Tuesday, March 31, 2015

La Villa des Alyscamps

British Vogue March 2015
Not quite sure whose house this is ... I ripped it out from the magazine and lost a few pages, but I still have the best pages: the photographs. On the left is "La Villa des Alyscamps guesthouse, Arles, once a 12th-century convent." Sadly, no pictures are of the interior. What is behind those little shuttered windows, I wonder. This property reminds me of one of the guest houses that I stayed in while I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I did not do the rush to the alberga, hostel, every day. I was on my own and wanted some structure as I did the pilgrim's walk. I happened upon a tour company out of Colorado that turned out to be a stroke of luck. I flew to Madrid and spent a few days there knocking around. Then, I took a bus to meet the trip leader and discovered that only one other person who booked the same trip with me. And coincidentally, she was a teacher. Our guide had walked the Camino many times before and knew people all along the way. She didn't always walk with us, but she made sure to discover something or someone off of the beaten track every day. Rather than change accommodations night to night, we stayed in a few guest houses, and the guide would pick up/drop off to where we had stopped or needed to start along the way. Each guest house, and I'm disappointed that I didn't think to get each inn's card, was magical. After a long hike through the country, up a mountain, or through a village ended with a beautiful place and a lovely dinner. Clare, the teacher, was from Australia, and we had a lot in common, so after-hours was always lively.
The last guest house that we stayed in was an estate that had been in the proprietor's family for 300 years. Where they had been landholders alone before, with it alone sustaining them, recent years demanded that they go to work. The estate became their business. Former stables were converted to guest rooms, and when I first saw my room, I thought that I had died and gone to somewhere beautiful like ... La Villa des Alyscamps. There is something to be housed in a building that is hundreds of years old, this from an American perspective as haven't been in the business that long. I'll never forget one evening in particular when we returned to our rooms earlier than usual. That day's leg of the walk must have been shorter. The Australian and I had the time to shower and explore the grounds. I walked out back to a garden area that was circled by beautiful summer fields of golden something or another. I had brought out a book, but found that just being was enough to spend the afternoon sun while I lounged on a comfortable chair.
For dinner, one of the brothers prepared a delicious meal, and we enjoyed many bottles of the local red wine. The Australian told me that she would like to get married on an estate such as this one. The table above looks very similar the the area where we enjoyed our first class of wine before dinner.  I took her picture as she sat there. Her curly red hair catching the afternoon glow like a sun-catcher. I told her that I would send her a copy of the photograph so that she would remember the beauty of the place. I never did send that picture, and I'm mad at myself for putting that chore off. I do think of her, and our afternoon under the Spanish sun. I remember so clearly crawling into bed that night with teeth still red from the wine that no toothpaste could remove to nestle into the snug fit of the room that had stood for ever.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Alexander McQueen

UK Vogue March 2015
One of the most interesting aspects of the David Bowie exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago last fall was Bowie's collection of stage costumes. I was most drawn to the work of Alexander McQueen and the bold Union Jack inspired jacket. It is so bold. And ironic: the flurry of a skirt of a jacket on an androgynous icon.

Apparently, soon after McQueen died, a retrospective of his work was staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The event, which was scheduled to run for 12 weeks, ran one week longer with extended hours. Now, five years later, the exhibit is moving  to London. Home as it were I would love to have the opportunity to see his work in person. The clothing alone is stunning, but the stage that he would create around it made fantasy come to life. It is the stuff that dreams are made of ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Sarah Jessica Parker

from Vogue
SJP turns 50 today.

I wonder how Carrie and Mr. Big are doing?  I knew that once he committed, he'd be there for our girl.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vogue's Cowgirls

Vogue March 2015

Aren't these beautiful?!

Vogue March 2015
The headline reads: "Angelic filigrees of broderie anglaise and Chantilly make pale prairie-girl lace the most heart-quickening look for the sultry months ahead." Very fancy.

There is something about a prairie look, and it has been a fashion-phase of mine before. It began when I was in college. I found a Ralph Lauren Vogue pattern that wasn't anything like these beauties, but it was prairie-esque. I had my mom sew me up two of these dresses, and I'd wear them with a pair of Tony Lama cowboy boots and a belt of silver coin-like medallions. I found a black western-brimmed hat like the ones pictured, and for full effect, I wore a long denim duster that my mom also made up for me from a Vogue pattern. Here, I am sporting a beret with my hugely shoulder-padded duster (I was channeling a French cowboy, I think). Although I loved my get-ups, I would've given anything to wear one of these.

This same tone is why I buy up any Eileen West night gowns at Marshall's ... you know the ones of cotton lawn, a flounce, and usually a delicate pattern of pale on pale ... it is for the same satisfaction of feeling like I'm a  little Laura Ingalls Wilder with a streak of Annie Oakley. A bad ass wrapped in girly rags.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Faves from Vogue Magread

As a girl, I'd play a game of 'this side, that side' with catalogues that my mom would have in the house. I'd choose a side, right or left, and flip through the pages choosing anything that I would want from the page on the side that I had pre-determined. I loved playing this game. And I didn't only look at the clothes; I was also interested in home goods, furniture, and linens. I didn't have any money to spend on what I fancied, but the exercise started what I think that people must do on Pinterest ... mark a collection of desires to create a look, a lifestyle, form an aesthetic. As I moved through the pages of the March Vogue this morning, I tore pages out of what may look haphazard, but is representational of what I think is some of the best of this Spring season.

Prada. This silouette is de rigeure. My little Coach purse is very like this one.

This is Louis Vuitton. This dress is perfection. The boots are great. I also love the red dress from this collection that I've shown before on these pages. It soars above the NYC skyline.

I can't decide what I love most about this outfit .... uh, all of it! The jacket is super awesome. The boots! The perfect jeans.  I love the Western bag. I would wear everything here.
I'm not always a fan of Giorgio Armani, but this is lovely. 

Ice, ice, ice ... blue baby. I adore this color. She's a pretty bird.
I'm glad to see ETRO back to what they do best ... bohemian. This is light, silky, and muter than others before, which makes it fresh.
The 70's are back. The faintest color, the lightest fabric, barely there slip of a dress. Dreamy.

Friday, March 20, 2015

David Lynch

Harper's Bazaar March 2015
Twin Peaks is still one of the best bits of television that I've ever seen. It was dark and quirky. Unspoiled by the pattern of what television was at the time. And decades ahead of what is happening now with the series being created for Netflix, HBO, Showtime now. Intense, sometimes perverse, and right on the line of propriety at all times.

I remember, so clearly, working late in the store where I worked at the time during renovation moves. I had gone out for a birthday fete and landed on my ankle on the dance floor. It was five times its normal size, but I had to go to work to manage the moves. Because I couldn't walk on it, I pushed myself around on an wheeled office chair. The biggest part of the work finished, I had one more night to go, which also happened to be the finale of the show. It was just 1990 and the idea of On Demand, or TiVo (well, that wouldn't work for me 'cause I still don't have it), and such, I had to get home to watch the show. For one of the few times in my work history, I actually pulled an "oh, oh my ankle" to get home on time. It worked. But what I encountered has haunted me since ...

What I didn't know is that David Lynch is now developing a new series for Twin Peaks, twenty five years later. In this interview, it says: "So it happened that there was a scene where Laura said to Special Agent Dale Cooper, 'I'll see you again in 25 years.' And, lo and behold, it's coming pretty close to being true." Is it kismet? "No, no, no," he says enigmatically. "It's part of the big show."

Are you kidding me? He knew that sometime ago, he'd pull us back into the world of Special Agent Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer. Amazing. yet it doesn't entirely surprise me. For this man, David Lynch, isn't like ordinary men is he? And it would make sense that he has a mind that sees the past, lives in the present, and certainly knows something of the future ... or at least, the Blue Room.

Probably twenty years ago, a friend of mine came to visit. With him, he brought me the box set of Twin Peaks. Coincidentally, I had also bought him one. We sort of worked that way. We spent a winter weekend in Chicago, holed up, drinking wine, eating cherry pie, and wondering about a lot of things that had to do with the show. In the middle of the night, and it was in the middle of the night, we decided that it would be a good idea to call David Lynch. Did we have the Internet then? I don't remember ... I probably didn't. I just bought a smart phone last year, and I don't have TiVo, so that says something of the timeliness of technology coming into my life. So what did I do? I dialed 411. Los Angeles, please. A Mr. David Lynch, please. His number isn't listed? Why not?! In fits of giggles, we ate the last of the pie and passed out.

The show was on so many years ago that I don't think that this will be a spoiler alert, but at the end of the series, Agent Cooper becomes Bob. Without going through the entire plot of the series, let's just say that Agent Cooper represents all that is good and wholesome of this world, and Bob represents pure evil. How could that be? How could Lynch allow the devil-incarnate into the soul of Agent Cooper. That's not how it works. I'm all for strange, weird, and perverse, but that broke every rule of what keeps us mere mortals from falling into the pit of despair, horror, and wickedness. Shakespeare taught us this! All of his heroes are flawed. And they do horrible things to their families, legions, and crown, but they recognize their flaws and redeem themselves. Perhaps, this is why Lynch comes back to do because the good becoming evil reveal was at the end. We didn't get any more after that twist. And Lynch has had to put his protagonist into a deep freeze to work out how to extract the evil that has possessed him. I surely hope that is what Lynch has in store for us next year.

I'll have the pie baked. And my dream catcher at the ready. Who knows what will come out of the series to come in to my own malleable mind.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hugh Grant

Elle March 2015
Hugh Grant? Movie? OMG ... oh wait, I rented it On Demand and yawned.
Elle loved it. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, his first feature in 13 years, and starring the irascible Hugh Grant, how could it not be great?
It's not because it's Music and Lyrics. It's not because it's About a Boy. It's not because this is the third movie where Hugh's character was a one-hit wonder, or a long ago wonder, struggling to find a place in the world. The plot was so predictable, and Hugh seemed to snooze through it because he knows that he's been there and done it before.
Poor Hugh. It would have been better if they would've written a movie where he played a character like James Van Deer Beek who played himself in the sitcom about the the b- in Apartment 23. I never watched the sitcom regularly, but saw it enough to know that he was himself who lived next door to the b-. Hugh could do that, but in a feature film. He could bumble around, call Liz Hurley on the phone, who apparently has said that Hugh was good in the sack, and play with his child (he has one right?). He's sort of a has-beeny character, and I say that with genuine affection. I have heard him say in interviews that he 'done' with acting, etc. Maybe he was doing it as a favor to a friend for his first roles. And it for Peter Pogdanovich now. That could be one of the story lines. Wouldn't it be funny if he also ran into Renee Zellweger and her new look, and he didn't recognize her? I could go on and on about scenarios that my dear Hugh could bumble his way through in a day. That's it! It could be called A Day in the Life of Daniel Cleaver .... oops, Hugh Grant.
I'd go see that! Skip this ... unless you're really desperate for a Hugh-fix (here's an idea ... just watch Bridget again ... that'll scratch the itch).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Katy Perry

Elle March 2015
A couple of years ago, visiting my sister on the Caribbean Island where she lives, I sat on the end of an old pier with my niece flying a kite. The beach in front of their apartment was empty, and the sea and sky met in a blur of blue.  She must have been seven or so. Maybe younger. As we sat watching the kite soar to meet moisture clouds, we chatted about school and favorite colors. I tried to sing "Firework" to the open sea, and she corrected me. In her clear, bird-song of a voice, she belted out the song, putting my version to shame. Katy is her favorite. And so she is mine.

I took my niece, grandma in tow, to see the Katy Perry movie. Caroline, my niece, was very excited. I didn't now what to expect. But what I found was an inspirational women. Someone who definitely called all of the shots of a huge production that ran back and forth across the globe, and someone who, for as much as she roars, is vulnerable. I had to ask grandma for the tissues because I was moved to tears more than once. Who knew?

By the way, she looks fabulous in these pictures. I don't particularly care for her when she colors her hair  purple ... or anyone else for that matter. It looks so ... false. And the costumes, well, it's part of her thing, right? She doesn't need it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Miss Ross

Elle February or March 2015 ... it was in a pile
This white ensemble is one that has been seen a lot lately. Katy Perry did a very structured, oh, is the coat going to fall of my shoulders white for the Grammy's (I think that it may have been one piece ... maybe she was nervous, so stiff). Gwyneth Paltrow likes to do a white with a cape, maybe Calvin Klein? She wore it in the last couple of years at some awards show that has not stuck in my memory. And of course, J-Lo does it all of the time, even in the movies. Remember "Main in Manhattan?" Oh yeah, she took the Dolce coat out of the guest's closet to wear on her date with Ralph Fiennes.

I have watched "Black-ish" from the beginning, and it took a few episodes before I realized that the woman who plays "Bow" is Diana Ross's daughter. Of course it is!  I guess because she's on the show being funny, I didn't see the style that is Momma Ross. Well, here it is. Tracee is divine. I love the blackness of her hair in contrast to the color of the clothing. And the red, but not so red, lip is just enough color to pop. I would like to see the shoes. She's angel'd up in a cloud of puff, so we don't get see what hides underneath.

As for what she says about her new hit show is spot on as well. She said, "Somehow in TV, marriage has gotten a bad rap ... but his antics and insanity is what she finds charming." I do get tired of marriage being portrayed as ... completely unsatisfying, sarcastic, and unsupportive. It's only television, but the couple that Ross and Anthony Anderson, her TV husband, are supportive, loving, and funny as hell. They are the best part of the show as far as I'm concerned.