Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

1/25/17, “Magic”

Posted on January 25, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for being two days late. I have been plunged in my writing for about ten days, and have done nothing else, glued to my typewriter day and night, with no break and no days off. But it’s Haute Couture fashion week in Paris, and I have seen three great shows. Really interesting contrasts, the three shows I saw were totally different, and I waited until today to write to you so I could tell you about them (I saw the last one four hours ago as I write this).. I had a ball seeing them, and wanted to share them with you.

As you remember, ‘Haute Couture’ is different because you have to order the clothes, can’t just buy them off a rack, and EVERY single stitch in them is hand made. They are made to the client’s exact measurements, and you have two fittings, so they fit perfectly, whatever shape you are. Twice a year, in January and July, they show a fashion show of the samples for the next season, so people go to the fashion shows, and pick what they want to order. Very, very, very few women actually buy them, most people go to the shows for the glamour and excitement. The fashion industry is a BIG deal in Paris, and is kind of an art form. And there are few haute couture clients, and very, very few designers who still do haute couture, and have the trained staff and ability to make those clothes. Working in an haute couture workshop takes a 12 year apprenticeship, before you actually get to make the clothes—–as long as it takes to become a doctor. The main dress houses who still make haute couture are Chanel and Dior. Dior has a new designer, and Chanel is designed by Karl Lagerfeld, a truly brilliant designer.

The Chanel haute couture fashion show is a ‘scene’, as chock full of exciting things happening in the audience as on the stage. It is a major spectacle, a huge show, with about 70 outfits shown, worn by beautiful models. The show this time (for next summer—-all summer clothes) was very lady like, in pale pastel colors, kind of ice cream colors, with tailored belted suits in pale tweeds. The models wore high heeled silver shoes, they could barely walk in them, and each model wore a pearl anklet. (I loved them!! I want one!!!). Each model wore the same hairdo, with their hair smoothed back in a wide flat bun, and the evening dresses had a LOT of sparkle to them. And even when the clothes look simple, they’re not, with embroidery and tiny stiches, beading, and delicate details. The women in the audience wore amazing outfits, VERY extreme. Many of them wore Chanel from previous seasons. One woman wore a floor length white fur coat, huge fur hat, and gold boots. Others wore hats, veils, tons of accessories, it was almost an overload of fashion addicts going wild, and vying for attention, with techno music at the Grand Palais, an antique glass structure. The decor was all mirrored screens and shiny black mirrored floors, people with wild hair does, and men and woman all dressed up for the show. It was very traditional Chanel, nothing startling or unexpected, and the most beautiful dress in the collection was the Grand Finale, a an absolutely gorgeous pale pink wedding dress with huge balloon sleeves, a tiny waist, and an enormous ball gown skirt and train. A knockout for any bride and gorgeous in pink!!!

The second show I saw was DAZZLING!!! It was fashion as art at its finest, designed by an extremely talented designer, John Galliano. He previously designed for Dior, left the fashion scene for a while, and returned to work for Martin Margela. He was previously an haute couture designer, and this was his first couture show for Margela!! It was a MEGA WOW!!! Mr. Galliano is a supremely talented and innovative designer and no one knew what to expect for this first collection for this new house for him. It took my breath away, and in an artistic sense was everything a fashion show should be as an art form. Different, exciting, beautiful, special, creative, fashion forward. Not easy for everyone to wear, but the models were truly beautiful, their hair and makeup was all different and perfect for each outfit. The accessories were just right, the music was touching, the setting was gorgeous. The show was held at The Invalides, an old military fort, and Napoleon’s tomb, an important monument. The show was in a small narrow room, with an exquisitely painted ceiling, and I think that only about 100 people attended, fashion magazine editors, buyers, and international press. ALL of the people who showed up to see it were stylish, interestingly dressed, and wore fabulous shoes (enormous platforms, men in gold shoes, women in very trendy outfits. It was a show for the fashion experts, the select, and people in the know. It was REALLY exciting being there. It felt like history being made. I have rarely seen a show I loved so much.

And the last show was different in its own way too. Shown in a rented hall off the Champs Elysees, when we got there, five models were performing what looked like modern Dance. They came onstage wearing short floaty brown patterned dresses, with enormous brown paper coverings over them and brown paper hats, and they began by stripping the paper way. Eventually, they were only wearing the chiffon dresses, with the paper stripped on the floor. And then they began tearing the paper, and continued dancing. I had another engagement then and had to leave. But it was fun seeing it before I did.

It was a varied and exciting experience. Haute Couture is always special to me because it is such a statement to me about fashion, and such an incredible expression of beauty and art. I had a fantastic time, and now I’m back to writing again. Talk to you next week!!!! Have a great week!

much love, Danielle

4/11/16, Fun Evening

Posted on April 11, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you, and relatively peaceful. We seem to be marching into Spring. I had such a fun evening recently that I had to share it with you!!!

A friend invited me to the Symphony, which was very tempting. I’ve been writing a lot lately, there has been so much unrest around the world, which touched close to home for me. I hesitated before accepting, I had a book to edit, and also because I work so hard, and keep such late hours when I’m writing that if you put me in a dark place, movies, symphony, theater, ballet, I fall asleep in the first five minutes, especially with good music!! I’m usually not a big symphony-goer, and prefer theater and movies, but the invitation was so nice and so unexpected that I decided to go. So I accepted and off I went, and it felt like a real treat to be “out in the world” and not working at night for a change. I was expecting serious classical music, and had a terrific surprise when I got there. The performance that night was a showing of the movie “E.T.”, which I hadn’t seen since it came out, but loved then—-they were showing the movie at the symphony and the whole philharmonic orchestra was going to play the music score. What a fantastic idea, and instead of the serious crowd of classical music lovers, the audience was filled with young people, families and kids—-right up my alley, and it seemed like so much fun!!! Everyone was in a great mood.

I loved the movie…ET, phone home….the whole thing is so sweet, Drew Barrymore was an adorable little girl then, and I totally enjoyed it. The music wasn’t distracting, and it added depth to the movie. And I thought it was brilliant of them to show something that the masses can enjoy, and a less sophisticated audience, and make it appealing to everyone. I didn’t even fall asleep, I loved it so much and had so much fun!! It was a totally unexpected evening and a real treat, and I LOVED the concept of a popular movie with the philharmonic orchestra playing the score in full force. It was fantastic and the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It was a real gift from the friend who took me, and I had a ball!!! If they do something like that again, I will run to be there!! I can think of so many movies where that would be fun, and it introduced a whole new group of people to the symphony who never would have gone otherwise….Pure genius and a really, REALLY fun time!!!Have a great week!

love, Danielle

12/7/15, “Lucky”

Posted on December 7, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Busy writing again!! You keep me busy!! But there’s nothing I like doing more, so I am enjoying it thoroughly. Funnily enough, when I’m writing, I get new ideas for future books. And when I’m taking it easy and not writing, everything in my head goes quiet. So working seems to inspire me!!! And definitely agree with me.

I wanted to share the story of one of my bracelets with you. I wear a lot of bracelets on each wrist, many of which were given to me by my children, and all of which are sentimental to me, and I never take them off. People ask if they bother me, and I don’t even feel them, I’m so used to them. I haven’t taken them off in more than 20 years (when I had my last baby, the hospital insisted!!). They stay on my arms at all times, night and day!! Among them, I wear an ebony wood bangle bracelet on my left arm that I particularly love. It has 4 oval gold plaques on it with a saying that means a lot to me. Each plaque has a few words on it that forms a sentence, all put together. It says “You have to believe in luck in order to be lucky”. It’s in French, and a limited number of the bracelets were made by a French jeweler, Van Cleef and Arpels in 1970. I’ve seen it a few times in vintage stores, and always admired it. I love what it says!!! The original ones are expensive and hard to find, and a few years ago one of my daughters who works for a magazine told me that Van Cleef was going to issue a few more, in ebony and dark wood. I rushed to the store in Paris, and ordered one each for each of my daughters, and an extra for a friend, who had been trying to have a baby unsuccessfully for several years. I was SO EXCITED when the bracelets came, and gave them to my girls for Christmas, and to the friend. I put mine on immediately, and I don’t like to be superstitious, but I wear it EVERY day and I just love it, and think of it as my ‘lucky bracelet’. I ALWAYS wear it, and have since I got it…..and the friend I gave it to got pregnant the day she got hers, and has THE MOST ADORABLE little girl you’ve ever seen, who just turned two. The story definitely has a happy ending. So believe yourself lucky, and believe in luck, and you will be!!!

I wish you good luck and lots of love, Danielle

7/13/15, Chanel Did It Again!!

Posted on July 13, 2015

Hi Everyone,
It’s that time of year again, the fashion shows in Paris—-more precisely the Haute Couture shows, the shows of clothing that are not Ready to Wear, but are made to order stitch by stitch to the exact measurements of the lucky person who can buy them (and afford them). Haute Couture has always been the summit of high fashion, the most elite and exclusive, available to only a select few clients who can afford them. The creations are remarkable, the clothes unforgettable, and the piece de resistance at the end of the show is always a bridal gown. All of the clothes can be ordered and take several months to make, and clients have two or three fittings before they’re finished to make sure that they fit impeccably.

You can’t just show up at either a Ready to Wear or an Haute Couture show in Paris, it is by invitation only. And the invitations are much coveted and sought after. In days gone by, the front row of the Haute Couture shows were lined with famously well dressed women, the wives of Presidents and Captains of Industry, famous movie stars, women who were known to be the best dressed in each of their countries. The women were usually of a certain age, and the clothes designed accordingly. Dressing in haute couture was not a young women’s sport, it was SERIOUS fashion business, an important business, and the women who wore them were known for how well dressed they were. Now, everything has changed. Haute Couture is a dying art, there are only two of the old venerable famous dress houses who still make haute couture: Dior and Chanel. The others are mostly newcomers. And all of the old important haute couture houses have faded away and closed. Haute Couture fashion week lasted a full week, with 5 or 6 important shows a day. Now it takes two days. And the famous women who lined the front row, jotting down notes of what they wanted to order have been replaced by faces most of us don’t know: Chinese movie stars, members of the press or in public relations, people who love fashion but don’t wear haute couture and never will. One sees a few well dressed women with no idea who they are, and a great many people in exaggerated costumes, desperate for attention. And in all fairness, the prices of Designer Ready to Wear now is what Haute Couture, handmade clothes cost 20 years ago, and Haute Couture prices are now out in the stratosphere for incredible embroideries, beautiful fabrics, and clothes that very few people can afford.
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5/18/15, Woman In Gold

Posted on May 18, 2015

Hi Everyone,

How are you?? All is good with you, I hope!!!

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day with my kids a week ago, and felt very spoiled. Brunch at home, and dinner out with some of them, and one flew in specially, and I had had a lovely time in New York before that with two of my girls. We have passed the stage of macaroni necklaces and Kleenex boxes decorated with flowers and beads (which I loved and kept them all!!), and I always miss that and remember it fondly, but sometimes it’s nice having grown up kids that you can really spend time with and enjoy. So I had a great one, which I really appreciated. My kids saw to it that I had a great time and was spoiled!!! And felt very loved, just as I love them.

I don’t very often get a chance to go to movies, since I usually work at night, but I had finished a big block of work this week, and decided to treat myself to a little time off, and on the spur of the moment went to a late movie when I finished work. I had heard the name of the movie, but didn’t know much about it, “Woman in Gold”, with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. It’s a true story about an Austrian woman, from a previously wealthy Jewish family in Vienna, before the war, that lost everything they had to the Nazis. They had a beautiful home in Vienna, and collected spectacular, famous and very valuable works of art. They had collected the work of Gustav Klimt, whose paintings I have always loved. They are mostly gold, typical of the 1930’s, with beautiful women in them. One of my favorite ones is called “The Kiss”. And in fact, I’ve used one of the Klimt paintings as art work on a book cover, when it seemed appropriate. And in the case of the woman the movie is about, one of Klimt’s most famous paintings of a beautiful woman was a portrait of her aunt. the Kiss
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7/14/14, Paris Fashion

Posted on July 14, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Unlike (ready to wear) fashion week, which is a wild 10 day relay race, as store buyers, press, movie stars, celebrities, and anyone associated with fashion professionally, dash from one venue to the next to see as many as 7 or 8 major fashion shows a day, in 4 cities (New York, Paris, London, Milan), repeating the wild week again and again, until everyone is exhausted and has seen the wares of every ready to wear designer. Unlike ready to wear, Haute Couture fashion shows happen only in Paris, and whereas once upon a time, a dozen or so years ago, and for many years before that, the Haute Couture shows were the Big event, now Ready to Wear is where everyone wants to go and be seen. I guess I’m dating myself when I say that the Haute Couture shows used to be absolutely knock out, and attracted the most elegant women in the world. The front row at the fashion show was every socialite you’d ever heard of, important dignitaries and movie stars, and presidents’ wives, along with well known royals, and the women who attended the shows actually wore haute couture in their daily lives. The shows were beautiful, dignified, the clothes were spectacular and it was a rarefied scene and atmosphere that took your breath away if you loved beautiful clothes. But like it or not, the world has changed. My daughters and I were reminiscing about those shows a few days ago, since I started taking my 5 daughters to them when they were very young, like 7 or 8 years old. And the shows were dazzling then, for them, and for me. I’ve always loved fashion, and the haute couture shows were every woman and young girl’s dream.  All of Paris buzzed with the excitement, and the women who attended them (by invitation only) were stunningly elegant. But that world no longer exists.

For those who haven’t read about my talking about Haute Couture, what defines haute couture from ready to wear, is that every single stitch is hand made. There is not one machine made stitch on an haute couture garment. The seamstresses who worked on them had to be apprentices in the workrooms for twelve years before they were allowed to touch the clothes. The way it works is that there are two haute couture shows a year by the designer, in January (to show summer clothes) and in July (to show winter wear). The designer would put together about 70 designs, complete outfits, a sample of each one is made by hand, and usually famous models wear the samples down the runway in a beautiful show, so everyone can admire the clothes. Appointments are made afterwards for clients to try on the samples, and if they like them, the client will order a dress or outfit, and it will be handmade to her precise measurements. She will then have three fittings, sometimes more (the first one in a sample of the garment made in muslin, not the actual fabric), and about three months after the process began, the haute couture outfit or dress she ordered is delivered to the client. That process is still true today, and hasn’t changed. Haute Couture clothes were always expensive, but not the way they are now. A dress or outfit cost around $10,000 not that long ago, a spectacular evening gown $20,000. A wedding gown 50 or $100,000.  Today those same clothes can easily be 75 or $100,000 for a wool dress, $150,000 for a suit, up to $300,000 for an evening gown, and $700,000 for an elaborate wedding dress. At those prices, there are only a handful of women in the world who can afford them. And not only have the Haute Couture clients changed, but so has the world. I went to two of those shows in the last two days, as I do twice a year, and have for most of my life, as an admirer of fashion (I went to Parsons School of Design and studied fashion design, and three of my daughters work in fashion, so it’s a family passion), and there were no Presidents’ wives at the shows I attended, only one major movie star, no royals, and the famously well dressed women are only a memory now. I occasionally see well known movie stars at those shows (Jennifer Lawrence at Dior yesterday), and have seen Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Kirsten Dunst, and Rihanna in recent years, but on the whole people go now for the spectacle, and many to be seen, and very, very, very few are going to buy haute couture. The haute couture client of today is a very different breed. And the world we live in a very different place. Money is tight, jobs are scarce and the economy strained in many countries, the entire world wears jeans and sneakers, some even to work, exercise clothes are considered okay in every public place. Luxury is often frowned on (though secretly envied), men rarely wear ties now, it’s considered fashionable not to shave, and most people have nowhere to wear the fabulous creations of Haute Couture. And all but 3 of the once numerous haute couture designers still produce haute couture collections, which are labor intensive to make and out in the stratosphere in price. Many of the clothes one sees on the runway are then put in the designer’s museum, and never made for any clients. Sadly, haute couture has become an exquisite beautiful, absolutely spectacular dinosaur from another age. A few people still buy it, but most people’s everyday lives, even those with money, just don’t lend themselves to those fabulous creations anymore. And there are sometimes simpler clothes in the collections too, but always at an astronomical price, due to the fabric, or embroidery, or the remarkable labor and expertise that goes into them. I go to look, and am in awe of the workmanship and the creativity every time. » read more »

5/19/14, Tattoo

Posted on May 19, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I just had the ultimate compliment and had to share it with you. This morning I got an email from one of my daughters, it was a photograph of someone’s “Instagram” of a person we don’t know, who had a tattoo of my face (taken from a photo on a book jacket), which went from the top of her thigh to her knee. Above and below it, it said “Everyone reads Danielle Steel” (one of the phrases my publisher uses for my books, and in ads). And the likeness was perfect, an exact replica of the photograph, with every hair and feature. Getting that tattooed on her leg, must have hurt like hell!!!  I’ve never known a man who tattooed my name on his arm, in a heart, or paid tribute to me in a tattoo in any form. But to have a nearly life size likeness of my face tattooed on her whole leg!!—–WOW!!!! That is loyalty from a fan and then some. And I am not making light of it—-I was actually really touched and flattered. I can’t think of anyone I know who would do that!!! It is an amazing tattoo, and I don’t know the person who has it, but I am EXTREMELY touched and honored by it!!! It is astounding and quite spectacular, and an incredible tribute from a fan, and a person who doesn’t even know me!!!

I had to tell you about it. It was truly amazing!!! My daughter was vastly impressed too. Who do you know who has a tattoo of their face on someone else’s leg??? And to the person who has the tattoo, thank you for making such an enormous gesture in my honor!!! I was totally bowled over!!!!

I hope you have a great week!! This was definitely the high point of mine, and the most unusual tribute I’ve ever had.

love, danielle

Art Week in Paris

Posted on October 28, 2013

Every October, there is a big art fair in Paris, called the FIAC, which happens at the Grand Palais, a beautiful old glass structure where many big exhibits, special events, and fashion shows take place. In this case, galleries from all over Europe, and I think some from the States, come to exhibit, and it’s always fun and exciting to go and see it. I look forward to it every year, and am lucky enough to get a pass to take a look the day before the opening. The art there tends to be on the ‘edgy’ side, which isn’t always my cup of tea, although I love contemporary art. But it’s fun to see who is doing what, and what the trends are in advanced contemporary art. And there is a little bit of everything at the show. (My favorite thing at the fair—or my two favorites actually—-were a bronze piece with a silver finish, which was an exact replica of an Hermes Kelly handbag, which was terrific, but too steep for my budget. And my other favorite was a life-sized, lifelike statue of a boy/young man, which seemed like it was in resin. He was fully dressed, with a totally lifelike expression, and it would have been fun to have. But I didn’t ask the price). I managed to enjoy the entire show, and didn’t buy anything. But it was a fun experience, as always, seeing the show. » read more »

Special Events

Posted on October 21, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Since I share fashion shows and art openings with you, and events I go to, I thought I’d tell you about two remarkable events I attended recently. One was great fun, and absolutely adorable, and the other a more unusual evening.

On a recent trip through New York, to visit my daughters, my oldest daughter was in town to celebrate her five year old daughter’s birthday, and she had organized a luncheon at the American Girl Doll Store on Fifth Avenue. It is a haven for little girls, paradise on earth. They are among the most popular dolls now, and already were when my own daughters were small, not so long ago. Each doll has a story and a history, her own special look, with an assortment of hair and eye colors, different ethnicity, and they have elaborate wardrobes, furniture, cars, pets, kitchen appliances. A dizzying array of accessories for each doll. And the store is an overwhelming and exciting series of departments which sell the dolls, clothes, and all the stuff that goes with them. Some are even twins, and they have added some ‘babies’ to their repertoire. And amidst this extraordinary store all dedicated to these dolls is a restaurant where children and their parents shopping there can stop for lunch or have a birthday party. It’s been a while since my own kids were that small, and to be literally in a department store full of little girls clamoring for dolls, with dolls everywhere you look was amazing. The store is every little girl’s dream, and when we walked into the restaurant, there was a huge long table covered with dolls you could borrow, with little high chairs to seat them, in case you had forgotten to bring your own doll to lunch. It was an incredible scene. Dolls were being fed, talked to, dressed, undressed, there were several borrowed dolls at every table. We were mostly adults at our table, and only three children (two of them boys, who looked shell shocked to be surrounded by all the little girls and their dolls). Lunch was actually delicious, the birthday lunch was a huge success, and in a crazy way I loved it. It almost made me want to take a doll home, and as we left, my daughters and I threaded our way through three floors of ecstatic little girls picking out their new dolls and as much equipment for them as they could talk their parents into. Everyone was having fun. It was innocence at its best, and we all left smiling, and had a ball. » read more »

Filed Under Art, Kids, Music, Paris | 3 Comments

Awww……Come On!!!

Posted on November 14, 2011

As I’ve often mentioned, I love going to art fairs in Paris (or anywhere else for that matter. I went to the art fair to end all art fairs, the most illustrious one, in Basel, Switzerland last year. And have gone to fairs in London, New York, San Francisco, and LA. I thoroughly enjoy them all).  I went to three this past weekend, in Paris, one of which is very respected and highly regarded and I go every year and enjoy it. And the other two are smaller and lesser known. I enjoy the smaller art fairs a lot too. One of my passions is art, and since I still miss my art gallery, which I closed a few years ago, I love seeing what’s happening in the art world. And I still curate one show a year for a wonderful gallery in San Francisco, who very generously has me curate a show for them every year. It keeps my hand in the art world.  There is an art fair in Paris in the spring that I particularly love, but the one I just went to is a great one too. » read more »

Filed Under Art, Paris | 5 Comments