Throwback Thursday: Charming Ceylon, 1931

07/02/2013 § Leave a comment


Filed under: the amazing things you can discover on the internets.
A look at the charming British colony of Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) in 1931.
Found via The Travel Film Archive.

Happy Birthday Amelia!

24/07/2012 § Leave a comment

Excited to see today’s Google Doodle honors Ms. Earhart’s 115th birthday!

For more Amelia, revisit the Style Icon post I did on her a few months back.

Happy Birthday Amelia!

A Day at the Races: Belmont Park in the 1910s

08/06/2012 § 3 Comments

In case you hadn’t heard, I’ll Have Another has withdrawn from the Belmont Stakes in New York this weekend due to a tendon injury.  I’m a bit sad that the chestnut 3 year-old colt won’t be making a run at becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, but of course it is for the best.

Since I’m left without a horse to back – I’ll Have Another actually won me a pretty penny on Derby Day – I decided to see if I couldn’t find us some photos from race days past at Belmont Park. The Library of Congress delivered in a major way with wonderful images dated between 1910 and 1915 of the track, Mr. August Belmont, Jr. and his wife, a couple of lady Roosevelts and anonymous racegoers dressed in their finest.  I love how some of these look like the streetstyle photography so popular today.  Perhaps we should get Scott Schuman a time machine…

A sea of straw boaters…

August Belmont, Jr.

Paul Drennan Cravath (of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, for the law nerds)
with August Belmont, Jr.

Mrs. August Belmont, wearing a rather rad hat.

Mrs. Edith Roosevelt
(Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt and former First Lady)

Eleanor Butler “Bunny” Alexander-Roosevelt
(Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.)

I feel as though this picture must be labeled incorrectly.
This woman looks nothing like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, or is it me?

All images via The Library of Congress.

New Addition || Put A Horse On It: Life Magazine, 1937

01/05/2012 § 5 Comments

This weekend while on a walk in my neighborhood, I stopped by one of my favorite shops in Tribeca, Philip Williams Posters, on a bit of a lark.  While the store is best known for its collection of vintage posters, my attention was drawn from the window by what looked like a massive stack of magazines.  Once inside, I simultaneously realized that they were Life Magazines and that my afternoon was pretty much sealed.

You already know how much I love Life Magazine: I collect them, I read virtual copies on Google Books and wander for (way too many) hours in the online archive.  Coming at this cache of vintage media from multiple directions sometimes provides the opportunity for the kind of pleasant surprise I had this weekend.

First off, you put a horse on anything and I will at least give it a second look.  You put one on the cover of a Life Magazine from the 1930s and mention it’s a polo pony?  Dead.  Before even cracking this baby open, I knew it was coming home with me.  But when I did, I realized I was already familiar with the photos inside as they were part of a set that I had discovered in the archives a few weeks ago — and trust me when I say there is nothing in there tagged “polo” that I haven’t already seen.

I especially love the advertisements.

The feature is about George H. “Pete” Bostwick (August 14, 1909 – January 13, 1982), steeplechase jockey, horse trainer, 8-goal polo player and grandson to Jabez A. Bostwick, a founder and treasurer of Standard Oil Company of New York and partner of John D. Rockefeller. Pete’s favored game, high-goal polo, was a pastime of the wealthy in the 1930s, but Pete made an unprecedented, egalitarian move: he invited the public to watch him and his friends play at Bostwick Field on Long Island, charging only fifty cents for admission.  It was an immediate hit.

These photos were taken 1937 in Long Island by Alfred Eisenstaedt.  Because relatively few actually made it into the issue, having access to the archive allowed me to really enjoy even more photos than were published.  This is about to be a long post, so I must apologize in advance if you don’t enjoy looking at black and white photos of horses, polo or people in their Sunday best.  I will apologize, but I’ll think you’re kinda crazy.

A 28 year-old Pete Bostwick, center.
“There is no use sitting in school when one
can sit on a horse and go somewhere.

Pete Bostwick: lover of polo, beer and cable knit sweaters.

If you’d like to read the feature yourself, you can find it here, via Google Books.

Philip Williams Posters || 122 Chambers St., Tribeca || 212.513.0313

Reading List || The Titanic Edition

12/04/2012 § 2 Comments

Grand staircase of the Titanic. Image via Retronaut.

I have a mild obsession with Titanic — the historical event much more so than the Cameron film, but I’m not going to even try to pretend like I didn’t make my high school boyfriend sit through that 3 hour extravaganza — twice.**   And so, I’ve put together a roundup Reading List in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster; the concurrent 15th anniversary and 3D release of the 1997 James Cameron film; and the people who didn’t realize Titanic was real, not just a movie:

Amazing photographs:  Construction of the Titanic || Interiors of the Titanic || Photographs taken onboard Titanic by Father SJ Browne || Titanic Survivors {all via Retronaut}

Titanic Guide to New York City Part 1 & Part 2 {via Scouting New York} — top it off with a stay at The Jane Hotel, where the survivors stayed 100 years ago {via Designtripper}

Seven Famous People Who Missed the Titanic {via Smithsonian.com}

Guernsey’s and Bonhams both auction off Titanic artifacts this week.  View selected items {via Artinfo}

Fashion and ephemera salvaged from the deep: On the Titanic, Defined by What They Wore {via NY Times}

Every *MAN* for himself: Researchers say male chivalry on sinking ships is a myth {via Washington Post}

Remastering Rose and Jack: Converting Titanic to 3D with a cool infographic {via NY Times}, but if you happen to be in China, don’t get all excited about Rose’s 3D boobs {via LA Times}

Unsinkable Molly Brown presenting a loving cup to Captain Arthur Rostron, master of the RMS Carpathia, the ocean liner that rescued the survivors from the Titanic.  Image via the Library of Congress.

**and I may have gotten the tiniest of lumps in my throat upon my first viewing of the 3D trailer in the theatre.  Don’t you judge me!  I was young and impressionable!

Replay || L’Odyssée de Cartier

04/04/2012 § 1 Comment

By now, you’ve probably already viewed the beautiful short film L’Odyssée de Cartier, a fantastic exploration of the history of the maison (if not, you can find it here).  Now you can discover the symbols hidden in La Panthère’s trek around the world with the help of Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s Image, Style and Heritage Director.  What an amazing job, no?

Sidenote: you can also see a behind-the-scenes of L’Odyssée de Cartier here, if that’s your kind of thing.

Great Loves: Nellie and Coach Wooden

14/02/2012 § 3 Comments

After she passed away in 1985, Coach Wooden wrote his wife Nellie — his first, last and true love — a love letter every month.

Interviewer: How do you make love last in a marriage?
Coach: There’s only one way.  Truly truly truly love.  Most powerful thing there is.  It’s true, it’s true.  It must be true.

For more of my Great Loves posts, head here.

Woman of the Hour: Editor Carmel Snow

12/02/2012 § 2 Comments

Carmel Snow at the Harper’s Bazzar offices, 1952.  Taken by Walter Sanders.

When I found these pictures of Carmel Snow, Editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar from 1934 to 1958, I will admit that I did not know very much about her.  With a little research, I discovered that I wasn’t alone.  It seems as though fashion has largely forgotten Ms. Snow, who existed in an era before star Editors like Vreeland, Wintour, Bailey or Alt, but what I discovered was quite a remarkable story about a remarkable woman that bears repeating.

  • Carmel Snow was at Vogue from 1923 until 1933 as an editor, and resigned largely because she wanted to make the fashion editorial more more innovative: take it out of the formal studio setting with artificial light, experiment with shooting on location, etc., and was met with resistance.  She joined Harper’s Bazaar a month after her departure from Vogue.  Her former mentor and boss, Conde Nast, considered it a betrayal and never spoke to her again.
  • Harper’s Bazaar, under Snow, became the first fashion magazine to shoot fashion outdoors and the first to show a model in motion, in 1933.  Can you imagine if all of today’s editorials were still shot in-studio?
  • She nurtured the careers of several imminent photographers, most notably Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai and Richard Avedon, who said of Snow “Carmel Snow taught me everything I know.”
  • Snow also discovered Diana Vreeland at a party and brought her on as a fashion editor at Harper’s.  Vreeland of course went on to be the Editor-in-chief at Vogue from 1963 to 1971.
  • The woman worked hard and was definitely ahead of her time.  She didn’t marry until her 30s, had her three children well into her 40s, working through her pregnancies and after her children were born.  She didn’t resign until she was well into her 70s.
  • She rarely slept or ate, but was very fond of the three martini lunch.  She had something of a reputation of nodding off at fashion shows after one too many cocktails.  Her drinking accelerated as she grew older.
  • While small in stature, she was the kind of domineering boss that could successfully keep Vreeland in check and challenge her boss, William Randolph Hearst, prompting a famous memo in which he stated: “Does anyone have any control over Mrs. Snow? I KNOW I don’t.”
  • She definitely had her eccentricities:  she was never without her pearls, dyed her grey curls a pale shade of blue or lavender, snipped the labels of her couture to avoid customs fees, and though married, was most certainly obsessed with Cristobal Balenciaga (who was most certainly gay).

Snow and designer Cristobal Balenciaga, 1952. Taken by Walter Sanders.

Snow and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, 1952. Taken by Walter Sanders.

To sit with these two amazing ladies. To be a fly on that wall…

Also, hello bracelet! Amazing!

Snow with Alexey Brodovitch (kneeling), 1952.  Taken by Walter Sanders.

Snow with Diana Vreeland, 1952. Taken by Walter Sanders.

Snow with Harper’s Bazaar Paris editor Marie-Louise Bousquet (second from left) at a press showing for fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris, 1951.  Taken by Nat Farbman.

Snow with US Vogue fashion editor Bettina Ballard (right) at Schiaparelli in Paris, 1951.  Taken by Nat Farbman.

Snow in 1953, taken by Al Fenn.

For further reading:

A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life In Fashion, Art, and Letters by Penelope Rowlands.  Officially added to my shortlist!

A charming article from Life Magazine, “Reporting Paris Styles is a Business: Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar cover Openings,” details Paris fashion week in 1937 and the competition between Carmel Snow and Vogue editor Edna Woolman Chase.

Previous Persons of the Hour can be found here.

All images via Life.

Great Loves: Clementine and Winston

12/02/2012 § 1 Comment

In the month of February,
my mind always turns to great love stories…

Engagement photo of Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier, 1908.

[12 August 1908]

Blenheim Palace

My dearest,

How are you? I send you my best love to salute you: & I am getting up at once in order if you like to walk to the rose garden after breakfast & pick a bunch before you start. You will have to leave here about 10:30 & I will come with you to Oxford.

Shall I not give you a letter for your Mother?

Always

W.

{Winston’s letter to Clementine the morning after she accepted his proposal.  He inquires if he should write a letter of engagement to present to her mother.}

(The morning after my engagement August 1908)

Blenheim Palace

My dearest

I am very well – Yes please give me a letter to take to Mother– I should love to go to the rose garden.

Yours always
Clementine

During their 56 year marriage, Clementine and Winston wrote frequently to each other when they were apart — and even when they were home together — usually calling each other by pet names and including drawings.
He was her “pug,” she was his “cat”

15 September 1909 Kronprinz Hotel

Wurzburg

My darling, We have been out all day watching these great manoeuvres. . . .

I have a very nice horse from the Emperor’s stable, & am able to ride about wherever I chose with a suitable retinue. As I am supposed to be an ‘Excellency’ I get a vy good place. Freddie on the other hand is ill-used. These people are so amazingly routinière that anything the least out of the ordinary – anything they have not considered officially & for months–upsets them dreadfully….I saw the Emperor today & had a few mintues’ talk with him. He is vy sallow–but otherwise looks quite well. . . . .

We have had a banquet tonight at the Bavarian palace. A crowd of princes & princelets & the foreign officers of various countries. It began at 6 p.m. & was extremely dull. . . .

This army is a terrible engine. It marches sometimes 35 miles in a day. It is in number as the sands of the sea–& with all the modern conveniences. There is a complete divorce between the two sides of German life–the Imperialists & Socialist. Nothing unites them. They are two different nations. With us there are so many shades. Here it is all black & white (the Prussian colours). I think another 50 years will see a wiser & gentler world. But we shall not be spectators of it. Only the P.K. will glitter in a happier scene. How easily men could make things much better than they are–if only all tried together! Much as was attracts me & fascinates my mind with its tremendous situation–I feel more deeply every year–& can measure the feeling here in the midst of arms–what vile & wicked folly & barbarism it all is.

Sweet cat–I kiss your vision as it rises before my mind. Your dear heart throbs often in my own. God bless you darling keep you safe & sound.

Kiss the P.K. for me all over

With fondest love

W.

[drawing]

This is the galloping pug–for European travel.

{P.K. meant “puppy kitten” — their first child}

Your loving Puss Cat.

This is the cat…not so good as your dog, but her eyes are flashing so that she is obliged to turn her back.

Clem

Images via Life Archives, Library of Congress.  Letters via Daily Mail, Library of Congress.

More great love stories:

Kate and Spencer
Joanne and Paul
Elizabeth and Richard
Marilyn and Joe
Bacall and Bogart

Quite Continental Charm School: Day 8 — Your Family Jewels

08/02/2012 § 2 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

The fabulous Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Image via the Smithsonian.
More on Gertrude here.

Editor’s Note:  I’m very pleased to introduce our third guest speaker!  Christine Mitchell is an amazingly talented artist and the founder of the blog N’East Style, where she explores an aesthetic that is modern, yet rustic, with a deep admiration of all things New England, independent and handmade.  I came to know Christine initially through her artwork — it’s everywhere!  Her drawings and logo work appears all over the interwebs, recently graced a lovely set of stationery for Tory Burch and even the handmade card she sent me for Christmas.

But aside from all the cool stuff Christine introduces me to on her blog, and her amazing talent as an artist, the main reason I asked her to participate is because she is honestly one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  I knew whatever she chose to share would be heartfelt and charming, just like she is, and I was right.  If you are not yet familiar with Christine or N’East Style, it is my pleasure to introduce you.

Without any further ado, Christine’s tip for a charmed life.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Day 8: Your Family Jewels
In general, I’m not a huge accessorizer. It’s very likely that is due to the fact that in the mornings before work, instead of contemplating what I’m going to wear I find myself cleaning, writing note cards, catching up on emails, or sleeping past my alarm. As my work land personal lives continued to get more frenzied (and exciting!) in the past years, I decided to ditch the heaps of slightly chintzy jewelry options in exchange for a finely edited selection of beautiful pieces that are very dear to me and that I wear day in and day out. For me, it was akin to one of the final stages of becoming a woman. Now, I wear jewelry with history; a few turquoise and silvers Navajo pieces given to me by my mother, a necklace and pair of earrings made by a dear friend and talented jewelry designer Kate Jones (both of which my wonderful boyfriend gave me), a necklace my sister brought back from Bali, and a couple simple silver and gold pieces made by local designers that were the first big presents I ever gave to myself. I feel sophisticated and completely myself when I wear these pieces, every single day. And even better still, I look forward to the day that I’ll be able to pass some of these pieces down to my daughter(s) and share with them the stories of each treasured piece.

by Christine Mitchell, of N’East Style.

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

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