Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

5/14/18, Mother’s Day

Posted on May 14, 2018

 

Hi Everyone!!

 

I hope you had a great week, and have been happily busy!!!
 

Had my all time favorite day of the year yesterday: Mother’s Day!! I had dinner with my daughters in New York last week, for an early mother’s day celebration, and yesterday, I spent the real one with all my other kids. And as always, they always spoil me. They gave me some really adorable presents: 2 fun decorated pillows, 3 pairs of very cute shoes, a wonderful album of family photographs, and a vintage typewriter that looks exactly like the first one I got from my grandmother when I was 14 or 15, a portable Smith Corona. I loved my gifts but best of all, I loved spending the day with my kids. We had brunch together, and I ate way too much!!! Mother’s Day is definitely my favorite holiday of the year.
 

Other than that, I have a lot of writing to do, so I have plenty to keep me busy—-after being lazy yesterday, and enjoying the holiday!!!
 

I hope that all is well with you, and I wish you a wonderful week!!! I have a new book coming out tomorrow, “The Cast”, about the cast of a hit TV series, and all the different people and personalities involved. I hope you love the book!!! Have a great week,

 

 

love, Danielle

5/7/18, May Day

Posted on May 7, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I had a sweet day last week, which was a double header for me. May Day. When I was a little girl in French schools, we used to wear a little wreath of flowers around our heads, and dance around a Maypole. It sounds pretty silly, but I thought it was fun. May Day is Labor Day in France, so it’s a National Holiday. And lily of the valley, the flower, are the symbol of May Day, and happen to be my favorite flower. I love their delicate scent. In France, everyone exchanges sprigs of lily of the valley on May Day, as a symbol of friendship and good luck. There are street vendors everywhere selling lily of the valley, for people to give to friends, coworkers, children, grandmothers. It’s such a pretty holiday, and a lovely thought.
 

May Day also happens to be my late son Nick’s birthday. I loved that he was born on May Day. So it’s a bit of a double edged sword for me now, with happy and bittersweet memories that flood into my mind. Memories of him as a little boy, and when he was born, and as he grew up. He was an amazing person, and passed away at nineteen. So I love the day, but I also miss him enormously on that holiday. I usually invite friends to dinner that night, so as not to be alone, and I did the same this year. Twelve friends joined me for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Before that, I spent a quiet day, reading, and thinking of Nick.
 

So Happy May Day to you, and I hope that Spring is now officially here. And soon it will be full-on summer!!! Get ready for it!!

 

 

love, Danielle

4/30/18, Mom The Magician

Posted on April 30, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
I hope you had a happy, busy week, and that good things happened or are about to!!!
I had a roller coaster week, non-stop calls, dilemmas, and crises. All of them resolving now, but what a week!! Things always happen at once, to most of us. I had one child with a severe allergic reaction (first to an insect bite, then to the medication for it), feeling absolutely awful in one city, not a fatal situation, but I hate it when my kids are sick. Another child whose dog was very sick, and needed surgery, so lots of calls with the dog owner, and the vet. Another of my children lost her beloved dog to cancer 6 months ago, which was a terrible heartbreak, and I’ve been looking for a new puppy for her, we found one with the help of a wonderful person who finally located one for us, and I had to figure out how to get the puppy from Arizona to California to New York this week. It finally arrived on Friday, with a LOT of organizing, and understandably, the puppy was jangled by the trip, and cried all the first night. So lots of calls on that, as I followed the puppy’s progress across the country into my daughter’s arms, with me in Europe.  To add a little more chaos to the week, I had house painters, and my apartment was a mess (but with great results when they finished. They painted a sky on my entrance hall ceiling, and I LOVE it!!), and I had a mountain of editing work on my desk, while fielding phone calls about sick and arriving puppies, and sick ‘children’, even though adults.
I find that the hardest part of being the parent of adults is that you can’t solve all their problems, kiss all their boo boos away, or protect them from hard life events or bad people. Motherhood is a lifetime job, and just as I once watched and protected them in the playground, or on the swings, and kept them safe, I wish I could still do that in real/adult life. A mother is expected to be a magician, and you should always be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat. It turns out that although motherhood comes with that expectation, in fact it does not come with a magic wand, a top hat, or a satin cape with secret pockets. I think fathers are often better at letting them solve their own problems, and stepping back while they do. I hear from friends, and know from myself, we as mothers want to ‘fix’ their problems, while not depriving them of the ability and satisfaction of doing it for themselves. We are by nature protectors once we have children. But there is so much to protect them from, as adults in the real world, none of it controllable, including their own mistakes, or things that just happen. It’s damn hard to cut the cord, and I don’t think I ever really have, and probably never will. If I live to be 100, I’ll still be there, wanting to protect my 80 year old kids from something!!! And crying children, in crisis, and suffering life’s blows (like losing a beloved dog, or a relationship, or job, or suffering some form of illness or injustice) just breaks my heart.
So I have to be content with being available, resourceful, creative, patient (not always my strong suit), and help solve the problems I can, or come up with a puppy, help find an apartment, or just listen when they’re upset even if there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. The latter is the hard part. The ‘nothing I can do about it’ problems are agonizing.
In the end, on balance, it was a good week, the sick dog is better and came through the surgery and the dog’s owner is feeling calmer and went to a baseball game yesterday, so he’s okay. The sick daughter is feeling better after a miserable week. And the puppy arrived in another daughter’s arms, and is settling in after an understandably bumpy first night. I didn’t solve any problems, but I listened and did what I could, with some advice. And a puppy to love is a wonderful thing. The calls came fast and furious all week, but things are quiet today. Somehow, I got my editing done, and the painters left, the furniture is back in place, and I have a really pretty blue sky overhead—-to remind me that eventually most storms calm down, and blue skies return. It’s a quiet Sunday and I’m enjoying the peace and quiet, for as long as it lasts, until the phone starts ringing again. And what would I do without that? I’m grateful that they call me, even if they’re grown up.
I didn’t make any great magic this week, I rarely do these days. I can’t produce a much wanted doll, find a lost teddy bear, or glue something back together. (I once went to the park at midnight to find a teddy bear one of my kids had left in the playground, and went through trucks of a hotel’s laundry, looking for one son’s beloved sleep monkey, and I found him, and came back from the park at midnight with the teddy bear. That was all a lot easier than grown up life today. I really shone as a magician when they were little kids!!!). It’s easier to make magic for little kids than for big ones. But most Moms try to make magic where they can, even if it’s only to produce a favorite meal, babysit for a sick dog, or offer advice when appropriate (rarely!!! Who listens to their mother? And as one friend says, “My advice is worth what you paid for it.”)
So I’m no longer the most efficient magician, but I sure try. I think most mothers do—-and when you actually get lucky and pull a rabbit out of a hat for your kids, whatever their age—-it feels SOOOO GOOD!!!!
Have a magical week!! I hope wonderful things happen to you!!!

 

 

much love, Danielle

3/26/18, Inside/Outside

Posted on April 2, 2018

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you, and that you had a lovely Easter, or Passover, if you celebrated either of them. I had Easter brunch with three of my children and their significant others, with chocolate bunnies on the table, bunny ears for all to wear, little chocolate eggs, jelly beans, and the little wind up chicks and bunnies that were fun when they were children.
I was spared April Fool this year, with Easter on the same day. My children are notorious for April Fool jokes and I always fall for them!!

The big excitement for me is that my new book “Accidental Heroes” will be #1 on the New York Times list this week—-it is always a thrill when that happens, and it never gets old.  I hope you read the book too and love it!!! I really love that book, it’s suspenseful and exciting and was challenging to write!!!

I was thinking of something the other day that I wanted to share with you. Twice recently, I’ve had a similar (almost identical) conversation with two very close good friends, one a man, the other a woman, both of them people I respect enormously. Both are people that everyone admires, on many fronts. Both are deep, serious, people with strong personal values. Both have impressive, very successful careers, in businesses they have built themselves. Both have studied hard, and by all normal standards, are high achievers who have accomplished a great deal professionally, and are highly successful. Additionally, both are in long marriages, with the same partners they started out with (not many people can claim that anymore), both have what would be considered today ‘large’ families, several children, and their children are all really lovely ‘kids’, some of them grown up now, and starting on their own lives and careers. Both of them are family people, and have strong family and personal values. I consider both honest, honorable people. Both are good, loving spouses, whom I admire in their marriages. And interestingly, both are religious, and attend religious services regularly. And both are people I truly admire, and many of us would consider role models. What was remarkable about my conversations with them was that both were deeply questioning themselves, and really undervaluing themselves, questioning if they were good parents, were getting really good results with their kids, were they successful enough in their marriages, were they good spouses, and questioning their success and careers. Both had serious doubts about themselves, which would stun me, and did, given everything I know about them. But what didn’t stun me is that I have heard the same things from other people at various times, and have questioned myself in very similar ways at times.

I have wonderful kids whom I love dearly, more than anything on earth, and who love me. They are healthy, normal, upstanding, wholesome, honest, loving hard working young people, and yet I always question if I have done and given enough for them and to them. Have I been enough for them, and been a good parent? I much more easily see my flaws and failings than what I’ve done right. And I heard the same thing from those 2 friends in the last week, and others before them. I have been so blessed in my career, and have had a long successful career I work hard at—-and I work very hard—but do I work hard enough? Am I a good enough friend, person, human being, parent, writer?

What is so remarkable is that good people, who really strive hard to do well and do the right thing, and are really doing a great job on many fronts, so often doubt themselves and think they aren’t good enough. Other people look so much more ‘together’ to all of us. They seem to have all the answers, make the right decisions, look so much ‘cooler’, smarter, better than we look to ourselves.

The best advice I ever got on this subject was from the woman who helped me take care of my son Nicky when he was very sick. She said “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides”. And it is SOOOO TRUE. Everyone else looks like they have their ‘sh–‘ together, that they know all the answers, and don’t make the dumb mistakes we all do. We don’t see them snap at their kids when they’re tired or had a bad day, or argue with their partner/spouse over something really dumb “you always leave the kitchen a mess….you Never take out the garbage….you never pick up your own stuff, why do I have to do it?….” We see other people’s outer perfection and smooth presentation—-and we look just as smooth, but we know the lumps and bumps of ourselves inside. I question myself a thousand times late at night in the dark hours when I finish work/writing and am alone, and I see everything I’ve done wrong, the mistakes I make again and again, big and small, the times I have failed to go the extra mile for someone and think I should have.

Even people whom we think are so ‘perfect’, are so hard on themselves. Why do we do it? Why aren’t we better at celebrating what we do right??? And all the good things we’ve done!!!

Listening to my 2 friends doubt themselves reminded me of that piece of advice. I’ve heard my kids doubt themselves when they have so much to be proud of in themselves, and I’m proud of them. And I’m sure (or hope) that I’m a better person than I think I am.
I thought I would share that with you, because I’ll bet that many of you do it too—–compare the private you to other people’s ‘outsides’, which look so great.

We are all frail beings, unsure of ourselves, painfully aware of our weaknesses and flaws, and all the times when we think we could have done better. It’s good to remember sometimes that others are no more sure of themselves than we are (no matter how great they appear to us). So if this applies to you too, Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other people’s outsides!!! It’s such good advice!!!

 

Have a great week!!! love, Danielle

3/12/18, Happy Paris

Posted on March 12, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope that all is well with you. Paris has had a history-making Arctic cold front from Siberia for the past couple of weeks—New York has been hit with snow, the middle of the country is still freezing cold, so except for those of you in Florida or Hawaii, I hope you’re staying warm!! I was chuckling to myself this morning thinking of the song, “I love Paris in the Springtime”….yeah, right, whatever….I mean, Siberia—-seriously?? Yes.
 

Other than the weather, pouring rain and freezing cold, Paris has been happy and fun. As I told you last week, I loved going to my daughter’s fashion show, and I wound up Paris fashion week with the Chanel show. Chanel is famous for their incredible, outstanding decor for all their fashion shows. I think the prize-winner for me was the very real looking rocket ship a year or two ago. It sat center stage, and looked like a movie set. The models swirled around it in space age inspired clothes. And to give it some life, there was vapor coming out from under the bottom of the space ship, and I figured that was as real as it was going to get. Not at all. At the end of the show, more vapor came out, rocket ship noises, and much to the entire crowd’s amazement, the rocket ship lifted off the ground, or appeared to, and headed toward the roof of the beautiful glass building, the Grand Palais, where the shows are held, and just as it reached the very top of the building, and you thought, holy COW!! It’s going to break right through the roof, very clever mechanical tricks came into play, where it sort of pleated into itself, so it LOOKED like it was taking off through the roof, but it really wasn’t. That was a total WOW!!! My second favorite was the time they flew in a REAL ‘small’ iceberg from Sweden. Small in relation to other big ones, but it nearly filled the huge building, so not so small. It was flown in, and back to Sweden after the show, and the temperatures in the building had to be kept freezing for the safety of the iceberg. I was frozen, but so fascinated by sitting only a few feet from a real iceberg that I didn’t care. The fashion show went on around it, as the models walked around the iceberg. They were sloshing through a small amount of water by the end of the show. The sets are always so fabulous at Chanel that sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on the clothes (once, a full sized replica of a Supermarket, an end of the world desolate expanse of black sand, a moonscape, lush gardens.) All of the stage sets for Chanel are designed by Peter Marino, he is a brilliant talent, and always appears at the shows himself entirely dressed in black leather.
 

The clothes for the show last week were for fall and winter, so the stage set was a winter forest. Clever photographic curtains surrounding the whole area showed tall trees that looked very real, and real trees were set up on the area the models walked through, dead leaves and moss were on the ground, and earth, and the whole place had an autumnal earthy smell. It was a perfect fall/winter scene, and the clothes were very pretty. It is a huge show with many models, probably over 100 looks, and beautiful clothes. It was a terrific show!!!
 

For the rest of the week, I puttered around my house, watched a ceiling light fixture get set up, (black glass), I did a little shopping, saw my daughter off (always sorry to see her go), worked, read, watched my favorite TV series (“Call the Midwife”), and had lunch with a friend, and had fun talking to him, and then settled down to writing again. End of Fashion Week, and back to work. For those who work at ‘fashion week’, they see the end of it with a huge sigh of relief. It begins in New York, goes on to London and Milan, and ends in Paris—and is really a 4 week marathon for anyone involved in ready to wear fashion. I get to see it at close range with my daughters, and love it.
 

So it’s back to work for me. Have a fantastic week, and don’t forget to have some fun. We all need a break at times, to have a good laugh, see a friend, just take a little time off, to break the rhythm of work. I tend to work too much, too long, and too hard, but I love it—-and I have to remind myself to take a break and have some fun. So you too, and have some fun! (I have a sign in my office that says “Do what makes you happy!” Good advice!!) Spring will be back one day….I can’t wait!!

 

much love, Danielle

3/5/18, Report from Siberia

Posted on March 5, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope you’re having an interesting fun week so far. I am experiencing something new to me: a Siberian winter. Paris has been experiencing a record breaking cold front, coming straight from Russia, literally from Siberia, and I am now understanding the descriptions I’ve read in books like War and Peace, and memoirs by people sent to prison in Siberia. It is bone chillingly cold in Paris, and has snowed several times, which is beautiful, but the weather is unbelievably cold!!!! So I’ve been puttering around my house catching up on things to do, writing, and going out too, and wearing many layers when I do.
 

I flew into Paris to meet up with another of my daughters, who works in fashion, to see her work on the Altuzarra fashion show, which she styles every season (she puts the looks together that are worn by models on the runway, to show the fashions for next winter, and after all the shows during fashion week, store buyers place their orders for their stores. So the goal is to make the clothes look as appealing as possible, as chic and as fun, on the runway.) Since I’ve been attending fashion shows myself since I was a very young girl, and took my daughters to see the fashion shows in Paris, when they were children, we have a fascination with fashion—and I can compare how the audience, models, styles and fashion itself have changed since my childhood until now. It’s more casual now than it used to be, since people don’t dress as formally. These are ready to wear clothes that you will eventually be able to buy in stores all over the US (and Europe). Previously, the most elegant women went to the Haute Couture shows, they were a serious bunch of very well dressed (somewhat intimidating) women, and that generation of fashion clients are gone now. Presidents’ wives, royalty and famous movie stars went to those shows, more to be seen than to buy clothes. Today, Haute Couture is a dying art, with few customers left for a beautiful but almost extinct art form now—-and the real ‘happening’ is at the ready to wear shows twice a year in Paris, New York, London and Milan at “Fashion Week”. These are the shows that movie stars and celebrities and fashion followers go to now, along with magazine editors, and store buyers. Each fashion show is AN EVENT, and there is as much to watch in the audience as on the runway.
 

The clothes at the show I saw today were beautiful and wearable, at department store prices, so not cheap, but real people can actually afford them, unlike Haute Couture which sells for six figure amounts and only the wealthiest women in the world can afford them. Ready to Wear is accessible, in wearable styles at affordable prices. The models, like all models now, are insanely, unhealthily frighteningly thin, and no one except people who have starved since their early teens can wear them in the sizes shown on the runway. The models are beautiful but just too thin, and women compare themselves to them, and come out muttering about how fat they are. Many or most of the models are in their late teens, although they look very grown up and sophisticated in the clothes, hairdos and make up.
 

The clothes were beautiful, and my daughter Vanessa did a beautiful job styling them, putting the looks together, dresses and coats and pants, and purses and shoes that you want to own and wear when you see them. She did a great job, and I was VERY proud of her, and thrilled to be at the show. Famous fashion magazine editors were there, movie stars, celebs, and people one recognizes. Part of the appeal of these ready to wear shows is where they hold them—-this one was at a trendy restaurant, that has been popular for decades in Montparnasse, the once “arty” Bohemian part of Paris (Toulouse Lautrec lived and painted in that part of Paris, and many famous artists). The restaurant was big, seating was set up for hundreds of people, (the fashion shows are by invitation only and it’s an elite crowd of Fashion VIPs) and the models threaded their way among us, wearing the clothes, while music played. Fashion Shows are An Event now, a place to see and be seen—-and I have to admit, I have fun staring at the audience before and after the show as much as the clothes. You see EVERYTHING there, wild hair does, crazy clothes, weird shoes, vintage clothes, current styles, I am always fascinated by the shoes, which look like works of art (but not too comfortable). The people who go to the shows want to attract attention, be noticed, and especially get photographed by the hundreds of international press attending. The theme of the audience is often “the crazier the better”, although some are truly stylish. The wild trendy ones stand out, and are fun to watch. My children scold me for staring, but who can resist that??? So I saw everything in the audience today, glittery, shimmery metallic skirts, wild sneakers, hugely high platform shoes, weird hats, out of control trendy hair does, along with some truly fashionable men and women. As many men go to these shows as women. Everyone has their own reason for going, business, amusement, or a love of fashion.
 

It was a fun day for me, seeing my daughter’s work, and the clothes she consulted on with the talented designer. It was a beautiful show, and I really had fun. Fashion can be a wonderful respite from the hard things that happen in the world and bring us down. Fashion is an instant upper, that makes one happy, and makes one laugh or smile or dream, or wish one owned what’s being shown on the runway. There was a short black jacket with a white knit collar that I had my eye on, and I may just try to snag it when the collection becomes available in stores next fall. I love sharing my fashion hobby with you. It’s a much happier past time than some of the serious things that go on around us in our world. So stay tuned for Paris fashion, and an important group of observers of the fashion shows now are the bloggers, who come from all over the world to report what they see, on their blogs. I had a blast, and was soooo proud of my daughter!!! We went to lunch afterwards and did some shopping ourselves!!
 

Have a great week!!! And I hope there will be some fun things happening this week for you!!

 

love, Danielle

2/26/18, Binge Worthy Series

Posted on February 26, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
I hope you’re having busy, fun, interesting weeks—-in spite of a last gasp of winter in a lot of places. It’s been cold on the West Coast, alternately freezing and weirdly warm in parts of the East, freezing in Paris. Winter is definitely still with us.

As I’ve said before, I have a tendency to hibernate in winter (like a Mama Bear!!). I do a lot of writing, and between bouts of writing, my latest passion in recent years are the series that I’ve grown attached to and really enjoy. And whenever possible, I binge watch them, when a new season comes out in its entirety, or when I decide to re-watch my favorite series. It is so cozy on a winter’s night to watch my favorite series in bed, on TV, or on my computer, with my three little dogs tucked in around me. They love my winter laziness, and don’t know how they got so lucky, as I sit in bed and they get my company for a whole day or evening.

My all-time very favorite series, and the first one I ever watched is Downton Abbey, I don’t even know how often I’ve watched all six seasons by now. I recently found it on Netflix, while I was in Paris, and although I have it on DVD’s, I happily watched it on Netflix all weekend. It was like meeting up with old friends again, as the characters on the show are for the most part endearing, and after devotedly watching for six years, I loved seeing them all again. My daughters and I were REALLY sorry when the show ended!! I would have been happy with another six seasons!!  More recently, I have loved The Crown, also on Netflix. And Victoria, (about the young Queen Victoria), both of those series have had two seasons so far. And on a lazy weekend recently, I discovered “Call The Midwife “also on Netflix, a British series, set in the l950’s in London’s somewhat rough East End, with a convent full of nuns, and young nurse/midwives, all of them with lots of personality, and the stories of the people they take care of, and their own lives, are very poignant. It’s beautifully written, and perfectly cast, and deals with many of the issues and challenges women faced in the 1950s.  It’s currently in its seventh season, and I binge-watched that too, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Oddly enough, all of the series I have grown attached to are British. I’ve had a wonderful time watching these series, and became totally immersed in them and the people in the story (the way people do with my books). The series provide a great break for me between books, and it’s fun to watch something I didn’t write!! If you watch them, I hope you enjoy them too!!!

Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

Filed Under Family, Hobbies | 5 Comments

2/12/18, Happy V Day

Posted on February 12, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope your weeks have been going well. I’ve been busy writing, which usually keeps me happy and out of trouble.

And I guess we need to mention the holiday looming this week: Valentine’s Day. It’s a day of hope and expectations, excitement, joy, and sometimes disappointment if your Valentine hopes don’t quite measure up. I hope your Valentine’s Day will exceed all expectations and turn out even better than you dreamed!!!

My own Valentine’s Day experiences have been varied, from the sublime to the ridiculous, with some real highs—two marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day, one for a marriage that lasted nearly twenty years, and remained a great love (the father of eight of my nine children), and the other was a bumpy road but someone I loved a lot nonetheless, and we also stayed very close. I’ve had some terrific dates on Valentine’s Day, and some less than terrific dates, and some years alone. It’s one of those days, like New Year’s Eve where people pin their hopes on everything they wish, and it’s sometimes/often hard for reality to measure up. My children have been my best Valentines over the years, and still are!!! We used to set a terrific table with lots of candy hearts, and funny little party favors, walking hearts, Peeps of course (my favorite), lots of chocolate, T shirts with hearts on them, fun jewelry that lights up, and a BIG pink heart shaped cake at the end of it. We do a small version of that now for my daughter who still lives at home, but she usually goes out and has more exciting plans than a heart shaped cake at home!! But it was a lot of fun when all my children were little and still at home.

I hope you’re planning to do something fun on Valentine’s Day, and I hope that someone gives you flowers and chocolates—-even if they don’t propose. If not on Valentine’s Day, maybe they will soon!!! My youngest son’s birthday is four days before Valentine’s Day, so he was a GREAT Valentine’s Day gift, the best ever!!! We celebrated his birthday last week with a family dinner, which included some of his friends.

I hope that your Valentine’s Day plans turn out just the way you hope, and you have a fun, romantic day and evening, full of love, and maybe even the excitement of a new romance, or the warm comfort of an old romance. The possibilities are endless—-and anything is possible. So Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope it will be a great one!!!

 

much love to you,  Danielle

2/5/18, Mix and Match

Posted on February 6, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

Oops, sorry I’m a day late with the blog, but I will confess I was having fun yesterday, at least some of the time. Living between two cities and travelling back and forth every few weeks, I always seem to be hit with a backlog of work, minor and major problems, and things to catch up on when I arrive. My last day before I leave is hectic, and my first day back in either city is a total zoo, and chaotic. I’m not complaining because I feel very lucky to live in two cities—but the transition can be bumpy. So yesterday was first day back, and I spent 21 hours playing catch up and settling in. My reward for all that was that a small shipment of photographs, paintings, curtains and objects that I sent home by ship when I moved to my new apartment in Paris at the beginning of November, had arrived the day before I returned home, and I got to dig through the boxes and find a place for each of the things I sent back. Some of it I had earmarked for my kids (some great photos of Marilyn Monroe that my son wanted, some fashion photos from the 1950’s for one of my daughters in fashion, and the modelling photos of another of my daughters, when she modelled for a while before getting into the business and counselling end of fashion).

It felt like Christmas as I took time out from real work to dig through the boxes.  It was like a treasure hunt!! After three months, I had almost forgotten what I sent, including two sets of really pretty curtains that didn’t work anywhere in the new apartment, and I hated to give up, so I kept them and sent them home. I love collecting things, so my houses are pretty full, and trying to fit anything new in is like working a Rubik’s Cube!!! But I somehow always manage to squeeze one more thing in, or hang one more painting, by re-hanging 5 or 10 others!! I also used the opportunity of the move to get rid of things I was tired of, and had been mistakes to begin with, so what was left were mostly things I really love, which makes my new home that much more enjoyable, now that I weeded out the things I didn’t love. I love going to auctions and finding unusual things, or paintings by unknown artists. I love Chinese art, and have a collection of small wooden antique Buddhas—they’re not of great value, but with the patina of age, I really love looking at them!! And sometimes moving something old and familiar to a new home gives it a new burst of life and you enjoy it all over again!!! I love mix and matching things, old and new, I have a collection of Chinese ceramic vegetables and fruit, and have mixed them with the things that my children made in ceramics class in school when they were very little. It makes a fun eclectic group of objects, and I have them all together on a table. I have a lot of art made by my children, and I love it!!!  And I still have many paintings left from when I had a contemporary art gallery. Sometimes the things my children made look great with modern art. I love mixing and matching with both fashion and decorating—-something very special and even expensive mixed with something silly or fun that I found in a funny little shop somewhere. I like the light hearted side of that rather than being too serious about decorating or fashion. So I had great fun finding new homes for all the things I sent back, and the curtains I sent home fit perfectly and look beautiful. So it was my Mix and Match day.

As much as I love fashion, almost as an art form, for the past 10 years or so, I enjoy decorating even more. And when I had put all the new arrivals away, I went back to work on the mountain waiting for me on my desk, and I’m still at it today. It was a 21 hour work day yesterday, with more of the same today…..but I loved my Mix and Match day yesterday.   Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

Filed Under Family, homes, Paris, Travel | 5 Comments

1/22/18, “Proud Mama”

Posted on January 22, 2018

Hi Everyone,

Enough with nostalgic holiday moments, poignant memories, beloved traditions, bad weather all over the world, mudslides in Southern California, terrible fires in Northern California last year, world politics and new year’s resolutions I never keep!!!—-let’s get down to fun business, its Fashion Show Season again.

In the fashion world, the year always starts with a bang with the Haute Couture fashion shows in Paris in January—Haute Couture is the high art of French fashion, where each garment is handmade (not a single machine stitch on them!!), the clothes are worn in a runway show by 40 or 50 gorgeous models, and the clothes have to be ordered, and take several months to make, with 2 or 3 fittings, and given the exquisite craftsmanship that goes into them, they cost a fortune. It’s an international event, and hundreds of press are there in Paris, and famous people from around the world come to see to see the show.

The French government—- has to give the designers or fashion houses permission to put on a fashion show, and they give them an allotted date and time. You can’t just decide to do it, you need government permission. And people who want to see the show have to be invited, you can’t just show up. And it’s very exclusive and highly desired to get an invitation to these shows. Two months later, the French ready to wear designers will show their clothes for next season, but the January (and July) Show traditionally is only to show the very exclusive Haute Couture clothes. The season being shown right now is for fall/winter later this year. The clothes that people are wearing now were shown last July—-although very, very few people can afford to buy Haute Couture, the prices are astronomical—-more than a car!!! To put it in perspective.

Haute Couture week in Paris used to be a jam packed event, with many shows every day. Because of the cost of producing the clothes, and how rarefied it has all become, there are very very few real Haute Couture houses left in Paris. In fact, only two: Chanel and Dior. Schiaparelli recently made a comeback a couple of years ago. The others have either closed entirely, or stopped their Haute Couture lines and only make ready to wear (Givenchy, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and a host of others.) So Haute Couture fashion ‘week’ now only lasts 2 and a half days. To help keep the Fashion Industry alive, and garner attention for it, the French government came up with an interesting idea a year or so ago, and invited a few American ready to wear designers to show their ready to wear clothes in a fashion show in Paris twice a year, during Haute Couture week. I think it was started as an experiment to see how it would work. It has worked extremely well!! And I was lucky enough to see one of these new shows, during Haute Couture week, last July, and again today.

One of my daughters (one of three of my daughters who work in fashion) is a design consultant at Proenza Schouler in the States. She researches fashions during various periods of recent and long ago history, or specific items, to inspire the designers she works for. And once they’re off and running with designs for next season, she consults with them about color, shape, detail, length, and all the details that go into creating a beautiful item of clothing. The clothing is produced for the show (as a kind of sample), it is fit on the models who will wear them in the show. Everyone who works for a fashion house works like crazy on these shows—-as in 18 to 20 hour days, weeks before, and round the clock a week before the show. The consultant/stylist selects the accessories for the clothes, watches the hair and makeup artists, so that EVERY single element in the show will be perfect!!! They watch the models dress and go out on the runway, and keep a close eye on everything!!!

Like a wedding, considering all the preparation that goes into it, in comparison, the show itself lasts a very short time. Maybe half an hour from beginning to end, but the planning and preparation before the event goes on for months, and at fever pitch in the end. Everything has to be perfect.

So my daughter did her job—-and I went to the show today, and loved it. There is always a huge amount of excitement leading up to a fashion show—and the trend for several years now has been to do these shows in unusual locations, a restaurant, a museum, a store, an empty building, a train station, a sports club, or some out of the way location. Designers are often looking for a suitable setting for a show, or a controversial one to excite the press. The Proenza show today was at a construction site, the idea in this case was to have it in a place so stark and undecorated, (in its ‘natural state) that it wouldn’t interfere with the clothes. They succeeded with that!!!

The show had a great look, and what they call a “story” in the business, the clothes had a related feel and made sense together, interesting fabrics, beautiful designs and details. It was a very, very strong show, with a reminiscent 70’s feel to it. I know how much work went into the clothes and the show, my daughter has been staying with me and working 18 hour days, coming home at 2 am, and leaving well before sunrise again the next day to go back to the office. (And from sheer exhaustion, many of the workers and crew came down with the flu, and several went to work with fevers, but stuck with it and worked hard anyway.) In the end, it was a huge success, and I was so proud of my daughter’s part in it. She has immense talent, and this is a great way to express it. I was thrilled for her when I saw the show.

After the show, the audience disbands quickly, so they can go on to the next show. They flood out the doors and dash to the next show. The Haute Couture and Ready to Wear shows are attended by store buyers, fashion editors, clients, movie stars, and people who are involved in fashion in some way. It’s a very knowledgeable crowd.

One very noticeable element was the models. The same group of girls model in many of the shows. In France, the models have to be age 16 or over. In the States they hire them sometimes as young as 14 and 15 (although they look grown up and sophisticated in the clothes). Almost all of them are very tall, and they are frighteningly thin—too thin. Humans just don’t come in that size, unless they have some kind of fatal illness (or are severely anorexic. It’s not pretty, it’s too extreme, and most men don’t even like women that thin). And the bad part of that is that normal women compare themselves to those models, which are much too thin to be healthy, and eventually suffer the consequences. These way too thin girls have become role models for women and young girls, and set an example that no one healthy should aspire to. It’s a concern to any woman who has daughters, and most women compare themselves to these young girls and feel too heavy in comparison. We all need better perspective on that subject!!

It was a perfect ending to the show when one of the famous models came dashing out, and rushed up to a motorcycle driver holding a sign up with her name. He was a “moto-taxi driver”, very common in Paris to get somewhere quickly. He wrapped her in heavy rain gear, and she hopped onto the back of his motorcycle and he put a helmet on her, and a moment later, they sped off in Paris traffic, to get her to her next destination. She was very young and very pretty, she gave a wave as they drove away. The show was over. On to the next one!! I’m going to the Chanel show tomorrow, I’ll let you know how that one is. They sent me a whole box of makeup, perfume and chocolates, as a kind of prelude to the show—-and little gold marshmallow bears, dipped in gold colored chocolate!!! YUM!!! It was a proud day for me, seeing the beautiful show my daughter helped to put together and coordinate. It was one of those special moments!!

I LOVED seeing the show, AND knowing that my daughter was an integral part of it. I was a VERY proud Mom today.

Have a great week, love, Danielle

Filed Under Art, Family, Fashion, Kids | 3 Comments