Thursday, July 12, 2012

Marie Claire and Les Charlottes

E' divertente e fantastico
No, I don't speak Italian, but Google Translate does. What I am speaking of, being fun and fantastic, is the July issue of Marie Claire Italia. That's because the magazine has an 8-page feature on Ari Seth Cohen's book, Advanced Style.

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.
Some of the other Advanced Style ladies in the pages of Marie Claire Italia. Clockwise: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, Valerie and Jean, Maryann Van Dongen, Beatrix Ost and Debra Rapoport.

Les Charlottes
Charlotte Olympia
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."
You know very well that when you walk up to a store on East 65th Street near Madison, and see two impeccably turned out poupées with come-hither looks posing in the window that your chances of leaving this store sans purchase are nil to zero.

 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.
 Sabrina tucks in my Mira Rosa Velluto sandals
with TLC.
The end of the shoe box.
A note from Charlotte on the care and feeding of my shoes.
 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!

Les Charlottes
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!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hot Spell

We walked to the Pink Pony for lunch today. It's sweltering here in NYC, but you have to get out of the apartment or you will languish in somnabulality and fall into a deep sleep like Snow White on a fainting couch.
Me wearing a Tucker skirt and Zara blouse on the way to Pink Pony.
I love to mix prints like Celia Birtwell did in these drawings.
The aesthetic seems to align with this deco teapot.
The city is emptying out as people head to the country, the beach and other spots which will hopefully be cooler than here. It's Yankee Doodle time in the Big Apple.
After a lovely lunch, we walked back on Ludlow Street and found a strangely darkened store called Castle & Pierpont: Home & Garden, Flowers, Event Design and Production. It's owned by Rori Pierpont and carries an intriguing selection of textiles, costumes, vintage pieces and objects. She also rents out the space for events.

 Rori has an art background and it's evident in her artful displays.

 I purchased a sparkling diamond H at Castle and Pierpont
 which I promptly brought home and hung on my Inspiration Board.
 It's rather camouflaged among the prints.
Speaking of my inspiration board, I have been inspired by the feathers made by L.A. artist, Megan Whitmarsh, who recently had a show at the Jack Hanley Gallery in Tribeca.
Megan makes hundreds of these sewn feathers,
and she was kind enough to give me a gift of three of them.
 Since they are so inspiring, I pinned them on by board.

A Megan feather on a picture of chef Marcus Samuelson 
and his wife, Maya Gate Haile.
They look like beautiful twins. 
Maya is wearing a Suno blouse and Duro Olowu pants.
Megan Whitmarsh installing her show at Jack Hanley.
A pool theme will cool us if only mentally.
I am using these paints to adorn scallop and oyster shells.
A golden oyster shell. Since Richard aspires to eat 144 oysters a day
like Casanova did, I have an endless supply of shells.
Do you believe that Françoise Gilot,
 artist and one-time wife of Picasso, is 91?
 I just love the joie de vie of this photo of 
Princess Elizabeth playing tag on a ship in 1947.
 Ricky and Ralph Lauren, at their house in Montauk, Long Island
 where they have lived for 25 years. For some
reason, I imagine they are eating oatmeal.
 My sister, Jeanne, gave me these delightful glasses with painted ladies wearing chic chapeaux.
 A House in the Country. Let's go!
 A notebook waiting for our trip to France in September.
Happy 4th of July from these characters.
Ready for summer in the city in a Tucker sundress.

À bientôt!