Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

10/21/19, Healthy Living and Remodeled Cars

Posted on October 21, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week, and you’ve had some happy surprises, whatever they may be.

 

This has been one of my long travel weeks, involving several long plane trips, the usual delayed flights, long waits in security, and time on my hands, so I’ve had time to read magazines, and catch up on movies to help pass the time. I usually learn something new from the magazines, which this time led to some serious thought and musing about the times, and how things have changed. The most obvious change from my childhood and youth is that now everyone has a cell phone in their hand (my children literally sleep with their phones), and everyone texts instead of talking on the phone. Those who do talk on the phone do so with ear buds in their ears, talking loudly to themselves (or so it seems) walking down the street, and looking crazy. Personally, I hate texting, and miss the sound of a human voice. No one actually answers their phone, it all goes to voice mail, and they screen their calls.

 

Aside from the lightning speed of technology, the word one hears constantly now is ‘healthy’. And obviously, being aware of good health is a good thing. Everyone exercises, people count their steps, people look better, live longer, and it’s a good change—-within reason. I also find though that the word ‘healthy’ hides many things. I grew up on Hostess Twinkies (my favorite food at one time), cookies that had enough chemicals in them to preserve them into eternity, Wonder Bread (It still makes great French toast), and when I taught Sunday school, I bribed the children with candy until their parents picked them up. (And in Europe, I ate the equivalents, and ate and handed out lollipops) And I gave my children eventually chocolate flavored breakfast cereal, and sugar was considered okay. Children today get popsicles made of brussel sprouts and broccoli (I’m sorry…yerghk!!!), and fashionable young women live on Kale, which I admit that I hate. And most children in ultra-health conscious homes have never tasted sugar. I agree that my generation went overboard with the less healthy treats, but this one goes overboard too. And I find that ‘healthy’ is often a word used to hide ultra-low calorie, or no calorie foods for young women obsessed with their weight and are much too thin. What they mean is non-fattening and call it ‘healthy’. I’ve never had a problem with my weight, so it’s one battle I didn’t have to fight, and could even occasionally eat a donut (I wouldn’t dare today!!). And yes, we did and ate unhealthy things, and I’ve always been lazy about exercise except right after a baby, to get back to my normal weight. And I was lucky, I always bounced back pretty quickly. In contrast, all of my daughters go to the gym pretty much every day, and some get up at 4 am to go to the gym at 5 am, so they can exercise and be ready for work. I don’t think there is enough money in the world to get me to a gym at 5 am, or at any hour. I pay slight homage to the times with an exercise coach once in a while, not very often though. I’m lazy, and lucky, because my weight, on the low side, has stayed the same. And I try not to eat too much chocolate cake!!! I’m careful.

 

I find that not only do we eat better now, and exercise more in the US, but our exterior looks have become an obsession too. I was shocked to discover that young women in their 20’s are getting Botox shots now to get rid of signs of age—what age? At 22?? And assorted other shots and surgeries. In big cities, among sophisticated young women who can afford it, they are having countless shots, surgeries, electrical procedures, and treatments to improve their looks and combat the signs of age long before aging starts. They’re barely out of their teen age years when they start. I’m stunned by how much they do, and how early they do it. None of my daughters do, fortunately, but they do eat healthy and exercise a lot—–and I haven’t done anything in that vein (of surgery and shots), because not only am I lazy, but I’m a major coward. Having plastic surgery scares me to death!!! So I live with what nature hands out. I throw cold water on my face, and don’t look in the mirror too hard, and hope for the best.

 

And on my recent flight, I will confess to buying a magazine that told me how to look better naked. Not that I’m planning to walk down the street naked or have an audience, but for about 1 week a year I go to the beach, and don’t want to frighten the children (my own or other people’s). I expected to read about a few exercises I could do (maybe the week before my annual vacation), and found myself reading of surgical procedures I’d never heard of and couldn’t dream of. And by the time I finished reading the issue, I had lost all hope of ever looking decent in a bathing suit again, but somehow realizing how much people do, and the lengths they go to (not to mention the expense), I found it depressing that one has to fight THAT hard to look decent, and go to such extreme lengths to combat any sign of age and time on one’s body. I have to do ALL that? Wow, that is depressing, because I’m never going to have all that surgery. I’m just too chicken. It’s okay, I’ll wear a sweater or a coat to the beach next year. How far do we take this? How far are we willing to go? And what if it goes wrong? What if you don’t like your new face or body? I’ve kind of made friends with the old one, we’ve been together for quite a while. It just seems like we have to do SOOOOO MUCH now to stay in the game and look attractive, be healthy, and get all our steps in!!! Wow….it sounds like so much work, and what’s real in the end? What’s left of the original model? Not much in many cases. While claiming to be more genuine and more real and more honest and even liberated today, are we becoming Barbie dolls, by replacing all the moving parts, and attacking every inch of ourselves, with a shot, an electrical jolt, or the knife?? Is this really better?? Maybe I’m making excuses for my own cowardice, but suddenly it all seems so false. And at a certain point, gravity gets us all. Things are a little less extreme in Europe, but it’s happening there too. I suspect that every woman I know even in Europe gets shots of some kind in their face, from their early 20’s on. And many do a lot to their bodies too. It started with liposuction, and has gone way, way beyond that.

 

It somehow reminded me old cars that are being restored. I’ll bet that I don’t know a single woman of any age who isn’t doing something, at least shots if not surgery, and many of them surgery, to alter their looks. I don’t like getting older either, and no one hates birthdays more than I do, but somehow I think it’s sad if we have to have surgery, shots, and all those treatments to ‘stay in the game’, whatever the game is. I’ll bet there are damn few natural women left in the world. What about feeling good about who we are, where we are (within reason), without surgery?? It’s a novel idea these days. And something to think about. The Millennials have a firm grip on the world these days, and are getting a jump start on fighting age. Healthy is good, but I don’t want to have a year of surgery for my one week at the beach every year. It’s all pretty scary, and a mass panic (anti-age creams by big name brands cost $600. and $700. I’m probably ridiculous, but I’d rather buy shoes).

 

Anyway, you won’t be seeing me run down the street naked anytime soon. I refuse to eat Kale (it tastes like rubber to me), and I’ll do some exercise, but I have no idea how many steps I take. I can still make it to my typewriter, and chase after my millennial children, and 5 dogs, and publish 7 books a year. Do I really have to have shots and surgery too, or will I look older than King Tut because I don’t? So far, I’ve avoided the knife and the shots(out of pure cowardice more than moral strength), and people aren’t screaming when they see me. I just think it would be nice if we could preserve some of the original model, and not trade it all in for new parts, like an old car being turned into a new one. So far I’m holding out for the original me, and I may wind up being the last woman on the planet to do so.

 

Stay tuned…..and have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

 

10/7/19, “A Little Crazy”

Posted on October 7, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week—-no bumps and all smooth sailing, with some fun thrown in for good measure. I worked hard this week, and worked straight through two nights in a row….so I’ve been busy (on new books!!).

 

Two things caught my attention this week, in a lighter vein, which make me wonder if the constant stresses we all deal with have made us hungry for almost anything to distract us. It’s hard not to take life too seriously with the pressures we are under, the uncertainties in the world—-we definitely need more humor in our everyday lives, and some people go to great lengths to find distraction and achieve it.

 

A friend told me this week that their new passion is “Escape Rooms”—–a while back I told you about “break rooms”, where people pay a small amount to smash a room full of old TV sets, dishes, and assorted breakables to get out their hostilities (better that than a mass shooting). Now apparently “Escape Rooms” are the new fad. Apparently, there is a theme, either horror or murder. There’s a ‘story line’—-someone is out to get you. You can go through the Escape room with up to four people, you get locked in, in the dark, and then have to escape a ‘murderer after you with an axe’, or a ghoul of some kind. You have an hour to “escape”, and you spend an hour scared out of your wits, running away from whoever is out to get you. It sounds crazy, but the people who do it love it and rave about it. I think I would have nightmares for a month, and trying to get out of a locked, dark space, with someone chasing after me would totally terrify me. Imagine doing that for fun, and paying for it. But maybe it’s better than crying over your taxes, moaning over your bills, fighting with your boyfriend or worrying about your kids. Trying to escape a man with an axe would definitely be a distraction!!! So that’s the latest fad. I am DEFINITELY not brave enough to do that. It sounds like kind of an abbreviated more terrifying version of the murder mystery weekends people were doing for a while, trying to figure out who the murderer is. Apparently “Escape Rooms’ are great stress relievers, although I think it would stress me more than real life!!!

 

The other story that caught my attention this week is another modern day phenomenon, and I’m not sure whether to be shocked or amused by it. I’ve often told you about the Paris fashion shows, which people in the fashion world in Paris, Milan, London, and New York, take VERY seriously. Fashion is big business today, and there is a lot of glamour, excitement and sophistication associated with it, and people beg to go to the fashion shows during fashion week. All of the shows are by invitation and the invitations are extremely hard to come by. And the Chanel ready to wear show in Paris is about as big and glamourous as it gets, as I’ve described to you before.

 

Well, this week, during the Chanel show, a young 28 year old comedian who considers herself a “Professional Crasher” somehow got into the building (the Grand Palais) where the fashion show takes place, she wore an old Chanel suit of her mother’s, a hat and platform shoes, and hopped onto the runway, and joined the parade of models walking down the runway. She was immediately observed, stunned the crowd, and marched right along like one of the models, until one of the models stopped her (the security men didn’t know what to do and were afraid to disrupt the show). Gigi Hadid, a famous model, blocked the crasher, I think 3 other models joined in, and they hustled her backstage and got her off the runway. The fact that she pulled it off at all is amazing, and I don’t know what the consequences were. (You can see the event on YouTube, Paris Crasher crashes Chanel fashion show, or something to that effect). Apparently she was vastly amused at the stunt, has crashed other events, and someone else crashed another show in Paris last week. Apparently the Chanel crasher decided that we all take fashion too seriously so she added some levity to it. It certainly must have been disruptive, and part of me is shocked—-but maybe this is how people are responding now to frightening world news, mass attacks, and all the things that frighten and worry us in today’s world, from climate change to how to protect our children in an increasingly dangerous world. Maybe that opens the door to people doing some seriously crazy stuff just for amusement’s sake, to take our minds, and theirs, off the serious stuff. No one was injured, she wasn’t protesting anything, she had no message to share, she just wanted to get on the runway of the Chanel show and to see if she could do it—-and she did.

 

I was editing one of my upcoming books this weekend, and came across something I wrote in the book: “No dream is too big if you believe in it. You can do anything you want if you try hard enough.” They seem like wise words—I’m usually wiser in my books than I am in real life. But it’s something to think about. And in the same book, “you have to be a little crazy in life”. There seems to be a lot of that around these days!!!

 

Have a great week—–not too crazy, but safe, happy, productive, and fun!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

 

7/22/19, Summer Clean Up

Posted on July 22, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week, and are getting some real vacation time in. I had my one week holiday with my kids, and as soon as they left, I went back to work. It’s been a week since they left, and the vacation already seems like years ago, I’ve been wading through my work, and I’ve taken a few breaks to clean out my closets……again!! My last big clean out was two years ago when I moved to a new apartment, and I always feel virtuous and victorious when I purge my closets. I get rid of the fashion mistakes, the things that really don’t fit right and never did, the things I’m sorry I bought, and some old favorites that are long past their expiration date. I always give up the things I think I’m going to lose five pounds to wear, even if I lose 5 lbs., it never comes off the places that will make that piece of clothing fit, so I finally get rid of it!!! I’m not really an impulse buyer, but sometimes I do buy some silly stuff. I’m a less conservative shopper than my daughters, and they warn me when I’m about to commit a huge fashion mistake, and most of the time, I don’t listen to them, and go right ahead and buy something they warn me I’ll be sorry I bought….and most of the time they’re right.

 

It’s a terrific feeling pulling things out, and getting rid of the dead wood in your closets, and occasionally I wonder what I was thinking when I bought something (and I DO keep some of the outrageous stuff even in a clean out!!!) It’s not too outrageous, but I’m reminded of a ‘mature’ quite a bit older friend whose mother was visiting her, and my friend was rushing out to go somewhere, while her mother watched her dress. My friend looks great, has a great figure and particularly great legs, and loves wearing miniskirts (that’s one sin I’m not guilty of—-I don’t have the legs or the courage for miniskirts. I commit other fashion sins!!). As she was about to rush out the door, she looked at her mother and said “I have the feeling I’ve forgotten something…” Her mother looked at her and said, “Yes, your age.” That happens to me occasionally too, something looks like so much fun (and I do love fashion, and have a sense of humor about it), but when I get it home, I think “What was I thinking? I can’t wear that!!!”—–and if I do, my daughters are quick to scold me.

 

I find that when I’m feeling swamped by life, and not in control of all the challenging situations in my life, I dive into my closets and start getting rid of things and putting everything in good order, my closets are one thing I can always control and do something about. It’s therapeutic for me.

 

So right in the middle of summer, my closets are looking impeccably neat, all the old stuff I don’t want is weeded out, and now I can see what I have, and wear the right stuff, and not fight my way through old stuff that doesn’t fit, or fashion mistakes. I always learn something about myself too, of what I really like and works well for me. I find that the stuff I get rid of is usually the same brands, that aren’t comfortable, don’t suit me, or never fit right, eventually I get rid of them, and shouldn’t have bought them in the first place. Some brands of shoes always hurt (too stiff, heels too high, and just not wearable), and if they’re pretty I buy them anyway, and of course they don’t fit— they hurt, and they go out in the next big clean out. The truth is that I am not going to get taller, even thinner than I am, or younger when I bring a piece of clothing home, so it had better look good when I buy it, because it won’t look any better later by some miracle.

 

I find that if I have to ask the salesgirl, a friend, or one of my daughters “Do you think I’ll wear this??”—–that’s the kiss of death and I never will. When I hear myself say that now, I think “uhhh oh”, no, I won’t wear it, and I try not to buy it.

 

My closet is looking great now, and not only am I enjoying it, but it’s going to make it so much easier now for my daughters to cruise my closets and find what they want to ‘borrow’!!!!….have a great week,

 

love, Danielle

 

 

3/11/19, Gentle Winter, Sweet Farewell

Posted on March 11, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. I’ve been crazy busy, with re-writes, outlines, working on new books for you!! I thoroughly enjoyed a two week visit from my 3 daughters who work in fashion, and it was sheer heaven having them under my roof for two weeks, overlapping each other, while they worked on fashion week in Paris. They worked hard and so did I, and I had a two day photo shoot for the photographs on the back of my books. We do a new photo for each book, and put a lot of thought into it. The shoot itself was a lot of work, with a wonderful French photographer (who does all my book cover photos), her big team, my hairdresser and makeup artist, my two assistants to keep everyone fed and organized, and one of my daughters helped me pick what to wear, and helped on the set of the shoot. We all had fun, even though it’s exhausting getting it all right.

 

And I had a VERY special experience last week, which moved me deeply. As many/most of you know, I go to all the Chanel fashion shows, both ready to wear and Haute Couture. It is a joy to see the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel, on glorious display with a parade of gorgeous models walking down the runway in his fabulous creations. And the sets designed for each show are amazing. (I’ve told you about the rocket ship, which appeared to lift off after one show, the iceberg that was flown in from Sweden for another show, and flown back to its natural habitat after the show, beach scenes, and tropical gardens, a ‘Supermarket” which was great fun, an old style Paris cafe. )It is always exciting and fun to see what the setting will be at the newest show.

 

As I mentioned to you, Karl Lagerfeld passed away recently, less than two weeks ago, at 85, after a brief illness, and he worked to the very end. He was, without question, a genius, he designed all the Chanel collections every year, also designed for Fendi, and for his own label, and was a professional photographer. He was like a volcano or an avalanche of talent, spilling over, with wonderful ideas, a never ending flow of inspiration, and a man of huge energy and unlimited creativity. I admired him so much, and everyone’s reaction to his passing, whether they knew him or not, was one of great sadness. He is a tremendous loss to the world of fashion, and the world.

 

Although he couldn’t have suspected it when he designed his last show, that he would no longer be among us, when it was shown on the runway—-the clothes were particularly beautiful, and almost ‘serious’, with a lot of black and white, beautiful tweeds and checks, some beiges, a great fuchsia outfit, and the end of the show was a series of beautiful white outfits, which somehow reminded me of doves flying into the sky, or angels. And the setting for the show (of clothes for winter 2019) was equally perfect: a ski village in the Alps, an exquisite snow scene, with cozy wooden ‘chalets’ lining the runway, with smoke curling from the chimneys, and snow EVERYWHERE, and photographs of the mountains under a blue sky. Everywhere one walked, when one arrived for the show was covered with ‘snow’, it looked and felt like snow, except that it wasn’t wet, and was some sort of finely cut artificial substance, which looked exactly like snow all around us, on the ground, on the wooden houses, in the trees. It felt like snow when you walked on it and somehow seemed like the perfect scene for Karl Lagerfeld’s last show. The winter of his life, his final presentation to his admirers and adoring fans and clients, deep in pure white snow, with the mountains around us, and a bright blue sunny winter sky. It was absolutely gorgeous, and so were the clothes. And as I said, the clothes were serious, beautiful, a fantastic final gift and memory from Karl.

 

With deep respect from all of those who were lucky enough to be invited, the show began with a long moment of silence. And after that, over the loud speaker came a brief conversation with Karl during an interview. It was touching to hear him speak, his voice so clear and decisive, so distinctive, and then the show began with serious music, and all of us riveted to hear his voice, and see the show, and it was all so beautiful on a crisp winter morning, with artificial snow beneath our feet and all around us which seemed totally real. At the end of the show, the models came back down the runway, as they always do, but without Karl this time. I was at the last Haute Couture show only a month ago, which was beautiful too, and it was the first time Karl didn’t appear to take a bow, which shocked and saddened us all, and now only a month later, he is gone. It seemed unimaginable. People stood to applaud the show, the memory of Karl, and the collection. It got a standing ovation, as the models cried as they walked down the runway, and so did most people in the audience (including Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer, the famous models), and so did I. It was so beautiful and so incredibly moving. We all continued applauding for a long time, even after the models had gone backstage. We stood there in the snow, each of us knowing that we would never forget that moment, or the show, or the snow everywhere, as we stood in front of the little chalets, under a blue sky, remembering a man who will never, ever be forgotten, and has left a legacy that is beyond understanding, with such enormous genius and talent. It was a perfect send off in the beautiful set, with his beautiful clothes on the runway, for his last collection that he designed. And then slowly, finally, we left the snowy white winterland which is where we said our last goodbye to him, each of us taking our memories with us. I will never forget that show, or the times I met him. None of us will ever forget the final goodbye to him in the snow, and many people were still crying as they left, and so was I. It was incredibly touching, so gentle, and so right on that sunny winter day in the snow….we bid our last farewell to Karl, and will treasure the memories he left us. May he sleep in peace forever, after all the joy he gave us…..it was a sweet farewell to an amazing man. I will remember it forever.

 

 

Have a great week, beloved friends, love, Danielle

 

 

ps. I just did a Podcast interview with Barnes and Noble—–here’s the link in case you’d like to listen to it.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review/danielle-steel-podcast

love, Danielle

3/4/19, Rainy Sunday

Posted on March 4, 2019

 

Hi everyone, I hope it was a good week for you!!!

 

I’ve been running in ten directions all week, occasionally riding the wave of fashion week!! I went to two fashion shows this week. Everyone in the fashion world is talking with great regret about the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary designer of Chanel (please see last week’s blog!).

 

I went to two fashion shows in the last week, each of them VERY different from the other. One was for a brand called Altuzarra, which was very fun and kicky and young, with soft feminine clothes, lots of printed chiffons, with leather jackets, and some pretty coats. It has a jazzy, sexy flavor to it. And the other was at the other extreme, very, very very chic, elegant beautifully designed clothes by Hermes. Altuzarra was more playful, Hermes deals with a different customer, and the clothes were just beautiful, a lot of coats, and leathers since Hermes is primarily a leather craftsman, and there were gorgeous suedes and leathers in the show, in natural earth tones. It was very elegant. And both were in interesting locations. Altuzarra was at the Potoki  Hotel , an absolutely beautiful structure, (previously a home), I kept staring at the moldings, high ceilings, and all the details of what was once a spectacular home.  And the Hermes show was at the horse guards’ stables, and the show was very dramatically lit and impeccably organized. And the models were unusually beautiful!!!

 

I had fun at both shows. And the Altuzarra show was special for me, since one of my daughters organized it. Paris had beautiful spring weather this week. I’m sure we’ll get another blast of winter before it’s all over. Spring can’t be over this early, although I’d love that. I’ve been enjoying time with my daughters, although they’re very busy, working.

 

You must think that going to fashion shows is all I do—-which isn’t the case, I still have to work, a million hours a day (and night), working on the books. But I must admit, it’s fun fantasizing about the pretty clothes, and some really knock out looks. Watching the video of a fashion show is great distraction when I finish some part of a book and finish my days at 4am.

 

The rest of the time, I’ve been working. So, see you next week when I have lots more to report on.

 

much love, Danielle

 

2/25/19, Extraordinary Karl Lagerfeld

Posted on February 25, 2019

Hi Everyone,

 

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!!!

 

love, Danielle

1/28/19, No Karl

Posted on January 28, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you, and you’re chugging along, and life is happy. As I write this, it has been snowing for two days, not the gorgeous “Winter wonderland” kind of snow you see on Christmas cards, just cold and wet and blowy, pretty for a minute as the snowflakes fly through the air, and then it turns into a mess on the ground, while the wind whips around you, and no matter how you hold your umbrella, you get wet anyway. Ugh. The temperatures are freezing, and people are getting snowed in all around the country. From Boston to the South, friends I’ve called have lost phone service and are in the midst of heavy storms. This is about the time of year when I get fed up with winter, and tired of being cold, and start wishing for Spring, which is still a long way off, in any place I live. So as usual, I’m busy working/writing.

 

I did emerge from my winter cave briefly last week to attend the Chanel haute couture show—-the fashion show of clothes that are all made by hand and are a real art form. The stage setting for the show looked like an Italian garden, in contrast to the snowy blustery weather outside. The show was beautiful as always, and the clothes exquisitely made, worn by gorgeous models. All went as usual, in the glamourous atmosphere of an haute couture show (and Chanel’s are always so gorgeous!!!)—-until the very end, where traditionally, after the final model had come out in the wedding gown (we all wait to see what spectacular bridal gown the designer has come up with. And they sell for a fortune)—-in this case, Karl Lagerfeld is the designer of Chanel and has been for several decades, and he is truly a genius of the fashion world, and deservedly a legend. His hair is snow white, he wears it tied back in a neat ponytail with a black ribbon, high collars, often tail coats, with a dignified, elegant style, and he walks around the runway, with the bride on his arm at the end of the show, to thunderous applause from the audience. This time, the bride did her turn around the runway, solo, as always, after all the other models had strutted past. The bride in the show, the very last one, has the runway to herself, and when she finishes the entire circle, Karl Lagerfeld, the designer comes out, takes a bow, and does one more walk around with the bride on his arm. Wearing an unusual and somewhat startling bridal ensemble (of a rhinestone covered bathing suit, with matching rhinestone covered bonnet (in the shape of a bathing cap), with a long veil trailing behind her, the bride completed her tour around the runway, and the audience waited for the stage door to backstage to open and Mr. Lagerfeld to come out….nothing…..We waited, and no one appeared. In recent years, he has appeared to be more energetic on some years than others, even to the point of looking frail once or twice, although he still works at a furious and productive pace, but he is well into his 80’s, and still works harder than most people half his age. Somehow, one assumes that he is eternal, and hopes that he will be with us forever, working at full steam. After a few moments of surprise, as everyone waited to see him at the end of the Chanel show (which was gorgeous as usual!!!), an announcement came over the sound system that Mr. Lagerfeld was very tired today, and sent us all his greetings and would not be appearing. There was a long, long moment of shocked silence. No one spoke, and everyone feared he might be more than ‘tired’, since it was the first time in his entire history that he did not appear after the show to take a bow. there was total silence in the enormous Grand Palais, as everyone digested the information, glanced at each other with worried looks (thousands of us), and left the hall in total silence, out of respect, admiration, love and fear for him. It was a shocking dose of reality that one day time affects us all, and claims us, that nothing goes on forever, even remarkable talent. We all hope that he is only tired, and will bounce back, and that we will see him again at the end of another show. It left me, and I think all of us, with a great sense of sadness, after a truly beautiful show, which was yet another tribute to his talent. It sobered me and saddened me for the rest of the day. It was a shocking reminder that we are all mortal, and even people with huge talent are vulnerable, especially at a great age. We all want him to go on forever. He is a unique talent in fashion, and an icon, and we all wish him well. His absence outweighed the excitement of the show, and thousands of us left the Grand Palais in total silence, no one said a single world. We just left, and stood outside in the snow, looking lost. His absence was sorely felt by all.

 

Have a great week, stay warm, wherever you are.

 

much love, Danielle

 

9/17/18, Hard Day, Hard Week

Posted on September 17, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week, even a great week, as the Fall gets off to a busy start. For those of you with children, they’re all back in school by now, which keeps parents busier than ever, until the new routine is established, and things settle down. And with after school activities, and sports teams, kids keep us running. Mine are all working now, and I miss those school days (which will sound crazy to you if you’re dashing all over the place with your kids, and wish they’d hurry up and grow up. Beware of what you wish for!!! They grow up all too soon!!). I still have one child living at home, and am grateful that I do!!! Every time she leaves her laundry stacked up in the front hall, or borrows something and forgets to return it, or loses something, or scrambles my schedule, or uses enough towels to stock a hotel, I remind myself of how lucky I am to still have her at home!! Any time I spend with her is precious.

 

I had a busy, mostly fun week last week, doing errands, catching up, seeing friends for lunch and dinner. I love having friends in for dinner after the summer, to catch up with how everyone’s summer was. I worked, and finished an outline I love, for a future book, and can’t wait to get to work on it. And I’ll see a few friends this week too, and visit two of my daughters, and see 2 more of my kids by the end of the week. Seeing my children will be the best part of the week. And I have a bunch of real life stuff to do too. A visit from the plumber to solve a (lack of) hot water problem, a trip to the vet to check the dog who was sick this summer (Blue, with a disk problem), put away summer clothes, call to complain about the kitchen chairs I ordered 5 months ago and haven’t received yet. Ordinary real life housewifely stuff, which I enjoy. I got a new TV for my bedroom, after 14 years, which is fun. I like the rhythm and routine of ordinary life, I find it comforting and relaxing to get small things done. Last week had its serious moments too, I went to the memorial service for a dear friend, and unfortunately will go the memorial service of a beloved brother in law this week. The friend was 91, a famous fashion designer (Hubert de Givenchy, an extraordinary really lovely man). My brother in law was in his late 80s, and like a real big brother to me since I was 16. Both men led good, full, long productive lives. I will miss them both, but it is in the order of things for people to leave, and both lived well lived complete lives to a great age, which makes their leaving easier to accept.

 

But all in all, I know this will be a hard week for me. However well I fill the time, whatever I do, there is a date that I cannot escape every year, the anniversary of my son Nick’s death, by suicide at 19. He was greatly, great loved, and still is, and I miss him always. Talented (in writing and music), brilliant, funny, loving, compassionate, he was a wonderful boy, suffered from bi polar disease all his life (I first noticed it before he was 2, and knew it for sure by the time he was 4 years old). We did everything we could to help him, but he finally just couldn’t live with the pain anymore. He led a remarkably full life in his short time, he already had a successful career in music (writing lyrics and music, and lead singer in a successful band). And even after his death, his life has been a blessing to many people. We established two foundations in his honor, to help mentally ill people, and the homeless. Thousands of people have been helped in his name. There is a blessing in even the hardest events in our lives.

 

Anniversary dates are always something of a mystery to me. The person we loved, and still love, is just as gone the day or the week or month before and after the anniversary. But there is a power to the anniversary date that is like the sound of a gong that reverberates through you, shattering the silence and any sense of peace. It’s as though your body knows what day it is as well as your heart. Life stops for me on that day, as I try to remember him without remembering how terrible that day was. Birthdays are easier because there are happy memories of that day. There are no happy memories of the day someone you love dies, and it pierces your heart like a spear. The memory of that stops you in your tracks. I try to keep it as gentle as possible, but there is no easy way. This will be the first year that I won’t be with some of my children on that date, but I will see them the next day. There is something particularly terrible about losing a child, at any age, because it is not in the correct order of life, and a child is part of you from the moment they are born until you die, and they take with them a part of you that belonged to them.   So it will be a hard day. It always is. Some years are harder than others, and some years are a little better, and gentler. You never really escape it, but some years whatever you do to soothe the pain seems to work, distraction, seeing friends, whatever you do, and you get through it. Other years you barely crawl through it. The pain begins to dim the next day and gets back to something you can live with, but you hit a wall on those days, time stops, and you are catapulted into the past to a day you wish had never happened. In a way, the agony of that day doesn’t make sense, because they are just as gone before and after the day, and you learn to live with it…..but the actual anniversary date is particularly tough. I dread it, but one gets through it. It comes at you like a heat seeking missile, headed straight for your heart.

 

He was an incredibly sweet boy with a huge heart. Forever missed, forever loved, for the rest of time.

 

Have a great week!!! I hope it is a gentle week for you, with lots of happy moments in it.

 

all my love, Danielle

 

7/9/18, Paris Fashion:Haute Couture

Posted on July 9, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Every prayer for success for the boys, their rescuers, families and the entire team in Thailand as the whole world watches and prays for them.

 

I hope you had a terrific week, and a wonderful, fun 4th of July!!

 

I enjoyed one of my favorite fun past times, and went to the Chanel Haute Couture fashion show last week. I love seeing the beautiful clothes on the runway, that are really an art form. Every stitch in a Haute Couture garment is hand done, not a machine stitch anywhere, and often spectacular embroideries. Beautiful models showing beautiful clothes. Chanel is my favorite show, either Haute Couture or ready to wear, and Haute Couture is the highest art form in fashion, and a dying art, because it’s so rare, and there are so few clients for it, and so few people left with the skills to make it. (The apprenticeship time to work on Haute Couture clothes is 12 years!!). And even as a spectator, and not a buyer, I thoroughly enjoy the experience and the spectacle. Karl Lagerfeld, in his late 80’s now is still the designer for Chanel and an absolute genius, and a power house of strength, energy, foresight, and creativity. It’s always an honor to see his collections, and to see him take a bow at the end of the show. The scenery is always spectacular at any Chanel show, this time the scene was set as though it was along the river Seine, where the booksellers are who sell old books. And the models strolled past the beautiful sets and the stage set booksellers.

 

The show was particularly fun for me, not just because of Karl Lagerfeld’s talent, but my youngest son and his girlfriend came to the show with me, and although he is not as involved in fashion as his sisters, or at all in fact, he really enjoyed the show, the stage set, the beautiful models and amazing clothes, as fifty or sixty models pounded past him on the runway in the spectacularly beautiful clothes. Invitations to the show are hard to come by, and I was very grateful that all three of us were invited, so I could go with them. I used to take my children to the fashion shows with me when they were little, because I thought it was such a beautiful art form, and three of my daughters wound up with careers in fashion. Maxx didn’t enjoy the shows as a very little boy, but he did enjoy it this time, with his girlfriend in awe of how beautiful the clothes were, and how exquisite the workmanship!!! Fashion at that level is really a kind of art, more than anything.

 

Other than that, I’ve been doing more mundane things, a bit of work, a lot of family visits, some good meals, time with friends, vacation with my kids, and just enjoying the summer. I’m looking forward to time with my kids, and I hope you have some fun vacation time planned this month too.

 

Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

 

3/19/18, Extraordinary Gentleman

Posted on March 19, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I’m in snow again, what a long cold winter this is!! I hope you’re all tucked up and warm. I’ve been super busy writing, so you’ll have plenty to read soon. And this week, on Tuesday, my new book “Accidental Heroes” comes out in hard cover, which is VERY EXCITING for me, and I hope for you too!!! It’s a book about averting disaster, and the heroic qualities a crisis brings out in people. I am always fascinated and impressed by the strength and courage of the human spirit.
 

And speaking of heroes, one of my heroes passed away last week, an extraordinary, really wonderful, gracious, lovely, supremely talented man, the famous French fashion designer, Hubert de Givenchy. He died at 91, which is a reasonable lifetime, but it’s always sad to lose those we love. And in this case, a truly legendary talent. And I was incredibly lucky and blessed to have been his friend for the last 35 years.
 

Very, very tall, elegant and handsome to the very end, he was one of the legendary great fashion legends and icons of all time, among the truly greats like Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Cristobal Balenciaga and Pierre Balmain. Hubert de Givenchy was a fashion giant in both Haute Couture and Ready to Wear, his enormous talent indisputable. I was lucky enough to wear some of his clothes.
 

But to those who knew him, he was remarkable not only for his talent, but for what a ‘gentle man’ he was, as well as a gentleman. He had a soft, gentle kind voice, always said something kind, had a personal elegance of spirit and a kindness that is rare in this world. I don’t think I’ve ever known or met anyone as gracious as he was. Beauty came naturally to him, and he brought it with him and was surrounded by it like a rare perfume. His home in Paris is without a doubt the most beautiful I have EVER seen, an 18th century house on the fashionable Left Bank, with antique wood paneling, exquisite furnishings, fabulous antiques and a breath taking garden. He loved white roses. He loved children and dogs (he always had a black lab), and was very much a family person, and very close and interested in his nieces and nephews. He was truly admired and loved by all. Anyone who met him felt touched by grace and magic. Meeting him once was a gift, knowing him as a friend an unforgettable blessing.
 

One of his very closest friends for most of her life and a big part of his was the actress Audrey Hepburn. She wore his clothes on and off stage for her entire career, in every film, and he accounted for her incredible elegance. He was deeply fond of her and admired her, and loved her as a friend. I cherish a photograph he sent me of the 2 of them together. He sent the people he loved, loving notes, never forgot an event or a holiday, and was the soul of discretion in every way.
 

His life partner was also an haute couture designer, Philippe Venet, they were together for over sixty years.
 

It was a somber announcement when Hubert de Givenchy’s passing was announced in Paris last week, and around the world. His leaving is a loss to us all.
 

I am so grateful to have known and loved him, and to have been his friend. Knowing him was one of the great gifts of my life.
 

Have a great week, and I hope you have time to read “Accidental Heroes”, and I hope you love it, it’s an exciting book!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

 

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