31 October 2009

30 October 2009

Weekend Reading List

Even though I conscientiously give books and magazines away these days, I still find I'm accumulating more than I have space for. I've cut down on buying magazines (well, there's not much out there that excites me anymore), and papers I read online. I've taken to going to the library when I need something to read, and there's something old fashioned about this that I find charming. Just yesterday, I had stuff to return ( I love dropping the books in the book drop!) and popped into the stacks. In 15 minutes, this is what I picked up:
The Beautiful and the Damned, F Scott Fitzgerald (First published, 1922. Isn't this a glorious title?)
The Complete Claudine, Colette (A collection of all the Claudine books)
Arts and Letters, Edmund White (A collection of essays)
So these are three books I won't be adding to the groaning shelves! Plus the spectre of having the pay a fine keeps me reading like a demon...

O Jackie!

This is a book to have: Jacqueline, by photographer Ron Galella.

29 October 2009

He Said She Said

"To make money, the industry is increasingly catering to the lowest common denominator and, as far as the people who run the big companies are concerned, anything even slightly out of the ordinary frightens people. But anyone with a brain knows that it is the quirkiness and imperfection in a person that attracts other people. That is completely obvious to human beings; it's just when it gets to a corporate level that it all falls apart."- Nick Knight

28 October 2009

Birkin Bag With Swarovski Crystals

Trust Shabnam Melwani-Reis to get her clutches on this special order one-of Birkin with a Swarovski panel. Ladies, eat your hearts out.

Dolce & Gabbana & David Gandy

David Gandy from catwalk to cover in Dolce & Gabbana SS09...

What are you doing on Friday night?
How about partying with David Gandy?
Club 21 is opening their splashy new Dolce & Gabbana store at ION with what promises to be the fashion party of this season of fashion parties. The label is flying in top model David Gandy (Stats: 29yo, 6′2″, waist 28), an unusual choice, but ultimately quite right for now, don't you think? A list model rather than C list celeb for me any day...

27 October 2009

Julie & Julia (Glutton Dressed As Glam)

Julie & Julia is a chick flick.
You must remind yourself of this, before you buy that ticket (or indeed, the pirated DVD), and then you may properly enjoy it: Because despite Meryl Streep playing the iconic Julia Child, Nora Ephron’s latest cinematic offering never rises above being souffle fluffy. As you all know, Ms Ephron is a celebrated screenwriter/director, starting with the hit When Harry Met Sally and as a director with Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998), you can expect a certain standard.
Am I the only one who thinks that the wonderful Meryl Streep has been badly directed here? It's too much, the voice, the eye-rolling, the gestures and walk: Streep's like a man in domestic goddess drag, and following her trannie turn in The Devil Wears Prada, seems to be gaily parodying herself at the end of her career. This is not acting. This is female impersonation. In comparison, it is Stanley Tucci, as Julia's husband Paul, who is sublime and who unexpectedly runs away with the film. Julia Child, who died at the age of 91 in 2004, is surely rolling in her grave somewhere.
Streep's arch performance is leavened by the Julie Powell (played "cutesy" by Amy Adams) parts. Powell is conventional chick-flick/lit material, an aspiring writer stuck in a thankless job who with an adorable and very patient boyfriend: Could you get anymore formulaic than this? Powell finds salvation by cooking all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the seminal American epic Child authored, and blogging about it for a year.
If only life were that simple (or is it simplistic?).
Of course Powell is a real-life Internet phenom — her blog did become the delectable book that became this film. This gives us some optimism. But Ms Ephron attempts to draw parallels between the lives of these two women, unconvincingly, I thought. French food just isn't pizza, and Paris isn't Queens, is it? It's not the same sort of struggle at all, what conceit!
Julie & Julia is entertaining nonetheless (can you want anything more from a chickflick?), and the styling is above average (which is more than I can say for most chickflicks), and spot-on for spring 2010. Plus, Joan Juliet-Buck, ex Vogue Paris editor plays a wicked cameo in it so that's something to watch out for, for you fashion people!

26 October 2009

He Said She Said

"To me there is no past or future in art. The art of the great painters who lived in other times is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today than it ever was."
-Pablo Picasso

25 October 2009

Irving Penn's Vanity Fair Covers

Italo Calvino, Aug 1983
Philip Roth, Sep 1983
Francine du Plessix Gray (what a name!), Nov 1983
Woody Allen (as Groucho Marx), Dec 1983
Hanna Schygulla, Jan 1984
In 1983, Irving Penn provided six successive Vanity Fair covers. Looking at them, one is immediately struck by their serious tone and intent, compared to what we see now, the magazines looked austere, dignified, important, not the glossy throwaway things we have come to disregard. Times have certainly changed, and in terms of magazines, not for the better, I might add.

He Said She Said

"Where is the real low thing? Where are the jelly shoes that you find that are sick because they’re so great? Everything has air quotes around it now." - Isaac Mizrahi

Sunday Self Pic

23 October 2009

Good Thing: Laduree by Marni

As you all know, I'm crazy about all things Laduree, so this is just an excuse to post something about this quitessential Parisian patisserie. Marni is the latest label collaborating with LadurĂ©e on a limited-edition box, patterned with polka dots and a little flower brooch, filled with gold-covered chocolate macaroons. Only chocolate? Where are the Laduree's trademark pretty pastels? There’s the option of creating a customized selection of flavors (I love the rose and pistachio flavours). They come in boxes of eight or 18, on sale starting December 1 at LadurĂ©e in Paris, London, Tokyo.

Postcard: London Calling

From M:
"Few visitors to London seem aware that the glamorous Orient Express still operates out of Victoria Station. Back in the 1920s, the mighty and the moneyed would board the Express from Victoria across the Channel, hop on the steamer to Calais, and continue with the Continental carriages to Paris, Milan, or Venice. Today, those romantic trains are beautifully restored and back in service. Old-fashioned carriages that were built in the 20s and 30s boast plush upholstery, intricate marquetry and brass fittings, all delicately illuminated by softly shaded lamps, giving you a first-hand feel of the Golden Age of travel.
"Highly recommended is the one-day trip which heads out to Chesterfield, where you are picked up by bus to make a pilgrimage to Chatsworth. And what's there? Only the most delightful piece of Austen-esque real estate you can imagine. You half expect Jane herself to saunter down the lawn with a parasol poised lazily above her head. Little wonder. Chatsworth may be home to the duke and duchess of Devonshire, but it's also where the Keira Knightley films Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess were shot on-location."

Weekend Reading List

To calm down over recent family drama, I'm reading an old favourite, F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby; It's weirdly comforting, in part because I already know it well, all the drama contained are predictable. I read it for the language and rythmn, which are soothingly familiar. I finally met M (my ex-boss) over at the Paragon over tea, and we talked about everything that's happening now, and plans for the future, catching up, never once looking back. Things really have changed. M gave me a book, a belated birthday present, The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman, and I'm going through this quickly: A great discovery! It's a beautiful book, mostly paintings, with cryptic scrawls, snaps, with tender autobiographical bits, very much scrapbook style, my style; Initially, it's cute, but the words aren't, but the entire effect is uplifting, which is what I need at the moment.

He Said She Said

"The fashion world is a dangerous, superficial and fickle place."
- Sir Paul Smith

Say No To Greed

Christian Louboutin will not do a line for a more affordable store, like H&M, which is about to launch a one-off Jimmy Choo (how dated is that? Just typing the name 'Jimmy Choo' feels like a watching a very tired episode of Sex and The City) collection. "They proposed me to do the diffusion line and I declined," Mr Louboutin said. But Louboutin does design shoes for men (above, his first sneaker, a leopard print high top: But does it have a red sole?). "I do like classical shoes, in reality, for men," he said.

22 October 2009

Vogue Paris Romances the Mud

Can't wait for the November Vogue Paris! It's such a brilliant, fresh look at the 1980s, Carine Roitfeld's favouritr period. The cover is of Isabelli Fontana (I love that Carine always favours the brunettes over the blondes) shot by David Sims in a Keith Haring tribute (yes, enough of Stephen Sprouse for now, I think). Look at the Annie Leibowitz portrait of Mr Haring who painted himself, and the snap of the late graffitti artist painting on the iconic Grace Jones. And then the Alexander Wang fall dress has a bit of that look, no?

18 October 2009

Ode To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.

- John Keats

Sunday Self Pic

17 October 2009

Ma Ma Roitfeld

Doesn't she look superb? And I have to say this... she's like Jeremy Irons in drag.

Weekend Reading List

Flip, flip, flip.
I've got a stack of new magazines to the left, and a stack of really old magazines unpacked from a box to my right. I must say the they don't make magazines like they used to anymore. The June 1984 Vanity Fair, on top of the heap, is anything but trashy, with features on (an imaginative mix) Anthony Powell, Boy George (by Jan Morris), Paul Theroux, Stephen Hawking, Deborah Turbeville (remember her?) and Norman Mailer. Plus it's only 112 pages. In comparison, the Monocle looks interesting, and is certainly well-designed, but every issues looks somewhat the same (formulaic) and the content is fairly similar, in substance and tone, so I actually dread having to read it. Oh dear, do I have to (I think I'll have to give these away soon and learn never, never to buy another Monocle)?
I think what I'm going to do is just lie back and listen to the Jeremy Irons (the lipless wonder, above, in a photo by Lord Snowdon) audio book of Brideshead Revisited. B, from the office had to rip this for me from the 10 CDs set I borrowed from the library and painstakingly uploaded for me to my ipod. It's pure bliss, and very much a treat that will see me through the weekend.

15 October 2009

He Said She Said: Alexander Pope

"First follow Nature, at once the source, and end, and test of Art." - Alexander Pope

Good Thing: YSL Y-Shine Patent High Top

It's a shame that YSL doesn't carry menswear here; I particularly love Stefano Pilati's work. But they are bringing these (limited edition) Y-Shine mens sneakers out at the Ion Orchard store this December. In two colour-ways exclusive to Asia: Lake (is obviously for day) and Night Time Purple. At SGD750, not exactly a snip. Would you pay $750 for a pair of patent high top sneakers? 


Looks promising, doesn't it?

14 October 2009

Good Thing: Dettol Hand Soap

When I saw it in the office pantry sink, I kind of couldn't take my eyes off it. Can you have a crush on liquid soap?
The sturdy bottle of Dettol Hand Soap just looked so efficient, no-nonsense and clean that I had to dash out at lunch to buy my own bottle. I felt elated to find it at the neighbourhood CK (love CK, don't you?), and for less than $5, just the best value for money item I bought in a decade. I couldn't wait to wash my (suddenly grubby) hands. I told B that the "10 times more protection" blurb on the label was truly convincing; He puffed out a smoke ring and said "compared to what?" 
It smells briskly medicinal, but mild, and a little blob goes a long way to a rich lather. The smell lingers but slightly, leaving nothing but wonderfully fluffy clean hands. Not hands entirely stripped of skin exactly, but clean and germless (the copy says it removes 99.9% of bacteria). 
I felt ready to perform surgery. 
Buy it. 

Those Ingres Women

Jean August Dominique Ingres's women were dressed to the nines, complex creatures with large arms, lacquered hair and deadly gazes. My favourite remains the tragic Caroline (unmarried, she died two years after her portrait was completed), not only because she looks chaste - her proportions seem mine. Every time I'm in Paris, I go to the Louvre to stare at her. Top to bottom: 1806, Madamoiselle Caroline Riviere; 1845 Madame d'Haussonville; 1851, Madame Moitessier; 1853, Pauline Eleanore de Brassac de Bearn, Princesse Albert de Broglie; 1823, Francoise Poncelle, Madame Jacques-Louis LeBlanc.