A Day Late

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I read today that only 4% of all women in the world consider themselves beautiful. The statistic stung staying with me. The remaining 96% do not like their nose, their ears, their thighs, or their legs. 86% feel fat, and more than a third are on a constant diet. A quarter will develop an eating disorder, 20% will die of it.

The world is full of girls and women that it does not see. Starving, binging, purging, exercising, sucking in stomachs, covering scars, nibbling on salads, digging into ice cream tubs, counting calories, fearful of numbers on scales. Avoiding mirrors, crying in front of them. Painting nails, cheeks, and smiles on any given night only to wipe them off the following morning.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had one of the most tempestuous romances in the history of the art world, loving each other ferociously through a twenty-year age difference and multiple affairs. It transpired through their photographs, letters, and art, but perhaps most in the portrait she sketched of him. “I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love. Nothing compares to your hands, nothing like the green-gold of your eyes,” she said.

Rivera was a balding, overweight, old man, and the world saw him as such. He was not even remotely beautiful. But Kahlo saw beauty in him and said, “in all of you is a space full of sounds — in the shade and in the light”. She called him auxochrome: the one who captures color. Isn’t that beautiful, to think of your beloved in hues of color.

I wish I could tell the 96% of women who doubt their looks, that they are not insignificant; for centuries women have inspired paintings and poems and stories and songs. They have been the subject of masterpieces. Art is beauty, and therefore they as women are beautiful.

With this ring

I’ve made friends on the Internet. There is one gal whose blog I read, who happens to be French and grew up in Corsica, http://www.garancedore.fr/en/.  She resides in New York, writes in English and her audience is American. To me, she has the natural beauty of Audrey Hepburn. A gal who loves a good laugh and can laugh at herself. And she is also about to be married.

With her upcoming nupitals, one of the things that confused me about her audience is that there seems to be an overload of those who subscribe to the phenomenon of the big fat American wedding.

Since I can remember I’ve been entertained watching others flip through wedding magazines. Maybe it’s because I myself am not a fan of the over the top, puff parade. Now I read about how the American audience of my friend’s blog love the dresses that are as full as a crème puff, the entourage of bridesmaids, the coiffed updos, and love the look, like les meringues. lesmeringues

It makes me wonder and question how, exactly, how one wedding can trump the other on a sartorial level. After all, a wedding is a wedding! It’s the most idyllic day of one’s life, an unspoken ban on all things excessively edgy or vulgar, a celebration of joy and happiness amongst even the most brooding of souls. Considering that most people attend at least one each summer, it would most certainly be helpful if the French have, indeed, coined a more laissez-faire approach to the occasion.

To start, I believe French weddings have a slightly less contrived format: rather than viewing their big day as a complex production to rival Cirque du Soleil, the French simply see it as a day of celebration of love amongst family and friends. They may skip the city chaos and venture into the countryside which weans out unnecessary attendees and allows them to create a more laid-back weekend in a picturesque setting like Provence.

After a daytime ceremony at the local church or mairie (town hall), guests may head to a countryside home or villa for the reception. The decor is rustic and understated, there are no extensive photo ops or bridal parties, with the exception of a few trusted temoins—witnesses—who are given the freedom to wear whatever their hearts desire.

From what I have seen, French brides, seem to prefer a simple dress such as ethereal, or Empire-waist lace gowns that look like something Jane Birkin would have called her own. Makeup is minimal, hair is swept back in a chignon, braid, or left loose and adorned with a flower crown. Not big proponents of heels in general, it’s common for a French bride to do a simple strappy-sandal or a ballet flat, so that she can continue into the night once the dance party is in full swing.

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For the occasional city wedding, or civil ceremony, which may be  set in a classic event space, and the bride may go for a simple classic dress or wear an ensemble inspired by her love story. Kind of like Carrie Bradshaw choosing the Manolo Blahnik something blue satin pumps the second time, marrying Mr. Big. Vastly different than her first hullabaloo fanfare.

If you had it to do all over again would you replicate your wedding as it was, or would you do it differently and why?

Commode

Are you wondering why I’m posting a picture of a bathroom?  The image represents my next bathroom.

Bathrooms are a priority for me. It’s the one place a person can have total privacy. One of the great things about desert homes is that they are designed with water closets. I loved having my own WC. I hadn’t had one since my days in Berlin living in an Art Nouveau building.

I can always tell if I like a house by its bathroom. For me, the bathroom is a key indicator. More than just a place where performs rituals of cleansing and purification, they are a sacred space where we wash away the old and make room for the new.bath

Often times they are dingy and neglected. There an easy space to spruce up, where something mundane can be made beautiful and uplifting. In Feng Shui bathrooms represent health. The water element represents cash flow. Isn’t that an important enough reason for them to be clutter free and visually soothing?

My bathrooms have always been decorated in soft colors. Either peach, mint green, lavender, pink with touches of beige or turquoise and yellow.

I know some people read in the tub, to me, there a place to think, which brings me to a literary close that echoes my sentiments: “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Sylvia Plath.

Slip into Surreal

There is very little I enjoy more than to create or admire beautiful things. Usually it takes the form of setting a lovely table and cooking a delicious meal for friends and hubby. But other times it is manifested as crafting. Though I like the process of making something, sometimes I have trouble with relishing the end product. It just never comes out as good as I can see it in my head. The good news is I can get totally surprised by a work of art, and am thrilled like a little girl in a new pair of shiny shoes. Which brings me to this, I discovered these pumps online and was img-magrittemanoloblahnik2_174721377503.jpg_article_singleimagecharmed. Not enough to buy them mind you because I have nowhere to wear them— still I’d be happy to walk or float in them. The thrill of seeing an art piece designed to be worn excites me! And I appreciate the offbeat quirky mind and creativity that made them into being. In my mind they have a 1980’s theme and reminded me of when in 1989 I selected a pair of flats in the silhouette of a smoking slipper from Bloomingdales’ Century City. Purchased for me, they were black patent leather with a brassy gold theatrical smiling face and a pewter tragic face that ornamented the toe. They were over-priced but I knew they were unique and wore them until I got holes in the soles. Everything old is new again and so now I share these fanciful heels with you.

 

Simply Divine DV

A new year, a new beginning. However, I’m getting a late start with this post. Of the many things I did during the holidays, one was to watch The Eye has to Travel, a documentary film about the life and work of influential fashion editor Diana Vreeland. It portrayed Fashion as Fantasy— and what she created. Her force of character, her glamour, her intelligence, her innate sense of elegance revolutionized fashion and in doing so she revolutionized social history.DianeVreelandPic

The legendary DV was a story-teller and had a spectacular gift for language, coining words and phrases that painted in a single, vivid stroke a feeling, a movement, a fantasy.

Diana-Vreeland-8563She began her career with Harper’s Bazaar, with her legendary Why Don’t You column. I paid tribute to her with my own take on Why Don’t You in Oodles and Oodles of Red. http://lindalaroche.com/blog/oodles-and-oodles-of-red.html

She had the good judgment to know that, “There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.” She was the epitome of fabulous with a dynamic personality and you can’t help but admire and love her eloquence.

Here are ten of what I believe are her best quotes. diana-vreeland-5

“Red is the great clarifier —bright and revealing. I can’t imagine becoming bored with red— it would be like becoming bored with the person you love.

“You gotta have style. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it you’re nobody. And I’m not talking about a lot of clothes.”

“Pink is the navy blue of India.”

“It’s not about the dress you wear, but it’s about the life you lead in the dress.”

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

“Elegance is innate. It has nothing to do with being well dressed. Elegance is refusal.”

“The body must stay fit. Fit people like themselves much better.”

“Without emotion there is no beauty.”

“I think your imagination is your reality.”

“Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.”

Her passion, wit and style genius speaks for itself. After Harper’s she went onto Vogue and when she was fired became a consultant at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. DianaVreeland_Memo_Slide01_960x733

Her life was spent in the most unconventional way. Most of all whatever she did, she was never boring!

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In the words of Bob Dylan

Yesterday evening while at Pet Smart I saw a Yorkie guide it’s owner to wherever she wanted to go. Detecting stubbornness, I laughed at the five-pounder taking the lead. Her owner said, “Has anyone ever told you look like Jackie Kennedy?” I smiled and thanked her. She added, “You should get yourself one of those hats.” With all the recent media coverage the Kennedy family has resurfaced in everyone’s mind. The last few weeks I’ve thought about a fashion post but with her statement came a historical inquiry mixed with my own views.

The unique and iconic 1950’s and 1960’s accessory has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia the pillbox hat was first worn by Roman soldiers during the late Roman empire, http://www.roman-empire.net and was known as the pilleus or “Pannonian cap.” As military headgear, it often includes a chin strap, and is seen in ceremonial occasions in some countries, primarily in the Commonwealth of Nations. A pillbox cap, also called a kilmarnock, is a modern manufacture of the traditional headdress worn by members of almost all Gurkha regiments.

At the time of the Kennedy administration, I would guess that it symbolized prim and proper high fashion, calling to mind the match-matchy ladylike fashion of the day. The early 1960’s were in my opinion more elegant than those the latter part of the decade when the androgynous hippie look took over. Jackie Kennedy’s first pillbox hat was crafted for her by Halston in bone white wool to wear at her husband’s presidential inauguration. Even though she did not consider herself much of a hat wearer, she found the shape of this simple yet stylish hat so flattering that it became her signature hat.

Why is the pillbox hat so flattering?

In my opinion it shows classic style. Anyone can put one on and the simple shape will accentuate your features in a gentle way. Like other vintage hats, it can be pinned or placed at different angles to get different effects ranging from coy to dramatic. The best part is that it goes with just about anything, giving a whimsical, delicate look to your outfits depending on what you choose.

Since the shape is so simple, embellishments can often be added for more of a festive look without looking overdone. You can adorn with a piece of netting to create a veil and add a touch of mystery. Or you can experiment with brooches. Those who are adept with a stitch can add trim to the top ring or around the bottom of the hat, or sew on clusters of beads of gems. And for an all time extravaganza, you can make it into a bridal veil by attaching a snood, in true Celtic style.

Personally, I like hats, and prefer a streamlined, non-fussy look with clean lines. It’s why my hat of choice has always been the beret. But I just may incorporate a pillbox into my wardrobe, my only question is, where will I wear it? It may end up in one of my hat boxes giggling with the berets.
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