my latest bits and bobs
- Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky February 16, 2014
- “Come into my parlour” said the spider to the fly “and I will make you beautiful before I let you die” January 18, 2014
- A Very Happy Christmas to One and All December 23, 2013
- It fits to a T December 16, 2013
- Fashion on the radio December 6, 2013
Top Posts & Pages
“Come into my parlour” said the spider to the fly “and I will make you beautiful before I let you die”
“My life began at forty-one and I found Regis and began to look a different me
Everyone noticed right away
“What have you done?” they’d gasp entranced
“I’ve met this man” I start to say then shut my mouth
Why share him with the world?
But now I do exactly that
I stand inside the purring Biba Beauty Parlour
and see the subtleties of his seduction
I watch while trembling chrysalis emerge
as glowing butterflies,
baffled by the mirror image of their own beauty
I seeth to see that what he did for me
he does indeed for everyone
Is nothing sacred now I ask!
I’ll be a naughty girl demand to have my hair go green!
The devilish man! He’s just said “Yes”!
Already plans a luscious face to match!
He knows I’ll never leave him now.”
Wishing everyone a most joyful Christmas.
(Cheeky Santa cover illustration by Herric for La Vie Parisienne)
Did you have that gale force wind where you were?
The sheer force of nature spiralling everything out of control. Just a bit like the past couple of weeks where I’ve had TOO MUCH to do. I hit the deck running and at times it felt like I was jogging on the spot, but looking back quite a lot was achieved. One of those times when loose ends which should have been tied in a timely fashion, all got snarled and extra energy was needed to untangle them all. Still, most things are sorted now and there is only Christmas looming on the horizon. I’ll wait a bit before tackling that and hope that the adrenalin kicks in for a last minute shopping orgy.
But this weekend is going to be all mine. Do not disturb. I am going to hibernate and recharge for at least 24 hours and Sunday is going to be my day of rest.
And aren’t Sunday mornings the best!
Time sets a leisurely pace. No mad dashing with a jumbo hit of caffeine in one hand and half a pair of shoes in the other to match the half a slash of lippy (did I really go out like that?).
No, Sundays are about just being. Doing or not doing . Getting dressed or not. Eating a late breakfast. (Poached eggs always seem to turn out perfectly on a Sunday. Rubbery bullets every time else) Skimming the Sunday supplements and listening to the radio. Glorious BBC Radio 4. The Archer’s Omnibus followed by Desert Island Discs
This coming Sunday will be a real treat because Barbrara Hulanicki will be the castaway on Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs is one of the longest running radio programmes in Britain. It’s an absolute institution. Each week a guest is invited to imagine that they have been castaway on an uninhabited island where they will be marooned for ever. All they have for company is a Bible (or appropriate religious text….a recent, P.C. addition to the format) and the complete works of Shakespeare. In addition they are allowed 8 favourite pieces of music to take with them plus one luxury item. The choice of music and luxury item are the kick off points for the interview and it is interesting to hear how much sometimes is revealed about the subject from their favourite songs.
If you’re not in the UK it is possible to listen over the internet as long as you have Flash player installed on your computer.
You can access BBC Radio 4 here;
It will be fascinating to hear what music she picks. Will it be Hollywood golden age musical scores or Roxy Music , reminders of those heady Biba days.
Some Chopin perhaps as a nod to her Polish roots? Miami Sound Machine? No, perhaps not.
How about Back to Black by Amy Winehouse , it’s certainly Barbara’s preferred colour.
We’ll just have to wait and hear.
11.15am on Sunday in the UK
Repeated at 9 on Friday
There is always a lot to lust after at Kerry Taylor’s auction house in Bermondsey. The next sale on 3rd December has so many fabulous pieces, but I’ve limited this post to just 3 gowns from Paris in the 1920s
This stunning cocktail dress is a total work of art. It was designed by Natalia Goncharova who was a famed avante-garde artist in pre-revolution Moscow. Rebellious and insouciant, she shocked society by openly living with her lover, Mikhail Larionov. The couple loved to provoke reaction and would paint images, or offensive phrases on their own and their friends’ bodies — and then parade through the wealthiest parts of the city or sit in cafes having a nice cup of tea, totally oblivious to the outrage they had caused. She came to the attention of Sergei Diaghilev who commissioned her to design sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes and so a long partnership was formed. Living in Paris in the 1920s she began to design dresses for Maison Myrbor. This exclusive salon was owned by Marie Cuttoli and was part fashion house, part art gallery. Myrbor showcased textiles, rugs and dresses with abstract designs. Mme Cuttoli worked with the leading artists of the day. Picasso, Léger, Dufy, Matisse and Braque were amongst those who created unique pieces for her shop. (Incidentally, Mme Cuttoli lived at 55 Rue de Babylone, later the home of YSL.)
This dress dates from about 1924, it is made from crêpe de chine appliquéd with abstract shaped decorations made from velvet, metallic fabric and silk. There are three tiered flounces on one hip which are embroidered with metallic bands.
When not in his artist’s studio or hanging out with Mme Cuttoli at Maison Myrbor, Raoul Dufy was also dabbling in fashion as a textile print designer for Paul Poiret. The Celia and Ossie of the Parisian beau monde.? Early on in his career Paul Poiret was greatly influenced by the flamboyance of the designs at The Ballet Russes . He moved fashion design away from the traditional tailored shapes and brought in draping and flowing shapes which hung from the shoulders for a looser silhouette (and so ending the tyranny of whalebone corsets) He believed that fashion and art went hand in hand (in fact he started his career as a fashion illustrator), and commisioned Raoul Dufy to design prints for him. His flowing shapes were the ideal canvas for Dufy’s bold, flat, one dimensional prints.
This ‘afternoon dress’ is demure yet rather racy. It is multi layered, white organza over a pink crêpe de chine petticoat with the navy and white Dufy print overdress set off by deep Valencienne lace cuffs and collar.
This is a stunning dress by Mary Nowitzky, a Russian emigree who opened her Parisian salon in 1924. She was known for knitwear, sportswear and negligees, Her flowy beach pyjamas and painted silk creations perfectly encapsulated that mid 20s jazz age vibe. She married a Prince who whisked her off to America where she continued to design clothes for society ladies.
It is a long, column dress decorated with printed and hand painted butterflies on the kimono style sleeves and on the hem. A loose and softly draped shape caught in with long sashes. The bold combination of colours is fabulous. Plain blue chiffon front and an acid green back panel compliment the butterfly wing pattern.
All images © Kerry Taylor Auctions
Guess what?..I’ve been back up in that attic and lugged down a few of my Biba coats and jackets. They all date from the early 1970s .
This is probably what most people would think of as the archetypal Biba coat. Animal print maxi with an A line shape falling from very narrow shoulders . It has a triangular inverted soft pleat at the back to give it fullness. Boat neckline fastening with a large square button.
Very glamorous black and brown faux fur coat. The 2 colours actually go in zigzag stripes, but the crushed finish to the pile stops the stripes from looking like stripes but gives it a mottled, textural look. The shape and cut is very similar to the coat above. Classic Biba designs were often made in a variety of fabrics.
A short pile faux fur with a zebra stripe in a tiger colour way. It has a shawl collar and big, stand up puffs at the top of the sleeves. Deep turn back cuffs. A swing back for a fabulous swirly fit.
This was my favourite and I wore it constantly. I called it my hamster fur coat….don’t ask me why. Very narrow shoulders and puffed at the top of the sleeves. Deep turn back cuffs. A big square collar and 3 huge button fastening. Ankle length with a deep split at the centre back. Long tie belt.
Black faux fur fabric with a crushed finish (to mimic crushed velvet) and a chevron “stripe” where the pile of the fur is shorter, for a lovely textural finish. Very tight fitted shape, fastening with a front zip. Peplum skirt to emphasise the nipped in waist. Huge, rounded edge black fur collar. Deep black fur cuffs finish very skinny sleeves.
And here’s almost the same jacket, shorter and in a grey animal print faux fur fabric with a short pile.
This is a cardigan jacket knitted in black and white yarns which give it a textured look. (the knit actually reminds me of fisherman’s sweaters) The collar and cuffs are made from a very feathery faux fur , black with random white tips. Straight sleeves with puffs at the shoulders. Quite deep patch pockets, lined in satin to stop them drooping. Edge to edge with no fastening.
I often don’t notice the Google doodles but today’s really caught my eye. I have been meaning to read about Edith Head for years and years so this will be my aide mémoire . Any recommendations ?
Just one last drink and then it’s time to shuck off the party duds and crawl back into the pjs. It’s been a scintillating, fascinating day thanks to all the marvellous blogs I’ve visited. There are loads more that I’m still looking forward to checking out, so I’ll be knocking on those doors soon.
Thank you chocs via vintage special messenger to Kate for bringing us all together.
What an incredibly cool gang we are!
It’s a glorious autumn morning with a beautiful blue sky and we got an extra hour in bed because of the clocks. What a great day for a blog party. I’m still in my pyjamas but I just couldn’t resist popping into a couple of places. Laura Lynn has put on the most amazing maquillage à la Roy Lichtenstein (happy birthday Roy, you’d have been 90 today.)(POW!) And Lia has already made me green with envy. It’s going to be SUCH a good day
And as for our fabulous hostess, Kate, well, it was all TOO, too glamorous for words, so I just peeped through the keyhole for the time being (after all, I am still in my PJs).
Right, I’m off to put on my glad rags (what to wear?) and I’ll be back later to start the whirlwind round of the party blogs properly gussied up. In the meanwhile, please make yourself at home and have a good poke around my blog.
Really looking forward to seeing you all in a while.