Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I ♥ Your American Style: Ricky Lauren

As you know, I always have a style icon lurking in my head.  Whether real or fictional, alive or dead, man or woman, having someone to inspire me always makes getting dressed more fun. Lately I've been obsessing over women with classic American style, particularly from the 70's. The simplicity of casual sportswear with a bit of grooviness like oversized sunglasses, flared jeans or muted colors make American style look sexier than it has in other decades. My latest discovery in this vein is Ricky Lauren. I have seen some of these pictures before, but never have they spoken to me so clearly.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The ladies of Chanel

Whenever a Chanel show happens, I am equally excited to see the careful selected attendees as I am to see the new clothes that go down the runway. The team at Chanel are as brilliant in soliciting loyalty from the chicest women on earth as they are in finding the very latest talent and style icons to introduce to us all. I remember the very first time I noticed Clemence Poesy, Lilly Allen and Anna Muglalis - they were sitting in the front row of a Chanel show. And it's always thrilling when Ines de la Fressange makes an appearance, loyally mixing her Chanel clothes with her Vivier accessories (while she was a long time Chanel muse, she is now Vivier's brand ambassador). Speaking of brand ambassadors - Chanel's own Caroline Sieber, Vanessa Traina, Jen Brill, Poppy Delevigne and Vanessa Paradis all perfectly represent the brand in their own personalized way. And then there is Alexa Chung, who manages her signature sexy/cute look especially well in Chanel. Finally, there is usually a surprise wild card guest - someone of major fame and major style, who is not a regular but gives enough heart stopping adreline to get international attention. This past show it was Tilda Swinton, and yes, my heart did stop at the site of her. But it's not just the amazing women who make me excited to look at the pictures - it's the beautiful clothes in front of the stunning sets in poignant and often unexpected locations. I imagine Coco Chanel would expect nothing less.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Safe and Sound

We made it to England all in one piece! The last 24 hours in New York were never-ending. You know that feeling when every bone in your body is telling you to stop what you are doing and lie down to get some sleep, and you aren't even close to being finished? That's how it was. We packed, made lists, copied keys, labeled the dog crate and cleaned out closets right until the very last minute. I think we got everything done. I haven't had any horrible realizations of things forgotten yet.

The biggest stress about the journey was our dog Ginger. She is our wonderful and beloved rescue dog who has a very fragile disposition. Given her Scooby Doo-like reactions to thunderstorms (spread eagle, lying on top of me, shaking like a leaf), I was worried that the loud noises and the uneven movements of the plane might just be too much for her. We followed the airline instructions to the letter and read every possible website with pointers and tips for dogs flying in cargo. Then to add to the stress, we called Heathrow the day before the flight to clear Ginger for customs and were told that the wait to pick her up after the flight would be 5 hours!! After begging and pleading with the airline staff to have her expedited, they casually mentioned we could have her delivered to our house for a mere 88 pounds (about $140 dollars). While we quickly jumped at that option, it only prolonged the time until we knew Ginger was ok. During the flight, every noise, jolt and awkward moment had me worried about our precious baby down below. Nevertheless, at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after we arrived at home, a minivan pulled up and we all ran outside with great anticipation. We opened the crate with shaky hands, and Ginger jumped right out doing her signature wiggle dance, in which her tail, which is way too long for her body, shakes so wildly that its swings her entire body side to side.

The next task was to introduce Ginger to the animals. Our house is right in the middle of the farmyard and the stables right beside us contain horses, donkeys and pigs. Given that Ginger is terrified of the two great danes that live in our NYC neighborhood, I didn't have high hopes for her reaction to much stranger and larger animals. She briefly cowered in front of the pigs, didn't seem at all phased by the donkeys and ran up dangerously close to the horses, who were being saddled up to be ridden. My daughter Coco mounted one and took off - it has long been a dream of hers that Ginger would follow her as she rides around the farm. But Ginger stayed right by my side, not budging. Give her some time, I suggested. But as Coco eased her horse into a trot as she was nearing the woods, Ginger took off after her and followed them until they all reappeared together an hour later. Ginger was wet, muddy and out of breath, but I have never seen her happier.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last day in New York

This is what moving to a foreign country looks like. It is not glamorous. It is not fun. There is nothing sane about it. They say that death, divorce and moving are the three most traumatic human experiences. They are not kidding. You may think that the below pictures were taken weeks ago when the packing was just getting going. No. They were taken this morning! And yes, we are leaving tomorrow! Did I just start packing this week? NO! I have been packing for a month straight! How am I going to get this all done? I'll probably pull an all-nighter. What does one even take for an all-nighter these days? I haven't had to stay up all night since the days of they even sell that stuff anymore?

Ginger is the only one not pulling her hair out....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Style: Playing dress-up in Palm Beach

Another discovery as I have been furiously packing was my little pile of photos from the epic children's parties the Azqueta family gave all through the 70's in Palm Beach. Every kid that grew up in Palm Beach during that time remembers these parties because everyone in the whole town was invited. I even found some photos on the web - Samantha Boardman posted hers on Tory Burch's blog and Nicole Robinson put hers up on Facebook. These photos are so coveted because they hold the happiest of childhood memories and because, I think, no one can believe these parties actually happened. They were OVER THE TOP! The entire house and huge backyard was lavishly decorated according to the theme, whether it was a birthday party, an Easter party or a 4th of July party, and the whole outside was filled with carousels, ferris wheels, trampolines, county castles, pony rides, and face painters. As a kid you just couldn't imagine a better party. And now as I look back as an adult I also remember the joy of dressing up for these occasions, as every party the Azqueta's hosted required a costume. I can't help but wonder if this is the genesis of my using clothes to play a role and rise to an occasion. Regardless, the moms' chic, casual 70's sportswear is equally inspiring. Who doesn't love the 70's?

Yes, that's me on the right. I think my face pretty much says it all. And my sister is wearing my mother's lace christening dress. I was so jealous.

l love this picture of my mom (holding my hand) - it says everything I love about 70's style - casual clothes with big hair and big sunglasses.

The Robinson family showing up at the Native American themed party.

Here I am as a pirate. (I love the woman's outfit on the left)

The entrance to the pirate party.

Samantha and Serena Boardman with their mother Pauline, looking chic as can be.

Me, in a moment of reflection, or rather posing. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I ♥ Your Style: Hope Atherton

With 6 days to go until we move to England, I have been consumed by packing. But going through ten years of, well, stuff, in my apartment has produced some long forgotten treasures like these pictures of artist Hope Atherton and her loft that were taken for I Love Your Style many years ago now. The portrait of Hope made it into the book, but I'm looking at the photos of her favorite clothes hung out for me to see on my visit, and I can't believe I didn't find a way to fit in. I especially love the piece of worn green leather that she credits with "inspiring her whole style." Oh well, such is publishing - editing, editing, editing. Anyway, I love the completeness and originality of her boho-meets-goth-meets-Miss Havisham style and how it manifests itself in every nook and cranny of her life and her art. She's the real deal.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snapshot: 90's Tom Ford for Gucci

I love seeing how iconic designer clothes integrate themselves into everyday life. I'm not talking about party pictures or photo shoots - I'm talking real life. How they get worn at home or on vacation, how they get mixed together with things you already own or adapted to work in your particular lifestyle. The below photo I took of my friend Lulu Anderson in the south of France in the late 90's. She was fashion editor at the London Telegraph at the time and was so delighted to get her hands on this Tom Ford for Gucci dress from his famous hippie collection. Even more delightful was when designer Jasper Conran and his boyfriend showed up for lunch in matching short shorts from the same collection. Do you remember what year it was? Was it '98?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Printed Matter: Is That So Kid

I love the integrity of an intense, long term creative collaboration between artist and muse. Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn, Yves Saint Laurent and Loulou de la Falaise, Pablo Picasso and Dora Marr, and more recently John Currin and Rachel Feinstein. These of course are the obvious ones, but there are perhaps lesser known pairings that were equally successful and inspiring. From a fashion perspective, my favorite artist/muse pairing is photographer David Bailey and model/actress Angelica Huston, the result of which is compiled into the book "Is That So Kid." Nearly all the designers I have worked for have used these photos for inspiration at some point. At Diane Von Furstenberg we designed a whole collection around the "orchid picture" he took for British Vogue in the 70's. There is something about the transformative nature of Anjelica's exotic beauty that makes every single picture compelling, from natural beach girl to nautical chic woman to high styled fashion glamazon. And the added bonus? See if you can spot Grace Coddington...

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Church Mouse

I have a strong emotional attachment to The Church Mouse thrift shop in Palm Beach - it is the birth place of my passion for all things vintage. At 9 years old, just when I was on the cusp of getting interested in clothes, my step-mother Hilary started taking me with her around to all resale shops. This might seem like quite a normal thing to do now, but at the time, thrifting was not cool, especially in Palm Beach. But Hilary wasn't from there, and she wasn't attached to the idea of having the newest, greatest thing. She was creative - a true original - and sincerely unconcerned with what anyone thought of her. She was in thrift shopping heaven in Palm Beach, where the well-heeled ladies gave away their beautiful clothes and furnishings to benefit the charitable causes they cared about. The epicenter of generous giving was at The Church Mouse, benefitting the Bethesda-By-The-Sea, the church where, in fact, my own parents were married.

Over the years, highlights from my Church Mouse purchases included a black satin Chanel belt with a bow in the back and a gold chain hanging off the buckle in the front, a few long jersey Halston dresses, brown lizard Gucci loafers with a fringe under the horse bit detail, a brown wool Courreges suit from the 60's, and stunning canary yellow Miss Dior feather "chubby." I can't tell you how exhilarating the feeling was walking in there each time, knowing the nearly guaranteed treasures that lay ahead to be discovered. It was too good too be true, and of course it didn't last.

Sometime in the late 90's I was in there towards the end of the August, when my summer savings were running low, and I came across a dead chic Balenciaga leopard jacket for $200. I wanted it so badly. But after a day of reflection I decided it was too expensive. Soon after I recognized my insanity (not that it wasn't too expensive for my budget, because it was, but that I had to find a way to have it anyway). I manically did chores around my dad's house to earn extra money and went back a few weeks later to get the jacket. It was gone.

Almost a year later when I was working as an intern for Patrick Demarchelier, Stephanie Seymour arrived on set one day, and the minute she came on set my heart sank and my eyes widened. She was wearing the Balenciaga jacket from The Church Mouse. I knew then that the Church Mouse wasn't my secret any more, but I still visit there every single time I go to Palm Beach hoping to find a treasure. Sometimes I do.

My nostalgia for The Church Mouse got a boost a few years ago when my Dad sent me some of my grandmother Beatrice's fashion illustrations to include in "I Love Your Style." Tucked into the pile of her drawings was a hand-drawn logo for the Church Mouse and an invitation to its opening in 1970, with the same logo printed on the front. I was delighted to discover that she had played such a meaningful role in its debut.