The title: "Ma Quanto Sono Avanti." Italian speakers, what's the translation? I came up with "But since they are forward" on Google. Obviously that makes no sense. Maybe, "They are so advanced?" Anyway, I am absolutely thrilled to pieces to have a full-page photo in an Italian fashion magazine. Oh my Claudia Cardinale!
My hubby, Ricardo, is in the picture on the left. He's playing the Marcello Mastroianni part. Provenance of clothes and accessories: Hat by Carol Markel, Blouse by Gaby Basora for Tucker, jewelry, vintage.
A particular convergence of the moon and stars this month conspired to bring two Charlottes into my life. I speak of Charlotte Dellal, designer of art for the feet -- in pedestrian terms -- shoes and Charlotte Silver, author of a charming little dollop of a book called Charlotte au Chocolat.
Charlotte Dellal operates her London -- and now New York -- shoe salons under the fanciful name of Charlotte Olympia. The Charlotte part is named for E.B. White's spider girl, Charlotte, in his classic childrens' book, Charlotte's Web. Never mind that the spider Charlotte would have a hard time clomping about in Charlotte Olympia's stunning pumps.
This little tear sheet from Vogue sent me to 22 E. 65th Street near Madison.
"Don't worry, Richard," I said. "I'm not going to buy anything."
I was immediately attracted to these flats called "Bisous."
I am totally safe from these stilettos. I don't wear instruments of torture.
I adored this Neptune of the Seas concoction. Perfect for Miami Beach.
Charlotte loves her kisses.
Suede hearts. Yum.
Rule Britannia, and all that.
It's gorgeous. And it comes with it's own blond oak platform.
"Tiger, Tiger, burning bright, in the forests of the night."
She loves her black and gold pumps.
Harlina and Sabrina, the two lovely sales girls.
Their little black berets with the web motif are too darling for words.
These are so 1940s Biarritz cabana.
A pair of these kitty slippers would have come home
with me, except that they didn't have my size.
These velvets sandals were my undoing. Made a liar out of me.
I purchased them without a second thought (after all, they were on sale.)
I must say, Ricardo was a good sport about it.
But then, he really didn't have a choice.
Nighty Nite. Sleep tight.
My shoes came with soft, shoe bags and
a Polaroid shot of my Mira sandals.
Charlotte must have had a ball designing the accouterments of her shop.
Purchases come home with you in this bag.
A kind of spider man on 5th Avenue
outside the library!
Charlotte au Chocolat
Finally, a book into which I can sink my teeth. Home from the library came Charlotte au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood by Charlotte Silver.
Charlotte Silver spent her girlhood sipping Shirley Temples and dressed to the nines in posh party dresses, at her mother's restaurant, Upstairs at the Pudding in Harvard Square. Her mother, called "Patton in Pumps," ran the restaurant by herself, after Charlotte's photographer father flew the coop.
Upstaris at the Pudding was the go-to boite for special occasions in Cambridge. Both the food and the decor were très elegant.
Charlotte was named after her favorite dessert at the Pudding, Charlotte au Chocolat. All the excerpts in quotations are from Charlotte au Chocolat.
"But it is charlotte au chocolat, being my namesake dessert, that I remember most... I walked into the pastry station and saw them cooling in their rusted tin molds on the counter. I saw them scooped onto lace doilies and smothered in Chantilly cream, starred with candied violets and sprigs of wet mint. I saw them lit by birthday candles. I saw them arranged by the dozens, on silver trays for private parties. I saw them on customer's plates, destroyed, the Chantilly cream like a tumbled snowbank streaked with soot from the chocolate. And charlottes smelled delightful; they smelled richer, I thought, than any dessert in the world. The small made me think of black velvet holiday dress and grown-up perfumes in crystal flasks. It made me want to collapse and never eat again."
A Jeanne Lanvin dress pour les jeunes filles from the 1924 collection.
"I had to change, too, into what was essentially my uniform as a child: a party dress."
A petite robe in a Paris store window which I photographed in 2010.
"I hoped the juice wouldn't splatter my new party dress, a garden-party dress: white muslin printed with cabbage roses and a white petticoat underneath that puffed out like of the meringues on the trays in the cold station. It also had a trailing rose-chiffon sash that reminded me of my mother's cocktail dresses with the small waists; I loved the sash the most."
A very big party dress on a puppet at the store,
dear:rivington on Rivington Street, Lower East Side, NYC
"Even though our financial situation was often uncertain, my mother continued to buy me, sparing no expense, the most beautiful party dresses. The turning of the seasons was signified by going to the children's department at Neiman Marcus, where all the salesladies knew my name."
A soft red taffeta dress from the 1917 collection by Jeanne Lanvin,
who often made both mother & daughter versions.
"Holidays were signified by different dresses: rust-colored taffeta for Thanksgiving, black velvet for Christmas. One Easter dress in particular I remember: navy grosgrain with white polka dots and a chiffon sailor collar."
Two Lanvin dresses from the 2012 season.
"That spring I had a favorite dress, bought from a store on Mass Ave that sold children's fashions imported from Paris. It was black poplin scattered with a pattern of tight little cherries, barely ripe, and had a Peter Pan collar, dirndl skirt, and a row of plastic buttons in the shape of cherries down the front."
Lanvin party dresses and Mary Janes at Kisan, a concept store in Soho, 2011.
And when Charlotte was older, she wore beautiful cocktail dresses.
"Lashes blackened, hair combed and fluffed, I wore a highly stylized, romantic dress out of a Degas painting, a strapless tea-length in lilac tulle. Beneath the skirt there were fragile tinted crinolines, one rose, one green, one pale gold. With this dress I wore a pair of gold kid slippers."
Drawing by Carol Markel
If you love frou-frou, fancy stuff, delicious,
classic French food, desserts and special cocktail drinks,
you'll love, Charlotte au Chocolat!
Charlotte dit à bientôt!