Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015

A Girl and her
from Long Ago

When I graduated from Elmira College in 1966, I moved to Philadelphia and Richard and I set up housekeeping in Germantown, in an apartment on the third floor of a house across the street from the Germantown Cricket Club. I had a small studio in the apartment, and I started to paint.

What came forth were some paintings of fanciful women in elaborate costumes -- exactly what I am doing almost 50 years later. I was exploring my nascent interest in fashion.

Soon we moved to center city Philadelphia, to a two-floor loft on 10th Street near Chinatown, and I continued this figurative work.
 "The Ladies Floral Cabinet"

A man named Dr. Roland Gibson collected Richard's work. He taught economics at The State University of New York Potsdam in Potsdam, New York. He met Richard when he was visiting a friend who taught at Elmira College, were Richard taught, and he started to buy Richard's work.

After we moved to Philadelphia, Roland came to our loft and bought another of Richard's paintings, and he also bought my "Ladies Floral Cabinet," shown above. I was quite thrilled to sell it. Roland left his art collection of mostly Japanese abstract art to Potsdam when he died. Recently I contacted the Collections Manager at Potsdam who sent me this note.

"Your beautiful piece, "The Ladies' Floral Cabinet" has been enjoyed for quite awhile in the Dean's office in The Crane School of Music. It is now hanging in the SGA forum hall. Both your work and that of Richard's are thought of as valuable assets to The Permanent Collection."
 "The Butterfly's Assumption Gown"
In this painting are all the hallmarks of what I love:
color, abstract pattern, flowers and ribbons.

The name is from a poem by Emily Dickinson.

"The butterfly's assumption-gown,
In chrysoprase apartments hung,
This afternoon put on.

How condescending to descend,
And be of buttercups the friend
In a New England town!"

Me in the painting studio at Elmira College.
Geez, I look young.

On New Year's Eve, we lunched at the Odeon, a wonderful restaurant in Tribeca, with Jean and her friend Lou. Jean, of course, is one of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, the other being Valerie. As we were leaving the restaurant, we saw a lovely couple who had just gotten married at City Hall. We chatted with them and discovered that they were from Scotland. So to leave you in 2014, I give you the Scottish couple who are beginning a life together in New York City on the eve of 2015.

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr

Happy New Year and may
2015 be a good one for the world.

À Bientôt!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings
One and All*
With happiness I must cheer,
we made it through another year.
With health issues only minor,
we can say that we feel finer.

To all our friends, both far and wide,
we refrain from comments snide.
Advanced Style ladies both classic and quirky,
May your holiday dinner be tofurky.

To Dianna and Michael in Oak Parky,
To Frank Lloyd Wright do not be snarky.

To Richard Conrad in Milwaukee, 
Call us on your walkie-talkie.

To Joe Cramer in that same city,
sing us some mid-western ditty.

To Irma Miller and all the folks,
Warm yourself in winter cloaks.

To Jeanne Markel avoid the rabble,
So you can play a game of Scrabble.

To Sarah Wedge at RisDee,
Be as busy as a bee.

To Jack Wedge in Katonah,
Hope your college is what you wannah.

To Chris Wedge in the film dustry,
Trim with trucks your Xmas tree.

To Susan Markel of rowing fame,
To the gold please make a claim.

To Rick Jahnke in the north,
Have a bagel and go forth.

To Sara Jahnke now with child,
May your winter be quite mild.

To David Markel on the East End,
To Jeanne your Scrabble move do send.

To Samantha Markel in NYC,
Come and see your sweet auntie.

To Tobi B. and Harriette T.
in Antigua we will be.

To all the gems who went to Tyler,
On the phone we'd like to dial ya.

To creative souls we know and love,
Sending you a turtle dove.

Photo by Andy Hornberger
Long Beach, NY 2005

Season's Greetings
Happy New Year
Richard and Carol

*with apologies to The New Yorker

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Launch Party - Monica Byrne Atelier

Fun at an Elegant
Launch Party
Last year we were pleased to make the acquaintance of Monica Byrne, a fashion designer extraordinaire. Monica recently moved her atelier to West 27th Street, and we were happy to accept an invitation to her Launch Party.
 In the elevator on the way to Monica's atelier,
two of her friends in the same Monica coat.
 Monica on left and Victoria on right.
Victoria did the fabulous decor for Monica's atelier.
 Monica maintains an old-fashioned type of
enterprise. Her clothes are not sold in stores.
One must travel to West 27th Street in order to see 
her meticulously tailored, sophisticated, creative clothes. 
 Her studio reminds me of a PBS series called The House of Eliott,
about two sisters who were dressmakers in 1920s London.
When I tried on this beautiful vest, I knew
it would be mine.
For one thing, it went so well with my outfit.
Call it kismet, karma or serendipity,
somewhere along that spectrum.
The man with the credit card,
A glimpse of the sweet, blue velvet sofa.
Left: Rosemary Wettenhall of  the vintage shop,
Madame Matovu
with Camille Davis.
Monica with friend, Veronica,
a textile designer.
Left: Camille Caito with Astrid de St. Anthost.
Camille and her husband, Nicolas Caito, have a
pattern-making atelier in New York,
and Astrid has an atelier in Brooklyn where
she paints on fabric.
Photographer and stylist, Franco Lacosta.
Franco takes a selfie with moi!

À Bientôt!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Denise in Europe

Dénise the hat goes to Europe 
with her friend, Judith.
Dénise was beside herself with joy. She had just found out that her friend, Judith, in whose hatbox she currently resides, was planning a trip to Europe with her beau, Mr. J.

Judith owns hundreds of hats, most of whom are prone to gossip, and Dénise had heard, through the hat vine, so to speak, that Judith was planning to take her to Europe. Dénise is French, and speaks the language trés bien, albeit with a bit of an accent, which is perfectly all right as long as she can make herself understood, which she usually does.
This is Dénise modeled on a mannequin in
the studio of Carol Markel, the milliner who
created her.
The day of embarkation finally arrived when Dénise would leave Judith's house in Denver and fly to Europe. She was carefully swathed in tissue and lovingly cradled in a hatbox by Judith, who takes meticulous care of all her hats. At the airport, Dénise sailed through security with nary a T.S.A. agent's raised eyebrow in sight.

This is the story of Dénise in Europe. It just goes to show you that a hat can travel, especially a hat with a friend like Judith, who wrote the commentary for each of the pictures below.
Denise made her European debut in Barcelona.  I wore her to dinner with Mr. J on our last night in the city; the weather was chilly and a vintage jacket, gloves, scarf and boots accessorized her for the evening.  Denise is a collage of many colors, so it’s not difficult to choose an outfit that harmonizes with her beauty.
I wore Dénise in Paris after a special day of hat shopping.  I chose this blue tunic for dinner and a live, musical performance in a cathedral located in the Latin Quarter.  Denise was happy with the many compliments that she received.  Shes French, speaks the language and feels comfortable in the city that she calls home.
In Nice, Denise was thrilled to accompany a yellow, vintage jacket to dinner.  I appreciated her warmth and charm, and she added to the magical feel of the evening.  Her last outing in France was unforgettable!

Choosing an outfit for Denise in three European cities became an intriguing part of the story of a trip that I had dreamed about for years.  She sits on the mantel in my living room, and reminds me daily of my enchanting adventure.  She was an integral part of my journey, and each time that I wear her in the future, she will evoke special memories.  Thanks Carol, for creating a hat that brings me so much pleasure.

And thank you,
Judith Boyd, for taking these wonderful
photos and writing about your trip for Femme et Fleur.

Be sure to look at Judith's great blog,
The Style Cronehere.

À Bientôt!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bunny Mellon Sale at Sotheby's

Bunny Mellon
She Was A Sellin'
Last week my sisters, Susan and Jeanne, and I, went to a yard sale at the tony auction house, Sotheby's. Rachel Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon's -- Bunny to her friends -- household belonging were auctioned off to benefit her horticultural foundation and library. Of course, I don't mean that old mops and half-empty jars of cold cream were sold (although there probably were some brooms). Oh no. This was the gentile contents of her multiple houses. For instance, in Upperville Virginia, there was a little 4,000 acre place called Oak Springs Farms and houses in Antigua, Nantucket and Cape Cod and a New York townhouse.
 Copper and white-painted wood octagonal building
cupola from Oak Springs Farms.
Sold for $13,750.
 Polished floors gleam at the Upper East Side 
headquarters of Sotheby's.
The auction preview covered 5 floors.
L-R, Susan, me and Jeanne.
Elevator doors and walls were adorned with
photo-murals from the Virginia farm.
Bunny Mellon was an heiress to a pharmaceutical fortune. Her father founded the Gillette Safety Razor Company and Warner L. Lambert Company. The product that brought in the dough was so much mouthwash, Listerine. As if her own money was not enough, she married Paul Mellon, heir to a banking fortune. Her pockets were as deep as the Grand Canyon, and she could buy anything she wanted. And what she wanted were old, chipped chairs and ceramic table-top items in the shapes of vegetables. Mrs. Mellon died in March, 2014 at the age of 103 while looking for a cauliflower soup tureen on EBay.
 American, 20th century dollhouse.
Sold for $4,688.
 Bunny was a great horticulturalist and gardener.
At President Kennedy's request, she designed the
White House Rose Garden.
Many of her pieces had themes from nature.
 A painted cabinet.
There were lots of dining tables and chairs and sets of china.
Someone will have a Bunny Thanksgiving.
 Bunny Mellon is considered to have had impeccable taste
and the confidence to mix things from different periods and sources.
She owned a lot of chairs. Of course with so many
houses, there was a whole lot of sittin' going on.
 Jeanne and Susan check a price in the catalog.
 Louis XV provincial fruit wood child's chair,
18th or 19th century.
Sold for $10,000.
 Many pieces of furniture were named after English kings.
This is a George III 4-poster bed which sold for $4,375.
Embroidered Oak Tree symbols on the
bed linens.
 The Mellons bankrolled the Yale Center for British Art.
This charming painted by Ellen Meehan shows the site of the Center in 
New Haven, Connecticut.
 The ultimate Shabby Chic.
A pair of these George III armchairs, circa 1775,
sold for $6,250. And you still have to pay to have them recovered!
 Sotheby staffers in snappy black aprons, stand by to assist.
Jeanne admires a Diebenkorn painting.
Most of Bunny's art collection, which included great works by Rothko,
was sold separately as were her jewels.
A blue diamond fetched over $30 million, and the buyer was from China.
 This Victorian cast-iron umbrella stand sold for $5,000.
 The nine walking sticks, including this Bunny one,
went for $11,250.
 These two diminutive Ben Nicholson gouache paintings
were Jeanne's favorites. The top one sold for $42,500 and
the lower one, for $57,500.
I offered to forge one for her, but
she thought that was terribly déclassé of me.
 These are fruit wood tea caddies from the late 18th century.
 The lived-in look living room.
The aesthetic is:
I can buy anything I want, but what I want are objects
owned by dead English people, tureens in the shape of cabbages
 and torn upholstery.
The Ann Redpath painting over the fireplace sold for $43,750
and the two George III papier-mache fans on the table in front, circa 1785, for $6250.
A bargain, already!
 Who's coming to dinner?
Jackie Kennedy thought Bunny's taste was the cat's pajamas,
and copied her style.
 Apparently you can never have too many asparagus soup tureens.
Chelsea basket.
 This pair of Chelsea asparagus tureens and covers c. 1755
sold for $118,750.
 Needlepoint pillow which was a gift from a friend of Bunny's.
 Collection of her Louis Vuitton luggage.
 I am admiring what I believe is a Giacometti sculpture of a bunny.
Bunny herself is in the photo, pruning an espaliered tree.
Don't you love her plain, little cotton skirt?
 My favorite thing in the preview was this 20th century dressing table,
which sold for $11,875.
 A comical rendition of horses ridden by monkeys.
The Mellons bred race horses and one of them, Sea Hero,
won the Kentucky derby in 1993.
 More monkeys. 
What is it with old-family money and monkeys? 
Or should I say old-family monkeys and money?
 An unfortunate use of perspective, or maybe intentionally funny, Bunny?
After the show, we went to lunch at the Eric Kayser cafe.
The baguettes were delicious, and my
Saint Honoré pastry was sublime.

À Bientôt!