Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not entirely sure what year these Polaroids are from – I'm guessing sometime in the early-'90s – but it may well have been the last time I had a proper, family Thanksgiving at home (eg., with my parents, in the house where I grew up).  That is, until today, when P and I joined my parents for a small, just-the-four-of-us holiday that was as delicious as it was lovely, and entirely laid-back to boot.  In short, lots of laughter and lots of love, which is what I wish for all of you – a very happy holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Credo » Robert Browning

A little reminder this week to be thankful for the simple and the beautiful things in the world.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Pitch » Mercedes-Benz, 1978

You do, however, have to fly one to get the cool black passport and to have your parking tickets waived.  So, you know, still some benefits to the diplomatic corps, if that's the route you want to go.  Also apparently super-special duty-free shopping, where you can go on and buy your own Benz.  And we're back where we started from – a round-trip, if you will.*

*But you don't have to.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Story » "The Rebel," Esquire's Big Black Book F/W 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor seem to be everywhere lately, and I'm not entirely sure why the sudden romantic fascination for these well-dressed yet highly controversial historical figures.  Regardless, this spread from Esquire's F/W 2011 Big Black Book is the best editorial I've seen, so I thought I'd pass it along.  Her pink Isacc Mizrahi number is a particular favorite of mine. 

This » Letterpress Bookplates

As you may have noticed, I'm kind of a book person.  More or less.  And while my dream is to have custom bookplates for our shared library, until we can agree on a design (and, you know, afford to print a few thousand or so) I'll content myself with the pre-printed variety – these letterpress versions from Etsy fit the bill nicely.  I'd put the peacocks in my art books, the cozy chairs in our battered classics, and of course the red shoe in the fashion books...but what for history, politics, and reference?  Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LVS » 15.11.2011

Doing my very best batty-old-English-professor today; mostly because I got cold and this vintage tweed number was the warmest blazer to hand.  I will say though that I'm hoping dressing the part will bode well for today's dissertation effort – I sure could use a burst of productivity.  Anybody else already over this week, even though it's only Tuesday? 

Credo » Frank Lloyd Wright

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ladies' & Gents' » Two Vests

Ladies' & Gents': Vests
While the last two ads may have depicted men, the vest is very much a gender-neutral garment, and to prove it I've put together one outfit that incorporates the puffy and the tweed vest, and is comprised of pieces that are available for both boys and girls.  I know, it's a little overwhelming (especially since I went a little crazy with the arrows & they might not all make perfect sense) but here's how it works:
  1/button-up shirt + 2/tweed vest + 3/jeans + 4/navy blazer + 5/desert boots + 6/outerwear vest

Piece o' cake.  But then I'm a vest person.  Any others out there?

The Pitch » English-Tailored Post-Boy Vests by Rogers Peet Company, 1963

Last week's vest ad doesn't seem to have gone over quite as well as I hoped (no love for pipe-smoking '70s mountain men, eh?), so perhaps the above will have a greater appeal.  It's from a November 1963 issue of The New Yorker, but the pocket square and narrow repp tie certainly wouldn't be out of place today.  Considering that the New York clothier opened its doors in the late-eighteenth century, I'd say it's safe to conclude that the classics never really go out of style.  What do you think?
(signage & company history found here)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

LVS » Minor Incidents

Two pictures that speak volumes about me, what I love, and how I live: shoes stacked on piles of books draped in accessories.

The Pitch » Coming Attractions Ltd. Vest, 1977

P found this ad while flipping through an old copy of Rolling Stone (No. 254, December 15, 1977, "The Tenth Anniversary Issue," for those of you keeping track at home) last night and since Valet featured vests in their morning round-up the timing just seemed right.  I love that it bills itself as "a new concept in apparel" for combining "warmth," "comfort," and "reversability" – though who knows – maybe in 1977 those were novel attributes?  The only information I can find about the company is a lawsuit they lost in 2000 over the domain "," but maybe someone else out there in the world of wilderness apparel knows something, or better yet, bought the vest?  If so I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

LVS » 7.11.2011

Some days it's all about the details.  I found this incredible herringbone blazer at the thrift store last week and couldn't be more excited about it – the fabric and construction are incredible, exactly as one would expect from a custom, hand tailored garment.  Of course, it wasn't hand tailored for me, but a girl gets over these things...see that gold stitching around the label?  It continues all along the inside edge of the liner.  And yes, someone else's name is embroidered on the inside pocket, but look at the line of that pocket (also, um, inside pockets?  I'm kind of a sucker and they're all too infrequent in women's jackets).  With a couple sparkly brooches and a complimentary zebra bag, I have to say, I'm feeling quite pleased with the whole thing.

The Story » "The Rogue," Esquire's Big Black Book F/W 2011

I recognize that, as the second large editorial in a publication billing itself as "The Style Manual for Successful Men," this spread was meant to be about, well, the men's clothes.  And of course, the gents look great, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the woman's styling as well – the coat in the picture above even inspired me pull out some herringbone of my own today (check back later for outfit pics).  So who do you think wins best-dressed here: the boys, or the girl?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This » Saturday Night In

So nice sometimes, don't you think?

LVS » 5.11.11

Brisk and windy today, so basically exactly the perfect weather to bring out my beloved waxed cotton that I picked up earlier this year (just before it was too warm to wear it).  Needless to say, it's been hanging at the front of my closet the last few weeks, ready and waiting to be called to action.  I'm confident today's wearing will be the first of many.  What about you – is there a piece in your wardrobe you've been waiting for the cold weather to wear?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Story » Geof Kern for Neiman Marcus, The Art of Fashion, 1995

Twice every year Neiman Marcus puts together these amazing spreads called The Art of Fashion showcasing the most beautiful bits of the Fall & Spring collections shot by the best of the best photographers (the current edition trains Norma Jean Roy's lens on Drew Barrymore). Which means twice every year I find myself drooling by the postbox in a Pavlovian frenzy waiting not-at-all patiently for The Book to arrive. And I've been doing it diligently for the past sixteen years.

Why on earth? Because in September of 1995 I had a subscription to Harper's Bazaar - then under the editorship of the extraordinary Liz Tilberis - and that month the magazine contained an incredible, 29-page Cinderella-story about a mannequin who escaped her window for a brief stint at a fabulous estate - where she naturally had the chance to try on all of the season's best designer fare.

It was the fourth installment in the Art of Fashion series, and it was epic. And I got hooked.  Can you blame me?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pitch » Limpiadores, 1951

I've been promising P for awhile (cough*weeks*cough) now that we would do a serious, large-scale seasonal house-cleaning, and as my excuses seem to have run out, it looks like today's the day.  Much to his dismay, I am much more OCD and much less cheery than the women in these ads (from a 1951 issue of La Familia, a Mexican women's magazine from which there is much, much more to come).  Although, let's be honest – who is ever that happy to do laundry or wash dishes?  Isn't this the advertising lie that Peggy exists to debunk on Mad Men?  Or maybe it's just me; do you enjoy housework?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

LVS » 2.11.2011

Tried out the whole vest-over-a-blazer-thing today, and I think I liked it.  Anyone else doubling up their outwear yet?  

The Pitch » "This is an advertisement!"

This is to assure Simon Doonan: there are those among us who do remember, and we will carry the torch.
Moschino Couture! ad from the September 1989 issue of Spy Magazine

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This » Simon Doonan at Fashion Group International’s 28th Annual Night of Stars

"Normally, I kick off this event with a little frivolity. Brace yourselves—tonight will be a little different. It’s going to get a little heavy, but in a good way, in a meaningful way.
30 years ago, I took my boyfriend to the doctor. “It’s just an ingrown hair,” I said, pointing to the purple mark on his neck.
The doctor had a different diagnosis. “You have AIDS,” he told my friend.
“Can you give my friend a referral to a specialist?” I asked.
“There are no specialists. There is no referral… Are you guys religious?”
Within two years, my pal was dead, and so were many of my other friends and colleagues. To date, over 600,000 people have died of AIDS in the U.S. alone.
30 years ago, when AIDS arrived, it hit the fashion industry—our people—like a sledgehammer. Many of you will recall how bleak and ghastly it was. Like me, you can only remember those dark days with a mixture of horror and sadness. To those of you young fashionistas who were not around, I can only say this: You have no idea how lucky you are.
One after another, the brightest and boldest succumbed to this horrifying disease. Our creative pals—some famous, some infamous, most unknown and just starting to hit their stride—all perished after being unwittingly infected by the disease of the century. Many died agonizing deaths in the hallways of hospitals, without hope or familial support. Back then, in the early days, AIDS really was just like a medieval plague: “Who is next?” was the question on all our lips.
AIDS decimated a broad spectrum of the fashion universe, including Patrick Kelly, Angel Estrada, Isaia, Adrian Cartmel, Fabrice, Clovis Ruffin, Halston, Antonio Lopez, Juan Ramos, Tina Chow, Peter Lester, Tim Hawkins, Sergio Galeotti, Robert Hayes, and Laughlin Barker.
We also lost photographers David Seidner, Barry McKinley, Tony Viramontes, Herb Ritts, Bill King, Stephen Arnold, and Kenneth McGowan.
[And we lost] so many of my window dresser pals: Bob Currie, Michael Cipriano, Colin Burch, Bob Benzio, and Stephen Di Petrie.
At the height of this dark and horrible period, I recall visiting a sick friend named Jeffrey Herman. He was a model-turned-photographer who had just begun to receive some recognition for his pictures when he fell ill. During Jeffrey’s agonizing last days, he expressed a very pessimistic conviction: “This is the end. We are all headed towards oblivion… Nobody will remember us. We will evaporate. We are dust. We are the lost generation.”
I often think about what Jeffrey said and sometimes I wonder if he was right. Fashion is ephemeral by nature. Fashion is about what’s next. Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster (there, a bit of humor).
And now the fashion industry has become this massive ever-expanding juggernaut, with 400 shows instead of the mere 20 we had back in 1981. Now that we have the 24-hour madness and fabulousness of the Internet bloggings and tweetings,  it is conceivable that we might forget.
When AIDS struck, the fashion world rallied as never before: Kenneth Cole, Anna Wintour, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren—and yes, Barneys. I am proud to say we did the first retail AIDS fundraiser at our 17th Street store in the mid ‘80s. The philanthropic effort was unprecedented. And the effort continues…
But tonight, I am not talking about fundraising. I am talking about something else.
I am talking about remembrance.
When I saw how beautifully the victims of 9/11 were memorialized this past September, I could not help but think also of our fallen heroes. I thought of the bright lights of fashion who were cruelly snuffed out in the 1980s. And I thought about how important it is for us to keep the flame burning for our friends who slipped away from us over a quarter of a century ago. Not just for ourselves, but also for the upcoming generation—many of whom were not even born in 1981.
The next generation needs to know that Perry Ellis was a real person, not just a brand name, but a beautiful, generous man with long hair and a uniquely poetic vision. They should know that Moschino is not just a made-up name on a label in the neck of a frock. Franco Moschino was a true innovator, an Italian surrealist with a wicked wit. We need to share our memories of talented and inspirational eccentrics like Klaus Nomi, Tommy Rubnitz, Leigh Bowery, Way Bandy and Ricky Wilson (of the B-52s). And we need to share the magic and the bravado and positivity of great fashion designers like Willi Smith.
So let’s prove Jeffrey wrong. Let’s always speak their names and pass on their passion and their legacy. Thank you."

Speech reposted in its entirety from Barneys blog, The Window.

This » Creed Royal Water

Because Creed samples can be somewhat difficult to get one's hands on, I'm in a bit of quandary at the moment over a little vial of Royal Water that recently came into my possession.  You see I really, really like the way it smells, but I also really don't want to use it all up, because then it would be gone.  And I don't want that.  Tough life, no?  I suppose I could share it with P, and then maybe he'd like it enough to grab the gorgeous fla├žon above, which I could then appropriate...That'd be fair, right? I share mine with him, he shares his with me – after all, it is one of their universal scents.  Think he'll go for it?