pieces by the artist Rabindranath Tagore. For India these artists represented something akin to our arts and crafts artists, as they sought to get back to the roots of Indian art and bringing back traditional schools, or ashrams, for the study of art. This was at the time in India right before the country gained it's independence and much of their art reflects the struggle under British colonial rule. They were contemporaries of, as well as aquaintances with a most notable individual, Mahatma Gandhi.
This exhibit inspired me to really explore (via my home unfortunately) more of India. To go on this journey yourself you will need the following:

Since Courteny over at StyleCourt has introduced everyone to Mughal Decoration and Rajasthan, I will suggest two new titles.
India Sublime: Princely Palace Hotels of Rajasthan. Another beautiful thick glossy collection from the publisher Rizzoli. It has all the things you love, deeply saturated jewel tone colors, and intensely visually engaging patterns and motifs in their design.
The Sari by Lynda Lynton, from Thames & Hudson. A look at the shockingly colorful and ornate as well as simple textiles of this unique country. Makes me want to get one and wear it myself.
Satyajit Ray'sThe Apu Trilogy:
Considered by most critics to be the best movie to come out of India and is on TIME magazines 100 best of all time or whatever list. Film-maker Satyajit Ray makes films that are simply beautiful in every since of the word. Beautiful visually , and beautiful in an emotional way, perhaps poetic is the right word. The trilogy chronicles the life of Apu and is like most great movies, a coming of age story. If all the acclaim isn't enough to pull you in maybe an orginal score composed by Ravi Shankar will. See this film!
The Darjeeling Limited:
I don't know how you feel about Wes Anderson films, I personally would like to pack up my things and go live in one. Wes' ever whimsical take on the broken family is no less stunning in his most recent film effort. Rent this movie and watch the featurette first, in which they discuss the hundreds of artisans that hand-painted the interiors and exteriors of the train as well as china for the dining car, hand-blocked fabric, and carved custom screens for the interiors. Even if you watch the actual film on mute (which you shouldn't because the music and dialogue are worth listening too) you need to see it because of Anderson's ability to make such well-edited and visually stunning scenes and sets. Did I forget to say stunning? (Sidenote: this film was heavily inspired by the first mentioned film-maker)
Jean-Auguste Renoir's The River:
I cannot even begin to describe this to you except to say both of the first to film-makers were inspired by this film.(Sidenote: if you are in San Diego or surrounding areas there will be a screening of this during the Indian Film festival being held in conjunction with the SDMA's Rhythms of India exhibit on May 21 at the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater in Balboa Park)

Other things to Inspire:
I know some of you out there are Anthony Bourdain fans, make sure to see episodes 5 and 6 (Rajasthan and Kolkata/Bombay) from season 2 of his wildly addictive show No Reservations. During just one of the episodes Tony is cooked for by a Maharana, gives us a slice of Bollywood, has a martini at The Lake Palace hotel just like Roger Moore in Octopussy, gets to stay at the luxe Devi Gahr , shops for vividly coloured spices and veg at a streetside vending stand, visits a modern and high tech guru, drinks hallucinogenic drinks, watches a camel race and a beauty contest judged by how much hair one has on their face (don't worry it was for men). Can you even handle both episodes???
Once you are done watching this, or while you are you may be tempted to indulge in some Indian cuisine, my suggestion is lamb vindaloo and if you are really getting into it some chai (not that stuff from that ubiquitous coffee chain though. yeah, you know who I mean), but iced just to help with the spice of the vindaloo.