Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Suzani Fever

As you may know, I really enjoy graphic prints, texture, and nods to ethnicity. Suzanis seem to capture all of those traits.  Suzanis are native to central Asia; for centuries they have been presented to the groom as part of the bride's dowry.  They are gorgeous and colorful and range in size and shape. 
I first fell in love with them last year in Palm Springs (yes I go on an on about PS, I know).  Jonathan Adler uses one draped over a sofa in the lobby at the Parker (see below).  Since then I have wondered what they were and how I could get my hands on one (or two or three).
Have a look on Ebay, but make sure you read descriptions and know what size and condition you are buying.  They really make a stunning statement in any room as a throw, wall-hanging, as pillows, or even a tablecloth. Have a gander at some inspiring photos below.
A Martyn Lawrence Bullard decorated room at Colony Palms (in PS of course) using a Suzani as a headboard.  Gorgeous. And PS I love Million Dollar Decorators.

The suzani draped on the central sofa in the Parker Hotel lobby.  The first one I loved.  What a chic way to dress up a boring sofa (read: your white twill one from Ikea would get a whole new life with one of these...).

A gorgeous hand-printed Suzani gift bag at World Market - and they have matching wrapping paper. $6.99.  I LOVE World Market.  They have incredible little items for very few dollars.  You will see more blog updates from World Market, I go hunting in there often.

Monday, July 25, 2011

J. Crew Do's and Oh-Please-Don'ts...

Let me begin by saying I Heart J. Crew.  For as long as I can recall I have dogeared their catalogs starting in the late 80s planning my preppy get ups.  I pictured myself in patchwork madras, barn jackets, and my beloved cotton anorak (that I still own bought in 1987) in scenarios all over campus or en route to the beach. J. Crew was my chosen lifestyle brand.  I filled in occaisionally with LL Bean packpacks and bluchers, or expensive oversized sweaters from my brother's closet (thanks Mothy). It was almost worth ordering something monthly because every box came with a mini catalog of sale items. Now in Internet Times we don't receive as many catalogs.  J Crew decreased sending as many, and they also saw their sales numbers drop.  Their key demographic are the generations that dogeared catalogs. It is a nostalgic way for me to plan my J. Crew purchases.
The Crew has been through a lot of growth in the last 25+ years.  Some good, some ok, some not-so-ok.  I appreciate what they are trying to do.  But as a lifelong Crew addict, I also feel free to tsk-tsk their choices having been loyal for a few decades. 
The two pictures below, um, not so great. 

Oh no not those dumpy faux Carhartt's with pearls. 

I understand the need/want to be edgy and get all kinds of inspiration from street style.  But here's the thing, these proportions just don't work, especially in yellow. Wait, is she wearing gloves? And socks? And glasses? And bangles? And messy hair?  This is from their Fall Look Book, too. Come on.

It's not all negative.  I do have positive things to say, too.  I still love the Crew even when they get off track a bit with their styling showing someone in a bathing suit with a suit jacket over it.  Two suits do not make a right.  (I'm exaggerating, but you have to admit you have seen some edgier-than-needed styling in their catalogs in the last few years.)
Excellent. Classic. I love a tee + average brown belt + amazing maxi sequin skirt. Phenom and far more chic than women spending $10 G's on a Marchesa a la red carpet. 
And here are a few bits from their early Fall new arrivals online that I adore. Old style Crew with just the right updates in cut and fabric.  Love.
Orange velvet blazer.  Amazing.  You have to own this look because you will not blend into the background in an orange velvet blazer.  On the same note, you cannot wear it with business casual gear, it has to be something opposite like the worn denim.  Otherwise you risk a Willy Wonka style that is not interesting.

Leopard print calf hair watch strap.  Genius and $18.  I have one of these en route. I don't know if I will resurrect my old Timex to put on this band or simply wear the band sans timepiece as a casual bracelet (with gold bracelets also of course).

Leopard print calf hair jacket. $1498. Sold out.  Yes, sold out.  Already.  It is chic.  And anyone who has ever bought a vintage fur coat knows that getting them altered is a royal pain - most furriers will not do it - therefore if you want something like this in a modern cut, you have to splurge and buy it when you see it.  Otherwise, bask in the light of that 1960s leopard number that you bought for $30 and wear it proudly. 
Sure, it was 1000 degrees in the northeast last weekend, but someone was thinking of their fall ensembles to buy out that delicious $1500 jacket.  Get on board and start planning.  As you know, in mere weeks it will be 55 again and you will be looking high and low for some interesting piece to revive your cold weather wear.  Here in southern California I will just stare at my boxes of cold weather gear until I can get East again and delight in some tights and sweaters.  At least fur vests and boots are de rigueur around here (even in July).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Alexander Sterling Calder

Alexander Calder has been my favorite artist since I discovered his paintings, and admired his wit.  Calder preferred to have a sense of humor about his work.  He is credited with inventing the mobile sculpture, but beyond mobiles he created all kinds of pieces.  His creative medium was boundless - jewelry, paintings, large scale sculpture, a jet... 
Today is Calder's 113th birthday (thanks Google for reminding us).  Happy Birthday to someone whose fearlessness in self-expression is still celebrated.
Calder wire Elephant sculpture

Calder, "Les Etoiles" 1975

Calder, "Sucre de Canne" 1973
1973 Calder designed a jet for Braniff International Airways. He called it a "flying canvas".
Anjelica Houston in one of Calder's incredible jewelry pieces.  It is believed that he tinkered with metal to create bits of jewelry to sell to his friends in order to raise money for his other artistic pursuits. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Practical Caftan

Caftan = a style statement that is confident, casual & glamorous in one fell swoop of a kimono sleeve.
What else could you wear to the beach over your salty tanned skin, and then throw on gold jewelry (stacked in excess) and be the most stylish woman in the room?
A caftan takes confidence. Assurance in yourself that you have the posture to look good in something shapeless (this is why a v-neck caftan is the most flattering). And the presence to walk into a room and be noticed. A caftan is not a subtle statement when worn somewhere beyond a resort or beach club. Be inspired by the looks below. There are a lot of caftans out there whether vintage or new that have heaps of potential...add saltwater and/or gold jewelry at your descretion.

Iconic photo of Talitha Getty with her husband John Paul Getty, Jr. a rooftop and a YSL caftan, Morocco January 1969. 

NYC street style caftan on the loose.  I love the look.

The Best Style from Down Under

Marion Hall Best was an Australian textile merchant and Interior Designer back in the day when the profession was just being born.  She had been a student of architecture in Sydney, and in the 1930s took on her first interiors client. Marion Best even took a correspondence course from New York on Interior Design in the late 1930s. Can you imagine? 
Her style was bright, mod, bold, and colorblocking...all in my wheelhouse of style. Her innovation and perspective is as fresh today as impactful as it was in the 1940s-1970s.  Marion Best Pty. Ltd. the logo and business card are pure genius. Influential, inspirational, dynamic. I love nothing more than an artist or designer that expresses who they are, what they believe, and how they see the world.  Marion Hall Best was one of those people, and she left her imprint on design for decades.
A room inspired by Marion Hall Best in as seen in July 2011 (?) Vogue Living Australia

Amaaaaaaaazing logo!  Hello! 

I am sure this business card layout and logo was quite forward for the time. Although timeless today. Take note.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Land of the Free

We are more fortunate than we will ever comprehend. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Heart Palm Springs, Part Two - the SHOPPING!

OK, now the important part - bringing a bit of Palm Springs home with you.  Here is my guide to great vintage and mostly consignment shopping in Palm Springs.  It is SO good, and most of it SO inexpensive I hesitate to reveal my sources! 
Red Vintage Sofa, perfect condition, at the Estate Sale Company. $750

Incredible brass Ram's Head set coffee table base.  At Buy Design, $12,000 (ok not as great of a deal but these are STUNNING - and there is a $48K dining table to match! hello!)

1983 Mercedes 380SL Roadster - 39,000 miles!  $13,000 at McCormick's Exotic Cars
The Estate Sale Company
4185 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
Open Wed-Sun (closed until the end of July for vacation)
*great store FULL of antiques, vintage mod furniture, outdoor furniture, and amazing vintage jewelry on consignment - think vintage Cartier tank watches and 1960s Rolexes...

68-929 Perez Road, Cathedral City, CA 92254
AT Home PS
Buy Design
& many more consignment and Mid-Century Modern stores
This area is a wonderful little strip just outside of Palm Springs and is worth the ride (less than 2 miles from the Parker Hotel).  There are stores that specialize in Danish Modern, a large space set up in booths with amazing prices (we bought a fab giant lamp here), and excellent well-curated stores like Michael Claybaugh's Buy Design that had incredible pieces including the brass rams and a 1960s Oscar de la Renta ball skirt.  I die. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Heart Palm Springs, Part One

I love Palm Springs. It could be the best feature in Southern California. 
Last week we spent a little time at the Parker Hotel over there in the desert.  Yes, it was about 110 degrees.  And as a bonus it was oddly humid and they even had a few thunderstorms while we were there.  (I desperately miss thunderstorms by the way!) 
Here are a few bits from the Parker.  My next post will highlight some of the INCREDIBLE consignment store vintage furniture shopping in Palm Springs.  It's the best I have ever seen in quality, selection, design, and price. 
One of the guest buildings at the Parker.  The landscaping is perfect - overgrown but manicured, flowering, and creates nooks of privacy for every building and lawn area.

The Outdoor Lounge at the Parker. I love the butterfly chairs.

The indoor firepit in the lounge inside the Parker. 

The main area of the lobby.  Jonathan Adler did the redesign of the hotel years ago, it is quintessential Palm Springs.

The green marble and copper tinted mirrored lobby bar that seats six.  It is gorgeous.  Shawn is the bartender and he is a star!  And Zoe at the front desk is generous and very friendly. 

The PSYC, or entrance to the spa at the hotel.  Spacious and lovely. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Young American

David Bowie (although British and essentially the "enemy" during our Revolution) would definitely consider these for his on stage persona crica 1970-something.  I would love to consider these for my off-stage holiday persona...
Happy Freedom from the Brits Day.  That tea party they had up in Boston a few hundred years ago seemed to work out well. 
Jeffrey Campbell Stars & Stripes Platforms