{Boy Meets Girl} Wang Xiao for Vogue China August 2011

27/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Pitch-prefect Tomboy Style.  Photographer Lincoln Pilcher captures model Wang Xiao for Vogue China in clothes I supremely hope I will be wearing this fall.  I love the hats, but I am not sure I could pull them off.  I always feel like I’m wearing a costume when I have a hat on…

Must have the Dieppa Restrepos.
These are close, but I really adore the sole/heel above.

Tie!  Shoes!

The penny loafers by Church’s? Love.

Images via: FGR.

LIFE Archives: Grad Nite

26/07/2011 § 6 Comments

I was recently inadvertently reminded how awesome it is to grow up in Los Angeles — not that I actually ever forget such things, but I realized that there was something I needed to add to the list.  Being a high school senior is great fun no matter where you attend school, no doubt.  You go to the prom and graduation, and do all the things that seniors do.  But for seniors in Los Angeles, there is an additional graduation tradition that has been around since 1961, called “Grad Nite.”  Held every year, Los Angeles seniors are let loose in the Disneyland theme park from 11pm to 6am, for an all-night party just for them.

My mother did it, and so did I.  Somehow I have no pictures from my trip, but perhaps my mom might have a few from hers.  We can attempt to bribe her, but I’m not sure it will work.  In the meantime, I discovered that LIFE sent a photographer to Grad Nite in the early 60s who captured some darling pictures.  From the photos, you can see the graduates were required to adhere to a strict dress code that has since been completely relaxed.  What was once sport coats and party dresses has become t-shirts and sneakers.

I’m pretty sure her feet hurt more.

To this day, pavilions are still set up throughout the park for dancing.

It gets to be a rather late night…

Because of the late hours, Grad Nite presented seniors with the opportunity to have an extended — albeit highly chaperoned — date, as you can see from the pictures.  By the time I went, the experience was a lot less focused on couples, but you were still allowed to bring a date.  At that time in my so-called life I was dating — somewhat against my parents’ wishes — a ridiculously beautiful older boy who drove a huge pickup truck, raced jetskis, swore like a sailor and chain smoked.  He also modeled for Calvin Klein.  Paging, Jordan Catalano.  Textbook bad boy, right?  Well, not really.  When I asked him if he’d like to go to Grad Nite, he declined on account of his fear of buses, since we’d have to take one there.

Now, I’m not sure if he just made the whole thing up because he didn’t really want to go.  It’s possible.  But to this day, it still makes me laugh.  I ended up going with one of my best childhood friends and it was probably for the better because I had absolutely no qualms about falling asleep on him on the (big!! scary!!) bus on the way home the next morning.

Sounds of Summer: Edith Piaf ~ La vie en rose

26/07/2011 § 2 Comments

I am feeling a bit like a Francophile these days…  Whether it is because of my near constant playing of La Môme Piaf, the fact that I just read this book, because I loved this film, or a bad case of New York City summer blues, I can’t be sure.  But my guess is that it is a combination of them all.

While La vie en rose is undoubtedly her signature song (to see a lovely clip of her singing it live, go here), my favorite Piaf song of the moment is Les prisons du Roy (which I could only find here as part of some kind of odd lip-synch performance in the 90s — don’t watch, just listen).  It is as beautiful as it is haunting.  I love how dramatic her voice is.

New to Madame Piaf?  This album is a good starting point.

Field Notes: Bass ❤ Rachel Antonoff at (capsule)

22/07/2011 § 1 Comment

As I mentioned earlier, I did a bit of running around the men’s market week trade shows getting an early look at what was in store for menswear. While I frequently enjoy borrowing from the boys — and there was an abundance of inspiration, believe me — I was happy to discover that G.H. Bass & Co. decided to also show their women’s collection at (capsule).

I was especially interested in seeing the new Bass ❤ Rachel Antonoff designs, as I was quite impressed by the first collection.  The Fall 2011 collection treads familiar territory, repeating the best designs from Spring 2011 with a few new additions.

Most notable to me was the Flavie, a single strapped bootie in felt and leather.
Available in grey and navy.

The broader collection also contained a few gems destined for my closet.  I love how Bass continues to innovate their classic designs while simultaneously staying true to the shoes I grew up loving.  Best of both worlds.

Love the perforated leather.

The kilted slip-ons at the end of the top row?  Must. Have.

Like what you see?  Keep an eye on the Bass site to purchase.

Sogni del Lago di Como {Salvatore Ferragamo Fall 2011}

22/07/2011 § 1 Comment

My obsession with Salvatore Ferragamo is pronounced and documented, so it really is no wonder that I adore the images for the Fall 2011 campaign.  Daria Werbowy is simply stunning in these shots by Mikael Jansson.

Sidenote:  Are they at Lake Como?  Why didn’t they take me with them?

Source: FGR.

Happy Liberation Day: Battle of Guam – July 21, 1944

20/07/2011 § 5 Comments

First US flag on Guam on boat hook mast being staked in ground by 2 US officers on Guam 8 minutes after US Marines & Army assault troops landed on Central Pacific island during WWII.  Taken July 20, 1944, via LIFE.

July 21 marks the 67th anniversary of the Battle of Guam, considered the official date America regained possession of the island of Guam, during World War II.  Guam, the largest of the the Mariana Islands, remains a US territory to this day.  Lasting over two weeks, the battle was difficult, but the victory was decisive.  The day is celebrated as Liberation Day in Guam.

Now, why do I know this?  Purely self interest.  Because my paternal grandfather fought in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, was stationed in Guam, met my grandmother-to-be there (a pretty native Chamorro hula girl), and fell in love.  Unfortunately, I was never able to meet my grandfather, as he passed away when my own father was a boy, so I did not get to hear his wartime stories.  I did, however, hear stories from my grandmother, who has also passed, about her harrowing experiences during the Japanese occupation.

And so, I wanted to share a bit of history as I remember both my grandparents and celebrate the liberation of a place that I am yet to see with my own eyes.  Of course, I’m also deeply thankful to the servicemen and women like my grandfather who sacrificed so much to recapture this tiny speck in the South Pacific.

Happy Liberation Day!

Photos from the LIFE Archives from the Battle of Guam

Last image via US National Archives.

Summer in New York: Royal Shakespeare Company at the Park Avenue Armory

20/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Taking in the view, opening night.

While summer in New York most definitely means it is time for Shakespeare in the Park, this summer, as part of the Lincoln Center Festival, New York has the honor of an extended visit by the Royal Shakespeare Company, direct from Stratford-upon-Avon.  Nearing its 50th birthday, with the Prince of Wales as President and Her Majesty the Queen as Patron, based in the city of Shakespeare’s birth and burial, you know the RSC means business when it comes to the Bard.

Not content to merely take up residence at any old theatre, the RSC has built a smaller replica of the unique thrust stage from their Stratford theatre inside one of my favorite buildings, the Park Avenue Armory — one of the largest unobstructed spaces in New York.  Requiring 230 tons of equipment and nearly 100 people working around the clock to construct it, the RSC performs in a truly amazing space with seating on three levels, surrounding three sides of the stage.

“It’s like a huge jigsaw puzzle…things that fit together…”

The entrances to the theatre.

I was fortunate to catch Romeo and Juliet on opening night, which has opened to mixed reviews.  I would generally agree with the Times, note that the production value is very high and that Jonjo O’Neill as Mercutio steals the show with his dirty pantomime.  Joseph Arkley as Tybalt wasn’t too shabby either.  Wait, who am I kidding?  I always love Tybalt best of all…

  Peace? Peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.

If the star crossed lovers aren’t your bag, you can also catch performances of King Lear, As You Like It, Julius Caesar and The Winter’s Tale.  The shows run through August 14, and are selling quite briskly.  Check the schedule and buy tickets here.

Arrive a bit early to give yourself some time to wander the rooms of the Armory.  Aside from the remarkable size of the drill hall, the Armory, completed in 1881, is home to what has been called “the single most important collection of 19th- century interiors to survive intact in one building.”  Some rooms are a bit shabby around the edges, but it all adds to the character of the stately building.  Each room contains impressive military portraits, plaques and ornamental features that definitely demand a visit on their own.  If you like looking at dudes with interesting mustaches, mutton chops and swords, you may feel as though you’ve died and gone to heaven.

Portrait in the Board of Officers Room

“Board of Officers Room: This is one of the few surviving Herter Brothers interiors in the country, but one of five in the Armory. Herter Brothers was a top cabinet-making and interior design firm in the Gilded Age and designed the Fifth Avenue mansion of William H. Vanderbilt (now demolished). This room still retains the original painted ceiling and magnificent mahogany woodwork although the walls were over- painted in a 1932 restoration. Water infiltration in the early 1990s has caused significant damage but the plaster has recently been stabilized.

Marquis de Lafayette

Edward, Duke of Windsor

George VI

Ceiling of the Veterans Room

“Veterans Room: This and the Library next door are the only fully extant interiors by Louis C. Tiffany, Associated Artists in the world. They were designed in 1880 by Associated Artists, a cooperative firm of artists led by Tiffany working with Samuel Colman, Lockwood de Forest and Candace Wheeler with consulting architect Stanford White and artists George Yewell and Francis D. Millet. The Veterans Room has been described as “Greek, Moresque, and Celtic with a dash of the Egyptian, the Persian and the Japanese.”

Veterans Room.  Image via the Park Avenue Armory.

Royal Shakespeare Company at the Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 616-3930

Glamour, Iced {Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2011}

20/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Oh my.  Can we talk about the Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2011 campaign?  Aside from the somewhat ill-advised skullcap/visor combo hat, the shots of this collection are simply arresting.  Loving the icy, jewel-toned ladies and their vacation to somewhere cold, yet glamorous.  I also didn’t realize until just now how badly I need to add a beautiful antique Jag to my life…

See the full gallery after the jump.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Honored Revisit: LIFE Archives: Circus City USA, 1947 {Hugo, Oklahoma}

19/07/2011 § 4 Comments

Betty Jean Pratt Cannon, 1947.

Just wanted to draw your attention to something that I think is kind of amazing that is currently happening on QC, that you might not have noticed…  A few months ago, I discovered a cache of beautiful images taken by Cornell Capa for LIFE magazine in the city of Hugo, Oklahoma in 1947.  This city has a very interesting history, due to the community’s long and storied connection to the traditional American traveling circus.  I was entranced by the pictures of the town, the multigenerational families of performers, the trained animals, and the beautiful costumes.  I ended up posting a bunch of them in April and they drew a pretty average number of viewers, who loved them as much as I did.

Then, around 4th of July, I noticed that the post was drawing a outsized amount of people, and I couldn’t figure out why this was happening.  Finally, someone commented.  A longtime resident of Hugo let me know that one of the beautiful young women in the pictures had recently passed and that her services were to be that very week.  Suddenly, I had an outpouring of comments from current and former Hugo residents, thanking me and letting me know that I had found pictures of their friends, their relatives, and of themselves.  I also was honored to receive heartfelt messages from the daughters, granddaughters, and nieces of Betty Jean Pratt Cannon, the woman who passed, and who is pictured above.

If you have a moment, please stop by the original post to view the amazing pictures and read the touching comments.  I always figured that this silly little blog was something I did to amuse myself, and I never expected to experience anything so poignant.   I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to connect people to their history.

Original post, April 25, 2011:  LIFE Archives: Circus City USA, 1947 {Hugo, Oklahoma}

Afield, Kinda: Men’s Market Week in New York

17/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Today kicks off the beginning of men’s market week in New York and I am looking forward to seeing all that Spring 2012 has in store for the gents and, of course, the ladies like myself who enjoy co-opting from the best from menswear.  Also looking forward to seeing some of my favorite familiar faces (especially visiting with those from out of town) and finally putting a few faces to names.  As always, you can keep up with my shenanigans in real time via Twitter.  If you happen to see me, please do say hello!


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