Friday, November 30, 2012

Pretty Poupées

Chanel (of course).
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Dolce & Gabbana
          On Monday, 75 one-of-a-kind dolls (poupées) designed by some of the world's most renowned couturiers and jewelers will be auctioned off at the Petit Palais in Paris to benefit UNICEF's vaccination program for the children of Darfour.

           In the 10 years since the Frimousses de Créateurs (translated something like "Designers' Pretty Little Faces") program was launched, the United Nations has raised 1,527,480 Euros and purchased approximately five million vaccines for Darfour.

          I thought you might like to see what some of the stars from the world of fashion have conjured up for the occasion, based on the theme "Yes Future" (in English).

          As we all know, one-of-a-kind equals collector's item, equals who knows what in the future.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Six-pack travel - In Brown

Acne chocolate brown alpaca "Cassidy" coat.

Ed. Note: Just back from Paris and running late, but want to keep you non-stop entertained so here is another one of Janice's brilliant capsule travel wardrobes. For more of her creatively intelligent attitude toward dressing, please click here: The Vivienne Files. This could almost make me re-think my black on black palette -- almost. . .

Blazer – Blonde & Blonde, scarf – Lola Rose,  white shirt – Acne, coat - Acne, cross-body bag – Serapian, jeans – Levi’s, tote – Tumi, brown loafers – Lanvin

Cardigan – Zadig & Voltaire, watch – Frederique Constant, turtleneck - Jaeger, silk blouse - Equipment, necklace & earrings  – Alexis Bittar, tee – Majestic, bracelets – Cha Luu, pants – Maxmara, scarf – Forget Me Not, riding boots – Franco Sarto, suede skirt – Ralph Lauren

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Noël à Paris

Twas the week before Christmas!
   All over the world
The children were breathless
   as visions unfurled
Of the magical time when their
  dreams would take flight
And sweet sound of sleigh bells
  would ring in the night.

But Santa was frantic --
  he wasn't elated.
For his dear Mrs. Claus
  could not be located.
The lists were not finished;
  the maps were a mess,
And where to deliver
  was anyone's guess.       
Illustrations by Sheryl Dickert.      
        And so it goes, the utterly charming sweetly sophisticated The Night Before Christmas in Paris by award-winning interior designer and bestselling author, Betty Lou Phillips. Written in the rhythm of the verse we all know so well, she has created a delightful book for children of all ages.

           She tells us the beguiling story of how Madame Claus flies off to Paris to shop and play while poor Santa is in a tizzy of last minute details in preparation for his big day. Every page is just plain fun to read and the illustrations underscore the ambiance. (I won't tell you how it ends because I wouldn't want to deprive you of the pleasure of discovering the romantic twist.)

          Brilliantly, the book was designed to slip perfectly into a Christmas stocking. Measuring eight-and-a-half inches by four-and-a-half inches it is the ultimate gift for little girls who dream of Paris, Santa, Christmas and shopping and big girls who still have the same fantasy.

          What Betty Lou's The Night Before Christmas In Paris does is make us smile, and I ask you: Is there a better cadeau de Noël in the whole world than that? **

**Published by Gibbs Smith, $9.99.    

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No, No et Non -- Never

          The rule is simple: No public displays of affectation.

          Recently a friend of mine who, because of her rather glamourous job, is often part of the ladies who lunch brigade, asked me if French women primp at table after a meal.  She said the reaching for the compacts, clicking open of the mirrors and the twirling of the lipstick tubes is almost a choreographed event after their lunches. Lipstick is then applied, lips smacked, compacts snapped shut, lipstick un-twirled, end of ceremony.

          "I see the same thing in the evening in restaurants," she told me. "It doesn't seem to matter whether the group is all women or mixed company."

          Such a display of public cosmetic "repair work" would never occur in France. As my best French friend, Anne-Françoise, said when I remarked to her I had never seen beauty touch-ups for all the world to see she said, "Of course you haven't. Our mothers teach us that anything that has to do with beauty is done in private.

          "We consider any makeup application as part of our "toilette" the preparation before we 'go public' if you will," she said. "Our goal is to never draw attention to the tools we may use. We think it's crazy to let anyone see what goes on backstage."

          Both conversations made me remember a scene I saw on the terrace of a very chi-chi restaurant in Paris. After lunch with a friend and a man I assumed to be her husband, a woman opened her purse and pulled out her makeup bag. She then proceeded to place upon the table, next to her coffee cup, a compact, lip liner, lipstick, lip brush and a pot of gloss. She then went to work: lined her lips, filled in with lipstick (applied with a brush!), tidied up with the tip of her little finger and finally glossed the whole affair. Right before she snapped her compact closed she checked her teeth.

          Once again, I'm rather attracted to the French custom of private beauty rituals.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Au Revoir. . .


          My finger hovered over the button for several seconds. I had read, re-read and re-read, an editor friend had top edited, my daughter proofed. I added a few more details, subtracted others. Then, I pressed SEND. There was no turning back. More than 60,000 words went flying off into cyberspace.

          The manuscript for my book is now in the hands of my editor at Rizzoli. We're a long way away from the finished product of course. There will be more edits, questions, clarifications, fine tuning with the art director, reaching consensus on the illustrations for each chapter, but still it's finished and I can't quite believe it.

           All of this is to say, I'm back to blogging. I still hope to have my wonderful friends visit when they feel so inclined. They all add amazing value-added material as Marsi would say.

          Over the days, weeks and months to come I'll tell you some of the things I learned in my scores and scores of interviews in the writing of the book. As for next week's calendar, I'm not sure what is on the agenda, but I promise to try to give you pleasant surprises.

          Weather report: If you were here and you loved autumn as much as I do, you would be extremely happy. It's another one of those glorious, golden, sunny fall days. The temperatures are brisk and invigorating, all is right with the world.

          A demain my trés, trés, chers amis.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Six-Pack Travel, Based on Black

Sonia Rykiel cardigan.

Ed. Note: While we're on the subject of black, my favorite color/non-color as I've mentioned on many occasions, my great friend and creative closet magician, Janice, of The Vivienne Files, is back again today with more twists on the theme. You can stay home or travel with her brilliant formula. See below please. . .

          Many people want a specific NUMBER of items to pack - and so I suggest that you take the number of days you'll be away, and add 2.  This is, therefore, a perfect long-weekend, or Monday to Friday business trip, assortment. No baggage claim for you!

Blazer – Burberry, scarf – Allsaints,  white shirt – Acne, trench – Burberry, cross-body bag – Osgoode Marley, jeans – Levi’s, tote – Topshop, black loafers – Church’s

Cardigan – Sonia Rykiel, watch – Longines, striped top – Merimekko, draped pullover – Derek Lam, necklace & earrings  – White House Black Market, white tee – Alexander Wang, bracelets – BijouxBar by Vivien Frank, pants – Burberry, scarf – Yasuyuki Machida, pumps – Givenchy, leather skirt – Alexander McQueen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

La Petite Robe Noir for All Seasons

Black dress – Liu Jo
Ed. Note: The beyond brilliant Janice of The Vivienne Files today takes the iconic LBD to a new level, showing us once again how this little number has more than a few tricks on offer. 
Black dress – Liu Jo, blue turtleneck – Woolrich, scarf – Erdem, boots – Kors, square scarf – Hermès, cardigan – Kenzo, chelsea boots – Dorothy Perkins

Black dress – Liu Jo, square crystal brooch – Lalique, jacket – Nina Ricci, slingbacks – Stella McCartney, scarf – Wallis Fashion, denim jacket – J Brand, ballet flat – Betsey Johnson

Black dress – Liu Jo, cardigan – H&M, bracelet – White House Black Market, slingbacksChristin Michaels, woven hat – Rachel Comey, ring – Elizabeth Showers, pumps – Manolo Blahnik

Black dress – Liu Jo, bracelet – Hermès, flat sandals – Michael Kors, sunglasses – L’Inde, earrings – AZ Collection, oxford espadrilles - Tabitha

Black dress – Liu Jo, clutch – Emilio Pucci, blazer – Rag & Bone, pumps – Audrey Brooke, cardigan – Erdem, scarf – Lanvin, loafers – Kelsi Dagger

Black dress – Liu Jo, tweed jacket – Malene Birger, oxfords – Jil Sander, earrings – Scully & Scully, cardigan – Antonio Marras, sandals – Renee Caovilla

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Zebra & La Marinière Question

A poem by Shel Silverstein brought to brilliant visual life by Marsi. . .

"I asked the zebra,

Anna Karina

Françoise Hardy
"Are you black with white stripes?

Audrey Tautou

Emmanuelle Alt
"Or white with black stripes?

Brigitte Bardot

Jean Seberg
"And the zebra asked me,

Duke and Duchess of Windsor

"Are you good with bad habits?

Pablo Picasso
Kirsten Dunst

"Or are you bad with good habits?

Eva Green

Jean Paul Gaultier

"Are you noisy with quiet times? 

Girl Before a Mirror (Pablo Picasso)

Françoise Hardy

"Or are you quiet with noisy times? 

Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face"

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin

"Are you happy with sad days? 

Princess Caroline of Monaco

Sofia Coppola

"Or are you sad with some happy days?

Marcel Marceau

Kurt Cobain
"Are you neat with some sloppy ways?

Alexa Chung

Françoise Alt,
daughter of Emmaneulle
"Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?

Elizabeth Taylor
"And on and on and on and on

Garance Doré

Audrey Hepburn

"And on and on he went.

Jean Seberg

Elizabeth Taylor
"I'll never ask a zebra

Deborah Harry
Lou Doillon
"About stripes. 

Gwyneth Paltrow 

Andy Warhol

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