BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: FASHION IN FICTION

image

Since I am in the midst of reviewing the four major fashion markets in my posts I thought it might be amusing to look at some of the novels that have fashion and/or fashion designers as their theme…when I looked at my fashion book library I found I had many…some new some not so much!  I do keep all my fashion books (or should I say it is a work in progress) on LibraryThing, www.librarything.com it is a wonderful site to catalog all your books, I have chosen just do my Fashion Book Library, I’m about halfway through listing them.  You can tag them and find them easily, (for example all my Chanel books are tagged as well as being together on shelves in my Library) that is where I researched my fictional fashion books.  I’m sure there are many more titles out there as well as more or mine…do share your favorites.

Here then is a sampling and is by no means complete and is not in any order….

image

Probably my most favorite….the story of a love for Dior….it is amazing!

imageAnother favorite and one I reviewed in nenasnotes….Oscar de la Renta plays a starring role.

imageimageI enjoyed both of these about Mlle. Chanel.

imageAnother take on Mademoiselle.

image

imageimageimageimageimage

Showing the not so nice side of fashion, in the author’s opinions, over the years…yes, even Judith Krantz and Danielle Steele have written about fashion! Probably the only Steele I have read…I must confess to having read all of Krantz back in the day!

image

imageBoth about stores…. James Patterson has also done a book called The Store which was published in August….haven’t read it as yet….comments if you have!

imageimageBoth new on my TBR list reviews forthcoming.

imageOne I can’t wait to read, to be published October 24th, the fictionalized story of the Sutherland sisters who became the incredible designer, Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon, and the infamous author, Elinor Glyn.  I will, most certainly, do a review on it as soon as it is published!

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 4 LONDON FASHION WEEK

As I mentioned in my last post, we look to London for innovation and cutting-edge trends….well look no further, the London shows are on target for being advanced, and the week has just started, like them or not….here they come!

Peter Pilotto a design team, Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, met while studying at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, their label was founded in 2007.  Known for their vibrant prints and body-hugging silhouettes. Chrome yellow, stripes, strong tropical prints have crossed the Pond!

imageimageimageimage

image

Alice Temperley, like most renowned English designers, studied at Central Saint Martins in London and launched her line in 2000. Do look for her book, True British, writren to celebrate her 10th anniversary.  I have chosen some of the trends that I saw in the New York shows, stripes, bold color, pastel pink (all shades of pink!), silver sequins, and, of course, black.  Note the shoes….

imageimageimageimageimage

Does the name Burberry sound familiar to you…of course it does!  Christopher Bailey has reinstated the Burberry plaid logo throughout the Spring 2018 collection which was shown at a former East London court, Old Sessions House. Loved everything about it…I must say I even tended to like the socks with the sandals…but am very afraid of what that trend will look like when worn by those who don’t know “style” if you get my drift! No offense meant!

image

imageimageLooks like Kaia Gerber crossed the Pond as well…

imageAnother well-established name is Giorgio Armani who showed his Emporio Armani collection in London…it is interesting to see which International fashion stars are showing in cities and countries other than their home base. American brands Rodarte, Monique Lhuillier, and Proenza Schouler showed Spring 2018 just before the Paris Couture Collection in July.

imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Mary Katrantzou also studied at Central Saint Martins and started her house in 2009.  Known for her combination of color and prints her Spring 2018 collection doesn’t disappoint.

imageimageimageimage

It seems to me that shoes are taking the place of handbags for the excitement in accessories…but then we have seen interesting handbags as well, I wonder, both on our must have lists…why not!

 

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 3 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

imageI’ve become enamored with fashion quotes and adore this one….it says it all, don’t you agree!

We have come to the end of New York Fashion Weeks and are now on to London, which I will review on Monday.  London has become quite cutting edge (but remember London has given us Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Vivianne Westwood, not to mention Mary Quant, Ossie Clark and, of course, the Father of Haute Couture Charles Frederick Worth and one of the first women Couturiers, Lucile Duff Gordon…..and the list goes one….so it really has been cutting edge forever!

Let’s look at three more of the stalwart New York designers…Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs (he always closes the week) and Marchesa.

imageMichael Kors finale….a bit too tropical for my taste but great color and silhouette.  I like to suggest you add print to your already established wardrobe, the prints change so much season to season.

imageI do like print combinations and am very pleased that we aren’t seeing mix-matched patterns and colors for Spring 2018…I much prefer mixing the same tones…here we see a palm print with one of my trends….stripes.  Note the shoes, we will discuss a bit later in this post.

imageSo very Kors….the casual look of the shirt with ombré sequin pants and in blue, another color we have seen on many runways.

imageI believe this is first time we have seen a grey garment in the Spring 2018 collections, it is a stunner and combined with luggage tan. perfection.  Note the grey wood planks for the runway…new, fresh, clean and a bit beachy!

imageHad to feature a LBD, this one I’m mad for….of course, I would need the top longer or the waist of the skirt higher, probably will ship that way.  Flip flops with sequins…why but then again why not.  I’m not a fan of them but they make an interesting statement here!  Kors was another of the many designers who used diverse sizes in his presentation.

imageAll three of the designers I am featuring today have fragrances, actually each has more than one to keep their brand available to those who can’t afford the ready-to-wear.  I chose these from Kors because I think they represent the Spring 2018 line perfectly, Sport, Sexy, Glam!

imageMarc Jacobs has always pushed the buttons from his days at Perry Ellis (that is when I worked with him) to Paris Couture…he is still doing that.  Here three examples of his interpretation for Spring 2018…bold neon colors, splashy dotted prints, oversize coats, jackets and dresses and fascinating accessories.  Love the gloves and creative shoes.

imageColor combinations and layering.  Head wraps throughout the collection.

imageMore color, I haven’t featured much pink in my reviews, but pink, in all shades, it most certainly a trend.  One bag is good, two even better.  I do like the full pant, perhaps pulled in a bit!

imageA stunner, I would have either put the sash lower or cinch the waist, but then I’m not Marc Jacobs.  I’ve shown you Chrome yellow in all my reviews and like it paired with black, brown or navy….I think a thong shoe here….

imageJust a few from Marc’s fragrance collection….many, many more!

imageThe finale and the end of week two of New York Fashion Spring 2018….don’t go away I’m going to show you a few pieces from Marchesa along with a special event invitation.

imageThe Marchesa fragrance.  The name Marchesa honors the eccentric Marchesa Casati, if you haven’t read the biography on her, Infinite Variety, please do so, her life was beyond belief, a super read!

imageGlamour personified!

imageAdore the floral bodice, the skirt not so much.

imageBeautiful and in a magnificent green crepe combined with petal pink…the entire gown looks like a flower…stunning.

imageWe have seen black and white in most collections, always refreshing in any season.

imageIf I get to choose…this would be the gown, perhaps a bit less décolleté, absolutely adore it!

And now for the exciting invitation.  The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum is hosting a private event with Georgiana Chapman and Keren Craig the Cofounders of Marchesa.  If you are interested in attending please contact ijohnson@chicagohistory.org.

image

image

 

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 2 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

image

In my last post, I began the month long journey into the Spring 2018 fashion shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris.  In Part 2 today I show you some of the new cutting edge designers along with four of the “established” creators.  I’m highlighting only a few from the vast assortment of creativity that is shown for two weeks.  You can go to Vogue.com for each collection and see the entire work by each extraordinary designer.  Not only have we seen many, many desingers showing a variety of looks with plenty of trends to keep us going but unusual venues from basketball courts to garages….such is the exciting, changing, dramatic world we call FASHIONB!

Let’s begin with a fairly new name on the fashion scene, Brandon Maxwell, who came to my attention when he made a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus Chicago several months ago.  I think you will agree this is one to watch.

imageOne of the colors of the Spring 2018 season….chrome yellow.  What we are also seeing is a play of contrasting colors in the accessories….a trend in many of the collections.

imageGreat tailored jacket in a pastel pink styled with a bold red top and bag and worn with a slim denim, another trend, jean.

imageLove the cut of this top it makes the arm appear longer and is very flattering.  Of course, the color combination is refreshing.

imageBrandon ended his show with a bride….truly a work of art for that special day.

imageFenty x Puma by Rihanna.  Obviously a sporty collection with lots and lots of color, interesting shoes (I’m a Puma gal!) and bags.  The staging is fascinating done in the round with mounds of pink sand!!??

imageRihanna closes the show as she rides in on a motorcycle, blowing kisses to the audience.  Reminiscent of Donna Karan riding into the Barney’s New York opening in Chicago many years ago.  The celebrity designer phenomenon just keeps growing.  Let’s watch this trend and see where it takes us.  Some collections feature super things some not so much.

imageimageimage

image

Jonathan Saunders Creative Director for Diane Von Furstenberg….not your little wrap dress anymore but still lots of prints, that DVF is known for, denim, along with uptrend accessories, lots and lots of color and new takes on textiles.  Your thoughts!!??

image

image

 

image

image

image

Prabal Gurung, another name to put on your radar…not brand new but new enough to keep your eye on.  The color sense is perfection along with the tailoring of the structured jackets (look at silhouette, not short shorts….please!)  I end this group with yet another striking black gown, always a classic for your wardrobe.  In addition, lots of new fabrics to watch for in many of the collections.

imageOne of the looks I liked best in the Derek Lam collection.  I always find leather to be a year round “fabric” and would like to see more of it in Spring collections.

image

image

imageIn my opinion one of the best Creatures of the Wind collections.  Having started in Chicago and being discovered and mentored by Ikram (no better endorsement than that!!!) Shane Gabier and Chris Peters have gone on to become talents to reckon with.

image

imageMonse presentation on a private basketball court.  Three trends…stripes, red and denim.  The designers, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, also are the creators behind the Oscar de la Renta label.  Here a couple of looks from the Oscar collection.

imageThe designer’s ode to Oscar with his signature logo used on many print garments,  here on a coat with paint splashed denim crop and pant.  The models made their entrances and exits on an escalator.  I have done this technique in a couple of shows…a bit tricky when you get to full ball gowns, but fun to do!

imageCombining the script with a print in this easy chemise.

imageOur friend chrome yellow with a sequin dress.  It reminds me of Bill Blass combining fabrics…one of my favorite looks.

imageStripes in an oversize jacket teamed with a sheer net dress…the juxtaposition of casual with formal….I like this trend!

imageOf course, lots of ball gowns what would an Oscar de la Renta show be without them!!!!  I think just another show…….

imageimageOne of our all time favorite designers, Carolina Herrera, chose the Museum of Modern Art for her show.  Bold color and stripes for two exquisite gowns that she does so well.

image

image

image

Ralph Lauren invited a small group of guests to visit his garage of vintage cars and staged yet another of his always updated classic collections.  Complete with menswear fabrics and glorious ballgowns.  I’m mad for the motorcycle jacket with the chrome yellow tulle skirt, I want it!!!!!

 

 

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 1 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

imageMad for this quote….how true….fashion is everywhere and fashion weeks are popping up all over the world.  We still look at the four, what we consider, at least at the moment, major markets….New York, London, Milan, and Paris.  New York began last week and we end in Paris early October.  From what I have seen thus far we are in for a very exciting Spring 2018 season.  What I will be reviewing, probably a couple of times a week, will be the trends that I see happening along with a few of my favorite designers.  Take note that my seeing news and excitement doesn’t necessarily say I “like the garments” I am reporting the excitement of the upcoming season.  And, please, oh please, let’s not discuss age or body image, if you like a look it can be adjusted to your time in life and your figure!

Let’s look at some of my finds….

How convenient that Zac Posen presented his Spring 2018 collection at the same time his documentary, House of Z,  is available.  If you missed my review please check my archives, I posted it on Friday, September 8th.  Zac chose not to do a formal show, actually a show at all, instead he has produced a look book filled with amazing styles.  I have chosen a couple to highlight here.  You can see the amazing embroidery, the incredible detail (the first is an ode to his inspiration designer, Charles James).  The entire collection is timeless and seasonless.  The last piece, a remarkable ball gown is, in my opinion, a masterwork!

image

imageimageimage

Jason Wu’s youthful but ageless collection featured stripes which showed up in several collections….let’s keep our eyes open for that as a trend.  imageimageI am so excited to share the news that the Jason Wu fragrance is exclusive at Saks Fifth Avenue and I was given a bottle to add to the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.  The bottle is based on his iconic handbag…see image below of both the bag and the fragrance….that is my fragrance and it’s box in my photo.  Not only sleek stunning packaging and bottle but a delicious scent!

imageimage From the sublime to the whimsical….an around the world fashion adventure with the creativity of Desigual.  Reminds me a bit of the Kenzo of years ago.  Lots of color, pattern and ethnic touches.  A case in point, that Fashion doesn’t need to be classic all the time!

imageimageimage

Speaking of whimsey….there is always Jeremy Scott who is celebrating 20 years in fashion, his collection is always tongue in cheek and this one continues that tradition with a new twist on his old favorites.  He is the darling of Katy Perry, Madonna, Riannah and other celebrities.

imageWatch for very bright almost neon colors in many of the collections.  Love the Doc Martens with this look.

imageWill denim always be with us….yes, yes and yes, in one form or another.  Before you go crazy, you don’t have to do a mini skirt the look can be adapted.

imagePhilipp Plein began his show with a performance by Dita Von Teese, the stage had “strippers” gyrating throughout the presentation….interesting to say the least. He showed both women’s and men’s garments some including leather as details.  These two pictures are showing two of the trends in the early collections, pastels, and denim.image

At the same time this show was going on Alexander Wang was doing not one but two shows with his models on as party bus they first appeared on a street in Manhatten then in Brooklyn, the shows were all over the place.

imageDoes she look famiiar….it is Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter…she opened the show.  Her first catwalk was in Raf Simons Calvin Klein show.

imageNo need to introduce this young lady to you.  A fabulous little black dress.

A big surprise for me was the Calvin Klein collection by Raf Simons….the two photos below are very against what we think of as the Brand….but I feel very refreshing and very new….lots and lots of color and interesting silhouettes. Love the color combinations of the gloves, shoes, and bags….thoughts of how to update your established wardrobe.

imageimage

Tom Ford back in the game as the sexy designer guru….a dynamite collection.  Before you come after me….lose the shorts and look at the sensational hot pink power jacket and the color combination…perfection!

image

Two of his evening pieces with beaded sleeves one in neon yellow and the other in pastel dusty pink…the way to look at any special black tie event.

image

image

And, of course, the color he is known for, black, this, to me, is the essence of the little black dress.  One of my favorite looks so far.

image

Victoria Beckham just gets better each season (when I worked with her she couldn’t have been more professional nor delightful, a total joy!) A bright red statement.

image

imageShades of lilac but with depth in the color.

imageGreat layering and color combining.

imageAnd another LBD, fabulous with lilac pumps.  By the way, she has gone back into the jean scene.  Her first foray was when I worked with her.

The king of the special occasion dress and one of the first designers to use all size models in his shows, Christian Siarino….can we all remember him and his “fierce” attitude on Project Runway….he is an extraordinarily talented young man and I adore his high-end garments always shown with his Payless shoe collection.  Really the way women dress, combining high and low and old and new….imageContinuing my theory of stripes as a trend.

And four of my favorites from the collection….with pastels, brights, black and prints… all part of his progression.  Just gets better and better.

image

image

imageimage

Can’t wait to see what the next week brings…..stay tuned!

 

FASHION NOW: HOUSE OF Z

Before I talk about the House of Z, there are a couple of things I wanted to mention, of course, the hurricanes both Harvey and now Irma that are devasting vast areas not only in the States but the Caribbean and now the earthquake in Mexico.  Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in their paths.  Another sad note, Pierre Bergé died at the age of 86.  The person who made Yves Saint Laurent a household name and gave us unprecedented art and antiques and the new Yves Saint Laurent museums in Paris and Marrakech.  We must thank him for giving us beauty in so many forms, RIP.

On a happy note, New York Fashion Week is in full swing and the Collection that caught my eye is Calvin Klein, designer Raf Simons has turned the Brand around and Spring 2018 is chocked full of color!  More on NYFW in upcoming posts.

Now for this post….my first “movie” review.

imageI had the pleasure of being invited by Brooks Brothers Chicago (Zac is the creative director of Brook Brothers) to attend a reception at the Michigan Avenue store and a screening of the House of Z a documentary on Zac Posen.  The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews. You can watch the film on www.vogue.com/houseofz

The film traces the designer’s life, from childhood to 2014, and his beginnings with his mother and sister at 20, in 2001, at which time his premiere collection was met with great enthusiasm from the press and stores.  It goes through the major ups and the major downs when no one wanted to know him…ego does get in the way of many creative people.  It doesn’t hold back on anything, the details are not glossed over, which I found refreshing and at times very sad.  It is the story of triumph, failure, and triumph once again…only in America, which I believe is true.

My opinion of Zac Posen has always been a positive one, he is extraordinarily talented and I feel his early success was too much too soon.  Not unusual in our industry but in many cases if a desinger goes into a decline they often don’t come back.  Fortunately for all of us Zac most certainly has come back and with a bang.  He, of course, kept in the public eye and became even visible with his participation on Project Runway. Always the darling of celelebrities walking the red carpet and once again with the press. The Collection that is featured as the “comeback” show is his Fall 2014 Collection and is presented in his atelier, it is an ode to Charles James who he feels has always been his inspirational designer.  Watching THE blue dress come to life and how many hands and hours it takes is fascinating, charming and nail biting. The only other fashion designer documentary that I have seen that resembles this is Isaac Mizrahi and Unzipped, which I thought was so sad…and look at Isaac now into so many things, including one man shows…he will be at the City Winery www.citywinery.com/chicago on September 29th!!  I found House of Z to be gritty, honest, with major doses of what goes on behind the scenes of not only creating clothes but into the heart, and yes, the soul of the designer.  Bravo!

imageIsn’t this amazing….

Did I work with Zac, yes, I did.  Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago hosted him at a benefit for Steppenwolf Theater www.steppenwolf.org at a show at the Murphy Auditorium www.the-murphy.com an absolutely gorgeous venue.  My production team from Ravenswood Studios headed by Deb Gohr built a runway out from the stage and painted it to look exactly like the wood on the stage everyone thought it was part of the room. Backstage was right next to the audience and very, very tight quarters…trying to keep 20+ models quiet is always a challenge but all went off without a hitch and was quite a stunning show.  We featured the Fall 2008 collection that spring, I always liked to do the collections as close to the actual time they are shown during market weeks rather than in season when everyone has seen them especially true now with most of the designers either live streaming and everyone in the audience immediately posting their photos and/or videos on Instagram.

imageTwo of the looks from the Zac Posen Fall 2008  Collection.

 

 

COLLECTIONS: SMALL BOXES

image

I have always been a fan of boxes, large and small.  Since I live in a tiny apartment and love to collect, I have to think small (as you know most of my space is devoted to my fashion book collection along with other books!).  Many of my pieces, which I will share in a future post, are very small and many of them reside together on the top on one of my chests.  All of them are memories of where I got them or who gave them to me.  You will find treasures at the monthly Randolph Street Market, www.randolphstreetmarket.com  who is one of the sponsors of nenasnotes and has been from the beginning of the blog, (the last of the seasonal outdoor markets will be on Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, the indoor Market is year round!)  I took the above photo at the last market and placed my selection of boxes on a vintage carpet all are from Greg Johnson’s booth in the Ballroom on the Second Floor of Plumbers Hall. Greg’s selections of fabulous items are always a joy to see and his knowledge is amazing.  I love talking with him.  For some unknown reason, I didn’t take close up photos of the round Mille Fleur box nor the hand painted porcelain Sampson Paris rectangular box.  Let’s look at the other individual pieces.

imageI am mad for Asian pieces and this one is a gem….a rectangular Cinnabar box from the 19th Century with black lacquer inside.  The carving is, in my opinion, and I’m, most certainly not an expert, exquisite.  From Webster’s Dictionary:

  • Cinnabar red sulphide of mercury, occurring in brilliant red crystals, and also in red or brown amorphous masses. It is used in medicine

  • Cinnabar the artificial red sulphide of mercury used as a pigment; vermilion

 

imageThe top of the 1920’s Chinese enamel stamp box…does anyone use stamps anymore, hopefully, on lovely handwritten notes, I always love that personal touch, don’t you!

imageA beautifully carved Mother of Pearl box in different shades of the shell.  Stunning piece.

imageimage I didn’t take notes on this but it is obviously an old hand painted tile set into a carved wooden box.  It is shaped and gives me the idea that the tile was originally on a foot stool or a neck rest!  But then again, I don’t profess to be an expert,  just like what I like.  On that subject, do make the acquaintance of each dealer, you will learn so much and they truly love to talk about their treasures. Keep in mind your friends tastes and what they collect and stock up on gifts when at RSM and ALWAYS buy it when you see it and like it…it may well be gone in the minutes you walk away to make up your mind!!!  Haven’t we all done that……

imageWhen I was visiting my friend Barbara (I have shared some of her other collections with you as well as a couple of her recipes in past posts) I mentioned that I was doing a piece on small collectible boxes.  We got busy and gathered hers together on her marble coffee table.  Barbara is a world traveler and always brings back treasures for her collections and as gifts (over the years I have been the lucky recipient of many objects).  Let’s explore their stories….

imageThe first is a Russian Palekh hand painted black enamel box she got on a trip to Russia.  I love the primitive look of the painting,

imageimageThis beauty, we named it “Mother of the Pearl” major giggles all around…..is Limoges and my mother, Ruth, got it at Field’s AFar, many, many years ago it was a house gift from us.  In my opinion, it is an unusual piece and the interior is in an iridescent white totally resembling a shell.  Love it.

image

imageTwo hand painted Herend Porcelain pieces from one of her trips to Hungary.

imageAnd Barbara’s Cinnabar box from her trip to Hong Kong.

All photos taken by me with my iPhone 7

From Barbara’s Recipe Box

SHRIMP AND VEGETABLE SALAD

1 large avocado

2 cups pea pods

1 pound cooked, shelled and deveined shrimp, sliced lengthwise

8 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2 inch slices

Dressing:

1 cup oil, including 2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 Tablespoons minced parsley

1 1/2 Tablespoons minced chives

1 Tablespoon minced shallots or green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel avocado and cut into bite-size pieces.  Simmer pea pods 2 minutes, then rinse in cold water.  In food processor or blender, combine all dressing ingredients.  Process until blended.  Marinate shrimp, artichoke hearts, avocado and pea pods in dressing.  Refrigerate 3 hours, turning occasionally.  Blend in lettuce in desired quantity just before serving.  Nena’s note…it is a delicious recipe and can be served year round.  You know me, you will serve with a lovely white wine and crusty French bread.  Enjoy!

 

 

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: THE ADDRESS

imageI have been waiting for this book to come out for months, having enjoyed Fiona Davis’ first book The Dollhouse and anticipated a good read, I wasn’t disappointed!  I usually don’t like plots that go from one time to another, this one begins in 1884 and then travels to 1985, this is done in different chapters.  In this case, it works extremely well and brings the story to contemporary times.

We begin at a luxury hotel in England where our protagonist, Sara Smythe, is head housekeeper and sees a little girl balancing on a window ledge, rushes to save her (which she does), the father of the little girl, Theodore Camden, is so grateful he offers Sara a position at the soon to be opened Dakota, in New York where he is one of the architects and project manager.  She thinks the offer is not sincere but because she saved his daughter.  Shortly after Camden, his wife and children return to New York, Sara receives a ticket and travel expenses to join them.  Without much hesitation, she boards her ship and sails for New York and her new life….by the way, all this is in the first few pages of the book!

When she arrives at the Dakota she is stunned by the size, the beauty of the structure and the location, in the middle of nowhere, remember this is 1884.  Sara finds herself as managerette (don’t you love this title!) and totally in charge of basically everything.  She is very much up to the task and the new apartment dwelling opens beautifully.  Naturally, she lives in the building as does Theo and his family.

We then meet our other protagonist, Bailey Camden, a modern young woman who is an interior decorator and has just been released from rehab where she was treated for alcoholism and drug addiction.  Her boss has taken care of her rehab expenses and promptly fires her.  Her “cousin” (are they really cousins!!!!???) and friend Melinda, is rehabbing an apartment in the Dakota with the idea of making it very modern much to Bailey’s chagrin.  As part of their agreement, Melinda allows Bailey to live in the apartment during the renovation along with the promise of her fee when Melinda turns 30 in a few weeks and receives her substantial inheritance. If you have ever been in the building you know it is tradition personified and still considered a prestigious building, it is a stunner.

Both stories have lives of their own but, of course, mesh together as well. We meet many characters along the way, learn about New York as it begins to become the City we all know and love by learning about its architecture, go inside an insane asylum (not my favorite part of the story, I felt it was a bit long), the glamour of the Gilded Age and the excess of the 1980’s New York scene.  My take away was how talented women, in any age, with the drive, the know how, skills and willingness to succeed do so.  A feminist story, perhaps, but more one of human nature, self-worth and lots and lots of intrigue along the way, romance, yes that too!.  Did I like the book, yes, indeed I did!

From the last paragraph on the fly leaf of the book….”A century apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted and struggled against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the nightlife’s free-flowing drinks and cocaine—and take refuge in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress.”

 

FASHION FLASHBACK: FASHION AND FRAGRANCE PART 1

HURRAH, I’M BACK UP AND RUNNING…..SORRY FOR THE ABSENCE…ENJOY THE POST

 

image

The Paris Exhibition of 1900 brought us Art Nouveau and a new woman was born.  A woman who wanted to be liberated (it did take a bit longer for that to happen, but the dye, so to speak was cast!)  Perfume, up to this point (fragrance has been with us almost since the beginning of time) was mostly floral, the established perfumer, Guerlain introduced a perfume which broke ground with an unusual name and innovative presentation,  It was called Voilà Pourquoi J’Aimais Rosine (That’s Why I Love Rosine).  It was the first artistic perfume bottle and resembled a vase with silk flowers concealing a stopper.

784225714492a2213ed1588d3afe3d8d

image

“…fashion does reflect the whim of the moment.  Perfume, meanwhile, seems to withstand the test of time.  Nowadays all the great fashion houses possess one or several perfumes.  Not only because they project the image of the make abroad (perfumes represent 50% of all luxury goods exports) but also because the foreign currency they bring into France covers the colossal financial demands of the couture industry.  If in the 1920’s Haute Couture made possible the advent of the fashion designer’s perfume, today it is perfume which ensures the survival of Haute Couture” From The Book of Perfume by Elizabeth Barille

image

The first Haute Couture Designer to feature fragrance was Paul Poiret who introduced his fragrance Rosine, named for his daughter, in 1912.  I wonder was she named for the Guerlain fragrance? Les Parfumes de Rosine was the first perfume and cosmetics company founded by a French couturier.  While traveling to Vienna Poiret met Gustav Klimt and the company of artists of the Vienna Secession Movement. This artistic community produced textile designs, fabrics, fashion, accessories and jewelry as well as painting, furniture, etc.  Poiret was inspired by them to create his own way of bringing art into everyday life.  In my opinion, he was the Ralph Lauren of his time, a lifestyle creator.  He felt by creating fragrances not only his established clientele but women who could not afford his clothes could have something “Poiret”.  Another part of his company was named for his son Atelier Coin and produced the boxes and packaging materials.  The over all company was named after his other daughter, Martine.

image

imageI counted 58 fragrances from Parfums de Rosine!

 

img_0346

imageDenise Poiret with Rosine Poiret

imageThe Perfumery

imagePaul Poiret in his perfumery

In 1913 along with a new assistant, Ertè, he created costumes for Le Minaret and created a fragrance with its name and the bottle was entirely covered in tulle and gold thread.  Later in 1913 Nuit de Chine resembled a snuff bottle with Chinese characters on one side and French on the other.  It featured a molded glass ring with dark blue bakelite rings, the first time Bakelite had been used with glass.  When I saw the Poiret exhibition at The Met in New York several years ago, they featured some of the items from the Martine workrooms, furniture, rugs, etc. and several examples of the Rosine fragrances, I noticed on the information plaques that most were on loan from Karl Lagerfeld!

imageThe Perfume Salon

All the Rosine fragrances were innovative.  All were avant-garde and completely different from each other.  From The Book of Perfume: “Not only was he the first to produce his own perfumes but he also changed dramatically the creative potential for the presentation of perfume.  His innovations would be a source of inspiration for other designers for years to come.  The Rosine perfume presentations may prove to be the most enduring examples of Paul Poiret’s genius.”

image

image

image

image

imageFour of my favorite Rosine fragrances.  All the above photos from Pinterest photo credit unknown.

imagePaul Poiret fitting a client.

I was given further information about who was first with a designer fragrance, Lucile, by the consummate authority on Lady Duff Gordon, Randy Bryan Bigham, who introduced her fragrances in London in 1907.  I explained that I was featuring Haute Couture designers (French) he totally understood and agreed with me.

imageRandy Bryan Bigham’s magnificent book on Lucile.

imageLucile, Lady Duff Gordon  Photo from Pinterest credit unknown.

imageLucile’s London branch label (FYI she had a salon in Chicago…more about that in another post!!!!)

imageA Lucile ad from 1919 the French Novelties was “code” for the fragrance and cosmetics.

Here is Randy’s information on Lucile’s fragrance:

“Poiret may well have been the first Paris couturier to have his own perfume, but he’s not the first famous designer to launch a line of fragrances. The British designer Lucile – in private life Lady Duff Gordon – featured a signature scent as early as 1907 in her exclusive London salon in Hanover Square. At that time, Lucile was known for what she called the “emotional gown,” a dress of varying tones of layered chiffon that was supposed to express the personality of each client. She gave each frock a romantic name, sometimes whimsical, sometimes sultry, and they appeared in the program for her fashion shows. One that received perhaps the most publicity was a pastel tea-gown called “The Sighing Sound of Lips Unsatisfied.” To go along with these dresses, she offered perfumes that were specially blended to complement each woman’s personality. Clients selected from a range of scents while ordering lingerie in a private showroom called “The Rose Room,” a delicately feminine oasis decorated like a boudoir. Not only were fragrances available there in bottles but they were sold as sachets to put among one’s lingerie; some were sewed into the gowns themselves. Orrisroot and heather were popular fragrances she used. Another scent Lucile sold at her New York branch in 1916 was called “Lilac Blossoms.” The New York house of Lucile also provided a French perfume called “Shamrock.” In addition to Lucile’s own line of perfume, by the 1920s she sold several scents made for her by Coty, Djer-Kiss, and Ciel which created its “La Rose Lucile” scent in homage to her. She advertised these fragrances as “French novelties” which included cosmetics, bath oils, and powders. She was especially known for a lavender shade of powder, available to all Lucile clients in the house’s fitting rooms. Vogue magazine recommended this for use not only on the face but on the neck, shoulders, and arms.”

image

The Rose Room in Lucile’s London Salon where her fragrances and lingerie were sold

imageThe Rose Room in Lucile’s Chicago Salon where lingerie was modeled and fragrances were sold.

All above photos courtesy of Randy Byran Bigham

My deepest appreciation to Randy for sharing his expertise with me to include in this post.  Randy and I “met” on Facebook and have become lovely FB friends.  You will, most definitely, hear more from Randy in upcoming posts, count on it! I am most excited to tell you Randy has agreed to answer my nenasnotes questionnaire, look for his profile in upcoming weeks!

 
From Randy’s website, PastFashion.