Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Olivia's Style Alphabet

Coco Chanel

Nearly 20 years ago, a dear friend of mine had a baby daughter named Olivia. She was tiny and perfect, with pale golden hair, and beautiful blue eyes. We sat there in wonder, watching her at just a few days old. Olivia was headed for an interesting life. She was soon go on her first yearly summer trip to her very sophisticated Grandfathers's home in Ramatuelle, just north of St. Tropez. Well! I thought. No time like the present to start her style training!

As there was no conversation to be had with a 3 day old, I started telling her this funny sort of alphabet. It started with Asprey, and off we went!  It was all very tongue in cheek, and we laughed and laughed, but these people and things are still some of my favorites.

It might seem odd to bring out a list like this in the current economy, but it's nice to know that style and imagination, along with beauty, do endure. They've help us through rough times. This list is a reminder of that. Some of the people on it had privileged beginnings, but most did not. Many of the things here were created by hard working people, craftsmen/women who could were driven to do things well. Coco Chanel started out destitute, dumped in an orphanage. The Chrysler building was built by blue collar workers at the beginning of the Great Depression, for a wealthy man of great taste, who did it despite the financial odds.

I've had the the alphabet tucked away, but now that little girl is growing up, getting ready to brush off some of her tomboy mud, and possibly open to trading in her riding boots for something else once in a while, so here we are. Go Olivia!

A- Adrian, Armani, Asprey, Asscher Brothers, Aston Martin
B- Balenciaga, Balmain, Bottega Veneta, Bergdorf Goodman, Babe Paley
C- Coco Chanel, Charles James, Cartier, Christofle, Chrysler Building, Claridges, Cole Porter, Cipriani, Claire McCardell
D- Dior, Dogs, Dunhill, Duesenberg, Diana, Princess of Wales
E- Elsa Schiaparelli, Elsa Peretti
F- Fendi, Fred Leighton, Ferrari, France, Frette
G- Gucci, Givenchy, MB 1954 Gull Wing
H- Hermes, Harry Winston, Henri Bendel, Hotel du Cap, Harry's Bar
I- Issey Miyake, Isadora Duncan
J- John Galliano, Jensen Interceptor
K- Kenzo
L- Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Louboutin, Levi Strauss
M- (Claude)Montana, Manolo
N- Narciso Rodriguez, Nancy Lancaster, Nature
O- Oscar De La Renta
P- Prada, Poiret, Pucci, Patek Philippe, Pratesi, Petrus
Q- Mary Quant
R- Ralph Lauren, Romanee-Conti, Hotel Ritz
S- Stella McCartney, Simon Doonan, Shelby Cobra, The Sherry Netherland
T- Tom Ford, Taillevent
U- Ungaro
V- Valentino,Van Cleef & Arpels, Versace, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express,
Vionnet, Vuitton
W- Vera Wang,Vivienne Westwood
X- xxx (kisses, which are always in style...)
Y- Yves St.Laurent, Yohji Yamamoto, d'Yquem
Z- Zegna

I'm sure Olivia has her own list by now, with more names from the equestrian world, as horses are her great love. Maybe she won't care at all. No matter. Whatever she does, she'll do it in style.

Monday, October 4, 2010

John Lennon - Everyone Had A Hard Year

I never got to meet John Lennon. I grew up with him and the Beatles, because my older sister was of that age when they arrived in North America. We got to stay up for the Ed Sullivan show. It was unbelievable that my parents let us do so, because we were little. Everyone seemed to know this was a major shift.

I remember wearing my I LOVE PAUL button. My baby brother had a Beatles wig, and we sang "She Loves Me" all the time. I remember going to see "Help" and not understanding why they kept running around.

Later, all the changes the Beatles went through seemed to echo milestones for a generation.

I remember the night John Lennon was murdered. I was at the end of the street in a club at 72nd Street and Columbus with my best friend, David Cox. We were making a toast when Kerry Kennedy came to our table and whispered that John Lennon had been shot. It was such a bizarre, frozen moment. In absolute synchronicity, like zombies, we dropped our glasses, letting them crash to the table, stood up- leaving everything- and walked down the block to the Dakota.

There wasn't much of a crowd yet, maybe 20 or so people. Silence. Complete disbelief. Some people had candles already. We stood there, shoulders dropped, stunned.  I went home to call my then boyfriend who was a friend of John's. It was an other worldly experience.

Nobody expects a cool guy, an icon whom everyone loves and respects- one whose entire life was dedicated to music about love and peace and imagination- to be stopped by a lunatic. Even lunatics loved John Lennon, right?

A day later (this is on a material level, but there is a connection), I was at Tiffany's. It was nearing Christmas. I stopped in to look at my favorite watch. It was rare, from Audemars Piguet, a maker who rivaled only three watches in the world still made by hand. I'd waited for it for over a year. They got one. I wanted it. The salesperson who knew me said, very sadly, it's gone. Was bought. I said, really? Who else knew? She said that Yoko Ono had bought it for John two days before and it was being inscribed for him. So sad for her, I also felt sad for that little boy Sean, fatherless at Christmas. That watch, something meant to be given with love, probably had an amazing message written on it, collectively attached to another unrelated soul's life, one who'd spent 18 months of his own life building it, all to end up in an unopened box, it's recipient gone....

My boyfriend sent Sean a child sized battery-operated car. I think he didn't know what else to do. I know his intentions were good, but all I could think of was that kid riding around that cavernous, empty, echoing apartment, that small little innocent, without his father, in a room full of meaningless presents.

John Lennon does live.

George Harrison lives.

All of those brilliant lyrics, and the music that changed the world. Politics, gurus, open speech, freedom, love, all of it. They all got married. They each loved someone.

The genius of these boys who found each other in Liverpool affected everyone in music, just as Chuck Berry and Elvis and Little Richard had formed them. There is not a place on the planet that does not know something of these beings or their message.

I don't know why I'm having such a musical memory week. Maybe it never goes away. Maybe that is the point and the gift of it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In The Realm Of The Senses-My Alpabet of Wonder

animals architecture art autumn be beach beauty blue books breathe bridge building buildings castle changing church city clean clouds colors dance do dream dusty fashion feel float flowers found free gently grateful green hard lake landscape listen lost love melody morning mountain naked nature night open panorama park passion people pink play rain red river sea see scents seasons sense sing smell soft sound soul sky snow summer sunset spring taste tell temples thank you there touch travel trees truth water waves what where whisper white winter wander wonder

Friday, May 28, 2010

No Sex. No City.

This one left me walking out of the theater scratching my head, so confused that I wandered around aimlessly looking for my car for a good 15 minutes. Some woman handed me a green smoothie sample and I downed it without even asking if it was a drink or body lotion. I was in a fog...trying to make sense of it. Why? Why. Why?

First, let me say that I am a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker. Have been since I first noticed her playing in LA Story against Steve Martin. (I'd seen her play the lead in Annie years earlier on Broadway, but I didn't know until later that she was the same person.) I think she's charming and dear and I feel her heart in her characters. I like who she is in real life, I like her honesty and humility. I like that her face is not perfect, that she is not a common Barbie, but at times, she is perfectly beautiful.

Then there is the hope of FUN. The joy of seeing groups of women, younger and older. dressed to the nines, having a blast, meeting up to see the film all over the city (and I'm sure every other city) made me VERY happy. The anticipation of girl fun over Cosmos (or whatever cocktail of choice) cannot be denied, and I thank SJP and the other cast members for initially creating the party.

In my discussion of the film, I refer to the actresses as their characters. Their real, private lives are not my territory. God forbid this could ever be them in real life...

SATC 2 was such a visual assault that I almost wanted to look away. It was horrifying to see what has happened to these characters. Truly. A train wreck. The hair and makeup were frightening. Someone needs to make sure the director, cinematographer and gaffer never get hired again. Clearly, they must hate women.

Whatever has tortured and twisted and blackened the heart of Patricia Fields (the costume designer), I am sorry for it. She should be sitting in her therapist's office, spewing her fury, but she should NEVER have vented it on SJP and the other ladies. This was, literally, THE WORST WARDROBE I HAVE EVER SEEN. They looked like the crazy bag women who haunt bad, smoky bars in Reno. I am so sorry that these actresses did not understand that someone had a vendetta to make them look like silly, sad old fools. It broke my heart to look at them in those clown costumes.

There was an unbelievable lack of good jewelry. Charlotte sports a fugly fake Van Cleef and Arpels necklace with a cheap silver box chain, and there is very little else to sing the bling. Some Kenneth Jay Lane, but not the good stuff. OK, yes, the black diamond scene was ultra cool, I'll admit, it made up for a lot of the movie, but REALLY? 2 1/2 hours and nothing else that didn't look like Forever 21?


The best characters the show were, oddly, Big and Samantha. He looked great, was an adult, and she was at least funny. Charlotte was, as always, a painfully sappy pill. and Miranda delivered nothing; just left me staring at her teeth and wondering why she's never fixed them or that stringy fake red hair. While watching the two of them in a bar scene, I managed to stay focused only by dissecting where their dermatologists had placed the most Botox. Charlotte won the award for most Botox on a forehead since last seen by Nicole Kidman accepting her Academy Award.

Which leads to me to mention that it was the also the only real cocktails scene. This, from a show that made Cosmopolitans the drink trend of the decade, where girlfriends had heart-to-hearts and flirted with handsome men who took them away for more adventure. There were two other scenes, I believe, when they had a chaste toast of champagne, but they took place on Arab turf, (one in an Arab nightclub-ugh-with Karaoke-which makes no sense at all, as we all know female fun is forbidden there.) OY!

Sarah Jessica Parker looks pretty when her hair has lots of blonde highlights. It makes those beautiful doe-like blue eyes speak out loud. What she does not have (nor do many people, no matter how pretty) is the bone structure to handle mousy-brown, flat hair with 6 inch roots or heavy vampire makeup, as she had in this film. She was also more thin than her normal size 0 and her arms were shot to look stringy, ropey, weird looking. Carrie got scary. The entire cast went from pasty white ghoulish makeup to very heavily spray tanned, and it suited none of them, male or female. Even Aiden had too much man-tan. It was like very bad Miami Beach, when it should have been very good East Hampton. It was ridiculous. The only person who escaped was Big. And that's because Big was...IN THE CITY!!!!!

Which leads us to the other fatal flaw...

There was NO CITY in the city. The heroine, the beauty, the real love affair of the whole TV show was New York City. We saw none of this until the very end scene with Big and Carrie. You cannot have a film about four women in Manhattan, shot in the hideously misogynist landscape of Abu Dhabi. Not possible. The whole premise of the story is four independent women living in the most sophisticated city in the world. Stick them in the sand with a couple of camels and some pathetic, degrading Muslim rules, and you have taken the story out of the story. Add to that the monkey suits and drag queen maquilage, and you have one woeful tale. Where no one gets any tail.

There are a few great jokes, courtesy of Samantha. The camel toes (while riding camels), the Lawrence of My Labia, the yams on her face as bio-identical hormones, they were really funny. The boner on her dinner date was worth a laugh.

Liza Minnelli doing Beyonce was hilarious. I have to say, again re: wardrobe, that I wish they had re- shot the scene where the crotch of her panty hose is hanging out below the bottom her shorts. That was brutal. She deserved better than that.

The cameo with Penelope Cruz flirting with Big at a party was interesting. She looked beautiful and was dressed in classic black. It gave me hope, until Carrie showed up in her silly rig. Then it turned into Audrey Hepburn dropped by mistake via blue screen into the Mad Hatter scene in Alice in Wonderland. You're left looking for Johnny Depp (dressed as Suzanne Pleshette) to pop in and tell you "wake up, Bob. it was just a dream."

I'm not going to tell the upsets or the ending. If you're a fan of the show, it's still worth seeing. The camaraderie is still there. Big and the other guys are all still great guys. There's a funny bit with them watching the braless, big chested Lolita-like nanny. And Carrie finally finds herself at the end, but that's probably because she's BACK IN THE CITY.

Arrggghhh...people, please. Only ugly old bags getting facelifts wear turbans. They played this look over and over and over, in- yes- here it comes- first in gold lame...and then... choke and get ready for it....purple and brass paisley. (Am I still breathing?) Tim Gunn must never see this, he will simply drop dead. There wasn't even one single reference to Manolos. No talk of the jewel of the free world, Manhattan.

Also, am I they only one who noticed that the "private" jet they flew over on was identical to the commercial plane they flew back on?? Just asking........

It's only been two years since the first film. Nobody has aged as much as they made them in the film. This was more like the Golden Girls go to the Desert. There will be probably be a Sex and the City 3. Please bring back some Sex. And a lot of the City. And get someone who doesn't hate women to do the vanities and lighting.

Just a thought.