I thought this would be fun. It’s little vignettes of my Paris apartment, from the most recent edition (July/August) of Vanity Fair:
Have a wonderful week!!!
Posted on July 20, 2020
I thought this would be fun. It’s little vignettes of my Paris apartment, from the most recent edition (July/August) of Vanity Fair:
Have a wonderful week!!!
Posted on January 13, 2020
I hope that all is well with you. After the seriousness, stress, and rushing around of the holidays, and the solemnity of not only a new year but a new decade…..a bit of fun. Sometimes fashion is just plain fun, frivolous, and can even take us back to the innocence and silliness of our childhoods—-maybe with a new twist. Mickey Mouse is the hot new craze at the moment, with a vintage look, brought to us by Gucci, which is all about fun and how imaginative fashion can be.
Gucci has done a whole new collection featuring a vintage looking Mickey Mouse, in collaboration with Disney, or licensed by them in any case. And not just for children, but for men and women too. Set for specific release on January 6th, Mickey appeared in the Gucci stores a week ago, and the spark of excitement over it has turned into a roaring blaze. The Mickey collection has the cut and quality and flawless eye for fashion of Gucci clothing and accessories, with a REALLY fun touch. Jeans with a Mickey patch on the back pocket, T shirts in many colors, round neck sweatshirts and hoodies, sweaters, denim jackets and skirts, silk pajamas you can wear out, purses, shoes, jackets, in pastel colors, vibrant ones, or their signature nut brown motif with Mickey Mouse all over it, even watches. And admittedly, with the high quality of Gucci, a serious eye for fashion, and the irresistible Mickey image, it’s not cheap. In fact, it’s pretty expensive. Not as expensive as some recent fashion trends like Chanel’s collaboration with Pharrell last year, which had people lining up in the streets overnight to buy $6,000. hoodies, which were sold out within hours when Chanel stores opened. Gucci hasn’t gone that far, but the entire Mickey Mouse collection is priced at the high end of a luxury brand you can always count on to deliver high quality, and takes full advantage of nearly a century of the world’s love for Mickey Mouse. The collection takes us back to our childhood, while being undeniably fashionable, and the hottest trend in years.
And yes, I fell in love with it, and bought some for me, my youngest daughter who loves it too, and even some gifts. If you love Mickey Mouse, you will love every bit of it. The entire collection nearly sold out on the first day, as fashion aficionados and fashionistas waited, panting, for the promised release.
Simply put, I love it!!! It’s impossible to resist, and I love the childlike imagination of it. I don’t usually buy ‘trends’, but this one got to me, so I’ll be wearing my Mickey Mouse jeans and T shirt, and even a sweatshirt this season!!! A little levity does one good. So the race is on, and Mickey is winning by a mile this season. It is a super fun start to the New Year!!!
Have a fun week!!!
Posted on April 16, 2019
I hope that all is well with you.
With the greatest of sadness I am writing my blog to you, after watching Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burn today, its spire fall and its roof collapse. It is an exquisite iconic twelfth century Cathedral, symbolic of Paris, and France, and dear to most French people’s hearts. As I learned of the fire, I was flooded with emails from Europe, from the States, from Mexico, Hawaii, Paris, from people I barely know, from close friends, from my bankers, my children. It was truly a world shattering tragic event. The images were heartbreaking.
In this holy week before Easter, I am reminded again of the Resurrection, of the idea of Renewal, new beginnings of rebirth. Notre Dame Cathedral has had her crucifixion and trial by fire, and I can only pray that this deeply symbolic and beautiful church will rise from the ashes and have a resurrection of its own, with the help of all who love her, and honor all that she represents. Her spirit continues, and hopefully will continue for many more centuries once she is restored.
all my love, and may you have a peaceful week.
Posted on February 25, 2019
I hope you had a great week since we last “met” here on my blog a week ago. I look forward to reading your comments at the end of my blogs. And I try to share with you things that matter to me, I discover, or that I’m doing or care about, or people that I meet whom I find interesting. It’s a peaceful moment in my week when I chat with you.
I will confess to you as I write to you this week that I am very sad. The world lost a true genius last week, a truly extraordinary man of immense talent. Four weeks ago, I wrote to you about the Chanel Haute Couture fashion show in Paris, which I’ve often written to you about before. I go to that show twice a year faithfully, and to the Chanel ready to wear show once a year. It’s usually the only fashion show I go to, and it’s always a thrill. I mentioned to you in my blog afterwards that Karl Lagerfeld the designer for Chanel of the past 35 or so years, always appeared after the show to take a bow, and this time, for the first time, an announcer said after the show that Mr. Lagerfeld was “tired’, and sent us all his greetings. He was of a considerable age (85), somewhat frail by now, and frankly, his schedule would have left any of us not just tired, but exhausted. He designed all the Chanel ready to wear collections, which are larger than any other brand, and the Haute Couture collection—-all of that would be work for ten men, not just one. At the same time, he was the designer for Fendi, had his own brand, was an avid and talented photographer, produced some films, wrote some books. He lived life to the fullest, and expressed his HUGE talent in countless ways, right to the very end. He wore a white pony tail with a black ribbon as in the ‘Olden days”, high starched collars, tail coats, he was a legend, a Huge Persona, a genius, and truly an icon of the fashion world. His not appearing for his bow after the show seemed worrisome and even ominous to everyone at the show when they made the announcement, and everyone filed out in total silence, saying not a word, as it occurred to each of us that one day Karl would no longer be here. It seemed unimaginable, and we all hoped that he would be back in good form soon. And now, four weeks later, he is gone.
As an aside, it has been a hard, odd winter. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of so many people I know who died as in the past few months, people of all ages, which makes you stop and think. I had a huge loss last summer when my beloved friend Hubert de Givenchy, the famous fashion designer, passed away at 91. As sad as I was, and I was very sad, he was a wonderful friend and also an immense talent and a truly lovely, lovely person, a great and noble man—–somehow at 91, I can almost accept that that is the way of life and the world, and if they led a full life, it’s almost tolerable. Shortly after, last summer, I lost a beloved brother in law, who had been my big brother since I was 16, but he was much older than I, well into his eighties, so again, I accepted the hand fate dealt. In September, a really lovely friend, full of life and vital, and also a remarkable human being, fell ill for a short time, and was given a medication which gave him cardiac arrest from a reaction and he died at 62. Shocking. I was reeling from that. And as winter came, a friend lost her father, another friend lost his amazingly perky adorable 107 year old grandmother—-again at that age, it’s hard to argue about it. And I heard of others whom I knew, but not that well. And then suddenly over Christmas a great friend passed away, also in his 80’s, and then a couple I know died in a tragic accident at Christmas—-one of those dreadful things you read about that should never happen, their Christmas tree caught fire 2 days before Christmas, they were trapped in the blaze, and died in the fire, a true tragedy. And then only weeks later, I was told that two of my San Francisco neighbors had died, one at 64, the other at 76. In today’s world of modern medicine and great health care, people live so much longer that a death at 60 shocks us, and in someone’s 70’s seems premature. And so many people are vital and still involved in life in their 80’s (I know so many creative people still working full steam ahead in their 80’s), that that shocks me a bit too. And I was notified last week that Lee Radziwill, Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister, died too. Too many people. And now Karl, which is a huge blow to the world of fashion, and the world.
Karl Lagerfeld was truly one of the most talented people I have ever known. He had a genius for fashion, a great eye, a touch of humor, he didn’t take it too seriously, he was a commercial genius, an artist, an icon, a legend. Truly, he was a HUGE persona, he left a mark on fashion that will last forever, like Coco Chanel, and Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga.
What always impressed me about him was his enormous energy. Designers groan at cranking out 2 to 4 collections a year. He did 6 or 7 a year, or even 8, AND another brand, Fendi, and his own brand, was a serious photographer, active, busy, always creating. I cannot believe that that incredible life force and creative tornado is gone. It can’t be.
I have met a few legendary people in my time, and he is truly one of them. He was always kind to me whenever I met him, though he could be funny and ironic. I admire his genius with fashion, and his wit about it, along with his huge talent. He had fun with it, and made it fun for those who wore it. I don’t think there will ever be another designer like him. And along with his talent, I admired his work ethic. He was going 200 mph right to the end. What an extraordinary life, and extraordinary man.
Although whatever talent I have does not compare to his, I work hard too. Too hard sometimes. As he did, I work all the time. The result so far is 176 books. Now that my kids are grown up, I write constantly. When my kids were younger, I always took their school vacations off work, and never worked on weekends. Now that they’re grown up and I’m alone, I work constantly. And I will share with you that I think working is wonderful, (I don’t believe in retirement for anyone!!), but Karl’s passing reminded me that you have to live life too. No matter how hard working or talented, one day it is all over. And one has to LIVE life to the fullest, and enjoy each second.
I will include a link here to a very good article about him, but when I heard the sad news about him, it really made me think, and reminded me that we need to work, and we also need to LIVE.
So my message to you today is Do. Be. Think. Act. Give. Love. Work. Try. And live life to the fullest.
And I love this quote of Karl’s, it kind of says it all about him. “There is no secret to life. The only secret is work. Get your act together, and also perhaps, have a decent life.” My promise to myself is to continue to work hard, create, write books, love my children, spend as much time with them as they have to give me, and remember to have fun. It matters.
Karl will be remembered forever as the giant he was, and I am blessed to have known him. We weren’t close friends, but I was honored to have met him many times, to have seen so many of his shows, and to have known a genius. And I love the example that he set with a full, creative, productive life, working hard to the end. What a legacy he left us.
Have a great week, do fun things, work hard, and enjoy every minute!!!
Posted on May 21, 2018
As many of you know, I love art, particularly contemporary art (and I used to have a contemporary art gallery, for 6 years, in San Francisco. I still miss it!!!), and I especially love happy art, and art that makes me smile. In more classic art, I love paintings of children, or mothers and children. And in contemporary art, I love paintings and sculptures that involve words and sayings. I love hearts, AND I love sculptures of dogs, preferably in bright, fun colors. I realized recently (especially when I moved apartments 6 months ago and had to pack them all!!! and then find places for them in the new apartment) that I have a lot of fun sculptures of dogs, so I thought I’d share some of them with you. Most of them are painted bronze (and weigh a ton), some are fiberglass/also in bright colors, and some are metal like tin, or aluminum, and some are in odd materials, (one of them is made of little strips of newspaper). So I hope you enjoying seeing them…..I can never resist a cute dog statue, especially in a bright color. The French bull dogs in a multitude of colors are by an Italian artist, and the ones of Chihuahuas (in gold, red, and other colors), and the big white dog are by a Belgian artist named Willem Sweetlove, and I love his work (I also have a big red elephant by him, the size of a real baby elephant!!! It’s in my entrance hall, as a surprise to welcome arriving guests).
The word sculptures I love are fun too, and feature words I love: Hope, Love, Happiness. I also used to make wall hangings with multi colored vintage letters to spell out words or sayings I like. Some of the word paintings are black and white, and the word sculptures tend to be red. I collect a French artist called “Ben”, who writes words or sayings, usually on a bright background. In my office, my paintings by him say: “You never know”, “Keep on looking”, “I risk everything”, ” There are no questions without answers”, and “You have to laugh at it”.
So here are the dogs I’ve collected, I hope you enjoy them too!!! Have a great week.
Posted on January 22, 2018
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
Posted on October 2, 2017
I hope you’ve had a great week. Mine has not been one of my best, although I saw a movie I really loved “Victoria and Abdul”, with Judy Dench. It’s about Queen Victoria in her final years, and a young Indian commoner, who worked for her, and became a best friend/confidante/almost like a son to her. She must have had a lonely life as the monarch of a vast empire, the longest reigning queen in history, until the current Queen Elizabeth II. Her love for the husband, Prince Albert, whom she married at nineteen, was legendary, and he died at forty one, leaving her alone for more than fifty years until she died. Supposedly, she had his clothes laid out every day after his death, for the rest of her life, and never recovered from his death. So to see the true story (undoubtedly with some dramatizations) of the companionship she found very late in life, from a young man who worked for her and stayed with her until she died, was very touching and poignant. You see the weight on her of being responsible for an empire, the loneliness it created, the people around her jockeying for position, and trying to take advantage of her whenever possible, and the comfort, support and solace she found with this unexpected young man. I loved the movie, and the insight into a Queen who has always fascinated me, and fabulous performances by Judy Dench, and the rest of the cast. What an extraordinary actress. I really loved the movie and both its historical and human aspects.
My week has not been a shining or glorious one, the kind of week that shakes you up, dumps you on your head, breaks your heart a little, and really forces you to scramble, and dig for what you believe in, or say you do. I’ve been working incredibly hard on a project for the past 3 months, involving my home. It was physically and mentally exhausting, and a wonderful challenge filled with joy. I had a great time with it, and put my heart and soul into it, and worked hard on it, and expected a great and happy result. It involved some other people, and I discovered this week that they hadn’t been honest with me, did some double dealing behind my back—-and as happens in life, totally by accident, it all came out, and I made some very nasty discoveries, was brutally disappointed, and will probably lose quite a bit of money over it. My first reaction was shock, crushing disappointment, and overwhelming sadness to have been lied to, misled, and taken advantage of. It happens to most of us at some point, to be disappointed or betrayed by someone, and suffer a loss as a result. And it’s happened to me before too. But as much as the money lost, there is that incredible childlike feeling, like a kid in the sandbox, when another kid kicks sand in your eyes, and you want to just sit there and cry and say “Why did you do that?” HOW could they do that, but some people just don’t have the honor or the scruples to do the honorable thing. And then what do you do? To the best of my ability, I fought back. But sometimes you just don’t win. And that’s hard to stomach too. I have fought my way through a hurricane of emotions this week, from sadness and disappointment to anger and then back to sadness again. There is a wonderful (well not so wonderful, but very apt) word in French which is “lache”. There is really no exact English translation for it, but it means cowardly and dishonorable, people who do the wrong thing, and try to get away with it. It’s ugly and incredibly painful when it happens to you, when someone around you is “lache”, and intentionally hurts you by doing the wrong thing. And if you’ve been square, honest, and fair with them, it hurts even more.
I think in this case, I was taken for a fool, the people involved thought I wouldn’t fight back and they’d get away with it, or maybe they just didn’t care, and did what was the easiest and most convenient for them. It involved being incredibly dishonest with me. When I discovered it, it felt like a massive kick in the gut, and knocked the wind right out of me. I was literally shaking when I made the discovery. Someone “squealed”. And these people had been looking me in the eye, knowing they had been lying to me.
As you know, I love collecting encouraging sayings, I frame them, and hang them on my office wall. I started thinking about them, and it really made me ask myself if I believe what I say. One of them says “When you hit a disappointment, don’t stop there, keep going.” “When a chapter ends badly, that’s not the end of the story, turn the page”. And the one I kept thinking of was a very simple one “Bounce Back”. I will confess that I whined a lot this week, and felt sorry for myself, but I also realize that the sayings on my wall are true. When you get disappointed in life (and this was a big one), you can’t just stop there. Life doesn’t end at that moment, you have to go on, rebuild whatever has been destroyed or lost, and pick yourself up. You HAVE to, there is no other choice. It’s not easy, and dragging yourself around when you’ve been taken advantage of, lied to, or abused is REALLY hard. But do I believe the sayings on my wall, or not? Am I going to just lie down and quit because things went wrong? It’s not the end of the story. There will be other chapters, and victories at other times. My kids were wonderful and supportive because they knew how much the project meant to me. Losing something you care about and have invested yourself in is a real loss, almost like losing a person or a friend.
But I also know what’s real in life, and what isn’t. I survived losing my son Nick, and that’s as hard as it gets. One of the criteria in my life is ‘will this matter in 20 years?”. Most things you won’t even remember then, and won’t matter. This is one of those things I’ll look back on, know it was a rotten experience, but many good things will have happened to balance it in 20 years. So this will never be a good memory, but other good things will come. And we all get kicked in the stomach sometimes. It teaches us something, and in the long run, it makes us strong. I love the saying too that we are “stronger in the broken places”. I think that’s true too.
So here I am. The life lessons were tough this week. I couldn’t have seen this coming, or predicted that these people would really do a lousy thing to me. But it’s not the end of the world. No one I love died. It won’t ruin my life. It’s just one of those nasty times that hurt, and yeah, there are people in the world who hurt us, and are out to do some pretty nasty things at our expense. Getting revenge won’t make me a better person, and won’t get me far. And even if I’m sad for a while, it will make me stronger in the end.
So my conclusion after a really tough week is that the little sign on my office wall is right: Bounce Back. There’s no other choice really. And now I get to practice what I preach—-and what I frame!! And I get to model for my kids that you can be knocked flat on your ass and have the wind knocked out of you, and you can get up, get moving and recover, and life will be good again.
It has been an utterly crap, tough, upsetting, disappointing week—but so what? It happens to all of us, and I think that sign is the only option: Bounce Back. I’m not bouncing too high yet, but I’ll get there. Things will look better eventually, not all things we want work out, no matter how hard we try. And not all people behave honorably. But whatever happens, when the roof falls in, there is really only one choice, for your own sake: Bounce Back!! I’m working on it. It’s actually what my books are about—that tough things happen to all of us, but we can survive them. And hard or even bad things happen to ALL people, fame, looks, money, and success don’t protect us from the tough stuff. Rich or poor, old or young, famous or not, these things happen to us all. I’ll recover from this, and good things will happen again…..and in the meantime, I will be working on bouncing back!!! Have a safe, happy, wonderful week!!! And I’ll try to do the same. Seeing the wonderful movie about Queen Victoria cheered me up!!!
ps. As some of you also know, through this blog, my 17 year old great niece was in the terrorist attack at the Brussels airport 18 months ago. She was one of only 2 people who survived the bomb explosion in the terminal she was in, she was badly burned and lost both her legs, but she survived. Eighteen months later, she had countless surgeries, was in the hospital for 7 months, and since then returned to school, graduated, and has proven to be the most remarkable young woman imaginable with spunk, and drive and courage and determination to have a good, independent life, no matter what happened. The entire school gave her a standing ovation when she came back. Now, she is about to enter intensive rehab for a year at a military facility, where she will be taught to lead a fully independent life. When she finishes, she will start college, and she is already training for the Paralympics, for the equestrian events. She is an extraordinary rider, and had wanted to enter the Olympics, now she will compete in the next Paralympics. Nothing stops her and she absolutely radiates courage and joy. There was a short film made of her, that she did to support an organization that helped her when she was in the hospital, in which she said, that the accident that happened to her was the best thing that ever happened to her, because it taught her so much as a result. I cry just writing that, at what an amazing young woman she is!!!
THAT is real. THAT is courage. A breathtaking unthinkably horrific incident met with that kind of courage and determination. Compared to that, my little disappointment is nothing. Bigger events give one perspective, and given what my great niece has experienced and the positive spin she has put on it—how can I even complain?? I can’t.
Posted on January 25, 2017
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
Posted on April 11, 2016
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!
Posted on December 7, 2015
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