Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

3/12/18, Happy Paris

Posted on March 12, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

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

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

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

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

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

 

much love, Danielle

3/5/18, Report from Siberia

Posted on March 5, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

love, Danielle

1/29/18, Round Two: Chanel

Posted on January 29, 2018

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well, and things are rolling along smoothly for you.

I’ve been busy, with family, house guests, work, editing, and just general busyness, my children staying with me, one of them while she was working on a fashion show in Paris (see last week’s blog). The day after the show she worked on, I saw the Chanel Haute Couture show, which is always a beautiful event. The decor of Chanel’s fashion shows, both Ready to Wear and Haute Couture, is always spectacular. My absolute favorite being a rocket ship on stage, which actually lifted off, or appeared to at the end of the show. It was amazing. This season’s theme was less astonishing, and a lovely French garden had been set up as the background for the spring/summer fashion show. The colors were pastel, a lot of pink, with a lot of sparkle added, with metallic threads and tiny stones. Boots were made in the matching fabric for almost every outfit. It was a masterful event, and always a pleasure to see the Chanel shows. And after all the models have paraded past, the designer who is truly a genius, Karl Lagerfeld, comes out and takes a bow, and usually walks the stage with the model wearing the wedding gown. This time, Mr. Lagerfeld only appeared briefly, didn’t take the final walk and questions always fly about him, about when he will retire. In his late eighties, he still designs Chanel, both ready to wear and haute couture, designs Fendi as well, and a line that bears his name. He is a boundless source of inspiration, and I cannot think of a single designer talented enough, or even energetic enough, to replace him. So I hope that his shorter appearance at the end of the show was of no great significance. I love almost everything he does!!

I only went to two fashion shows during Haute Couture week in Paris: Chanel, and the Proenza show, although it is ready to wear not couture. And I thoroughly enjoyed both. And I was lucky enough to spend a day with my daughter the day after the shows. It’s an exhausting week for anyone working on the shows. And in a few weeks, it will be fashion week (for ready to wear) in New York, and then Paris.

Meanwhile, I’m busy writing, and I hope that all is well with you.

much love, Danielle

1/22/18, “Proud Mama”

Posted on January 22, 2018

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week, love, Danielle

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

7/10/17, Fabulous Again!!

Posted on July 10, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a great Fourth of July, and did something really fun!!!

I didn’t get to celebrate the fourth, but I had a fun time going to the Chanel Haute Couture Fashion Show, with one of my daughters (who works in fashion herself, and had just put on a beautiful fashion show two days before.) As I’ve mentioned before, the stage setting at the Chanel shows are just AMAZING!! Not just the fashions. For one of his recent shows, they had a rocket ship center stage—a life size model of one, which was cleverly built to look like it was taking off. It was incredible. This time, they had built a replica of the Eiffel Tower inside the Grand Palais, where they hold their shows. And the top of it was enveloped in fog (smoke blowing at the top of it). I am always mesmerized by the scenery as much as the fashions. I can’t even imagine what goes into building those sets!!!

The show was very beautiful, and the clothes were just lovely—-for the fall/winter season. It’s always a special treat to go to their fashion shows, and I am always in awe of the genius and talent of the designer, Karl Lagerfeld, who is well into his 80’s now and still going strong, and a powerhouse and legend in fashion. It’s wonderful to see someone so full of talent, still creating, still innovative and still inspired—it’s inspiring just to see what he does. Time has not dimmed his talent or slowed down his creative genius!!!

Other than that, I have a new book that came out last week, “The Duchess”, it’s a historical novel set in the 19th century in England and Paris, about a young woman who, according to the laws of the times, inherits nothing when her father dies, and is turned away by her nasty half-brothers (Only men could inherit then, in England). From a privileged protected life, with an adoring father, she finds herself alone in the world, with no skills, no allies, no one to protect her. She goes to Paris, and through a series of unexpected events, she opens a brothel at the age of 20 or 21, and runs the most glittering, glamourous brothel in Paris, and finds herself at the center of power, surrounded by the most important men of the times. She eventually goes to America, and has a whole new life there, and the book is about how she turns adversity into a quite remarkable life, and what happens after that. It’s a different theme for me, and I hope you love it!!! A fun summer read for the beach or wherever you spend time this summer!!!

Have a great week!!
lots and lots of love, Danielle

7/3/17, Happy 4th

Posted on July 3, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend, and in the midst of barbecues, picnics, lots of celebrations, some down time, and time off work!!!

I had a really exciting experience yesterday. As you know, three of my daughters work in fashion, and regularly put on fashion shows for the designers they work for, to show the next season’s collection. Ready to wear fashion shows are a big deal these days, a lot of money is spent on them, and they really are spectacular and exciting to go to. I’ve never been able to see the shows done by one of my daughters. I’m never in the right city at the right time. And yesterday, I had a fabulous treat and saw her show for the first time. She is the collection consultant, which means she does the research before the collection is designed, coming up with ideas, suggestions, and directions for the next season’s collection. Then there are lots of design meetings, as the ideas take shape, fabric meetings, more research, and at the very end of all that, the samples of the collection are made, meticulous fittings, the models are hired, and on the day of the show, my daughter is back stage watching every look, every accessory, and watching the girls go out on the runway to wow the audience. I know what kind of work goes into it, she works till all hours at night preparing the show, and the night before the show, she is up all night, watching the sewers finish, and checking every detail till the very last minute. It is meticulous, grueling, exacting work—-exciting for us to see, but a HUGE amount goes into it behind the scenes. And after the show, they are involved in how it’s sold, the look book, photography, etc.

Just as a spectator, people worry for weeks about what they will wear just to SEE a show—there’s lots of press there from all over the world, usually famous people, and all the important editors from fashion magazines. Dame Anna Wintour (recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth II), the publisher in chief of Vogue, goes to all the shows, and was there yesterday, looking very glamourous as always.

The weather played tricks on us all. A week ago it was 100 degrees in Paris. For the past few days it was in the 50’s….brrrr…..freezing for July. And the day of the show it was pouring rain. The Proenza Schouler show was held in the courtyard of a beautiful old school in Pigalle, under the overhang of the stone building, so we were dry. And the clothes were absolutely spectacular!! I want all of it!!! Glamourous, beautiful, feminine, just gorgeous clothes. It was a very special event, because it was a ready to wear show during the Haute Couture week (of all handmade clothes). There was lots of embroidery and handmade details, a gorgeous evening jacket made all of feathers. Even the shoes were fun!! They make beautiful clothes. I was sooo proud as a mother to be there, knowing that my daughter was part of the whole creative team that put it together. It was a beautiful event—-and a HUGE treat for me!!! And right after the show, the whole creative team went off for a meeting, after being up all night!!! They work VERY hard in fashion!!!

And now tomorrow is the 4th of July. Have a fantastic one!! I will be spending it with 2 of my daughters. I hope you have a fabulous day, and see fireworks at night!!! Happy 4th, and please be careful on the roads, it’s a busy holiday!!!

lots of love, Danielle

5/22/17, Reese!!

Posted on May 22, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve had a fun, varied, busy one. A wonderful Mother’s Day with my kids a week ago, and busy days since then. I’m in a frenzy of spring cleaning, cleaning out closets, getting rid of clothes I don’t wear (some very entertaining—-and embarrassing—-fashion mistakes, where I manage to forget both my height (5 feet 1 and a half inches!!) and my age, or some trendy things I never should have bought.) When I clean out my closets, I give the best of what I find to my five daughters, give a choice piece now and then to a friend, and sometimes donate or sell the rest. Every May, I spend a couple days with one of my daughters cleaning and scrubbing and refreshing the country house that five of my children share, which they own now, and where we spent summers when they were growing up. The place is 160 years old, and its hard work keeping it in good order, but I always enjoy projects like that. A book takes me more than two years to write, sometimes three, from my first notes on the concept, to outline, first draft, to the many re-writes I do, before the book is finally printed and then published at last. It’s a long process of honing, cleaning, building, editing—–but you take a messy, or tired, or dusty house, or a pile of things to get rid of and repair, or clean out a closet, and presto magic, within hours or a few days, you see the shining results right before your eyes. It’s so gratifying to get results on a project with a rapid beginning and an end. So I’ve been busy with that, found time to read a book I enjoyed, while I take a little break from my own writing (I never read other books while I’m working on my own), went to a dance recital and a school play.

But the highlight of my week was a very special visit. A few weeks ago, while in New York, I went to a birthday party with two of my daughters. The birthday boy was a good friend, a talented young fashion journalist, who knows and has interviewed some major stars. His birthday party was a fun event, at a bar that was taken over for the event. And there was a wonderful mix of young, talented, writers, actors, artists, business people, and some very famous people who were exciting to meet. Among them, I was thrilled to meet Reese Witherspoon, and have always been a big fan of hers. I love her romantic comedies, and also this week, I ‘binge-watched’ her recent TV series “Big Little Lies” and LOVED it!!! It’s a terrific series of 7 episodes, which has been a big hit, with some great surprises in it, and some wonderful actors and actresses (Nicole Kidman) in the cast. Reese is both acting and producing now, with enormous talent at both. I loved chatting with her at the birthday party, and decided to be brave (I’m normally pretty shy, and don’t like to intrude on people), and emailed her after we met, and told her how much I enjoyed meeting her, and how much I enjoy her work. A lively, friendly email exchange ensued in the past few weeks, and we discovered that we were both going to be in the same city this week, and agreed to get together—–and we did!!! What a treat!! She’s a beautiful woman, incredibly bright, enterprising, creative, talented, and full of exciting ideas. She was busy in the midst of a trip, and I had no idea if she could only spare half an hour or more. We wound up spending three hours together, talked incessantly, about her work and mine. I would love to do a project with her, and we kicked around some ideas. We both talked a mile a minute, about life, our work, our families, our plans, and our wish list of what we want to do next. In the 90’s, a meeting at a dinner party led to my 21 TV movies, and it would be a dream come true if our meeting at that birthday party led to our working together one day. And if not, I am thrilled to just know her as a friend. The time we spent together was a gift. She is warm, lively, vivacious, gracious to everyone who approaches her, she is an absolutely delightful woman, and I loved every minute of the time we spent together. And it is soooo invigorating to talk to someone full of energy and ideas. The time flew by. I could have talked to her for another ten hours, and look forward to seeing her again!!

It’s not every day I get to meet a movie star, and get to spend hours with her, talking about our lives and work. I spend most of my time locked up in my office, writing my books—or with my kids, when I’m lucky enough to spend time with them. So meeting Reese Witherspoon was a great big fabulous treat, like a super duper fantastic chocolate cake with whipped cream on top!!! Spending time with her made it a very special week!!!

I hope you have a wonderful week!! I don’t see how this coming week can possibly be as exciting as the last one was for me—-unless I get to see Reese again—-and I hope I will soon!!! Have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

PS. In response to some of your questions at the end of last week’s blog.

The little book I mentioned, with the house story, of the woman who hated her house, and then made it beautiful and she came to love it once she embraced it: The book is called “Gratitude: Affirming the Good things in Life”, by Melody Beattie, published by Ballantine. It may be out of print, I’ve had it for a long time, but it’s a wonderful little book.

In response to your asking if I’ve written a sequel to one of my books—-No, I haven’t. I have never written a sequel to any of my books. I don’t like comparisons, where people may prefer the first book, and might be disappointed by the sequel, so I never write them. Or at least I haven’t yet.

And one of you referred to my ‘flip phone’, because I admitted to using a VERY old cell phone that I love—–mine PRE-dates the flip phone, and is a tiny little Nokia, that has fallen on the floor a million times and doesn’t break. It lights up when a call comes in, or when there’s a message on it. I just love that little phone. I’ve heard that Nokia is going to make a modern version that looks the same, and I don’t know if that’s true. It is definitely a dinosaur but a beloved one. My kids and friends make fun of it—-but I just love that little phone, and I’m sticking with it, as long as there is life in it!!! love, Danielle

3/6/17, Paris in the Spring

Posted on March 6, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you. I have been writing nonstop lately, working on a new book, so I’m sorry if I was uncommunicative for a week or two as the writing got intense and the book heated up. When I’m writing, I can’t concentrate on anything else!!

Well, as the song says, I love Paris in the Spring…but it is pouring rain, and today there was even a hail storm, this is ridiculous!!! We need some flowers and sunshine by now after the winter!!!

I took a break from writing when I finished a big chunk of writing on Thursday—just in time for one of my daughters to spend three days with me, on her way to do a freelance fashion job in Greece, and it was wonderful to have time alone with one of my kids. We went shopping, had lunch and dinner out, stayed up late talking, and watched a favorite TV series (the new English one about Queen Victoria, which is a knockout, beautifully done!! I had seen it and love it, but watched part of it again with her.)

She’s one of my daughters who works in fashion, so we went to the Celine ready to wear fashion show today, —-in the pouring rain. It was held indoors at a tennis club. And as usual, the characters and ultra fashion-y outfits were in evidence in the audience. Also, the important power figures were very much present: Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, Hamish Bowles and Grace Coddington (who is a legend) also from Vogue, there were editors and buyers, some clients, Suzy Menkes, famous fashion journalist and a legend too. It was a great opportunity for people watching, as well as seeing what was on the runway. The show itself was very serious, with clothes for the fall, subdued colors, simple clothes, and many things my daughters loved (one of them saw it on the Internet in New York). It was, as always, a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. And I’ll be seeing two more shows this week. I guess fashion is just a fun way for me to relax for a minute between books, and with three daughters in the business, I’m always interested in what’s happening in that world, and what the new styles are for the next season. Since I went to design school, for fashion design, I still love to keep up with it.

I had a great time writing for the last few weeks, I love it when I get plunged deep in the story, and forget everything else that’s going on—the way you feel when you read a book, and can totally escape whatever is happening in your life. I’m editing another book now, and working on the outline for the next one.

I hope that all is going well for you, and that you’re getting at least a hint of spring wherever you are. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

1/25/17, “Magic”

Posted on January 25, 2017

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

much love, Danielle

12/12/16, Wow!!!

Posted on December 12, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Less than two weeks til Christmas, I hope you’re enjoying it, and not dreading it, as some people do. I think I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping. I’ve been seeing friends, a little shopping, and had an amazing invitation this week. I most enjoy seeing good friends around the holidays, and spending Christmas with my family, but as you know I go to fashion shows occasionally. They’re mostly in and out affairs, you dash in by invitation, sit down, the fashion show begins, and then half an hour later, after seeing some very pretty clothes, you leave. The locations and decor can be exciting and beautiful (like the year Chanel had flown in an iceberg from Sweden and placed it center stage for the models to walk around—-and then they flew the iceberg back to Sweden after the show. But this week I went to the fashion show to end all fashion shows, a MAJOR event. It took me by surprise, and was a real show stopper.

Once a year, Chanel does a special collection of ready to wear clothes (as opposed to Haute Couture, which is made to order and all hand made. Ready to wear is what you find in stores and can buy off the rack). They do the once a year special collection in an exotic location: Beijing, Dubai, Venice, Dallas, Cuba last year—-and the influence and style of the clothes is influenced by the location. They are called Metier d’Art shows, and are then referred to as the Paris/Cuba show, or the Paris/Dubai show or Paris/Dallas a few years ago, with a kind of cowboy theme. The fashion show introducing the collection is held in the location being honored. And although I’ve been to a lot of fashion shows, I’ve never been to one of these, and had no idea what a massive undertaking it is. They invite well known people in the city where it’s held, and their good customers, and they also fly in hundreds of glamourous women from around the world. So there are women there from South America, Asia, India, Hong Kong, Dubai, all over Europe, the USA, some famous, others just fashionable women. And I discovered that they pick up all the expenses for the women they fly in, airfare, hotel, etc. In this case, the fashion show was held at the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris, and the women invited stayed there too, for four days of related fashion events, all hosted by Chanel. They were given limousines, several of them borrowed clothes to wear to the show, and many of them were also all decked out in fabulous jewelry also by Chanel. Not knowing how elaborate this was going to be, I dressed in ‘grown up clothes’ (black slacks and a sweater, my uniform) wore a pale pink coat, and black suede high heels—-all my own not borrowed. The show was at noon, and I was stunned when I got to the Ritz Hotel to find that there were about 800 women there, at tables all over the lobby floor and restaurants of the hotel, for a noon lunch, followed by the show at 2pm. (There is normally no food served at fashion shows). The luncheon was very elegant, and the women (no men invited that I could see) were dressed to the nines, some even wore evening gowns, and floor length fur coats at lunch time, and tons of jewelry. I felt like a bumpkin from the country in my lunchtime clothes. Several movie stars were there, and the singer Farrell Williams. Lunch was elaborately served and very diet conscious, since probably all of those women were on diets!!! And champagne flowed. I don’t drink, so it was wasted on me. And finally, the fashion show started, it had a jubilant exciting feeling to it, and the theme was “Cosmopolitan Paris” this time, so they were mostly dressy city clothes, and some very glamorous creations—-and the usual beautiful models. It was definitely “A scene”, and not at all what I expected. There was a breakfast the next day, which I didn’t go to, where people could try on the clothes the models had worn the day before, as they threaded through the tables to bouncy music, and looked like they were having fun. Apparently, Chanel spends millions on those events, for publicity. It was dripping glamour, and I had fun, even though I didn’t know anyone there, except a friend of one of my daughters, and I was happy to see her. I was seated at lunch with four very nice Parisian women, and an Italian woman, wearing a gold evening gown, floor length sable coat and a ton of jewels. I looked a lot more subdued in my pale pink coat. It was definitely an experience, and I felt a little (or a lot) like Cinderella after the ball, when I went home to my dogs and my typewriter. And yes, one could think that there are more important ways to spend money, for charity, but in reality this is business for Chanel, great publicity for them, and I’m sure they donate to charitable causes during the year as well. So I had my moment of glamour, and had to share it with you.

Have a great week!!!

love, Danielle