Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tip Of The Old Red Hat



I worked with Tony Scott, both as an actress, and later in wardrobe on commercials.

I used to see saw him round town sometimes, and he was always lovely.  One night I had dinner with Tony and his brother Ridley- just the three of us met up after work one night.  It was nice to see the closeness and love between the brothers. They weren't the usual creepy, slimy Hollywood guys. That alone was much appreciated in this town of snakes and wannabes.

I don't know a single person who has ever spent time with him that won't tell you he was a nice man, and a gentleman. My brothers also both worked with both of the the brothers, and they had great times with them.

No one knows what went wrong today, this week, this year, but the news will leak out soon enough.

The vultures will swoop. He knew that before he jumped.

I just want to say Rest in Peace, Tony. Whatever it was that took you down, you will be missed. You touched a lot of us with that friendly, mischievous smile; waving those Cuban cigars around sometimes, as you talked.

Heartfelt condolences to your family.

I'll think of you when I'm out walking, wearing my old battered red baseball hat.




 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sitting At The Dock of The Mac




I remember exactly where I was when I first heard it. Outside Vancouver. A suburban party. Small, low key, nice. This song came on and I we all stopped talking. Who was this, I wondered? I could envision the singer sitting there, tapping his toes, wondering about his next move.

That was the moment I discovered the back beat.

When we were 14 or 15, my girlfriend Evelyn and I used to get dressed up and go into downtown Vancouver to the clubs. 

There were places we liked. One was an all black R&B place in Gastown. We were the only white people I ever saw there, and the youngest by decades. We wanted to dance to great music. Simple as that.

We must have waltzed to "Me and Mrs. Jones" about a hundred times, with tall, dark strangers who surely wondered how we found our way there, but nobody- not the men or the women- ever made us feel out of place. Everyone was there for the music.

There was another place later on where we went (again much under-aged), and fell in love with Donna Summer and K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

I remember when I was a kid, there was always music. At the pool, at the beach, in the car. My Dad used to make fun of Mick Jagger, telling the radio it wasn't giving him much Satisfaction...

My parents were both into music. My Mom still is. She loves to put on some rock and roll and dance in her house. She does it all the time.

My sister was older, and she had a record player. I heard stuff ahead of my time. I remember when I was 10, playing "Do You Know The Way to San Jose" over and over, lip synching in the mirror with my hair brush.

My Dad had some favorites. His favorite was Mahalia Jackson, but he also loved Nat King Cole, Brenda Lee and Cliff Richards. My Mom's current favorite guy is Jon Bon Jovi, but I think that might have a lot to do with his charities, and how pretty he is.

No matter what, there is music. I’m thankful for growing up with that. 

Last March we held my Mom's birthday with a weekend long string of parties in Vancouver. My Uncle came with friends from Manitoba, and we had a surprise party for her, full of fun and music. My Mom and brother can jive together like nobody else. 


That woman, my friends, is what a cool 80 year old looks like.

Continuing the birthday celebrations, my Mom, my sister and I went to New York at Easter. It was grand. (Of course. It was New York! How could it not be?)

We went to Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, “The Red Rooster” up in Harlem, at his invitation. It was spectacular.  So chic, so cool, so very, very stylish.

http://redroosterharlem.com/ 



After dinner, we went downstairs to a little club he has, Ginny's. http://ginnyssupperclub.com/about. It is beyond cool. Imagine going to a small private party up in Harlem with the best music EVER- a throwback to a speakeasy from the '20's.

We felt shy and out of place, standing at the back. No matter. A lovely woman grabbed us, and pulled us out to the dance floor. I can honestly say, I haven’t had that great a time in a club since Studio 54. When we left, someone else invited us to another club/restaurant down the street, and we went in for a bit. The Apollo is just to the west.

There we were, my Mom, my sister and me in Harlem, on 125th and Lenox at 12:30am, and it was fantastic. All for the love of the beat. Which leads me back to the song at the top…

Music warms the heart and feeds the soul. You can always play something and revisit the memories attached to many, many moments, and feel gratitude.

So, tip of the hat to Mr. Redding for leaving us such a gift. Thanks for the introduction.

And, for starting my day at the dock of the Mac with a smile, and several trips down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed the ride, too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

He Speaks My (Shoe) Language

I was born too late to meet the man, but I've studied him (for work), and admired him for so many things. Happy to say we have the slipper love in common, and I like his sense of humor.


Here's a vintage Pepsi commercial I worked on- a huge collaboration on that one. He was the subject of interest for us in the costume department, not the product. He was a fascinating character to research. How could he NOT be?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prada. Rock (et) On.


I have a great new friend. She lives on the internet. She writes a wonderful blog which is touching, real, funny, thought-provoking, intelligent and very true for all kinds of women.

If she lived in Los Angeles, I'd see her all the time. We'd plan great trips together, (she also has dreams of lunch in Paris, although hers seem to be more about l'affaire avec un beau gendarme.)

I would introduce her to my friends, we'd find interesting things to do, and she would be welcomed into our conversations.

She writes about things all women go through. The challenges, the doubts, the joys, the dreams.  Making a living while she works to stay creative.

She has a great infatuation, however, which I cannot understand.

SHOES.

Some of my other friends have this fascination. My dear friend Janelle from Sydney just spent a good part of her holiday here burning through Neiman's, Barney's, Saks, Fred Segal and Nordstrom's shoe departments at Mach 3 with her hair on fire. They almost called the fire department. (Hmm. On second though...the firefighters......)

I had to sit down. It was exhausting just to watch her and the gathering crowd who was staring- all agog- at this spectacularly beautiful 5' 9", 115 lb. wonder who can run in 5" heels. (Really. She did this at Neiman's to test some Prada platforms. Then again, she does have three young boys she chases after all day long.)

The salespeople completely ignored the brown haired English chick from Housewives of Beverly Hills, who was trying desperately to catch anyone's eye, as Janelle moved on to the handbag department. By the time we left, she had them on speed dial to confirm delivery of her Celine, Bottega Veneta, and Chanel handbags, along with a mountain of Diors and Pradas. It was a sight. She was a blur. I was a mess.

Janelle is a legend, but the others are each devoted in their own way to the shoe loving sisterhood.

Rose has her shoes organized in her closet by color and season. Ely and Susan actually do a show-and-tell after they've been on a shoescapade, and they are deliriously happy while doing so. "Aren't they cool?" they ask, as I nod in silence. Louise had her bunions removed so she could wear prettier shoes, and she'd squeeze into anything if it had Manolo stamped on the last. Each of them are smart. They make their own money. They can do as they wish.

So, here we are. I have now found yet another friend who is shoe crazy.

I dream about diamonds, never shoes. A girl like I needs a tiara. I have often wondered if I am missing the shoe chip. Give me slippers, I'm in heaven.

Since I am a stylist, people often assume I would love to trot around in Louboutins. Au contraire, my friends. I hate shoe shopping. If I could, I'd wear my Fit Flops everywhere.

I have the same pair of black patent leather Gucci loafers I wore in 3 feet of snow while shooting the Olympic athletes for the Salt Lake winter games way back when. (Even at 12,000 ft., I refused to wear those ugly snow boots, or trade my navy blue cashmere TSE overcoat for a- God forbid- snow parka.)

So, in honor of my new friend, I am running some pix of a shoe which she and my other friends will surely admire. It is a work of art, to be sure.

To D. A. , Janelle, Ely, Rose, Louise, Susan, and all of my other girlie friends, here is your fabulous fix for the day! Rocket on!  xoxox





I, myself, will stay with visions of Capri, Bergdorf, and the vintage 6 carat Asscher cut Van Cleef & Arpels platinum ring I fell in love with one perfect afternoon, at the temple of all things shiny and beautiful, Fred Leighton...

p.s.- You can find the fabulous D. A. Wolf at http://dailyplateofcrazy.com

Monday, August 6, 2012

Clown vs. Politician- Which Is Which?

I bet you thought I was going to go on a political rant.

Nope. Not I. Not today.

This is a commercial I styled recently. Lots of fun, and for a very good cause.

As a bonus, the real Bozo the Clown and his lovely wife stopped by to help with the make-up.

Please click on the bottom right icon to watch it on full screen.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Damn. I miss my Dad.

                                                    James A. McGill

Someday, I will write down what my Dad was to me, who I think he was to others, and why it was important that he lived.

For today, I have a heavy heart, full of love and gratitude, and also the loss of a very kind man who never once got angry at me, or reprimanded me, who loved my siblings and me unconditionally, and took us on a lot of adventures.

I could use some time with my Dad today. I'd be so grateful for his calmness, and easy smile. I'd ask him to explain the riddles I am searching to answer. He would smile and say, it's all easier than you think. Don't get so heavy. Let it go. And I would listen.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. xoxox


Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Legend is In. Annie Leibovitz.

It's funny. I woke up this morning, and thought of Irving Penn, the great and legendary photographer. I was thinking of what a kind and gentle man he was. I was lucky enough to work with him for Vogue in the early 80's, and met his wife, the remarkable Lisa Fonssagrives, too.  He once sent me a small photograph of Joe Lewis, which I treasure.


Mr. Penn, although revered for his work with human subjects, loved to photograph still life, and toward the end of his career, did a lot of that, as did Hiro, and others in that strata.

Lisa Fonssagrives Penn-


Still life- Irving Penn-

 
The incredible Paul Outerbridge Jr., a master of early tri-color carbro printing, also loved still life. This is one of his early works-


Paul Outerbridge-


Back to this morning...

I came across this great article on famed portrait artist, Annie Leibovitz.

Very few artists earn the title "Legend", while they are still alive. Annie Leibovitz is one of the them.
 
As did Georgia O'Keefe, Picasso, and most other great artists before her, Ms. Leibovitz is constantly expanding, refining her expression. She is shifting focus. As always,  everything she does tells a story..


Please click here for the article-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jun/03/annie-leibovitz-charleston-pilgrimage

 Early Leibovitz...1980. The day John Lennon was killed.


 Annie Leibovitz. From her new book, Pilgrimage-

 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beautiful Clothes Are Architecture.

I have previously written* about the costumes in Madonna's film, "W.E." They are magnificent. I guess I have more to say...

After writing yesterday's post, "CHANEL- The Making of The Black Jacket", and watching the video, I decided to revisit "W.E."

Besides telling a story, "W.E." is an homage to great haute couture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute_couture

I loved every frame of the film, I loved the photographs in Vanity Fair, I loved seeing the actual costumes in the exhibit at FIDM in Los Angeles. It was all magic.

I envy (in the best way possible way) Arianne Philips her great, good fortune of being part of this project, and her luck in working with the great houses of Balenciaga, Vionnet, Mainbocher, Valentino, Christian Dior and Schiaparelli. Ms. Phillips was nominated for Best Costume at the Academy Awards. She should have won, hands down. Maybe nobody wanted to vote for Madonna, that's all I can conclude.

Beautiful clothes are architecture. The way they are built is very similar. Haute couture is an art form, in the truest sense. The craftspeople behind the designers are like surgeons. Although it is vanishing, because the world is changing, I continue to be awed...

Please click here to link to the video-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQwQUH3Oq9E

* search this site 8/12/11-Wallace and Edward

Friday, May 25, 2012

CHANEL- The Making of The Black Jacket

I love all things Chanel, but this video is brilliant. Bravo, Coco! Your innate sense of perfection lives on...

 Click to link-
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UIYSW9_CCCI


Thanks to http://bulletwithbutterflywings.ca for leading me to the video.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Felicity

felicity |fəˈlisətē| noun ( pl. -ties)
1 intense happiness
2 the ability to find appropriate expression for one's thoughts
3 an instance of this.
4 a source of happiness.

ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French felicite, from Latin felicitas, from felix, felic- ‘happy.’


People often tell me that they like my musings, that they feel like I am talking to them in my posts.

That makes me happy, because I am talking to you, whoever you are. You somehow found this blog, and I am speaking to you. That's why I called it a narrative. But, it is also a dialogue.

Most of you write to me privately, not on this site. So, I keep our conversations private.

Sometimes people ask me how to write a blog, should they write one, nervous that they might be not good enough to write, or inadequate, or whatever inner/outer critic is running in their head.

I say, WRITE. Get it down. If other people like, feel, appreciate, respond, laugh or are made to think by what you have to say, all the better. You have been of service in some way.

If nobody reads it, you have served yourself. Your creative self. You hold the title to your soul.

Yes, yes, I've heard that critical thought that everybody and their sister writes a blog. So what? Forget that kind of thinking or listening. It's a stop. Stops are the enemy of growth.

Many of the successful, booming blogs have a lot of determination, and often financial and technical support behind them, but not all. Some people write in their kitchens, without support, in between the moments of their very busy lives.

The common strings are the wish to create, to communicate, to help, and to be heard. You pick your audience by what you write. Maybe it's enough that you hear yourself.

As in anything, I always say, "Great! Go! Try!" I think everyone should try to open up and let their heart fly, which is what happens when you are happy and creating something. Anything. Mud pies. Music. Artwork. Writing. Creative cooking. Singing on a hike.  Go down to Color My World and paint a plate. Who cares what anyone else thinks? (Although I would ask you to pay attention to who those people are, and question why you keep them around. But, that's another post.)

The thing is to try.

Inner pilot light. Inside job.

Find your smile. You can do it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fun. More than just a concept.


I've spent a lot of time lately, (actually, since I was a tiny tot), wondering why are we here? There are a billion viewpoints on that, and I have reviewed many of them, but I think an important one is to remember to have fun.

Too simple?

Not really. People have spent eons trying to get back to simplicity of life, self, soul.  Solving the meaning of life is the oldest of searches.

One thing is basic. The simple pleasures are the real treasures.

We work all week, all year, all of our lives, practically, toward that goal of having some time off.

TO HAVE FUN.

What about living our lives that way?

How about these goals in the everyday of living?

What's fun for me?
How do I get it?
How do I stay there?

It's not money. There is a lot of no money fun.

It's not things. Things are only useful if you use them.  Hopefully, to have fun.

How about the idea that fun is whatever it is makes you feel closer to your truth?

What if your inner dialogue changed? What if you could turn around your way of thinking, start to change your form? What if you were as nice to yourself as you are to the waiter?

How would that feel?

What if your little spark of light passed on to the next person, and they passed it along, and there was some real joy spreading across the air, rather than just noise and cars, and people running somewhere in the hopes of one day stopping to take a breath to have a laugh or maybe, God knows, have some fun?

I know the difference between happy and not happy. I know it's an inside job. And I know it's our job to pass it along.

Life isn't a Disney movie, but it your choice to live in in the best way you can. So, chin up, heart open, think of something that makes your really happy.

Now, go take a moment and be there. Feel it. Mmmmmm. Yep.

Wasn't that...fun?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Anything that says BIRKIN is going to have style......

Hermès Vert Bengale Epsom Birkin 40



Personally, I wouldn't buy one. Too much good could be done with that money. But, it is pretty, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ooh! Shiny!

~Imaginary interview~

Barbara Walters: What is your very favorite color?
JM: Ooh! SHINY!

It's no secret that I love jewelry and pretty things.  My favorite streets are in New York. A stroll down Fifth Avenue between 59th and 50th (La Vielle Russie, Bergdorf Goodman, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany and Co., Harry Winston, Cartier, Asprey), and up Madison Avenue from 57th to 79th (talk to me, Fred Leighton!), make me really happy. Also, the auction houses are very exciting. Even the catalogues make me swoon.

I come by this naturally. When I was five, I found a pair of beautiful black stilettos with rhinestone encrusted heels in my Mother's closet. Something possessed me. (It wasn't the shoes). With not a thought, I took a bobby pin and plucked the rhinestones out. As I held them in my tiny palm, I stared in wonder, breathless...

When I was a teenager, I had a poster on my wall, (actually an ad) of a beautiful young woman sitting cross legged. It said, "Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, and she shall have music wherever she goes".  Hmmm. An old English nursery rhyme on a Madison Avenue advertisement. An omen.

My first boyfriend gave me my first diamond. He bought it in Amsterdam.

My first Cartier ring and jewels were from my first husband. Fred Leighton made the headpiece for my wedding.

Over the years, there were more. They came (and sometimes went) for various reasons. Sometimes I bought them myself, needing no one to show me the the magic of prismatic light, spun gold or gossamer wings. All beauty held beauty, in those wonderful things.

It's no mistake that one of my favorite writers is Anita Loos, the witty creator of Lorelei Lee, that lovable creature played by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I own her first printing of that book.

My favorite diamonds are original Asscher cuts, by the Asscher Brothers in Holland, from the early 20th Century.

Some of the the most fun places to see these are at the aforementioned Harry Winston, Tiffany, Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier and Fred Leighton in New York.

Don't worry, they let mortals in. 

I once arrived in New York from Heathrow, having had a luggage strap fly off and break off my front tooth. The airline then lost my luggage. But, I was in New York, and in the mood to shop. I bought a somewhat hideous I love N.Y. The Big Apple t-shirt from the hotel lobby, and went down Fifth Avenue wearing the same  jeans and sneakers from my flight, no makeup, nothing but a toothless smile. (But, I had a wallet!) Walked into Harry Winston, and they couldn't have been kinder. I looked like toothless hick, but not one person made me uncomfortable. Naturally, the sight of those diamonds cheered me up.

Diamonds are truly a miracle, when you consider how they started.

From Wikipedia-

"Most natural diamonds are formed at high-pressure high-temperature conditions existing at depths of 140 to 190 kilometers (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth mantle. Carbon-containing minerals provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth surface through deep volcanic eruptions by a magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites."

Amazing, isn't it? But, back to recent civilization.

One of the most famous collectors of grand gems and jewelry was Elizabeth Taylor.

 The Elizabeth Taylor diamond, a 33.19-carat Asscher-cut set in platinum

                                                    Taylor diamond side view


I understand Elizabeth Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor, and their love of this incredible art form. It marries rare pieces of nature with skilled artisans. I envy anyone who was lucky enough to go to the auctions of either of these collections. (Elizabeth Taylor actually bought one of her pieces, The Prince of Wales brooch, (seen below),  from the Duchess of Windsor's estate auction via telephone bid to Sotheby's). The catalogs alone from, either Christie's (Elizabeth Taylor) or Sotheby's (Duchess of Windsor), are mesmerizing to those who love jewels.

In her owns words, from "My Love Affair With Jewelry",  Elizabeth Taylor said,

“I’m fortunate to have some very important pieces of jewelry. I don’t believe I own any of the pieces. I believe that I am their custodian, here to enjoy them, to give them the best treatment in the world, to watch after their safety, and to love them.” She also wrote, “As I look at some of my jewels I realize what a very lucky girl I am. Sometimes I wonder what will become of everything, because just like the Duchess of Windsor’s collection, they will all be up for auction one day. They will be scattered to the four corners of the world, and I hope that whoever buys each piece loves it as much as I do and takes care of it and realizes that having jewelry is a temporary gift. In truth, we ‘owners’ are just the caretakers. Nobody owns beautiful paintings. Nobody ever owns anything this beautiful. We are only the guardians.”
 
What a cool Dame.

One does not need to be rich to appreciate the beauty and workmanship of these pieces. You can look online. Go crazy on Google. Occasionally the catalogs go up for auction on eBay. There are also countless books on the subject from Amazon, or you can often find them at your library. Search any of the above names.  Also, look at "Extraordinary Jewels", and "The Faberge Case", by John Traina. Fantastic.

This is a post about diamonds and other elements and minerals, but I appreciate all kinds of lovely things, whether it's a beautiful stone, or the face of a animal, whose eyes transcend all material things with their grace and truth. A waterfall can humble anyone, if they take the time to really look. I like bright stars on a dark night as much as I like diamonds. They both equally wondrous to me. I'm awestruck by both.

But, back to that five year old, picking "diamonds" out of her Mother's high heels- as I said, I came by it naturally...

A few years ago, I was shooting on location in Wyoming. I sat on a rock, chin on my hands, gazing up at the Grand Tetons and their spectacular glory. But I wasn't thinking about them.

I was dreaming of the 7th floor of Bergdorf's.  Oops.

Back to the beautiful now...

Here are some more dreamy things. Their owners and provinence are listed below the photographs. Enjoy!


Elizabeth Taylor-The Taj Mahal, ruby-and-gold chain by Cartier, 1972, from Richard Burton

 



Faberge Easter egg, 1898. The Lilies of the Valley Egg. The egg is covered in pearls and topped with pink enamel. The egg is supported by cabriole legs of green-gold leaves with rose diamond dewdrops. The gold-stemmed lilies have green enameled leaves and pearl flowers. Made of gold, rubies, pearls. 

Armand Hammer had a very good understanding (and collection) of these babies.


Duchess of Windsor- When a desperate Marie Antoinette found herself imprisoned in the convent of the Feuillants in the midst of the French Revolution in 1792, she surreptitiously proffered a bag of pearls and diamonds to her friend Lady Sutherland, the wife of the British ambassador to France. No doubt anticipating a return to her sumptuous lifestyle once the masses had settled down, the Queen reportedly entrusted Sutherland with the gems after realizing that the British aristocrat had diplomatic immunity and could therefore return the jewelry once the Queen had escaped. Fast-forward about 50 years, and the pearls, 33 loose slate gray natural pearls- each imbued with a misty gray shade and some in a rare teardrop shape- are set in and suspended from a diamond and ruby collar in 1849. 

Wallace got the King, later the Duke, to fork over a heavy chunk of the Royal jewels before the Palace put an end to it.

Again, Wallis Simpson. The then King- George VIII-  received the above single-strand necklace from his mother, Queen Mary; he gave it to the then 40-year-old American divorcée, for whom he abdicated the throne to marry. The pendant, a Cartier piece, followed in 1950.


Elizabeth Taylor. The Night of the Iguana brooch, by Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co., 1964, gift from Richard Burton

 

Wallis/Edward W/E 20th Anniversary brooch- Cartier, for the Duchess of Windsor


Cartier cross bracelet for Wallis Simpson from King Edward VIII



The Prince of Wales brooch c.1935. Plume shaped brooch for the Duchess of Windsor by Cartier, later purchased at auction by Elizabeth Taylor for $663,000+

 

Elizabeth Taylor.  La Peregrina, a natural-pearl necklace with cultured pearls, diamonds, and rubies, 16th century, gift from Richard Burton.  Cartier. 



And finally, in the world of unreal wealth, let's remember who holds all the cards in the bling game.

1953. The coronation of the new Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in a solid gold carriage, wearing an Empire's fortune of all things shiny.






Ta Ta! Don't mess with the Boss!