Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Glory Days

It is not news that I love 70s design.  Circa 1983 with the arrival of inflatable palm trees I was not too impressed by that "brown and gold decade" (although I still loved disco jams on the radio).  Now that I have aged like a fine wine (but not a super fine expensive wine, hello, I am not that aged), and the 70s have settled in like a respectable, dynaimic Tawny Port, I love the complexity and minimalism of 1970s inspired design. 
Pink bedroom designed by Kelly Wearstler
In California there is a lot of residual design from mid-century modern to glitterati Studio 54 glory days.  I like that it is present, and accessible.  There is so much of it that it is easy to stumble on a property with potential or an Egyptian Revival statue from Palm Springs.
I LOVE Palm Springs.  It could be the finest thing about Southern California.  I am going there over the holiday, and I will be sure to report back with some of their incredible consignment store finds.  Or at least some snaps of hotel interiors.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Double Rainbow

I was happy to hear that NY decided to legalize gay marriage, just in time for their annual Pride Parade.  If only Rhode Island would jump on the bandwagon...
Here are some cake ideas for inspired rainbow-loving friends...
Sneaky inside rainbow...

Slightly more obvious surface rainbow...
 And a few other random rainbow-related pictures that I like - although completely off subject from rainbow wedding cakes.  I digress...
I threw this in here because I like nailpolish and this photo entertains me. 

Look at all of these colorful knobs!  Kelly Wearstler recommends that you design your next kitchen by first being inspired by hardware.  I like the idea.  And this picture is from her blog: My Vibe My Life

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oops...She Did It Again

Go Britney?  She clearly has an A+ team on her side reinventing, rehab-ing, renewing, restyling...
Snaps to her for pulling it together...again.  Check out the subscriber cover of July 2011 Bazaar. 
Britney in a D&G star gown. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach

Luckily my friends are scattered about, and share interesting little tid bits of design with me here and there.  I love it.  Lately I have been in need of witnessing some of it first hand, in person, beyond a two dimentional surface.  Yesterday we went to Santa Monica for a gemstone event, and we rolled down Abbot Kinney as the sun was settling into the late afternoon sky. 
The cake plates that Geoffrey usually updates me on, this time shot by yours truly. 

What Geoffrey leaves out is that there are two windows full of stacked cake plates - amazing.  I am not sure how many of these they move in a month, clearly enough to have in stock but not enough that will hinder their ability to make elaborate cake plate sculptures. 
From PLANTATION, a design showroom.  Gorgeous work, right up my alley.  There is a touch of East Coast classic style in there with a dash of Palm Springs exaggerated whimsy. 
Principessa on AK in Venice seems to be a bastion of LA style with flowy dresses, hats, and other pieces you could wear to the beach/stables/hiking/yoga. 
An Opinion on LA Style...
LA has some interesting and inspiring expression.  The sprawling metropolis adds sundrenched desert and ocean style to the American aesthetic; I appreciate and admire that.  Here's my confusion with California in general: it's passive-aggressive as a state.  Coming from the East Coast where most things are straight forward (excluding the ever-changing New England weather) - California lacks an opinion. Maybe that is why this state is bankrupt, confused about politics and gay marriage, and unsure of whether or not to fix the highways because, afterall, aren't they just going to need fixing again later? 
I think Californians see this lack of opinion as "flexibility" and they tend to express it in their laid back style.  How many LA natives did I see yesterday who were dressed for anything?  The answer is every woman who wasn't en route to a job waiting tables.  It's a look that says: "I could go horseback riding/surfing/to-a-drum-circle-or-yoga-class, but I haven't decided yet". 
Maybe on the East Coast we have dressed too detailed for a particular event, take ourselves too seriously, and then discover we have gone swimming in a cocktail dress...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kate Spade, Revisted

Kate Spade, the person and the brand ambassador, has done a lovely job branding herself into a lifestyle conglomerate.  Maybe "conglomerate" is too large of a concept for Kate Spade the brand since I haven't seen preppy printed cereal boxes or coiffed ads for energy drinks donning her signature designs...yet.
Once a cult brand reaches the status of: a) being knocked off and found on NYC street corners due to the art of the "over-logo", b) worshipped by 'tweens, and c) popping off too quirky and/or branded for their own reputations, it is time to move along because the brand appears to be played out.  This happened to Kate.  It happened to Lilly in 2001 when they decided to open heaps of stores and cover everything in goofy pink flamingos and green palms. I am a sucker for some vintage Lilly, and they have made a nice comeback in the last year or so, but notably have also stopped plastering everything with the word "Lilly". The "over-logo" will drive that base clientele right into obscurity. 
The common denominator is that the clientele who helped to launch these brands by their sheer devotion, will also abandon something quickly when they fear it is not exclusive enough.  Ralph has survived this somewhat by offering his exclusive Purple Label, opening stores only in chic locations and keeping them impeccably decorated, and of course always offering some bit of the "lifestyle" that is untouchable - like his new "Vault" collection (some of the items are "price upon application", ooooh).
Another thing that works for Kate, Lilly, Ralph, and my friend Camilla (CK Bradley) is that they all have developed a lifestyle brand based on their lifestyles.  They were not trying to be anyone else.  They have simply offered their concept of how life should be lived to their clientele - mostly those who currently live that lifestyle and recognize it. So you can see where and how some may have gotten off track by getting too big, or over-logoed, or just lost sight of the colors and feeling of an afternoon by the pool followed by a proper cocktail party under the stars...
Take from this what you will. Possibly entertain the idea of branding yourself in order to remain consistent in your aesthetic goals.
If we're talking business though, remember this: lifestyle brand consumers will always want what they cannot have, will spend money to obtain a slice of that feeling/perception/idea, and will remain loyal if you offer them exclusivity amidst the ordinary.
I had just a few thoughts on business and branding while I reviewed Kate Spade's latest clothing and jewelry (below).  There are stripes involved, so clearly that is what got my attention. 
Cute.  I love stripes. 

Kate Spade striped dress.  Everyone needs one like this.  Don't listen regarding the whole horizontal stripe theory.  Just avoid looking like a bumble bee in wide, bi-color-equal width stripes (unless you are playing rugby).

Kate Spade Bow Cuff.

Kate Spade "Bamboozled" Necklace.  I love bamboo anything, this looks vintage.  Another piece of the puzzle when keeping things "exclusive".  Vintage means no one else can find this...and consumers like that concept.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Is it a coincidence that I am listening to Ravel's "Bolero" as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra (a favorite, second only to the Cleveland Symphony!) that I would be inspired to do my post on these gorgeous collections of bracelets as worn by ladies in Madrid?  My mother always wore a cacophony of bangles in different metals and shapes.  There were usually some of the same bangles used consistently which helped me to identify her in adjacent grocery store aisles or when she made hand gestures while talking on the telephone.  I love bracelets.  I do not design many of them in my jewelry line, Sugar.  But for some reason, I collect them to no deafening end.  (Bolero is nearing it's crescendo, as I think of my mounting collection of assorted wrist adornments...)
Fantastic skirt, excellent with her bangle choices.  This makes me want to buy some espadrilles and travel.
 These two women from Madrid (above and below) have a wonderful sense of how to arrange and confidently wear a collection of bangles.  Assert yourselves this summer, as with other style inspiration.  If I weren't working today I would dart into my room and pile some on myself.  Maybe I can later for an eventful late afternoon at Trader Joe's... What event is more important than daily life?
Love the orange ones, and the tribal patterened pieces.  Excellent with the yellow shirt.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beautiful Thursday

I guess my style and overall direction is a little scattered.  Two days ago I wrote about brights and prints, and the virtues of wearing vintage Lilly. 
Today I want to share my love of this lace mask, or is it the concept of the lace mask that the photo is selling to us?  The mask is enhanced by the beauty of this photo (Tommy Ton) and the simplicity of her look (chignon, small stud earring, simple neckline)...
Some days complicated is nice, and some days simple is revered. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Clothes

Somehow I am not sure that most areas of the U.S. would see it as acceptable to wander into appointments and grocery stores dressed out in bright prints and vintage Lilly maxi dresses.  I don't think I want to live in those places where people would think it odd.  I live in one now.  All that means is that I have to re-harness my style confidence and wear the things that make me happy. 
Jules Reid summer caftan dress.
 My partner in crime, Vieve, and I saw Jules Reid's little booth at Coterie a few years back.  Her prices are borderline poolside couture (over $1,000 for the caftan shown above).  Her execution is great, the fabrics and designs are wonderfully reminiscent of Palm Beach Lilly meets Capri in 1969. 
Like the other designers whose price tags leave me to my imagination, so does Jules Reid.  That kiwi printed caftan makes me want to dust off my pink and white Lilly dress from the early 70s that I snagged at a vintage store in Hudson, Ohio.  The pants (below) make me long to find a tailor who can whip up some flare legs for me out of dangerous ikat. 
Jules Reid blouse and great ikat pants.
The lesson here (for me) is to be bold and inspired.  I need to rediscover some of the treats lurking in my closet and make everyday a little more showstopping - for me more than anyone else. 
Happy Summer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Something to Fill the Green Void

It should come as no surprise that I have another entry regarding something striped. 
If you cannot find an available zebra to adorn your out-of-doors, may I suggest Z Gallerie's striped pavilion?  This piece is quite wonderful poolside (three of them would be incredible - mockingly reminiscent of cabanas) or sitting obviously in your green grass.  Ah!  What an enormously perfect accessory for a croquet lawn!  
Striped Pavilion from Z Gallerie, $599
These lanterns with the pavilion would be overkill, but are perfect as a dash of striped fantasia bobbing from your tree limbs.  Especially because they are more in the range of an impulse buy than the pavilion. 
Although who can live one more day staring at their empty span of lawn?  An investment, I say.  Your friends and family will reminisce someday about those stripes, that pavilion, those cocktails...    
Happy Summer.
Striped Paper Lanterns from Z Gallerie $12.95

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May 22, 2011 An Exercise in Perfection

I got married Sunday, May 22 in Yemassee, South Carolina.  It was perfect.
Old Sheldon Church ruins in Yemassee, South Carolina
Scott and I got married at the Old Sheldon Church (above) which was built in 1745-55, and consequently burned down by the British soldiers in the Revolutionary War - rebuilt - and burned again by Union soldiers in the Civil War.  The church was not rebuilt after that, but since then the ruins have been used for services and weddings. 
It is an amazing and peaceful place and majestic in its presence.  The live oak trees are bent and crippled with hanging moss, and ferns and seedlings are growing from the bricks.  It is magical.  And in the middle of nowhere...
The River Club at Oldfield 1732 plantation. 
Our reception was held at Oldfield 1732, a residential plantation with several clubhouses, a rambling golf course, and incredible "Low Country" style homes.  Oldfield is nothing short of a moment in time where everything was simpler, slower, and made more sense.  Our families and friends stayed in cottages throughout the property.  It is a totally gated and secured environment, so the kids were able to ride their bikes to mini adventures that I remember creating when I was younger. 
I cannot say enough about my weekend and especially about my wedding day.  It was perfect in every way and I am pretty sure those of you who were able to join us feel the same way.  Thank you for your love and adoration - as well as your support and presence.  It means the world to us.