Friday, August 1, 2014

La Divine Comtesse: The Countess of Castiglione

Last weekend I flew out to California to attend the 'Once Upon a Time' fundraiser for Lotusland.    Lotusland was created by its 'head gardener' and owner Madame Ganna Walska, a renowned Polish beauty, a singer, a collector of rich husbands and the creator of an extraordinary garden, Lotusland.  

In 1921, after the death of the poet and dandy, Robert de Montesquiou, Ganna Walska bought an album of photographs of the notorious beauty and eccentric, the Countess de Castiglione.  Montesquiou was obsessed with the Countess of Castiglione and worked for thirteen years on her biography, La Divine Comtesse.  Madame Walska played the title role in the play La Castiglione in 1929.  No doubt the hundreds of photographs she had bought from Montesquiou's estate helped her research the extraordinary character of the Countess.

Before there was Cindy Sherman or Daphne Guinness, there was the Countess de Castiglione...  fantasy, fashion, photography...

"The remains of a ball where a fire has broken out.  A chandelier on the floor.  Everyone in flight.  Shining white satin gown, black and red grapes with dark green and red leaves..."
Countess of Castiglione


"rendered speechless by this miracle of beauty: wonderful hair, the waist of a nymph, and a complexion the color of pink marble!  In a word Venus descended from the clouds"
Princess Metternich


"The Eternal Father did not know what he was creating the day he sent her into the world; he modeled and modeled, and when he had finished he looked at his wondrous work and was overwhelmed.  He left her in a corner without assigning her a place.  Meanwhile he was called away, and when he returned, he found the corner where he lad left her empty."
The Countess de Castiglione







love, kisses and be what you want to be, do what you want to do, Juliana



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Style Icon: Gloria Guiness

I was looking at my Assouline book, Swans: Legends of the Jet Society, when I came across this small image of Gloria Guinness:


And I was really struck by how chic she looked.  And I wondered why is she so perfect in this photo?  It is a simple white top and a plain white skirt.  I think it is the black accents: the white and black polka dotted head scarf, the sunglasses, the black bag that just gives it that slippery something that is STYLE.

I became Gloria Guinness obsessed and started googling images of her and I found this one - which again highlights her simple, je ne sais quoi, chic:

  
It looks to me like Gloria Guinness is wearing a Halston pajama: a silk bias cut tunic and pants .  And some cah-razy jewelry!

"I've never worn costume jewelry in my life.  It's really very self-defeating.  Why should a man buy a woman real jewelry when she wears false pieces?"
Gloria Guinness

love and kisses, Juliana

Friday, July 25, 2014

Best Dressed: Stephanie Seymour in Vintage Balenciaga

There were some beautiful dresses at the Met gala this year but my favorite (well, besides my friend Regina's 1930s Charles James - and my haute couture dress which was not vintage and I will write about soon) was Stephanie Seymour in a petal pink vintage Balenciaga ruffled gown.  She really looked beautiful.



And the dress!  I have always loved this dress.  She was photographed in it for Vogue awhile back and I loved it then.  But really, what is not to love?  The color (which is much more accurate in the photo below then on the above red carpet Met gala arrivals photos) is stunning, the ruffles are divine, it is 1960s Balenciaga...  You know, I also love and admire that Stephanie Seymour was not adverse to the volume either.  I know, from having RARE vintage, many women will not wear volume of any sort and I thought it was amazing that she wore it and of course, she looked absolutely beautiful.


The dress reminds me of Irving Penn's flower photographs...



love and kisses, Juliana




Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Black Swan: Jacqueline de Ribes

Before there was AdR (Anna dell Russo) there was JdR: Jacqueline de Ribes.

"She is the pearl in the king of Poland's ear, the Queen of Sheba's tallow-dropped emerald, Diane de Poitier's crescent tiara, the Ring of Nibelungen.  She is a castle in Bavaria, a tall, black swan, a royal blue orchid."
Yves Saint Laurent

Don't you just wish someone would describe you that way?!

I saw an article about Jacqueline de Ribes from when she launched her namesake fashion line in 1983 with the title: From Riches to Rags.  De Ribes fashion line was clearly a reflection of her own life.  She knew clothes, knew grand parties in Paris and Venice and had long been a couture client when she decided to make her own "pret-couture".  

"De Ribes clothes are frightfully glamorous, like her."
C.Z. Guest

Yesterday...

Jacqueline de Ribes in a lace and sequin dress of her own design.

Today...


Jacqueline de Ribes lace and sequin dress available for purchase at RARE vintage.

How to wear it?  Wear it when you yourself are feeling frightfully glamorous (which we all need to feel sometimes : ) for a cocktail party.

Buy the 1980s vintage Jacquleine de Ribes lace and black sequin dress here.  Read more about JdR here.

And wear it with:

A Jimmy Choo lace pump with a black patent leather pointed toe.


Buy the Jimmy Choo shoe here.

love and kisses, Juliana

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lanvin Fall 2014 Ad Campaign

I love the kooky, fun film from the Lanvin fall ad campaign.  It features the model Edie Hicks and her entire family.  Mom Sophie Hicks, sister Olympia Campbell, brother Arthur, father Roddy, grandma Joan, grandpa Jeremy, as well as Edie and Olympia's boyfriends, Otis Ferry and Mateo.  I almost forgot, there is also Edie's horse Dolly and an adorable Alber Elbaz...

And the clothes and accessories look great!  You know the Hilfiger family Christmas ad?  Well, if I had a choice between families and clothes, I would go with the Campbell family and the Lanvin clothes!



Mom, Sophie Hicks, is a former fashion editor for Tatler and British Vogue - and was also a stylist for Azzedine Alaia.  She is now a renowned architect, designing the Chloe boutiques and Yohji Yamamoto's Paris flagship store.  Grandmother, Joan Hicks, was a model in the fifties and worked with the photographer Norman Parkinson.  So, in other words, they must have some amazing vintage in those closets at home!  When I am a grandmother, this is how I want to look... but I want to wear a feather hat too ; )




love, kisses and love the new Lanvin campaign, Juliana

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Style Inspiration: The Breton Top

Yesterday...


Coco Chanel wore her Breton striped sailor shirt with a pair of baggy trousers cinched at the waist next to an allée of lavender.   It looks like a late summer day in the South of France and Coco woke up and borrowed her lover's clothes to take her dog for a walk.  But what it was, was a revolution in style.  Women out of corsets and into something freer, sportier.  

Today...


On the cover of Net-a-Porter's magazine, The Edit, is Le Style de Coco.  A Proenza Schouler Breton striped tee and high waisted pants, cinched at the waist with an Alexander McQueen belt and Gucci sneakers.  

And at RARE vintage, I am thinking about mixing Alexander Wang with Chanel.  

How to wear it:

Chanel high waisted blue suede shorts with gold buttons from the 90s

 

with a T by Alexander Wang striped shirt


Shop the RARE vintage Chanel shorts here and the T by Alexander Wang here.

Love, kisses and le style de Coco, Juliana


Monday, July 21, 2014

My Date for the 2014 Met Gala was Charles James

Well, not exactly - but my date for the Met gala did wear a Charles James periwinkle blue silk chiffon gown from the 1930s.  Do you know what the chances were of someone actually wearing a Charles James dress to the the Charles James exhibit at the Met?  Well, as the saying goes a million to one.  It is all the more surprising because Charles James, famously difficult, loathe to even actually give his dresses to the clients who had paid for them, had a remarkable but small production.  There simply are not many Charles James pieces out there.  They rarely come up for auction, are seldom even seen and there are very few still privately owned.

But my date, my friend and vintage haute couture collector, Regina Drucker, wore not, only a Charles James gown but an extremely rare and exceptionally early 1930s gown.   Regina, for obvious reasons, is my frenemy because I love her very amazing collection and every so often, we discover we have been bidding against each other at an auction for the same item - great minds think alike!

Regina was recently featured in the Financial Times in an article on Conceptual Fashion (you can read it here).  Regina collects important  pieces by Issey Miyake and had bought an early 1970s Miyake linen jumpsuit from RARE vintage.  She obviously has very good taste ; )

The Financial Times referred to 'wearer-collectors' and I like that term very much.  You can be collector  and a wearer but being a wearer comes with some responsibilities.  Sometimes the wearer-collector even saves a vintage piece that some may have felt was not worth the trouble but as you will see with Regina's Met gala outfit, it was very well worth the trouble and challenges.

So Regina wore an early 1930s Charles James periwinkle blue silk chiffon dress with streamers.  She paired it with a 1960s Balenciaga coat the color of fallen autumn leaves and a Stephen Jones feathered head piece and vintage Manolo Blahniks.

At The Mark, a few hours before the Met gala...




A detail of the back of the dress with its distinctive and thoroughly unconventional cowl like back with the streamers pulling through...


Here is a detail of Charles James' signature seaming - he did things no other designer would do - the angled seaming slopes diagonally from the hip to the center and then straight down:


Front detail with its folded over edge making a shawl collar:


And a note on Regina's Balenciaga coat which she had restored by a priest, by hand... it looks like feathers but it is actually organza with a frayed edge and each organza curl was heated and curled by hand to resemble a feather - there are hundreds and hundreds of these organza curls!  And it is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!

The pale seashell pink Stephen Jones feather headpiece you see in the photo below is flecked with little crystals and was a purchase from RARE vintage.  You see, Regina does have very good taste!


Regina was a smashing success in her James and Balenciaga, Stephen Jones ensemble, with Hamish Bowles, Stephen Jones, Alber Elbaz and more all running up to her...

I love you Regina and thank you for being my date, we had a grand time! Juliana

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Valentino Dishes

I can be very repetitive - when I really love something, a film, a book, a place, a dress... I can return to it over and over again without getting ever getting bored.  One of my favorite books is Nan's Kempner's entertaining book R.S.V.P. 


R.S.V.P. 'Menus for Entertaining from People who Really Know How' was written in 2000 by Nan Kempner and lushly photographed by Quentin Bacon.   I keep it at our beach house and I can pick it up on a cozy fall afternoon in front of the fire and take a visit with Nan to Anne Bass' country house in Connecticut and have a lunch (with Bill Blass) of seared pork loin with herb lime butter, Jack Daniel's Yam purée with buttered pecans and an apple far with maple cream.  

On a summer day, from our deck, I can go with Nan to Tuscany to visit Robin Hambro's Tuscan farmhouse and have fried sage leaves with anchovies, a toasty bruschetta with tomatoes and basil and fresh figs with lavender infused cream.  For all of the many delicious sounding recipes, I have actually only made the fried sage leaves with anchovies so far for some reason (they were delicious!)... but I can be almost as happy to read about food as I am to make it... almost...

Nan and I can also spend the day on Valentino's yacht, the T.M. Blue One, with the pugs.

"Valentino has a remarkable sense of flavor and textural combinations.  His food is imaginative and creative, and he designs his menus in much the same way he designs his fashions.  For each meal, he prepares a menu book for his chef, sketching out what he wants.  He then spends time on the kitchen developing the recipes for the chef, specifying ingredients and discussing how to realize the dish he has in mind - not just how it will taste but how the dish will be presented."
Nan Kempner

So on the T.M. Blue One, we had barley seafood salad, fresh seafood ravioli with sea bass sauce and a caprese cake.  Delicious food, in a delicious setting.




Above photos by Quentin Bacon from Nan Kempner's book R.S.V.P. Menus for Entertaining from People Who Really Know How.

I was very excited to read that Valentino, the Emperor of stylish fashion, stylish homes and stylish food has a book coming out in the fall on just that!  Valentino: At the Emperor's Table will be published by Assouline on October 28th.  The photographs are by one of my favorite photographers, Oberto Gili.  So let's get ready for Gstaad, London, Rome, New York, Paris and another visit to the T.M.Blue with Mr. Valentino.  Recipes included!

Valentino At The Emperors Table.  Photos by Oberto Gili.  Published by Assouline.

love, kisses and see you on the T.M. Blue One, Juliana

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Paris Couture July 2014 Street Style

I was trying to find my favorite image from the Paris haute couture street style looks and it took awhile.  I wanted to find someone who did not look like they were wearing a 'street style' costume and I finally found her!


It is almost a seaside look but the tailored jacket and the Chanel bag take it from the seaside to the city.  And the Isabel Marant Holden sandal... when I saw them in the stores, I already owned the Givenchy floral birkenstocks and also a pair of white birkenstocks from Net-a-Porter.  And the question at the time was: how many birkenstocks or similarly comfortable/borderline fugly shoes can a wife have in her closet before husband can't take it any more?  I knew three times would not make them anymore charming to my husband.  So I passed.  But now seeing how great they look, I kind of regret it...

love, kisses and maybe I can still find them on sale : ) Juliana

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Falls Flat

Mornings are for Instagram.  And this morning I saw three lovelies from Nicolas Ghesquiere's Instagram all wearing black dresses and FLAT sandals!  I have never been a bathing suit and heels kind of woman - thankfully!  I love a summer dress with a summer flat and have pretty much been addicted to my Saint Laurent sandals from last summer which I lovingly had protection put on last fall because I intend to wear those puppies for years!



love and kisses, Juliana

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Strong Architecture of Thierry Mugler

We have just received a wonderful collection of Thierry Mugler 80s pieces at RARE vintage and what I find remarkable about the collection is their sense of Frank Gehry architecture - Mugler's designs wrapped a woman's body in torque and sensual curves.  Waists are defined, curves are exaggerated, there are points and seams sharply wrapping and defining jackets, collars, the hips of a dress...  

I will be posting more pieces over the next week but thought I would start with this electric blue mini dress with iconic Mugler exaggerated shoulders, blues snaps, a nipped in waist and a slight curve to the skirt...

JUST IN...


love, kisses and be strong, be beautiful in Mugler, Juliana

Loafing Around

Just recently I posted a photograph of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy in a black slip dress and black loafers and I loved the unexpected juxtaposition of feminine and masculine.  And then I saw a photo of Amber Heard in a similar look.  It looks pretty amazing - especially with the peek-a-boo cutout in her brogues.  Think I will give the look a try...




love, kisses and slip something on : ) Juliana

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Importance of Being Scott Schuman

I was recently catching up with Scott Schuman, i.e. The Sartorialist and I was struck by how really beautiful his photographs are.  His photographs are kind, never cruel, he has an eye for detail but there is a vastness to the moments in his photographs and his lighting, which I assume is natural lighting, is cinematic.  

I particularly love his photographs of men.





but of course his photographs of women are beautiful too...



All photographs by Scott Schuman at The Sartorialist

love and kisses, Juliana

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