The Downton Express {Louis Vuitton F/W 2012}

20/03/2012 § 1 Comment

Have you ever wanted to love something so much, because you felt it was thisclose to perfection — but you just couldn’t quite get there?  This was the exact feeling I had while watching the Louis Vuitton Fall Winter 2012 show.  Even before that magnificent train fully pulled into the “station” and the models disembarked one at a time, trailed by immaculate porters bearing the iconic bags the house of Vuitton is known for, I knew that Marc Jacobs was pulling from the same early 20th century inspiration well that Ralph had also dipped into (and that I loved) and I got excited — but I should have seen the kaleidoscopic Jacobs twist coming.  Indeed, with all the glittery doo-dads, exaggerated silhouettes and ridiculous hat action, I wouldn’t be very surprised to learn Dr. Suess or Tim Burton had assisted.  And while I definitely respect Vuitton for pushing their boundaries, I must admit that I frequently feel disinterested in the brand’s contemporary fashion collections.  I suppose I’m just not a Marc Jacobs girl.

The bags and luggage are usually a different story, and while I did find plenty to like among the collection’s accessories, I was still most bowled over the amazing production value of the show — which is destined to be my favorite concept for a very long time.  I did want to share a few bright spots from the show though, which were best shown by the detail photos of Yannis Vlamos for Vogue Magazine.

Perfection. Complete and utter perfection.

Of course, if you are more of a Marc Jacobs fan than I,
you can head here to view the full collection (via Vogue).

Also amazing is this short film produced by Louis Vuitton, which is a lovely behind-the-scenes look at the show’s preparations all the way through its execution:

Les Histoires de Babar at Les Arts Décoratifs

04/01/2012 § 2 Comments

Can you believe that Babar, the beloved king of the elephants from the popular children’s books written by Jean de Brunhoff and his son Laurent, is turning 80 this year? In his honor, Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris has put together a lovely exhibition of books, sketches, toys and memorabilia, drawing from great museums and private collections around the world, showing Babar’s journey throughout the years.

Growing up, Babar was one of my very favorite stories, and I strongly believe it is the source of my small obsession with elephants.   I especially love the simplicity of the watercolor illustrations by Jean de Brunhoff, from the little pom pom on cousin Arthur’s beret to the wrinkles of the older elephants.  It was even better to find out that Babar was originally a bedtime story told by Cécile de Brunhoff, mother to Laurent (who was five at the time) and wife to Jean, a painter, in 1930.  Jean, at the request of his sons, turned the story into an illustrated album that was then published by his uncle’s publishing house in 1931 as Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant (Story of Babar), to great acclaim.  Jean went on to write six more Babar books before his untimely death in 1937, with son Laurent continuing the tradition after WWII.  Laurent has since added more than thirty books.

A lovely interview with Laurent about Babar, his family and his own writing.

New York’s own Morgan Library — one of my favorite places in the city — has also contributed to the exhibition in Paris, and for good reason.  In their collection they have the Jean’s original maquette (or first draft) of Histoire de Babar, which you can view online here with commentary and comparison to the published work.

The exhibit runs through September 2012, and I have very high hopes I will be able to make it to Paris in time to catch it.  If you go before I do, please give Babar my regards.

Les Arts Décoratifs
107 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris

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