Sunday, January 31, 2010
Helmut Fricker is a jolly fixture here, and really seems to have a good time playing with and for the visitors, especially kids. He has a pretty broad repertoire on that alpenhorn; I've heard him play everything from Bach to Barney's "I Love You." ("This Old Man" to most of us.)
No I didn't take this video. I would've tried to capture one of his more traditional Swiss tunes which are very beautiful and melodic.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Aprés-ski heaven by deja pseu on Polyvore.com
We're off tomorrow for a week of skiing and other winter fun. I enjoy a good day out on the mountain, but especially when followed with a nice warm beverage by a roaring fire.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Hermès - Chasse en Inde
Talbot's floral print scarf, $54.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
But like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, who realizes only after her lengthy travails that she's had the power to go home all along, I've come to realize that while my innate style sense has been trying to guide me, I've often been allowing various style blogs and InStyle and How To Not Look Old and Sex & the City and a plethora of books and articles on how to have _______ style (trend du jour, fill in the blank) to overpower that inner voice. I've often searched for my style somewhere over the rainbow, when it's been right there with me the whole time.
"Classic With a Twist" is my Kansas. The pieces that still most make my heart go pitter-pat are simple, elegant and iconic: a strand (or three) of pearls, a great jacket, well-tailored pants, a cashmere sweater, a classic bag, a silk scarf. But I also need to mix in quirky, slightly edgy elements to keep the whole from looking and feeling too "done" and stodgy. (Emily Gilmore, Society Matron™, pictured at left, is not the look I'm aiming for!) My comfort zone is also a bit more covered up than modern norms; I've never felt right in tight, flashy, skin-exposing ensembles, not even in my clubbing twenties. (And I get cold!) I've always gravitated to Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Katherine Hepburn as style icons while my friends were swooning over Madonna's latest look. Owning my style has been a slow and shaky process; fear of being dismissed as drab, boring, or matronly has made me hesitant to fully embrace my classic sartorial inclinations.
And despite my lifelong love of elegant and beautiful clothing, much of what constitutes Fashion these days (with some exceptions, bien sur) just leaves me cold. Very little of what I see from runway coverage or fashion pages or even in designer boutiques inspires or generates desire. Sure, age (and attendant wisdom, hopefully?) is part of it, but so much of the fashion game seems to be about celebrity red carpet looks, edginess and exposure and those have never been inherently part of my style. Still, I often admire women who are able to pull off more fashion forward looks beautifully and organically, even when I know the same looks aren't right for me. Inspiration should only lead to emulation when there's alignment with our inner sense of style, those little clicks of "ahhh, yes!"
What about you? Are you at home with your style, or do you periodically travel down the Yellow Brick Road of fashion? Are there influences in your life that prevent you from owning your style? Or are you still on a search to find it?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I loved the coppery pink color of this in the jar. The product itself looks very glossy both in the jar and on the fingertip, and I worried that it would make my lips gleam like a disco ball. But in small amounts, it produces a very lovely and subtle glow, not goopy shine. It looks great over a pale nude or pink lipstick, and also is quite pretty worn alone.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Is it the lack of bangs/fringe? The makeup? Something else? She looks wan and washed out.
For reference, from a previous award ceremony:~
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Dreaming of Spring - Paris by deja pseu featuring Burberry Prorsum coats
It's that time of year, when those of us in colder climes start getting VERY tired of winter. And this one has really been a doozy for so many of you. So here's a little printemps en Paris fantasy to remind us that winter won't last forever!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I did want to alert Los Angeles readers to an upcoming champagne tasting at Le Saint Amour this Thursday 1/21 from 530-7pm. The $28 price includes tastings of five incredible champagnes plus appetizers. For more information or to reserve, call 310-842-8155. Le Saint Amour has become our favorite restaurant, not only for the fabulous brasserie food but also for the great atmosphere. It's our little bit of Paris right here at home.
Monday, January 18, 2010
For elbows, heels, seriously dry or chapped skin, try Aquaphor. It's like a superconcentrated Vaseline but without the smell. I never travel to arid or wintery locations without this. $5.09 at Drugstore.com. (Also good for diaper rash, chafing.)
Sunday, January 17, 2010
During the summer of 1975, I wandered into Tower Music and heard this tune playing "full blast," as we used to say, over the store's sound system. I bought the album on the spot, and discovered the band Camel, which became one of my favorites for several years. The album The Snow Goose is based on the book of the same name, a sad but beautiful story written by Paul Gallico and originally published in 1941.
Camel recorded several really great albums from the early 70's to early 80's, then mostly disappeared (though some incarnation of the band has been periodically reforming and touring since). Original members of the band were Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward, Doug Ferguson and Peter Bardens.
Live performance of some of the other great tunes from this album here.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Great Grandmother Porter (my mother's father's mother).
I used to joke that I came from Hardy European Peasant™ stock, (Irish-German-Polish on my mother's side, and Welsh-Scottish on my father's) and going through some old family photos, realize that joke isn't so far off the mark. I'm built like most of the women on my mother's side of the family: short thick waist, broad shoulders and hips, short neck. My foremothers may have been sturdy and stout but they were "strong like ox," and up to the demands of hard physical labor on farms and running their homes, while bearing and raising (numerous) children.
Below are pictures of my Grandma Porter (my mother's mother) as a young woman and in her 60's.
Looking at these pictures is a good reminder of what's realistic and not for my body type. Much as I have often aspired to a more willowy, aristocratic silhouette, it's just not in the cards (or genes) for me. I spent so many years thinking my body was "wrong" rather than understanding that my build was mostly a result of my genetic heritage, and not recognizing the positive parts of that heritage: physical strength, endurance, skin that does not burn easily, green eyes.
Sometimes it seems that we only think of family resemblances above the neck. We talk about how "she has her Grandfather's eyes" or "she has her Aunt's chin" but we don't often hear "you have your Grandmother's hips."
Have you recognized your own body heritage in old family photos? Whom do you most resemble?
Today it's back to the workaday world. While I'm catching up, go check out this unbelievably gorgeous pair of earrings that Wendy B has designed. (No, these aren't the superfabulous thing I'm saving up for, though when I win the lottery I'll add these to my shopping list. )
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Afterward we went wandering through the shops (which howdy-do are open LATE) and bien sur I wanted to stop at the Chanel boutique. I was idly perusing the shoes, when le monsieur pointed to one pair I'd been eyeing and said, "those are nice." (He'd had a Manhattan too, and has even less alcohol tolerance than I do.) I tried them on, and was surprised and delighted to find them quite comfortable.
Without further ado...
And at least I walked out without the jacket. Yes, jacket. It was blue and white classic tweed, cut like a blazer (narrow lapels, nipped in at the waist) and the sales associate insisted I try one on. It fit like it was Made. For. Me. Not boxy in the least. I almost swooned, it was that gorgeous and looked that good on. I still had enough brain cells functioning to remind myself that it was completely out of the question.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
One of my favorite places to visit is the conservatory at the Bellagio. They totally redecorate it every season, and right now it's set up to celebrate the Chinese New Year (February 14, Year of the Tiger). The display is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
The Henry Moore sculpture fits right in.
Our first night, we were enjoying a late dinner at the Daniel Boulud Brasserie, which overlooks the waterfall area at the Wynn. Periodically there are various light shows that feature very Vegas-y imagery against the waterfall wall and on the water. I looked up at one point, and a giant animatronic frog had appeared at the top of the wall. The music switched over to "Low Rider" by War, and the frog commenced to sing to the music, roll his eyes and rock back and forth with the beat. Very fun and whimsical, and I'm sorry I didn't check my snap at the time or I would've noticed his big rolly eyes were closed, apparently caught mid-blink.
We're up fairly early an on our way out the door for breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi but I'll be back later with more pictures and reports, including a singing frog and an impulse purchase of epic proportions.
Monday, January 11, 2010
If you're interested, give Brian a call at 310-9MAKEUP (310-962-5387) or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
From one of my very favorite movies, "Allegro non Troppo." This combo animated/live action film was released in 1977and was partly a spoof on Disney's "Fantasia" but stands on its own. Definitely one to add to your Netflix queue.
Parts deux et trois of this fabulous sequence:
A note on Ravel's "Bolero:" I first heard this piece when I was eleven or twelve years old, somewhere around 1969, on the once-legendary KSAN (one of the first FM rock stations, but a bit free-form at the time...the DJ's seemed to have pretty much free rein to play whatever caught their fancy). I was totally blown away by this gorgeous, lush piece, and it was a favorite for many years until the movie "10" ruined it for me. After about a decade, the bad taste finally faded away and "Bolero" was redeemed and remains a favorite.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Une femme isn't much of a gambler. Sure, I'll play the quarter poker machines and see how long I can make a roll of quarters last (my record is three days), but I'm far more interested in eating, shopping (window only this trip, as I'm saving up for something fabulous) and perhaps a spa visit. We're planning to check out the new Crystals mall, enjoy a nice meal or two, and maybe take in a show. Probably a hand or twelve of blackjack will be played at some point.
If I cave on paying for internet--which is not free...they want you on the casino floor forking over your money, not surfing the net in your room--I'll post some highlights from Sin City.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Fashion lines from Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci to Esprit and Comptoir des Cotonniers are bringing out the nautically inspired stripes for spring women's wear, and menswear designers including Michael Bastian and Burberry Brit are also going with the look. It's based on the boat-necked French marine pullover, which is traditionally worn by low-ranking sailors as they swabbed the decks and hence known in France as a marinière, or sailor-style, shirt.
This cyclical interest has long been a boon to Saint James, the French company that has made marinière shirts and sweaters since roughly 1850*. It makes a variety of styles for men, women and kids today, but the traditional men's sweaters come in two versions: The trim one known as the "matelot" is priced at $170. The "binic" is more generously cut "for if you enjoy life—if you are a little fat," explains the French Manhattan store manager, Brian Lebretton. It's priced at $215.
The slideshow that accompanies the article also illustrates that women with curves can wear these tops and look good (see esp. Elizabeth Taylor pic).
I ordered two different marinière tops, one from LL Bean, featured in last week's post, and one of the Saint James tops (this one, the "Huitriere") from BrittanyBoutique.com. I chose this style over the "traditional" one for the 3/4 sleeves and shorter length, and I'm happy with this choice. The fit is good, not too snug or baggy, and it seems to be a very well made piece. The fabric is sturdy, 95% cotton/5% elastane. This top is a good length for me at 5'1", so might appear more cropped on someone taller. Though pricewise it's not cheap, it's not anywhere near as expensive as some of the "designer" versions, and feels hefty enough to last. Here's the Saint James "Huitriere" top, styled for lunch with La Belette Rouge.
I'll post a review and pics of the LL Bean top next week.
*Had the article's author taken a moment to look at the label or tag on the sleeve, she would've seen "depuis 1859."
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Although she sometimes wears heels, she prefers the fuss-free practicality of flat shoes, and is scornful of the way that "some people think that shoes are ladders. No man is going to say, 'I would love you so much more if you were 10cm taller'. Women are suffering, you know. Elegance is about feeling nice, how can you feel nice when you have shoes that are like a prosthesis?"
She's also frustrated by the fact that it's "impossible to find a woman who is more than 30 years old in magazines. It's like being older is hidden, there's no one for women to identify with."
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tory Burch, $125.
Elizabeth & James, $195.
Talbots again, $129.
Wendy has asked me to find her "a tight one." My guess is this one would fit snugly, AND it has a bow!
Sonia Rykiel, $120. (Click on picture for linkydink.)